Why is it so hard to make friends in Hungary?
I have been living for 4 months now in Budapest - and all my friends are foreigners!!! Why is it so hard to make Hungarian friends? Sometimes I get the impression that they prefer to stay amongst themselves. This is not really what I expected when I came here.
17 May 2007, 10:44 Kiki
Do you speak Hungarian? If not, you shouldn't complain - as you would act like many people who just come over to have a good time but don't make an effort to learn the language.Don 17 May 2007, 10:52 - Report
my dearest new friend,
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i will be waiting to hear from you through my email so i can tell you more about my self and send you my look to know who is communicating with you. take care of your self and i wish you happy day.
yours new friend.I LOVE YOU
cynthiacynthia 17 Jul 2007, 12:46 - Report
Well, i guess its because so many foreign people come here for shot time only to have fun , wich is not bad. Hungarians have a very awful and painful history that gaves them, specially to older people, a very genuine orderfollowers behavior. Read a lot of history, go to the museums, get interested in the hungarian matters, try to learn the language and practice it with them, you;ll see how the amount of hungarian friends raise like the foam. It depends a lot what kind of people are you related to,students,workers, executives. If you are came here for a short term, i dont see why you complaint, in most of the cases people get way better time with expatriates than with hungarians, specially if they are from your same country and have live in hungary longer than you. Sorry but it's the truth.....Veronica 20 Jul 2007, 02:26 - Report
hellolove 31 Jul 2007, 08:59 - Report
I've been here for 6 months and I face the same prob. I don't really think the language prob is the main thing. Because some of them can speak but just refuse to have conversations in English. I heard from another Hungarian, Hungarian doesn't like foreigners much. Not sure whether this is true but perhaps.
Further, Hungarian language is a difficult language to learn. People I know lived here for 10 years, yes they can speak Hungarian but not well. So if you plan to live here that long, perhaps it is worthy to learn. But if just for a year or two, just for survival (for shopping, for asking directions) is enough I guess.Someone 22 Aug 2007, 09:32 - Report
Hello Everybody !
The most importnat think need study language! After this you should accept the country and traditions.Young peoples speaks english or german. I'v benne lived in other countries and I 'v been study them languages.
The languages isin't so difficult regarding the chinesee or urdu...-)))
If try speak Hungarian we will respect it and we will help you.
Our office helps for foreigners for a better feeling in Hungary ( Job, visas,life, shopping, juridical matters)
TamasTamás Kubovicz 03 Nov 2007, 11:21 - Report
I have been to Budapest in september 2007... for 2 weeks on holiday... it was a very nice holiday... the hungarian women are very nice and beautiful... being a single man 42 y old seeking a serious relation... i am thinking now seriously to contact through this site a hungarian woman for relationship
my e-mail addess is
i live in Holland
if you are interested please send me an e-mail and I will send you more infomation to your personal e-mail addressSab from holland 10 Dec 2007, 11:57 - Report
Sorry to read all these negative comments below...
You believe it or not I am a nice, social and communicative lady..from where??? from Hungary - from Budapest-
I absolutely understand your concerns. If you need any kind of help/advise don`t hesitate to contact me. I know what does it mean to arrive and live in a country which is totally different than yours...
E-mail: [email removed]
Happy new year!!!!!Cafephilo 28 Dec 2007, 01:13 - Report
Hi, I am hungarian but I lived in England for 3 years. I miss foreigners around me. Where are they in Budapest? Where do they go out usually?Anita 01 Feb 2008, 03:43 - Report
that dear Kiki, you didn't meet open minded Hungarian folk.
You are right, that it is not common among everage Hungarians to make foreign friends, but those travelled abroad are different. They are open to make friends from abroad, and they became very good friends for a long time.
Look at them at http://www.couchsurfing.com/ and in my Internet Cafe near Gellert hill in the capital:
http://www.budainternet.hu/?p1756/lenGelleon 12 Mar 2008, 10:21 - Report
I studied in Hungary for 7 months, it was hard to make friends Language ect Give it time, keep been friendly, they will get to like you slowly. I made a friend with a German guy his lover was Hungarian she became my friend then slowly her friends became my friends. Plus remember thye are just like the English, if they haven't traveled they have their small group of friends and are not looking to make new friends.
