Posted 12 апреля 2023,, 06:46

Published 12 апреля 2023,, 06:46

Modified 12 апреля 2023,, 07:13

Updated 12 апреля 2023,, 07:13

Personal experience: how to make friends in exile

Personal experience: how to make friends in exile

12 апреля 2023, 06:46
Despite the fact that new friendships require mental strength, which remains very little after moving, it still makes sense to accumulate energy and spend it on dating - it immediately returns three times.

Russian Maria S., who already has quite a rich experience of emigration (she managed to live in Scotland and the Czech Republic, and now lives in Portugal), noticed that many recently moved, among other problems, have a problem with making new friends:

"After the next move, I think I realized how to make friends in adulthood. In case anyone needs it, I share:

Step One - Dating

Not all social activities are suitable for dating with the purpose of making friends, but only those during which there is an opportunity to talk.

During dancing or sports, for example, it is rare to talk, so they are not suitable for dating. It is also optimal to choose those activities where there is a chance to meet people of a close cultural field. For example, all sorts of expat hangouts don't work for me - people gather there stupidly on the principle of "you're a foreigner and I'm a foreigner." But professional events work well. In my case, for example, coworking for startups, writing courses, activism. Diving worked for my husband - but not like this, when the group dived for one day and everyone dispersed in the evening (there's not much space for conversations there either), but like this, when you need to live together for a few days in some fucking.

For introverts and shy people, all sorts of regularly recurring activities are well suited: then, if you are shy, you can first look at several meetings, and only then decide to get acquainted.

I usually look for these activities stupidly in events of different groups on social networks or through meetups. Telegram chats and network communities are also good. But patience is needed here: not every activity brings pleasant acquaintances. Patience and curiosity.

Step two – "Let's be friends"

For the second step, you need to admit that other people, just like you, want to make friends, but are afraid to offer to be friends.

Therefore, you should not be shy and stupidly say "let's be friends" if you liked someone after a superficial acquaintance. People almost always say "come on" in response. Of course, not everyone starts to be friends after that, some merge. And it's OK.

Step Three - Share

In order for people to want to continue acquaintance with you, you need to have something to share.

Friendship is all about sharing.  If you are friends at home, or where you have lived for a long time, it's easy to share. Because you have a lot of things - a car to drive around the countryside, a familiar secret bar to show it, a party where you belong, and you can invite a new person there.  If you yourself are new to this place, then sharing is more difficult. But in this case, you can, for example, share an initiative: you plan something that people usually don't have enough time for, and say "I'm going to do something, let's do it together." People are usually happy if you give them an excuse to get their ass off the couch on the weekend. This works even if you are a newcomer, and you are friends with someone from the locals. Because the local problem with tearing the ass off the sofa is even more acute.

At the same time, one should not be afraid if people do not immediately start sharing in response. This is not dating, there is no need to play the game "I called him that time, now let him call me." If a person merges several times in a row, it means that he really does not want to be friends. And if he does not offer, but willingly agrees when you call, then everything is fine.

Step Four - Vulnerability

After the third step, you may already have a lot of friends.

But not friends yet. Before buddies become real friends, I finished relatively recently, already in Lisbon.

In my opinion, it's all about vulnerability. A friend is someone who has seen your unprotected abdomen. And it is necessary at some point to decide to show this belly. For example, to decide to call one of your new friends when you feel bad and say "take a walk with me, even I'm sick." Or ask for advice in a difficult situation. Sometimes this vulnerability happens by itself - for example, if you drink too much together with someone and behave like a fool, and the next morning you will be ashamed, and the person will say to you, "come on, what are you, this has never happened to me." But it is better, of course, to consciously decide on this, and not by drinking too much.

I think that it was easier for most of us to make friends in our youth for this very reason: at the age of 20 we did not build up any more show-offs and it is easy for us to be upset, angry, offended, jealous and sad with each other.  We got closer without thinking.

This fourth step, of course, can be decided not with every acquaintance. It's not easy for me. Therefore, one or two friends usually turn out from a lot of friends.

The fifth step is Strengthening

I've watched my parents make friends a lot - they have a very cool and very long-standing circle of friends.

Thinking about how this circle works, I assumed that friendships are strengthened very prosaically - by mutual assistance. Help with moving, sit with the cat, water the flowers, let them spend the night, borrow money, let them drive a car, and all that.

I checked this hypothesis and made sure that it is true. From this fifth step, friendship grows into life, becomes pleasantly ordinary, familiar, calm, like a long-worn sofa. You can no longer be afraid that it will break off from some stupid mutual understanding.

At the same time, the fifth step to strengthen true friendship does not work if you skip the fourth, which is about vulnerability.  Because you can help with moving and lend money to just friends, but they will still remain friends.

All. I can't guarantee that it will work for everyone, but it works for me.


Several people wrote in the comments that it's all good, of course, but new friendships need mental strength, and there are very few of them after moving.

This is indeed the case. Where to get the mental strength, I can't say.  But I can say two things.

First: some of these steps, especially the first and third, I often do through force.

Second: for me personally, an extrovert, having a circle of acquaintances and friends in a new place is a very important source of strength. This is such a "point of normality", which is fashionable to rely on. Therefore, in my case, it really makes sense to accumulate energy and spend it on dating - it immediately returns three times.