Today was a lovely day.
Today was a day of new friendships.
MsC, and I met at the International Women’s Club in Dublin.
MsC and MsJ met in Dublin after I left.
MsC emailed MsJ and I and said that as we were both from Sydney, spent time in Dublin and were now living in Oxford/Winchester we should catch up. We emailed, befriended one another on Facebook and today met at MsJ’s for lunch.
While chatting and finding out about one another, we discovered we both worked in advertising in Sydney; we both worked for News Ltd tho at different times, and we have mutual colleagues, proving yet again the world is a tiny weenie place.
I hope she enjoyed our time together as much as I did.
Then MsC emailed MsJ-M and I cos we are both in Winchester. Well, a few emails later, and we’re meeting up with our daughters for coffee next week on the High Street and are Facebook friends.
I have always networked. It was an intricate part of my career and I have to admit not only did I enjoy networking I was pretty good at it. When I dabbled in my own media company TK suggested calling it Jigsaw Media, simply because I was always putting people, places and things together successfully.
As an expat, your life depends on networking to survive.
You land in a new place knowing no one (or a few people if you are lucky) and before you know it, you’ve invitations for lunch, or play dates for the kids lined up, husband is off to golf and you have several friends over for a dinner party.
I often wonder how quieter personalities cope. Or people who are shy. It must be very hard for them to reach out for friendship or help if/when needed.
Of course not everyone you meet becomes a friend. Refer to my previous blog TO FRIENDS one learns quickly that just because you get on at first, doesn’t make a friendship.
When we were in Dublin it dawned on me that expat wives (it’s primarily the husbands who are working) do a sort of ‘dating’ with the same sex, without the sexual overtones.
Follow me here …………………
You meet, Sally at friends for lunch.
You enjoy her conversation, share a few giggles, find out you have some similar interests.
You leave, with/without her phone number. How long do you wait to call her and invite her out for coffee or lunch? Do you wait for her to ring you?
You meet up again at a school function, or an International Women’s Club gathering or over coffee after school drop off and you start chatting where you left off.
When you call she either (a) accepts the invitation and you meet or (b) declines without offering an alternative date.
Oh dear. Do you call next week and ask her out again? Do you wait for her to ring you? Was she genuinely busy on the day you suggested, or by not offering an alternative date isn’t she interested in purseuing the friendship?
Assuming you go out and have another enjoyable time together, you think, based on what she’s said about her husband and kids they sound pleasant and suggest either a family outing or a grown up dinner. Again this can go two ways – an acceptance or a decline.
We’ll keep going with the positive and you agree to a date and restaurant. This can go either way – husbands get along and it’s a nice 4-some, or you wish you’d kept your mouth shut and never suggested the night in the first place.
So you can see how making friends is kinda like dating.
Some work brilliantly.
Some fail dismally for no obvious reason.
Some start out great then peter out into nothing.
Some don’t even get off the ground.
It takes energy, it takes stamina, it takes a huge amount of faith and Karma.
It means you have friends from all over the world, with all sorts of incredible experiences willing to share them with you, and you hope you have something special to share with them.
Every time you move country, the pain in leaving friends behind is unbearable, especially the ‘local’ friends as opposed to the expats who are used to moving around so you wonder why you do it over and over.
You do it because this incredible opportunity of LIVING overseas is a precious gift that only a handful of people are lucky enough to experience and if you don’t put yourself out there, and get hurt you will never experience the natural high’s of a new friend.
As the Fairy Princess said to Barbie in ‘Barbie in Fairytopia’ to our friends we haven’t met yet a huge hello.