Dating in Iceland

During my four months abroad I have put myself out there more times than I can count and have attended several functions as ways to meet new people. Don’t get me wrong, I have already met some wonderful people that I can see turning into great friendships. But after these past few months I have come to realize something. Making new friends is a lot like dating!

If you think about it, meeting people for the first time is a lot like walking into a blind date. You may have seen this person online but that is about the extent of your knowledge of what they look like. Standing in the doorway looking around the room trying to match the face to the picture is beyond awkward in either situations. One thing I have learned, I am not good at picking faces out in a room and they usually have to come to me, great first impression.

When you have finally found your “date” the awkward small talk begins. Your trying to get a feel for this person. Is this someone that I could be friends with? Do we have anything in common? So the night goes on sharing small talk with a good mix of uncomfortable pauses.

Now comes the issue of the follow up date. Do you call them? Do you wait for them to call you? Maybe they didn’t really like you and never want to see you again! Ahh it is all so confusing, where is the rule book for these things.


Lets recap some of my dating stories shall we.

Date one: I had been in Iceland for about two weeks when I began my Icelandic classes and I was looking forward to making friends in class. One classmate in particular had a similar story to mine so I thought perfect, here is someone who can totally relate to me. She had been in Iceland for almost 8 years so I was hoping to get some tips and insight from her so I asked her to lunch.

Fast forward to our lunch date where I spent two hours listening to her talk about how much she hated Iceland. What the what! She was even shocked that H wasn’t supplying me with a card to his bank account. I mean I am downgrading my life to live here in Iceland with him so he should pay for it.

Ummm yeah basically our friendship did not continue and I left that date with a need for a stiff drink.

Gossip GIrl Gifsource

Date 2: I have played volleyball since I was a little girl so when I moved to Iceland I thought joining a volleyball team would be a great way to meet people. I found a team that was practicing twice a week right near my house so I headed out for my first practice full of hope that I was about to meet some great new friends.

When I walked into the gym I was greeted by a group of older Icelandic women who all kind of just looked at me without saying anything. It was exactly how I pictured walking into the cafeteria on the first day of school, but with a foreign language being spoken. Finally someone spoke to me, in Icelandic of course, and once they knew I only spoke English they made sure to be very vocal about it. I can’t tell you how many times during our practice I heard, you have to speak English to her she doesn’t understand Icelandic. Okay we all get it thanks for announcing this fact every two minutes.

I knew my future bff wasn’t on this team though when someone was trying to get my attention in Icelandic (they must of missed the I only speak English announcements) and when I didn’t respond they decided to throw a ball at me.

Yes, that happened and I have not played volleyball since.


Date 3: There is a pub quiz that I have always wanted to attend and after being here for two months I finally had the evening free to join in. A woman had been in contact with me asking me to join their team and she sounded really friendly and excited to meet me. I was a bit nervous when I entered the bar but she seemed so nice that I thought for sure it was going to be a great night.

When I found our team at a very crowded table there was clearly no room for me to sit down. After standing awkwardly behind them someone finally moved over to make some space for me. I spent the next three hours listening to them all share some inside jokes with each other while I did my best to fake some smiles.

I might also add that the team member closest to my age was a good 20 years older than me. I have no issue with age but when all they are talking about is their children and grandchildren I have nothing to add to the conversation. So that was how my night went, listening to family talk and inside jokes. Awesome.


Date 4: I love to read so I figured, why not join a book club? I found a group of ladies on Facebook that were also interested in starting a book club so we planned a time to meet. We were all foreigners living here in Iceland so I was really excited to meet them all and learn more about them.

As I entered the crowded café attempting to match the faces to the Facebook profiles I was crossing my fingers that this would not be another bad dating experience. When I spotted my new group right away I took this as a good start to my date and headed over.

This date has a happy ending. I spent the evening talking with some wonderful ladies who I really connected with. Finally I had one of those successful dates where you spend the night talking and laughing away.


This date was the turning point in my dating life in Iceland and I have continued to meet many new people who I am really enjoying spending time with. I guess we all have to go through some form of a dating rut before coming out on top!

Question of the Day?
Do you have any bad dating stories?

Linking up with Treasure Tromp

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  • Elizabeth Georgian

    Wow those are some funny/terrible stories about trying to make friends in Iceland! I’m sorry you have had such a hard time, but I’m glad to hear the book club went well :) Over here in Lithuania I actually haven’t tried any activities as a way to meet people- but I should. There aren’t a ton of foreigners living in Vilnius (I keep hoping to find a hidden community…) and people from my partner’s school think I’m a stay at home wife (this makes me cranky because I’m finishing my PhD and actually working all the time at home) so yeah I really haven’t connected there. So I guess this making friends thing is a bit of a work in progress for me

    • Kaelene Spence

      Now that I look back on them I find them quite funny and I am so glad it is getting much easier to meet new people. It is hard when your in an area that not a lot of foreign people are since they tend to be the ones looking for new friends as well. I think making friends is a very difficult thing especially in a different country!

