Someone Who Gets It

30 Apr

I’ve never had an easy time making friends. My whole life, I’ve never had very many and there have been times where I haven’t had any.

Part of the reason why is that I’m not a very social person and I often dislike the effort that goes into maintaining a relationship with a person that I don’t especially want to hang out with all that often.

Another reason is that I’ve often found myself in the position where I have vastly different experiences than the people I’m surrounded by and therefore, we have a hard time relating to each other.

It’s difficult to make friends with people who don’t understand or can’t relate to your lifestyle or values, who can’t understand all the different things that have made you who you are and who thus cannot understand YOU.

So here I am, four months into my life in Australia and I still have no friends. H has a few people he is friendly with, but he doesn’t really hang out with them.

Being anti-social as I am, I don’t generally mind not having friends with whom to hang out, but there are occasions when it would be nice to have people my own age to talk to or do things with. As it stands now, I get one hour a week of social interaction with someone with whom I have at least a little common ground.

My French teacher is a girl about my age who moved to Melbourne from Switzerland a year ago to be with her Australian husband. There are plenty of things we don’t have in common, but she is nice and understands what it’s like to move to a new place where you don’t know anybody and she is still adjusting to her new life here, as well.

As much as I hate doing grammar exercises, it is nice to be able to talk to someone who is going through exactly the same thing as me, who has all the same hopes and concerns, who is at the same point in her life as I am, who has gone through or is going through all the same hurdles, and who basically just “gets it”.

These are not things I can talk about comfortably with my friends or family back in America or with H. There is always the assumption from people back home that an expat is just on some extended holiday and must be having the time of their life 24/7. And with H, this is his home turf, so it’s just as hard for him to understand how out of place I might feel as it would be for me to imagine feeling out of place in my own hometown. Though unlike my friends and family, I can at least get a sympathetic ear from H. It’s just that because he can’t relate to it, he can’t offer any helpful advice.

So it’s really nice to be able to connect with someone who figuratively speaks my language. It does somewhat help take the edge off those days where I feel very homesick or like I just don’t belong here (or anywhere).

5 Responses to “Someone Who Gets It”

  1. julienleyre April 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    I’ve been there, and I can sympathize. It’s really hard to move to a new place, and not know people. I guess I had different challenges, as I am very extraverted, die out if I don’t interact socially, and also always had four or five very close friends throughout my life. I quickly met people through the Alliance Francaise – other expats, it was easy to relate – and random activities – like meetup groups. If you don’t know meetup, maybe you can try to go to one, on any thing you’re interested in, really. It can be a social nightmare, with the boringest drones trying to show you travel pictures from their last trip to Thailand, but then, you may actually bump into someone interesting?
    It gets betters after a while, and you can stop going to those things :-).

  2. maggiemyklebust April 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I understand and know exactly how you feel.
    Is there any type of American wives club near you? They usually have different activities, where you can sign up with those who have the same interests as you. I joined a book club through the wives club here in Stavanger.
    Good luck and in the meantime, you always have your fellow bloggers to talk to…

  3. astimegoesbuy April 30, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    I completely remember what it was like when I first moved from the US to Australia…and I did it just after 9/11…imagine the sh*t people gave me! I couldn’t complain too much because then my husband worried that I wasn’t happy and might leave (what a goose! as if). Sometimes people treated me like 9?11 was my fault and most of the Australians I met thought that Australia was so much like the US I couldn’t possibly be having a hard time adjusting. It wasn’t hard, it was bloody hard! And because I am now on the other side of the world, all my old friends find it too hard to come see me. So eventually I made myself take some classes and meet people. It will get easier. I’ve been here 10 years now and love it.

  4. loulouloves May 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    When I first moved to Sweden it was the same for me. It does take time to find good friends, but after a while it gets easier!


  1. It’s the Small Stuff « Housewife Down Under - October 23, 2012

    […] written before about my difficulty in making new friends and general feelings of loneliness, and recently another blogger did as well. Stacey told me that […]

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