Finding Friends vs. Native Language Exchanges
I know that there are a bunch of sites out there where you can meet up with people who speak your target language, and they can help you and you can help them... but I've had a dreadful time of it when I've tried. Maybe it's me (it's probably me) but people who are coming together based on little more than "hey, you grew up speaking the language I'm trying to speak" don't have much in common and the conversations fizzle out really quickly.
So I guess what I want is to make some FRIENDS. I want to meet some neat people who I have at least something in common with, and who happen to be native Spanish speakers, as opposed to meeting some native Spanish speakers and hoping we've got something in common to drag the conversation out another day or two.
The other thing is like... sometimes, I really want to be corrected, and other times, I just want to talk. This is another reason I'd like to make some FRIENDS, because a friend will understand those moods: really wanting to get better when you're energized and motivated, and just wanting to have a chat (with any mistakes politely overlooked) when you're tired/sad/whatever.
I know. I don't ask for much!!! I think maybe I just don't like looking at people as commodities ("That person grew up speaking Spanish and thus can teach me!") and prefer to see them as potential friends ("This person likes all the same genres of movie I like - oh, and they speak Spanish! Bonus!")
Hope there are some people out there who get where I'm coming from. -Jay
Keep in mind us learning Spanish is really just a hobby, for others in Central and South America it can open up a better life, higher income in their country etc..
Relax, try a lot of language exchanges don't overdue talking with the same person, you eventually run out of things to say. Keep the first exchange to 30mins - 1 hour have different people you practice with so you wont run out of things to say.
Your focus should 100% be learning the language adding other requirements like becoming friends is just adding another layer of stress that will result in not reaching either goal quickly as you could.
When people are worried about sounding or looking stupid in a conversation that is when it dies. People worry about looking or sounding stupid when they want a long term friendship etc... added stress man. Just put topics out there you both have the same goals of learning. If you are looking for topics that just interest you... well good luck.
You can have everything in common and still not end up being friends with someone, also you can have nothing in common and still have personalities that match up well.
I'm fortune that my Boyfriend speaks my target language but I have met other people through the language or you can try searching through tumblr or penpal sites. There are hundreds of pages of people learning the same language on tumblr (langblr i think) and they would help with practice and some are fluent or near enough in your target language!