23 May How to Meet People in Mexico
It’s a common complaint among adults in recent generations how difficult it is to make friends once you’re out of school. In elementary school, we made friends with whoever was around, and if we went to graduate school, we got to make friends with like-minded people. Once we graduate, however, how do we find the right people to befriend? Depending on where you are, this can be an easier or trickier task. In Mexico, however, we’ve got it made.
The Tech –
The 2010’s saw the rise of the dating app, and while Tinder dominated the game, it was marketed and used mainly as a “hook-up” app. Bumble and OKCupid offered features that made it possible to look for “just friends”, and social apps such as Meetup or Couchsurfing avoided the match game altogether and instead, gave us ways to meet up with groups of people based on common interests. Facebook also became a great way to form groups and create events for locals. Nowadays, there are also websites such as UnitedNations that cater to expats specifically. The bigger the city you live in, the more efficient these apps will be. In smaller towns, these apps might not be as much help. That doesn’t matter, however, since the most efficient way to meet people in Mexico isn’t in its technology, but the culture itself.
The Layout –
When speaking to the layout of neighborhoods, placemaking refers to a design where residential areas are combined with public meeting places. Mixed-use development is a type of urban development that combines commercial, residential, and industrial buildings within the same area allowing for “walkable cities”. Both of these elements are key design factors in the urban layout of Mexico. This makes it so that there are many places to meet up and many paths that may cross when people are simply living their daily lives, instead of having to cut out a part of the day and force conversation to try and make a friend. If you see someone enough times, or there’s a situation to be helpful (or for someone to help), given the warm and available disposition of Mexicans, striking up a conversation with strangers is completely normal.
The Activities –
Given Mexico’s multicultural backdrop, there’s plenty of different activities one can do that give way to meeting people. You can take a language class, offer conversation exchange, take a cooking class, go to Yoga, martial arts, pilates, or a number of unique events for locals. If you’re looking for something meaningful that gives you purpose, there are many opportunities to volunteer in Mexico that you can take up to give back to your neighborhood, city, or town. Building community through volunteer work can be extremely rewarding for everyone involved. And of course we absolutely cannot forget Mexico’s love for futbol. If you have access to watching a game (either live or on TV at a sports bar or restaurant) this is a great place to meet passionate people in a high energy setting.
The Transportation –
Mexico in general has excellent public transportation. Most towns and cities will have a “camion” or local bus that covers most important places of cities and towns, however Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey all have metros and trams systems as well. Riding a camion in Mexico is a deeply local experience, where you will see all flavors of people going to do a plethora of different things. Depending on where you live, you might find yourself next to a live farm animal, onboard live entertainment, and/or a chauffeur with the most decked out dashboard you’ve ever seen. While not everyone wants to have a conversation on public transportation, (a book and/or headphones being the quintessential “do not disturb” sign), it can still be a great place to see the faces of the people of your community, and can still offer a great place to begin relating to people.
The Parties –
Mexicans work hard and play harder, with any given Wednesday being a perfectly good day for fireworks at 5AM. When it’s not the celebration of a saint, it might be the celebration of a battle won or independence gained, or any of the other religious holidays there are. If it isn’t a national holiday, it might be a local one, but always a reason to celebrate. Many of these are celebrated in the streets with processions, music, and arguably the best street food in the world. Most public celebrations are a great place to exchange and meet with people.
The Town Square-
Mexico City has el Zocalo, many small towns have “El Jardin”, but just about every town and city in Mexico has a place that’s the heart of the town where people go to gather. It is usually a plaza with a beautiful church, surrounded by trees and paths, and possibly a kiosk. There will of course be little carts lined up with fruit cups, aguas, elote, tacos, or any number of seasonal street food where you can get a tasty snack to sit on a bench and observe children playing with the colorful balloons and toys just purchased from street vendors. You can bring a portable paint set and stand in front of the church to paint a landscape. You can come here to be alone while accompanied, as these places are made for exactly that, to meet, to share, to be seen and see each other.
While other places in the world might be set up the same way, not all of those places have the amazing street food and the generous, welcoming, and incredibly friendly disposition Mexicans are known for. That’s why Mexican culture lends itself to making friends and building community.