How To Make Friends

Turns out, moving abroad is really bad for your social life. You lose all of your friends. And then, you have to make new friends, from a much smaller pool of potential friends. Because interacting with the locals, whatever country you are in, is hard.

Add to that that the only people you know for the first year you live in that country are your partner’s engineer colleagues and your social life is a train wreck.

I got really caught up on TV when I first moved.

It’s taken about three years but I’ve finally settled into some real friendships. I met some non-engineers. Some good people. People who I can hang out with regularly and talk to about serious stuff and who are generally supportive and awesome.

It takes awhile though. First, you have to pass the international community smell test. Namely, everyone else wants to figure out how long you’re going to be here for before they commit to making friends with you.

(As an aside, I just don’t understand this. Best case scenario, you get an awesome friend somewhere else in the world who will put you up when you come to visit and give you the local’s tour. Worst case, that person stays where they are and you have a friend there. There is literally no downside.)

Then, they decide to accept you and it takes you a few months to realize you have nothing in common with these people except that you both speak English and you collectively hate various aspects of the local culture.

So then you go through this process of shedding all of those people from your life (and their stupid dinner parties you didn’t want to go to anyway) in favor of people who you actually want to be friends, because now you’ve come into contact with enough people to have met people you actually want to be friends with.

And then, you have to go through the whole process of actually becoming friends with them. Like admitting embarrassing things about your past. Confessing to your weird quirks. (Stop judging me on the breakfast food thing. You know who you are.) Seeing each other in your pjs.

And now I’m really behind on TV.