Expat

Making Friends

posted by saltybug.com 25/04/2015 2 Comments

Making friends is a funny game isn’t it. Back home our relationships are established, secured. There is a lot of history and we just know what is what. If you meet someone new then awesome! I just love meeting new people and if they become a new friend, even better! This process though of meeting people, making new friends when you are in your established world is quite an organic and natural process. You don’t have too much to lose really. You already have friends, your life, and your history. If you do make a new friend then great, if not, then ‘meh’ you’re still good.

Throw yourself out of your comfortable little universe, where you don’t actually know anyone. You have to go out and create a new world for yourself and your family. It is a whole different game!
When you move, you pick up and leave that natural familiarity behind. You enter a new strange world. You need to figure out how to live, how to function in this new place. You need to find new routines and you need to form new relationships.

 

 

If you are a homebody you need to force yourself out to meet people. If you are a shy introvert, the new world is a scary place. If you are an over-excited extrovert you need to figure out how to balance your energy so you don’t freak people out.

I have been feeling a little like I am back on the dating scene. I feel like I am single and on the prowl. Any possible suitor is a target for me. Yet there is so much at risk here. Scoping out possible suitors to be my friend, whose children could be friends with mine. I realised this recently when I came home all excited because I’d ‘picked up’ in the supermarket aisle. My husband was really happy for me, and I was jumping around in excited anticipation before stopping and going ‘oh but we haven’t set up our date yet, it might be another dead end’. The whole time I’m thinking about what I can do to impress this person, to prove my worth. Do I bake something yummy, what will I wear? I find myself in this strange world of desperation.
When I’m out I find myself eyeing people off, looking for that moment I can strike up a casual conversation. Then as we talk with that nervous rigidness, there is that ongoing analysis to check for a match in values and attitudes. Is there humour? Is it easy? How do they respond to the children? When the boxes are ticked and the conversation is closing, that is that moment. That very uncomfortable moment where you ask them out – for a playdate! Oh the cringe factor, what if they say no!!! What if I look like a total dork? Then they say yes, and we exchange numbers. We set up a tentative time for contact….oh it is looking so positive…I leave with a smile and a glow in my heart ‘I have a new frieeeennnnndddd’ I sing to myself over and over. But wait. You have not sealed the deal. Do not get too excited, I have been let down before. When a transaction has taken place, then I can really let loose and get excited! That night, I play with my phone. Do I? Don’t I? Is it too soon to message? Will she think I am desperate? Oh wait I told her I was – Ha! Me and my over-sharing quality happened to mention my desperation to find new friends for the kids. Was that a mistake? Oh no, what if she thinks I am a total dufas….ok just a quick message to say how much I appreciated her taking the time to talk to me, and how I am looking forward to catching up next week. Where is the harm in that? It is polite! Do it…go on….put your finger down and press send…do it….Yay! You did it!…now I wait…

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2 Comments

Marie Loerzel 29/04/2015 at 2:33 am

This was me 5 years ago when we moved to Morocco. Making fast friends, hoping they're the right ones. Of which some were and some weren't. And I got rid of the ones that weren't. It's a stressful process for sure and I feel your pain. Good luck!

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SaltyBug 29/04/2015 at 3:11 pm

Hi Marie, it is a funny game we have to play isn't it. I have been so fortunate that on arrival I hooked up with an amazing lady who is a wonderful friend and she has introduced me to two other wonderful women. If I did not have their kindness, which is totally consistent and genuine, then I am not sure I would be managing as well as I am.

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