Moving to a new country, starting a new job and making new friends. Sounds easy right?WRONG. Living abroad and away from your home country comes with many obstacles. Having a good group to surround yourself with is one of the biggest.
I thought when I moved to Singapore, I would make friends with locals and have a great great experience. However, that’s not always the case. I find that local Singaporeans are really quiet and don’t speak to foreigners much. If they do speak to you, it’s at your place of work.
Meeting other expats is also challenging based on what kind of job you have. If you have a regular 9-5 job than it’s fairly easy. However, I have a 2-10 job with Monday & Tuesday off. It’s quite bad really. You miss out on weekends. The people you work with become your ‘friends.’ Notice how I put ‘friends.’
I say this because the first few months it’s great. It does feel like you’ve made friends. You really get to know people and then suddenly something changes. As this recently happened to me after 7 months of being abroad.
Suddenly, you notice co-workers popping up on Facebook and insta at another co-workers dinner parties, or afternoon tea. You realize that the WhatsApp group you are in is a joke. When you try to arrange something fun in the group chat, it’s responded with ” …silence…” You miss parties and evening dinners with other co-workers whom you thought were your ‘friends.’ You then find your self starting all over, trying to make friends, while at the same time wonder what the hell happened.
No one wants to be lonely in another country. As an expat, you soon realize this. You really have to make an effort and put yourself out there. For me it’s easy to talk with people, get involved in yoga or dance classes. But when someone burns bridges and completely starts excluding you from things, its just rude. You begin to wonder if it’s something you did or said.. Then you realize its just them.
You start to really miss home, your bffs and bae.
Sometimes I wonder if I loose people due to my partners success in life. My partner and I live a great life that most people dream of. Neither of us walk around flaunting anything. We’re very modest and it’s crazy how people could possibly be intimidated by other people’s success. We’re constantly inviting people over for BBQ’s or just a night of drinks and pub quiz on the tele. Expat life is weird and you will have to put in a lot of effort to make it work. Especially if you want to make it feel like “home.”
What you have to do is keep your head high, meet new people and stay social. Don’t let toxic people around you bring you down. Rather than being excluded from your group of ‘friends,’ join meet-up groups in areas of interest and volunteer. It’s a great way to meet new people and give back to the community.