Think about where you socialize, we used to all party on the danue on a tuseday night, prague at the weekend and vaci utca on thursday, great places but far too costly for Hungarian students to hang out at. If we invited them they declined, we thought they didn't want to be friends, realized this too late.Victoria 20 May 2008, 02:17 - Report
they are closed with in themselves, think that they are better then everyone, and will neverhave an open mind.kkk 30 May 2008, 03:56 - Report
i've just moved out to budapest from London. Seem to have made a few hungarian friends at work but not too many outside. Also struggling to meet many expat friends.
If anyone is living out here and fancies meeting up give me a shout on [email removed]. Be good to meet up for a few drinks.
mattmatt 07 Jun 2008, 12:51 - Report
I want to have hungarina friends, because i will be in budapest in this september. if anyone is from budapest, pls add me and let's speak and be friends. so i will be happy. [email removed]
thank you...celine 21 Jul 2008, 09:58 - Report
Being an american company, all the hungarians working here form their own group and start discussing things in hungarian (official work also), this really nerves me being a foreigner. They should atleast respect the work-place and follow the rules. This is really disappointing to me.Prem 05 Aug 2008, 05:55 - Report
I moved to Hungary from Holland. I like this country and the people too although the elderly people really hardly talk foreign languages but they are also friendly.
A bit off-topic but can come handy. It was difficult for me to find a lawyer (check some contracts, helping rent a flat, take care of my visa case, bought a car, etc) who does speak English, open to help via e-mail and prepared enough. But here is a good attorney, a young guy who I met on the net: Dr. Peter Varga. His email address: [email removed]
I like this couuntry.Steven Sinclair 12 Aug 2008, 10:37 - Report
I'm Sherlyn(Lyn)from Singapore and I have a few Hungarian friends, especially a long distance bf, David who's half Spanish, half Hungarian.. I'm now having some problems with my long distance bf.. I doubted him by hurting his heart first and he did the same back to me in his new e-mail last night.. Are half Spanish, half Hungarian guys nice in real life?Sherlyn Goh 31 Aug 2008, 07:05 - Report
Please get back to me at [email removed]..Sherlyn Goh 31 Aug 2008, 07:09 - Report
I'm a 21 years old Hungarian guy and I have to admit that I have become quite dissapointed while I was reading most of these comments.
It's not true that Hungarians don't like foreigners. Come on, you have to see the other side of the case: what does a tipical Hungarian see, when let's say few students from the US come to visit Hungary?
They rent a decent place, they party in fancy places, they hang out and they spend a lot of money. It's pretty obvious that for most of the Hungarians who cannot afford these kind of things this won't be pleasing.
Most of the Hungarians are always nervous about the bills, the insecurity of their future and their live, the goverment etc...
You have to understand that if you come here, you will face with this stereotype: you are only a rich foreigner who doesn't give a sh*t about this country, and you have most likely come here to party and spend money.
THE WORST THING THAT YOU CAN DO IS SAYING
"I don't know why but they are unfriendly. So, I gonna be unfriendly too!"
First you have to prove that you are not this stereotype.
Then, if it's done...You can start thinking about becoming their friend.
I know that for some of you it's strange, but this is how it is: you have to make the first steps, and you have to do it correclty.
If you accomplish this first step, you'll realize that Hungarians are really honest and insistent friends.
I have written to much anyway, but I have to reflect to Prem "Even in workplace" comment.
I worked for an American company here in Hungary. I was surrounded with Hungarians, but whenever a foriegner come to our desks we switched to english immediately and this was the practice in the whole office.
That's all, thanks for reading.
By the way, If you come to Budapest and would like to drink something, let me know!