  • Kahleel

    You’re really good at putting yourself out there. That’s very admirable. I haven’t really done much to meet new people since my move to Abu Dhabi. Luckily as teachers we come in a big group and are put in the same hotel for a month which kinda forces people to make friends. The downside is that you tend to stick to only making teacher friends.
    I would love to be able to go out and meet new people. You’ve definitely inspired me.

    • Kaelene Spence

      That is nice though that you get to have a support system around you with those in similar situations. I understand what you mean though sometimes I just feel like staying around my boyfriend and his friends since I already know them.

  • Megan

    Before moving to France, I thought of myself as a pretty outgoing person, but I’ve had a few of these moments as well… and I just HATE awkward moments/pauses. Seriously makes me cringe, ugh. And I haven’t really been trying that hard anymore. I’ve met a few great people in my French classes, but I’m by far the youngest one there, and the ones that are closer to my age all have kids and don’t ever have much free time. Good for you for not giving up! I think I would’ve just cried if somebody threw a ball at me to get my attention lol, how rude!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Same here, I am a really outgoing person but when I don’t understand the language it can be a bit inhibiting! That is great that you met some great people in your French class, language classes are a great way to meet new people I think. Ha yes I just like to look back on that volleyball practice as a interesting experience:)

  • Kristen @ Treats and Travels

    I agree with the comments below, you’re doing an awesome job by putting yourself out there and engaging with others! My boyfriend is going on a business trip and will be in Iceland Sweden and Denmark in a few weeks, he’s beyond excited and I’m insanely jealous!!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Thanks so much! How awesome I hope your boyfriend has a great trip, sounds like he needs to bring you with him!

  • Samantha Angell

    This is a hilarious story! Moving abroad can definitely be like dating when trying to find new friends. Glad you finally had a success story!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Haha it has been some interesting experiences thats for sure! At least it gives me something to laugh about:)

  • Amanda

    All of these! And it’s nice that you can keep a good attitude about it even though some of them are super cringe! x

    • Kaelene Spence

      Now they just make good stories to tell:) And I am just glad I am having more success in my friend dating life!

  • bevchen

    Wow, you’re amazing putting yourself out there like that!

    I was terrible at making friends in England and being in a foreign country doesn’t really help matters. For the first 4-5 years I was here, we basically hung around with people Jan had studied with. I was a language assistant for a year and I tried to make friends with my fellow language assistants, only for them to all start making plans behind my back and turning down every one of my invitations. Eventually, one of them wrote me a message on Facebook basically saying “we all hate you so please stop contacting us!” I actually cried over that one.

    • Kaelene Spence

      Sometimes I feel like it is hopeless but now that things are turning around I am hoping I will find some good friends and won’t have to continuing putting myself out there all the time, it is never easy!

      Wow what rude people! Sounds like they were not worth your time, their loss!

      • bevchen

        Yes… totally rude. I seem to attract that kind of person though. After uni, two people I studied with said to me “now we’re never going to see you again we can finally tell you we never actually liked you and only let you hang around to be polite”. Ouch. And Jan wonders why I’m terrified of meeting people! Most people are not that rude/nasty, though… they don’t like me any more than the mean ones, but at least they’re nice about it.

  • Amanda Elizabeth

    This post was cracking me up! It is hard to meet new people and those first few dates sounded terrible! I’m glad the last one went well! That gif with Cam and Gloria is hilarious :-)

    • Kaelene Spence

      Haha I love that gif with Cam and Gloria! It is so hard to meet new people. At least I get some good stories out of these bad dates ha.

  • Jessica Shannon

    I can’t believe those volleyball women were so rude!! Glad you find some friends though!!

    • Kaelene Spence

      I know right! Glad I have met some of the nicer people in Iceland.

  • Dee

    Oh, you poor girl! I’m glad you finally found a great date in the end, though!
    I feel so lucky that I had some friends here, and the new ones I eventually made were at work or through friends. Blind dates are so difficult and usually awkward.

    • Kaelene Spence

      Thank you, I agree blind dates are the worst! That is awesome that you have some great friends. I have been working at a wonderful place this month and can already tell I will meet some new friends here!

  • Shane Prather

    Iceland, that sounds so neat! I’m new to your blog but can’t wait to keep up with your adventures :)

    • Kaelene Spence

      So glad you stopped! Iceland is amazing I am loving living here and discovering all the country has to offer.

