Have you ever tried to find new friends in your adopted country and failed miserably? If you answered “yes” to this question, then read on. If you answered, “No, I make great lifelong friends wherever I go,” you are a filthy rotten liar and need to read on.
First things first, you are not a weirdo. Secondly, your personality is not broken. You are just one of the many expats that find it hella difficult to make new friends. I’m one of those people too.
I had always considered myself an outgoing person but after a few years in Spain my friendship tank was running on empty and I had morphed into an introvert. Little by little, I started spending more time on the couch – afraid to interact with anybody. Hello agoraphobia, nice to meet you. WTF?
So what does one do when they realize it’s up to them to make friends but are pushing 37 years old? I did what every expat tries; I joined expat groups and went on many, many friend dates.
So Not a Good Idea
Most expat groups turned out to be mean girl cliques that would pounce on you if you said anything negative. So, I tried a different approach and became super positive on my friend dates. No matter what my inner voice was telling me, I wore my resting rainbow face.
OMG, she’s a racist. Just keep smiling.
She hates dogs. Just keep smiling.
We don’t like her. Just keep smiling.
In the end, I stopped going on friend dates as well. They were exhausting in English and Spanish and felt more like a job interview than spending time with a friend.
Have I made you feel hopeless yet? I’m soooo sorry. Please don’t stop reading. It gets better, I promise. Fast forward to 2019 and I can now say I have a gaggle of superfly chicas for every type of life situation.
- A friend to bitch to about getting my permanent residency card.
- A friend to share the black parts of my soul with/help me bury the body.
- A friend to be totally stupid with.
- A friend to cry to about having to spend Christmas with the in-laws. AGAIN.
- A friend to watch Avengers movies with, over and over again, cos they’re so damn good!
How did I get these friends you ask? I have no flippin’ idea. So, I asked some of them what I did to deserve their weird and wonderful friendship. They all pretty much said the same things but one answer really hit home.
“You’re a bitch, but a nice one, and I don’t have to pretend around you. You never judge me when I go dark side but call me out on my self-sabotaging shit. You’re for reals.”
I was shocked. They all appreciated my honest punch you in the face personality? I immediately skyped my BFF back home to make sure my crew wasn’t cray cray.
BFF said, “Listen, I have been through 30+ painful and wonderful years with you so I probably know you better than you know yourself. I’m the nice one and you’re the evil one but it works. Every salad needs a little vinegar to make it taste good.”
“Salad, stupid! You know it’s good for you, but sometimes it tastes like shit, so you pour some balsamic on it? You’re the balsamic idiot! CRAP, now I want a hamburger. Gotta go. Bye.”
I think the salad analogy was the result of her starvation, caused by fourteen consecutive days of dieting, but point well made.
Friendships are like a salad. They are healthy, good for the mind and body, but the secret to a good tasting salad is just the right amount of vinegar.
My Expatations: I’m the shit. People will pay to be my friend.
Reality: You wanna be my friend? Yes? Really? Mission accomplished.
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