A Friendly Hungarian
[email removed]Attila 23 Sep 2008, 09:43 - Report
I think it's really the case that it's been a closed society for a long time and generally people are not used to foreigners;some people don't have the social skills to communicate with someone from a different background. There is a change in the younger generation if they travelled a bit.
Having said that some of them think they discovered the spanish wax and come across as arrogant.
Money probably contributes for reaching natives difficult, people are not used to "go out for a drink". Maybe you should invite them over.Tamara 26 Sep 2008, 10:14 - Report
getting a friend in hungary i believe will never be a difficult task to me you see, though i havn't been there yet but i will be by the end of October. i believe that the way u present your self really count. Nobody will like to make friend with "Mr know it all or Mr got it all" isn't that true? when u get to Hungary put your head down and try to learn the cultures then friends will come to you, its a natural phenomenon. and as for me, i am already learning the language and really wish to marry a hungarian sweet heart, holla me if you care. [email removed]
búcsúWise 07 Oct 2008, 07:52 - Report
Hello to everybody, I will be in Hungary and I would like to meet friends girls before to arrive, I am a normal boy 37 years old and with a young soul.
If think that could be a good idea, you can write me to [email removed]
RegardsAntony 12 Oct 2008, 09:08 - Report
Hi, my name is Alexandra i moved with my family from Rome(Italy) to Budapest,1 year ago. I still in cultural shock!!!I'm 34 and my husband 50, we have 5 years old daughter.We are international couple im Russian and my husband American. We are desperatly, looking for friends!!!If you are the same, lonely in Budapest(the most depressive city in the world)please contact me
[email removed]Alexandra 13 Oct 2008, 05:12 - Report
Hallo, I'm Italian,and I was in Hungary. I met a lot of good friends. Everyboby are nice people, very good in heart. If you want to know nice people in Hungary, just smile and open your heart. See you!
Lorenzoclubmanta@libero.it 21 Oct 2008, 05:09 - Report
"They rent a decent place, they party in fancy places, they hang out and they spend a lot of money. It's pretty obvious that for most of the Hungarians who cannot afford these kind of things this won't be pleasing"
Its true we were rich international students and thought the bar on Vaci Utca was cheap! So when we invited people they couldn't afford to hang out with us.
They are nice, but just have their own friends, if you grew up in the same place your not looking to make new friends.
How many of us in the UK go and make friends with our foreign non English speaking neighbours?
Language patience and timeVictoria 12 Nov 2008, 01:26 - Report
well i m another new one here and like to make a frined. Give me buzz if u like to have dinner with me and get to know each other more. I am a male 39 from canada
[email removed]newguy 13 Nov 2008, 08:16 - Report
I completely agree with Victoria. Hungarian wages are comparatively low but a lot of them put on a good show because they are in debt up to the ears. At the beginning I too was loudly exclaiming how cheap restaurants were and noticing that my Hungarian friends would go silent because for them they weren't. It's difficult hanging out with people when there is such a financial imbalance. Maybe not if you are an old fashioned guy who pays when he goes out on a date. I was appalled by a young American guy who boasted about making sure that he wasn't going to be "taken for a ride" by any Hungarian girls and that he never picked up the tab. (and he's earning ten times what his date gets!). Try and be a bit subtle about money and notice if your Magyar friends are steering you towards a cheaper place. The language is not an issue, Hungarians are delighted to practice English if you cant learn the language which is extremely difficult. I'm an expat English woman in a relationship but will happily meet with anyone more inclined to a more philosophical discussion over coffee and cake. Or I am also interested in finding a dance partner as my boyfriend doesn't llike to dance!Terri 21 Nov 2008, 10:53 - Report
I forgot my email if anyone wants to meet up for serious conversations or silly dancing.
[email removed]terri 21 Nov 2008, 10:56 - Report
It is not true that the Hungarians are a closed, unfriendly people. One of my best friends,Peter is Hungarian and I just returned from his wedding to an american woman this past Oct.
