People who adapt quickly to new environments often do these 10 things to fit in

As a traveler who adapts pretty easily to different environments, I’ve always found it curious to see how other people get on when taken out of their comfort zone. 

I’ve traveled alone, with friends, and with family, and there are certain things that people who quickly feel at home do to get acclimatized with their new surroundings. 

And it’s not just in traveling where such skill is needed – this applies to all areas of life, whether starting a new job, moving to a new city, or making new friends. 

Put simply, being adaptable is a major advantage in all situations. 

So in this article, I’ll discuss some of the things people like this do to fit in and make the most of new environments. Let’s dive in! 

1) They keep an open mind

When you’re thrust into a new place, it can be pretty overwhelming right? 

I remember when I moved to Italy after finishing university to teach at a school in a rural village. 

The first day, I was completely freaked out. 21 and alone, didn’t know a soul, and couldn’t speak a word of Italian. 

My first instinct was to call the airline and book a ticket home, but I vividly remember my dad telling me to keep an open mind and give it a chance. 

You see when you drop preconceived notions and expectations, it becomes much easier to fit in and feel at home, no matter where you are. 

By taking this approach, I let go of any fears or doubts and just went with the flow. Turns out, there was much less to be scared of than I initially thought! 

2) They are curious and eager to learn

People who adapt easily to new environments know the importance of learning. They don’t go with an “I know it all” attitude – that’s a surefire way to miss out! 

So naturally, they’ll:

  • Ask questions 
  • Show curiosity
  • Be willing to try new things 

Whether it’s learning about a different culture, or asking lots of questions on the first few days in a new job, this desire to learn helps them fit in. 

Not only that but when you show curiosity, people recognize that you’re making an effort, so they’re much more accommodating as a result. 

For example, I remember when working at a call center during my university holidays, we had two new people join the team. One asked lots of questions and really tried to get a grip on how things worked as soon as they started. 

The other was a lot more reserved and didn’t get too involved with the team. You can probably guess who fitted straight in and who struggled to find their place. 

3) They observe and listen

But as important as it is to ask questions, it’s sometimes even more crucial to be quiet and listen. 

That’s one thing that people who are highly adaptable are good at. 

They don’t assume they know everything. They genuinely enjoy letting others impart wisdom, and as we mentioned earlier, they value learning new things. 

And here’s the thing:

When you stop, listen, and observe, you get to see how things really work. From cultural practices to general norms, it’s probably the easiest way to assimilate yourself into a new situation. 

For example, the first time I went to Pakistan to visit extended family at 14, my parents didn’t warn me about how to behave or greet people. Instead, I just remember watching how they acted and following suit. 

It took a couple of days but I found myself acting like the locals did, even though I’d never visited before and the customs were wildly different to the UK where I’d grown up. 

4) They are flexible and resilient

Adaptability can’t be achieved without flexibility. That might sound obvious, but in reality, it’s easier said than done. 

When you’re flexible, it means you can adapt and change according to whatever situation you’re facing. For example, you’ve booked a holiday, but as you arrive in this foreign country you’ve never been to, the transport company bails on you. 

Do you freak out and get stressed? Or do you simply look up different ways of getting to your accommodation and see it as an adventure? 

And when it comes to being resilient, that’s one thing adaptable people have down to a T. 

They bounce back from hurdles and setbacks, and they don’t allow these things to affect them more than necessary. 

With this attitude, they embrace whatever is thrown their way with a positive mindset, and as a result, they find it easier to fit in and go with the flow of their new environment. 

5) They seek out social connections

pic2245 People who adapt quickly to new environments often do these 10 things to fit in

Last year, I went traveling with a friend (she’s not much of a traveler) and the difference between us was incredibly stark. 

Everywhere I went, I tried to talk to the locals with the few words I’d learned from Google Translate. I spoke to other travelers. I asked for lots of local recommendations. 

This meant we got to visit some really cool places that many other tourists didn’t know about. 

In contrast, my friend shied away from speaking to the locals. She didn’t know how to adapt her communication skills (i.e., speaking in more basic English to be understood, using hand signals, etc) and it was evident that she felt like a fish out of water. 

Here’s the thing – if you want to fit into a new environment, you have to make an effort to make social connections

You’ll learn the lay of the land much faster, and it’ll be less of a lonely experience while you’re settling in. 

6) They participate and engage

In other words, you can watch politely from the sidelines or you can get stuck in and have fun! 

Adaptable people fit in because they aren’t afraid to embarrass themselves and try new things. 

In Seville last year, the tour guide taught us how to do a simple flamenco dance. There were 10 of us in the group, and all joined in except one woman who, quite frankly, looked as if it was all beneath her. 

While she stood miserably looking down on us all, we had a blast. 

And with our newfound knowledge of Flamenco, we were able to understand some of the local customs and traditions better. 

Essentially, the more you participate and engage, whether that be by going to social events, activities, or gatherings, the quicker you’ll integrate into your new environment. 

7) They take care of their physical and mental health

Look, there’s no two ways about it, fitting into a new environment, no matter how good you are at it, is taxing. 

Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally it can take its toll. 

So, people who adapt quickly know the importance of taking care of their mental health. 

This is something I actually learned the hard way – when I moved to Spain a few years ago, I went all out (I think the good weather went to my head) but I crashed pretty soon. 

Mentally, I was exhausted from trying to learn and communicate in a new language. Emotionally, I was missing home but trying to stay positive all the time (unrealistic). And physically, I was worn out. 

The lesson?

It’s important to take your time. Have plenty of breaks or “downtime” where you can decompress and process your emotions. 

Fitting in isn’t about throwing yourself head first and ignoring the consequences, it’s something that takes time if you want to do it well. 

8) They reflect on their experiences

Continuing on from the previous point, I’ve had to sit down and really reflect on things that have gone well and experiences that haven’t (like the burnout I mentioned in the previous point). 

Doing this exercise regularly helps you to learn from your mistakes and be prepared for the next situation or new environment you encounter. 

That’s why people who adapt easily make it a conscious habit to reflect regularly. 

Each time they do so, they learn something about themselves and their limits, and their resilience levels increase as a result. 

So, whether you journal every evening or simply talk your experiences through with a friend, don’t overlook the power of taking stock and reflecting on the lessons you’ve learned. 

9) They remain true to themselves

And finally, adapting to a new environment doesn’t mean you have to give up on who you are. 

I made this mistake when I moved to Italy, and I found myself becoming someone I didn’t really like. 

That’s one major regret I have, but I also reflected a lot on it and made sure not to do it again. 

Because when you stay true to yourself, you attract the right people for you

You’re not putting on a mask or pretending to be someone you’re not. Doing that only leads to unhappiness, frustration, and bad experiences. 

Don’t get me wrong, it won’t always be easy to remain authentic, but in the long run, it’s worth sticking to, especially if you want to genuinely fit in (and not just fake it). 

So, there we have it. Fitting in and being adaptable is a skill you can easily learn, it just takes practice and patience! 

Kiran Athar

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.

0:00
0:00