3 Tips to Make Friends while Living Abroad

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If you think that making friends at an adult age while spending a year or two abroad is not easy, this article is for you. Making friends when moving or experiencing transition is not the same as when you are living in one place for a while, have all your comfort and support.

Creating friendship is, of course, a complex process with a lot of unpredictable components like opportunity, similar chemistry, age, and the need for it, to name but a few. But, observing my daughter making friends makes me believe, we can try to reduce making friends to a simple formula, where only the essential factors are visible.

Remember the time, when you were a kid, how easy it was to make friends? How was it possible? Three aspects were playing in Frequency, Intimacy, and Curiosity.

1 . Create Frequency
Remember your childhood again. Most of us were lucky to enjoy compulsory school education. We were forced to attend five days a week/eight years in a group of the more-less unchanging team. We could have a fight one day, and there were so many days ahead of us where we could resolve the issues and be friends again. We had a chance to recover our friendships by seeing each other again and again. The purpose was not to build friendships but to be educated in the school system. As a result, we had a place and time to create bonds, to get into contact with each other. Frequently and continually.

When you build up new friendships, you need a frequency (time spent together) and a reason to meet – something in common. Search a club or activity of your interest with regular meetings and contacts and search there for your soul mates. If you can’t find a club or activity, create one. www.meetup.com is a very suitable platform to establish a group and connect with people interests similar to yours.

2. Dare to be intimate
“Good friends” are distinguished from “just friends” on the level of intimacy present in the relationship. Intimacy is a delicate substance. It needs some essential ingredients like vulnerability, courage, and ability to trust. And again as children, we were able to laugh and cry in the front of each other, telling each other secrets, talking about fears.

A vulnerability is a powerful element in people’s connections. As an important part of intimacy, it works as a catalyst it can connect and disconnect very quickly. It is the glue of the friendship. If you want to create intimacy, you should be able to show your authentic you to the other person and put down the protective armor. You can find more on the topic vulnerability from Brené Braun.

3. Be curious
Curiosity means that we believe that the other one has something interesting to share; that she is interesting. We feel we want to know more. And we ask and listen. I can remember some of my friendships ended exactly for this reason: I was not willing to listen. I was just talking and taking space for myself only. I needed a listener, not a friend.

While listening carefully, you can notice the areas where you have similarities, where you can connect. So you can join in these spots. But not like the hungry ones, who wait for the time where they can turn the discussion to their stories.

Curiosity and willingness to listen is the “giving part” of a relationship. The message here is: give more to get more value.

To create friendship costs time. But like every important thing in life is not easy to get. But, let’s be honest. There are not many better things in life than valuable connections. What do you think?

Very useful resources on female friendships provides Shasta Nelson.
Edited by my dear friend Jeffrey Baumgartner.

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