While at the wedding, i met quite a few of his hungarian friends and we partied together quite a bit. They were really friendly and open people. Even his grandma was really nice. As an side, I saw this really beautiful hungarian folk dancer at their wedding. Cool thing was that she wasn't stuck up for someone so and I had quite a good time with her.
So as wise said in his post, it is how you present yourself that matters. The average Hungarian doesn't make a lot of money to be able to go out and party all the time like us americans do. So if you are gonna flaunt your wealth there, just to get noticed and impress the women, it is bound to push people away from you. It might get you laid a couple of times. But if you are looking to make some decent, lifelong friends that you can keep coming back to, that's not the way to go about it.
If on the other hand, were you to adopt a more friendly attitude, where you make a sincere effort to learn their customs and traditions as also learn a little bit of their language, you will make quite a few friends. Be the tourist that breaks away from stereotype and actually tries to mix in with the locals, rather than hang out at the usual expat locations. Works every time. For starters, when you walk into a bar, just say hello to the people sitting closest to you, and ask em in Hungariab, albeit broken, what the best local beverage is. From there, you can just use your imagination. Works best if you go to places where younger people hang out.
This approach worked well for me even in Germany. And we all know how friendly and warm the krauts are. So good luck.
Also I will be visiting Hungary next year with Peter and his wife Nancyand some friends. It will be sometime around June of 09. So if anyone of you might be interested in hanging out with us just hit me up at [email removed] or on here. Anyone is welcome.Vinny fletcher 23 Nov 2008, 04:03 - Report
This is a very wonderfull city but every thing is black cus iam lonely .i am call val from usa .i will appreciate meeting uval 02 Dec 2008, 05:59 - Report
Hey Val what's up? That sucks that you are so lonely in Budapest. Hopefully things will get better for you soon.
I will be visiting in June of 09. You are quite welcome to hang out with us if you still happen to be around then. We are always looking for new friends. Hit me up on yahoo or facebook. My yahoo email is [email removed]. My facebook name is Vinny Fletcher. Hoping to hear from you and wishing you a Merry Christmas in advance.Vinny Fletcher 21 Dec 2008, 06:25 - Report
I have made many friend's in Hungary, I am a 58 year old, retired man, that has been studying the history of Hungary for a long time. Some on here, posting negative thing's about Hungary, really disappoint's me.
I have alway,s been helped in this country, people are polite,and, I find them friendly. There is even a 90 year old woman, who tell's everyone to speak to me in Magyar, so I will learn faster, yes, it is a hard language,but,I will learn it.
I was raised in the South, so I am a gentleman,and,I dont party or hang out at clubs and bars, I drink a good sip of whyskey every now and then, and, usually you will find me in jean's,boot's and t-shirt.
I don't go to fancy restaurant's, never have, never will, I like goulash, fish soup, potatos,beans, im a country boy by heart. if you show respect, you get respect.
The Magyar people are brave people, they revolted against the Russian's in 1956, and, many patriot's died. Their history go's back hundred's of year's. Most of the invention's that you thought were created in the US or Europe, was actually created in Hungary.
They are a free market society now, but , they are a young democracy, wages are low, and, everything is high, plus they are taxed to death.
So here,s some advice, try speaking the language, people will help you, show respect, it goes a long way. Study their history, their custom's, do something for the community, there is good and bad in every country, but , trust me, Ive seen more good in Hungary then I have the US, and, Im proud to be American, but, I didnt like George Bush and his administration, and, I dont like our business ethic's.
So make friend's, its been easy for me.D Giles email@example.com 31 Dec 2008, 07:21 - Report
My wife and I stumbled upon Lajosmizse whilst we were touring Europe looking for somewhere to retire to. We arrived here and have never left thats 18 months now. We signed up to a local language school and started learning the lingo, it's hard but worth every minute.
We have made some wonderful Hungarian friends who have made us very welcome to their country, from a humble vegetable picker to a Company Director, the Hungarians are a warm, generous people who have a fantastic respect for their families, something the UK is losing quite rapidly.
