Germany ranked one of the worst countries in the world for making friends

Germany ranked one of the worst countries in the world for making friends

Although narrowly avoiding a spot in the global bottom 10, Germany has been ranked one of the worst countries in the world for finding friends as an expat. Overall, expats in Germany find it difficult to make friends, struggle to settle in, and generally perceive the locals as unfriendly.

Finding Friends Global Ranking 2020

Global networking company InterNations has just unveiled the results from their Finding Friends Ranking 2020 - a list of the best and worst countries worldwide for making friends. The ranking is based on the results of their annual Expat Insider survey, for which they ask 15.000 expats across 181 countries to rate various aspects of expat life. 

This year’s Finding Friends Global Ranking is topped by Mexico, Bahrain and Ecuador, while Denmark, Kuwait and Sweden occupy the bottom three spots. Having fallen into the bottom 10 for the last three years in a row, Germany managed to climb a few ranks to place 47 out of 58. 

Germany narrowly avoids bottom 10 spot in ranking

Even though it’s not among the very worst destinations in the world for finding friends, Germany only very narrowly avoided a bottom 10 spot. According to the survey’s results, 44 percent of expats in Germany find it difficult to make new friends, compared to 33 percent globally. 

Even more tellingly, 51 percent said that they find it difficult to make friends with locals, compared to 38 percent globally. For comparison, in top-ranking Mexico, nearly three-quarters of expats living there (73 percent) find it easy to make friends, and 71 percent find it easy to make friends with locals. 

Interestingly, this difficulty with making social connections appears to be a trend across German-speaking and Nordic countries. Austria, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark all landed in the bottom 10 for this subcategory. The only countries in the bottom 10 not located in Europe are South Korea, Japan and Kuwait. 

Germans are not perceived as friendly towards foreigners

One reason why expats might find it so hard to make friends in Germany could be that the local population is not generally perceived as being very friendly. Only 53 percent of expats in Germany said that they consider the local residents friendly, compared to 68 percent globally. In Mexico, 88 percent of respondents described the locals as friendly. 

In addition, more than a quarter of survey respondents (26 percent) think that Germans are not friendly towards foreign residents, compared to 18 percent globally. Only 52 percent actually consider the locals friendly to foreigners, compared to 66 percent globally and an incredible 90 percent in Mexico. One Dutch expat living in Düsseldorf commented, “Quite a lot of people are really unfriendly to people who do not speak German or have a non-German appearance.”

This is reflected in the makeup of expats’ social circles in Germany. Just 16 percent said that they are mainly friends with locals, while 45 percent have a mixed group of friends and a full 39 percent said that they are mainly friends with other expats only. One US expat living in Munich said, “It is easy to make expat friends, but hard to make German friends.” Another mentioned that it can be a struggle if you do not learn German

You can find more details about the Finding Friends Ranking on the InterNations website.



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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BabaNumi2 18:37 | 6 August 2020

Is not true at all... Germans might be a bit reserved at the beginning but once they know you better and calling you a friend that friendship will last a life time

EmilGramenz2 17:12 | 8 August 2020

People say that people from Schleswig-Holstein (my state) are the least talkative too. Great, I have an excuse for having no friends.

Christian Lozano 18:28 | 11 November 2020

Quite true, friendship in germany is overrated