  • Stephanie

    so glad the book club was successful! I definitely think it’s harder to make new friends as an adult, let alone in another country. Glad you stuck with it, I think I would have wussed out after the volleyball debacle.

    • Kaelene Spence

      I think so too, making friends as an adult is a real challenge. Haha at least the volleyball issue happened quite early on so I was still on the excitement high of living abroad. Now I think I would have been a bit more vocal about their rude attitude. So glad I found the book club though its been a blast!

  • Beka Johnson

    holy cow! Someone threw a volleyball at your head? That’s crazy! Even now in Oklahoma I have called people and asked to have coffee with them. It has overall been really positive. I think a big part of that is the small town friendliness.

    • Kaelene Spence

      I am from a small town and I really miss the small town friendliness. So glad your getting to experience it!

  • Amanda MeeMee

    Damn girl, you’ve had some bad luck, haha! I think making friends is even HARDER than dating!!!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Haha I am excellent and getting myself into awkward situations thats for sure! Luckily my dating experience has been much better.

  • Dannielle @ Chic-a-DeeDee

    First off, someone threw a ball at you? Jerks. I thought I made some friends at my first job in England, and really hit it off with them and had great conversations and nights out. But after I left it was like I was shunned and they continued doing things together but not inviting me. Talk about feeling left out. Making friends is hard! I wish I could just share my erasers with people and instantly become friends.

    • Kaelene Spence

      Haha I know right who throws a ball! Ugh that is not very nice of them. I agree making friends is so hard, at least we are over those terrible teenage years with even more girl drama!

  • Brittany Ruth

    awe I feel for you. What awkward experiences, I hate having to make new friends that’s why I just kind of let it happen even if it takes forever and I have to do it a lot cause we move a lot. I’ve thought about this concept before though that finding friends is like dating. I remember when I first moved to Germany and I found someone I really wanted to be friends with here and I was like wow how do I get her to like me? haha I hope she doesn’t think I’m coming on to her lol

    • Kaelene Spence

      That must not be easy, I hope I don’t have to do this too often because it is tough. Haha I totally know the feeling, how do you ask someone to start hanging out with you more without it sounding like dating.

  • Chelsea

    Oh man! Those Icelanders are a tough crowd! When I was in Ukraine I had mostly positive friend dating experiences. Once though, a friend from university invited me to join them in their orphanage volunteering project and after super awkwardly waiting for each other at different metro exits we got so terribly lost on the way to the orphanage that we could only stay for 30 minutes once we got there. On top of that he was Chinese and we had a realllly hard time understanding each other’s Russian. In the end it ended up being one of my.most meaningful projects in Ukraine and I was there every week, but that.first week was just ridiculous!

    • Kaelene Spence

      That is so great that you were able to find friends and work for such a wonderful organization!

  • Polly

    I’m so sorry, but I’m laughing so hard at the image of you getting smacked by a ball thrown by some bitch Icelandic woman. Hahaha.

    • Kaelene Spence

      Haha its totally understandable, I laughed after it happened as well.

  • Jenn

    Those bad dates will just make you appreciate all of the good ones even more :)

    • Kaelene Spence

      So very true!

  • jackie jade

    i’m glad you finally had a good date! I can’t imagine moving and having to make new friends now, especially in another country where I don’t know the language ahh!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Ugh I know! I am just glad it is getting easier now.

  • Carly @ Let Us Wanderlust

    This is such an awesome post!! I love how you’ve likened trying to find friends to dating, because it’s soooo true!! I find it so hard to make friends as an expat in America! While I definitely don’t have the language barrier (except my funny Aussie accent), my fiancé and I move around every few days so it’s really difficult to make any proper friendships! We don’t have a ‘home base’ in the States, so I can totally relate to the difficulty with making friends! Although I’m so glad that last one was a success story!! X

    • Kaelene Spence

      Thank you! I couldn’t even imagine that would be so difficult to make friends while moving around so much. Hopefully you get to meet a lot of really nice locals everywhere you go!

  • adventuresofalondonkiwi

    It’s sadly so, so true!!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Haha it is so true, I am glad you agree:)

  • Tracy O’Neill

    I’ve had a similar experience. I moved to a new state when my husband I were first engaged and it was really difficult to find new friends and it often feels like you’re going through the dating process all over again, just with women. I’m glad you finally had a good one. Good luck!

    • Kaelene Spence

      It is always nice when you have reached the comfortable part of the dating cycle and can just be comfortable around your new friends. Thank you!

  • Rachel Murphree

    It totally is like dating! In fact I think I get even more nervous about meeting potential friends, like the rejection would be waaayyy worse than if a blind date just wasn’t that into me.