Although retired we are fairly young (52 & 50) and enjoy our lives here, if anybody is ever passing feel free to drop us a line: [email removed]Nigel Hancock 29 Jan 2009, 07:33 - Report
After growing up in the old Yugoslavia we moved to Hungary which I never got used to... I always felt like an alien. Anyways, I spent 6 years in L.A. California, and I fell in love with that place. But I came back to Budapest about a year ago. Now I’m even more depressed than ever before… I feel like I need to be around international faces ‘cause I need some refreshment: smiley faces, easy going people, positive thinking etc. In this last year I couldn’t build up any good friendships and Hungarians are so different to hang out with. May be I just need more time to “melt in”. But if you feel like the same way: [email removed]swivel 04 Feb 2009, 11:46 - Report
I am a 20-year-old girl from Budapest.
I am happy to teach Hungarian and show you Hungary.
[email removed]jojo 08 Mar 2009, 09:44 - Report
I am a graduated foreign language teacher and I am happy to teach you Hungarian. /My specialization is oral expression development/ thematic vocabulary development/.
Contact: [email removed]
Kind regards,Cafephilo 16 Mar 2009, 12:32 - Report
It was intersting to read so many differing views pertaining to the Hungarians and their culture.It is true that the country is not one of the stronger financially and economy wise. Give the Hungarian people some time and I have learnt and experinced that they are extremely HONEST people. Not much formalities and show off and truthful people. Best thing in my case at least, I have not encountered any racism in Hungary as yet, while travelling in few western europeans countires I have found people to be arrogant and racist. Hungarians are sincere people , they may not be overfiendly and clowning around but sincereity and honesty matters more. Thanks for reading.Manish 24 Mar 2009, 11:41 - Report
I lived in Hungary for 2 years and learned to speak Hungarian quite well. Even before I could speak though, I found people quite friendly and made a lot of friends. Take a course of something. Do a sport. Try help someone learn English People in Hungary are more open than you may think, but you have to make an effort.Lived in Hungary/Speak Hungarian 20 Apr 2009, 08:43 - Report
Long time ago I was in Hungary and now I'm looking for few old friends. Do you have any advices?Amr 28 Apr 2009, 03:55 - Report
I am coming for a month time I wish to have friends ...what could you advice me?Latif 29 Apr 2009, 03:57 - Report
if you wish we can have fun.
I will be closerla 29 Apr 2009, 04:04 - Report
Im a hungaryan guy who lived in england for two years .
I would like to my english improve, maybe u can help me . I can teach u hungaryan language if u liked this.
TomTamas 05 May 2009, 03:53 - Report
Hi Tamas Hogy vagy?
I am a British guy living in London who is beginning to learn Magyar, and would love any help. I would be happy to assist with your English if you would maybe like to exchange emails? I am on [email removed].
Response to the rest of the thread, a little effort goes a long way. Be considerate and respectful of a different culture. As a UK national I find nothing more objectionable than an ignorant group of people who believe that another country's culture is (or should be) the same as theirs and there is nothing more unattractive than this expectation. Sorry to generalise but Americans are the most utterly ignorant tourists I have ever met. This does not apply to all of you, I have some lovely friends from the US, just seems that in Europe we get the bottom of the barrel visiting. Unwilling to learn any other language, any kind of heritage, culture or history, and always safe in the knowledge and attitude that 'yours is bigger' etc. How do you expect to make friends ANYWHERE acting like this, let alone a country where English is (contrary to what someone posted above) not widely spoken (however is on the increase). If you can't cope with the language, try some basic German as this is the staple language of tourism in Hungary, and if you aren't prepared to make any effort then get a reality check and a personality transplant.Andy 13 May 2009, 01:41 - Report
I am a hungarian woman,who live in Louisville,KY.I can teach you hungarian,and I need somebody,who help me with my english.
[email removed]Yvette 19 May 2009, 03:55 - Report
I would like to meet with you,
I am Hungarian , but I live in Canada. I am home for visiting.
if you would like to contact me my email is: [email removed]
Thanks and hope to see u!
