Sunday 12 December 2010 - New friends
One thing which comes back regurlaryly in my expat meet-up is "I come here because I want to make new friends". Among the top reasons, I heard:
1/ When I came, I made friends from my own community/nationality and they mainly introduce me to friends of the same community/nationality. I like my friends but I also want to meet other nationalities since I left my country
2/ I´ve been here for several years and most of my (expat) friends left and I decided to stay so I need to renew my circle of friends
3/ I went overseas for many years (ex: 10 years) and I lost my network since most of them have a different life: they had kids and famility duties/they live overseas and I also I still like them, we don´t see each other so often
Mind you, residents too compain about not meeting new people, but what I found is the lack of effort they put into it. To a certain extent, looking for new friends is like looking for a new job, you have to work hard, send a lot of expressions of interest, spend time going back and forth, have many lost initiatives ... All of it to have maybe one new friend... For every person you are going to ask the details, I found that only 10% of them would come back to me... And then, on top of that, to create a friendship, I have to meet that person regularly in the beginning, every 3 or 4 days like a date really, to make bonding. And after 7 ou 8 encounters, I could slow down the frequency and maybe start to call it a friend. And I do meet a lot of people and still, I don´t make that many real friends through my favorite hobby : expat networking. Then you can argue that I don´t have the profile of the friend you want to have :)
For some reasons, I found that people were fantasing about finding their new friendships in a similar way that they fantasy about meeting their new partners (or maybe I have too many girlfriends?). They expect magic, chemistry and spontaneity. Personally, I call it (hard) work and the less work I have to do to maintain a healthy and fun relationship, the more I think you are going to be my friend.