    -Rachel @ With Love, Rachel

    • Kaelene Spence

      I agree, I think I am way more nervous when I am meeting new potential friends than if it were a blind date. Somehow the rejection is much worse!

  • Jamie | ink + adventure

    it’s so awkward! but occasionally you meet someone and have that “oh my gosh, me too!” moment. I feel like meeting people gets exponentially hard after you leave college. but having at least one good friend abroad makes life SO much better :)

    • Kaelene Spence

      Those moments are what make it all worth it! And I agree having at least one good friend abroad makes everything so much better.

  • Lisa

    Wow, that is a lot of awkwardness! It’s funny and so true about ‘friend-dating’…living in Peru it also took me awhile to find some really dear friends, and they were also expats from other places. I think expats relate in that way with a lot of the same feelings and looking for support – so glad you’re having more successful dates now :)

    • Kaelene Spence

      Ha I am pretty good and getting myself into these awkward situations. I think it is much easier to relate to expats as well, they understand what your going through and its great to have them for advice.

  • Kim

    That is so awesome that you put yourself out there so much and you finally had a happy ending!! I just moved back to Florida from NYC and I have one friend here so I feel like I haven’t really made an effort to make new friends but I’m only hurting myself. Luckily, this is my second semester in law school and I do feel like I’m finally making friends! Why is so hard when you get older??

    • Kaelene Spence

      I agree, why does it have to be harder when we are older! It can be exhausting always making an effort to make new friends. Best of luck!

  • Alex

    Holllyyyy mollyyy I cannot believe some of those stories! Insanity – that volleyball practice especially… you deserved date #4 for sure!!

    • Kaelene Spence

      I am pretty good at getting myself into these situations for some reason. I am just glad date number 4 went better as well!

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe

    I love the dating analogy! The volleyball ladies, sheesh!! Glad that date #4 seems to be paying off!!

    • Kaelene Spence

      I just can’t help but feel like I am dating while I am out trying to make new friends!

  • Arvark

    It’s good to hear that the book club was a success and I didn’t scare you off with my whining recently lol ;)

    Anyway, I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award :) You can read more about the award here:

    Have a great weekend and see you soon!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Hey! Haha no worries I am glad to have found a group of ladies I can relate to! Thanks so much:) I hope you had a great weekend!

  • Postcards from Rachel

    YES! It’s really difficult to make friends as an adult and I’m so horrible at small talk!

    • Kaelene Spence

      I am lucky to have no issue with small talk but when your trying to small talk with a language barrier it makes it so difficult!

  • Rachel G

    Man, making new friends as an adult in a brand-new place is tough–maybe even worse than dating, I don’t know. I’ve lived as an ex-pat before, and loved where I lived…so ex-pats who hate their new country and only talk about how bad it is kind of leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. I tend to think “How about they leave if they hate it so much, and just let the rest of us enjoy our new home in peace?”

    • Kaelene Spence

      I think it may be worse than dating at times as well. Ugh it is the worst when your trying to settle in somewhere new and have negative people around you. I have thought the same exact thing!

  • Kelli

    This is a great post! I really like comparing making new friends to dating and how we have to feel each other out. Luckily, as an adult you know pretty quickly what’s going to work and who you can be friends with. I can’t believe someone threw a ball at you to get your attention!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Thanks so much! I agree, it doesn’t take long before you know if it will work out or not. Haha I know right not cool!

  • From Casinos To Castles

    OMG this is hilarious and SO TRUE! I have felt the same way although I mostly just come across flakes or people in a completely different stage of life. Thanks for sharing this on the link-up!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Haha thank you! I am glad others have been able to relate to this story! It really feels like I am back in the dating pool looking for new friends!

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  • Ashley S

    This is so true! Finding new friends is totally like dating…I’m about to move abroad again to Australia and know I really need to put myself out there to meet new people. I hope I can be as brave as you!

    • Kaelene Spence

      Best of luck! At least it always gives us a good story!

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  • Elle @ WhatTheElle

    I got here from the link in your most recent post and I could NOT have seen this at a better time because I had one of these moments the other night pahaha. Wine club (RIGHT?! What could seem more perfect?!) and what I walked into was the most posh group of English people I have encountered thus far. I’m all for living your life however you want but I was sitting there in jeans and boots while guys were in sport coats, sniffing wine, tapping their faces thoughtfully, and talking about flunking classes and getaways to their Southern France vacation homes. We went to a pub later (because I was still trying to make friends and be sociable) and one took a look at my beer and informed me that girls don’t drink pints. Pip pip, cheerio folks.

    • Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Ahhh those experiences are the worst and the best at the same time. Good for you for trying it out and putting yourself out there! And now you have a funny story to share and here is to more better friend dates!

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