NikiNiki 29 May 2009, 10:03 - Report
I been living here for more than 2 years with my family , in a very very small town of 70,000 people. The true after this two years : we have a lot of friends from Romania, Croatia, Spain , etc but "nula" of Hungarian. Crazy Stuff but true. I think the past of Hungary is hard that still ramain in their minds, I speak in Magyar" ,been friendly but still people gets sock when see Foreigners.. and do not give a nice smile in answer .. Solution: Do not expect nothing of Hungarian people and if you get a nice szia , be happy )))Rene 02 Jun 2009, 12:10 - Report
I am a Hungarian guy who studied abroad, worked with foreigners in Hungary for many years, and has been leaving in London for seven years. Have had local and foreign friends abroad and home, had American, Romanian and Danish and of course Hungarian girlfriends. I think I understand the full picture of the issue from every aspect.
First of all:
- In general Hungarians absolutely (would) love to make friends with foreigners. They are really proud of having foreign friends if they succeed. There is virtually ZERO xenophobia in Hungary. They have got some issues with a couple of neighbouring countries, but it hardly ever comes across in individual, one-to-one situations. You can see significantly more of this issue in the US, UK, GER, FRA, SPA, SWI, etc. etc.
- The language is a key barrier. No doubt, it is as difficult for a Hungarian to learn a foreign language as the other way around. So a lot of Hungarian people do not speak languages that well. And Hungarians do feel very uncomfortable with a situation when they experience that they are not on the same level as the other person who they speak with, if they do not understand the jokes, if they are not able to be themselves, and feel they come across as more boring persons, so they rather avoid these situations. So they are seen as unfriendly.
- I think the above mentioned issue completely disappear if a foreigner and a Hungarian can speak on equal terms (i.e. use a language which they speak on a same level), or if the Hungarian is allowed to be the “superior” (i.e. speak Hungarian) in these conversations. That’s the time where real personality can come across, and real friendship is made. When I lived in foreign countries, I always found much easier to make friends with other foreigners than with the locals for the same reason
- Undoubtedly there might be a little element of lack of trust in some Hungarian people. It has historic reasons (think about the past, they could not trust even each other). You need just a little more time to break it. I do not think it is very serious though.
So my advice:
- You should take the first step, and approach people. You need to understand the anxiety in them
- Try to create equal terms. Don’t use your mother tongue if possible.
- If you make an effort, and learn Hungarian, you open thousands of doors.
And a few last remarks.
I have seen lively, noisy, funny Americans and Brits to turn into quiet shaking fishes, when someone suggested, OK let’s speak Spanish or German from now on. All of a sudden they were not in the centre of the attention; they were not so funny and friendly anymore.
I don’t know how many British friends would a foreigner make in the UK if he or she would refuse using English, and would expect the locals to approach him/her and speak his/her language. And whose fault would that be? Or are you saying it is different? Think again…Sprzerka 30 Jun 2009, 04:03 - Report
I am a Hungarian guy and I'm not sure if it is true but I've read something interesting.
If someone from a western culture tries to be friendly he or she asks many questions. That is the part I'm not sure of.
On the other hand Hungarians trying to be fiendly, tell a story about themselves and when its finished wait for the other to do the same and so on.
Answering even the third personal like question in a row makes us unconfortable.
wanna make friends? Tell stories about yourself or your family. Does not have to be funny or entertaining, it is not for the laughs.
At first we do not know anything about you and we most certainly will not ask the questions to get to know you. We are not raised that way.
To make friend you have to share something and see if the other reacts.
Then again talking about yourself all the time is also considered to be unfriendly.
It is a lenghty process. Give it time.
About older people.
Thirty or so years ago a friend meant an entirely different thing. You could share your thoughts with your friend and if he was not, he just reported you. Your kids could not get to college, you could not get a decent job and so on.
They will not open easily.
Maybe what i wrote is trivial maybe not.
Thanks. And if you come to visit us. Welcome to Hungary.Adorján 12 Jul 2009, 06:26 - Report