A solo travel is more than a leisure activity. It is a key to holistic wellness. Traveling alone has been proven to have mental health benefits such as reducing stress and relieving emotional pain. Backpacking to a beach and other water forms is also good for the physical health. Some of the benefits of spending time in Boracay include faster healing of cuts and sores and improvement of joint-pain symptoms.
Hitting the road on your own is an amazing opportunity to meet new people. It doesn’t matter if you’re naturally shy. If you’re traveling alone, you’d need to ask for directions, recommendations for restaurants, and assistance during mishaps. These events can jump-start a conversation, and perhaps a meaningful friendship.
Know 7 psychology-proven ways on how to make friends while traveling.
Stay in a good mood
One of the most important tips to make friends is to stay in a positive mood. No one would want to approach someone in a bad or unwelcoming mood. Emotional contagion is a phenomenon in which emotions are transferred within social groups. These positive feelings can be unconsciously felt by people, which explains why people feel happier in a joyful group and feel otherwise in a gloomy company. James H. Fowler of the University of California and Nicholas A. Christakis of Harvard University wrote, “People’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. This provides further justification for seeing happiness, like health, as a collective phenomenon.” This is also true in sports teams. A study by Peter Totterdell of Sheffield University found that a team’s upbeat spirit and good mood are transferred to individual players.
Make new friends on your travels by staying in a good mood. Your positive vibes can spread to other people even without them noticing it. You can invite your new buddies to Alta Vista de Boracay’s Karaoke Room for a fun night of singing and dancing.
Make other people laugh
People want to be with those who can make them laugh. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde found that affiliative humor, or one that can enhance a relationship, is an ingredient in a lasting friendship. Having a sense of humor is also good for you. Researchers found that it supports stable positive affect, builds resilience, and limits psychological distress.
You and your new travel buddies can hang out at Alta Vista de Boracay’s Dinara View Deck, which offers a majestic view of the Boracay sunset. Share amusing stories about your experiences as a solo traveler.
Be present around people
Isolating yourself is a roadblock to meeting travel buddies. The detachment need not mean to literally avoid people. You can stay long in your room when you’re not on the road or skipping the common areas in your hotel. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that having a presence around people, even without interacting with them, can make you more likable than when you always isolate yourself. The familiarity and similarity results to the affinity that strengthens social relations.
After an island hopping escapade, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at Alta Veranda in the company of other Alta Vista de Boracay guests. Who knows? You may meet like-minded backpackers there.
Exude warmth and competence
How to make friends in your out-of-town adventures? Portray yourself as warm and competent. Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy shares in her book, Presence, two metrics that people use when evaluating new acquaintances: warmth and competence. If a person perceived you as warm or friendly, he will feel like he can trust you. “A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat,” Professor Cuddy says. If you exude competence, others are more likely to respect you.
Listen as they talk about themselves
In contrast to popular belief, extroverts are not the only ones who love talking about themselves. Introverts, or people regarded as the “quiet” type, also enjoy sharing personal facts to a few close friends. A study by researchers at Harvard University reported that talking about yourself has a number of benefits including engendering social bonds and social alliances between people and eliciting feedback for self-knowledge.
Let your new travel friends talk about themselves. Listen and show that you’re interested in what they have to say. In probing, be sensitive on matters that may seem too private.
Meet people who are like you
People are drawn to others with whom they share similar values and interests. Environmental advocates tend to hang out with fellow eco-fighters. Fitness buffs are likely to be connected with a lot of gym regulars and sports enthusiasts. “Other things equal, people are most likely to be attracted toward those in closest contact with them. In general, as a frequency of interaction between 2 or more person increases, the degree of their liking for one another increases,” according to psychologist Theodore M. Newcomb.
You wouldn’t want to just make new acquaintances; you’d want to make friends with people you can talk to about things that interest you. Enjoy cocktails at the Sports Bar in Alta Vista de Boracay and chat with people who are as passionate about basketball as you and share the same philosophical views. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation.
Smiling is probably one of the easiest tips for making friends and science supports this fact. In a study, findings showed that a woman who smiled majority of the time was seen as more interpersonally attractive than a woman who seldom smiled. Smiling doesn’t only benefit your social life. Smiling, even a forced one, can make you feel happy and reduce your stress levels. Science suggests adopting a “Duchenne smile,” or one that involves the facial muscles around the eyes.
Expand your network. Meet people who can be your friends for life. Who says you should be lonesome when traveling on your own?