Making Friends Living Abroad: The Problems, The Struggles, and my (Attempted) Solutions

Welllll Hellloooo 6 months of living in Australia!! 

Just saying that out loud doesn’t seem correct, where has the time gone? No, seriously, how has it been 6 months already? I swear it was just yesterday  I was  in my moms house awaiting my flight, with a piece of my lip missing from a dog bite by a toothless dog, while questioning every decision I have EVER made in life. That was 6 months ago- AMAZBALLS.  But…. One thing has been on my mind a lot lately when I reflect on the amount of time I have been here.

Why do I have less friends in Australia, than I do candy wrappers in my bed?

I have a hundred of amazing friends back home so how is it after 6 months have I struggled forming any lasting relationships here? Trying to make friends in a new city, in a new country, had proven to be much more difficult than I anticipated. Having a schedule like mine, only allows for so much downtime to go out and meet people. And I have been using every second of my downtime to do so!  I meet people all the time. Every time I go out and do something I am constantly meeting and chatting with those around me. I mean… like… ALWAYS. You read my blog, you know this 🙂

But how many of those people ever become actual friends?

Let’s break down my friends in Australia why don’t we, I seriously have soooo little it’s sooo depressing soooo.. let’s do this!!:)

Group 1 – Roomies and their wifeys (4)

Group 2 – Co-workers (6)

Group 3 – Friends from bars (3)

Group 4 – Friends from online sites (6)

Group 5 – Friends from friends back home (3)

Give or a take a couple people I might be missing, that is pretty much sums up all the people I can consider “friends.”  Most in relationships, and most never leave their own groups and have their own lives going on. Luckily I have always been one to never rely on someone else to do things I want to do, I just go do them! I genuinely enjoy doing things alone. I’m good  FANTASTIC company:)  You get to see and get to know a side of people, life, yourself – you would never see otherwise when experiencing things alone. But I want a balance of that, and some quality time with real friends. And since all of them are on the other side of the world, I feel a bit incomplete at times. It is very rare I get hit up to do something. Being an outsider trying to get in is something terribly difficult, especially when you live in a city that is as clicky as Sydney.

I guess, I also figured at this point in time I would have at least found a boy to be interested in.  A boy I actually like, not a boy I found on Tinder that just wants a taste of some American Pie. I have ended up in many  “situationships” but nothing even close to what I want. I Still haven’t found what I’m looking for and I will wait till he comes around. I don’t have time for the wrong guys.  I don’t have time for projects. Plus there is the golden rule:

UNLESS HE WEARS DIAPERS, DON’T TRY TO CHANGE HIM.

After crunching my “Tinder numbers”  I decided Tinder was producing a horrible ROI for myself in dating and friendship land.  The crunching (approximately) goes as follows:

AHEM! okay.. here we go..

I have been on Tinder 5 months

15 Minutes per day/5 days a week

I view 45 guys a minute

So I see 645 a day = 3,375 guys a week

I swipe right (say yes) on average once a day

1 month =  20 yes’s and  13,480 no’s

So after a total of 5 months, I have said yes to 135 guys out of 67,500

Out of those 135 guys,  127 have matched up with me

AHEM AHEM still with me? Almost there….

Now out of these 127 Matches:

50 percent I lost interest in the second we start chatting (idiots)

20 percent have never responded or send a picture of themselves naked  (douchebags)

30 percent I hae actually met up with..

Out of 50 guys I have met:

3 I would consider a friend (cool guys will probably randomly stay in contact/facebook, etc)

1 had actually found a romantic interest in that lasted a week (baggage is a bitch.. she literally was)

And the rest of the guys that are left are just … there. Or not? I don’t know,   I don’t really care….. they pretty much  are my “SITUATIONSHIPS.”

Tinder has proven to be a means to making friends, but not the best means. I find myself using it just to keep me busy on commutes more than in interest of meeting people any more. But hey!  At least I know Tinder will always be there for me when I need something like this in my life

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And whoever sent this to my office with no name on the notes needs to let me know. I LOVE THEM,  let me know who you are so I can thank you!

Please Come forward.

You gave me a rose, not a baby…

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 My New Solution

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I decided to put Tinder on the backburner as a means to meet people and start putting more effort into meet up groups. www.meetup.com is a site and app that … well…easier if I just quote them:

Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.”

— Yup, What they said!

I joined about a zillion of different groups. Activity groups, partying groups, travelling groups, sport groups, you name it I am in it!  I am even contemplating creating my own meetup called “Tinders Anonymous”,  I reckon  it would be quite successful 🙂

MEET UP GROUP NUMBER 1

The Girl Speed Dating

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The first meet up group I tried was groups specifically for social girls in the Sydney.  After work one Thursday I headed over to the bar in which 45 of the girls RSVP’d for the night. As I was walking over I did feel a bit a nerves hit me because frankly, girls are.. scary.  And what I mean by that is I am weird….  And what I mean by that,  is that don’t enjoy girl time as much as other girls. Talking about getting my nails done or shopping or what kind of bag I own just isn’t my thing. I feel I often struggle not wanting to hang out with girls for this very reason and  because the complete look of “just shoot me now” on my face tends to be hard to cover up.

When I got the bar, the host of the group was standing at the bottom of the stairs there ready to greet all the lovely friendless girls. Most people show up alone like myself and do not know a single pair of boobs in the room. You stand there with a thousand judging eyes being all judgy.  The host sat me down at a booth, as if she was assigning seats at school, and  introduced me to the girls next to me. After a few minutes of chatting about this struggle  to make girlfriends here, we exchanged numbers and then BOOM, Friends! (so I think). It was so loud in the from 2334 girls talking at once that I could barely hear the girls talking to me. I just kept laughing a lot and hoped they weren’t asking me questions or talking about having Ebola:/

Overall, the whole thing kind of just felt like a huge speed date for women.   I ended up calling the night a success as I made two new girlfriends who I have already rehung out with again… or had second dates with, either flies.

MEET UP NUMBER 2

Comedy Night

The second meet up I tried was a meet up for the Manly Social club. I saw that it was supposed to be a new type of comedy night and it was located at my Manly hang out the Styene, so attending this was a no brainer.

Sadly, the first guy up was well…. horrible.  I mean, he didn’t like suck suck, but I am pretty sure  I have been more entertained staring a brick wall then watching his act.  This is partly because most of his material was doing impressions of Australian political figures, in which, minus the Prime Minster, I  really have no idea :/

The second guy that went up, well, um he didn’t really make me laugh either? I found that he was doing all his material on making fun of deaf people, blind people, babies and handicapped people. Is the population so small and white here that they really have to turn to the handicapped to make fun of? Back home, the jokes are much more cultural in the sense, Latino comics make fun of Latino’s, the blacks the blacks, the Asians the Asian and so forth. Nah, the Aussies just made fun of people who cant see or hear and who poop there pants.

Then the headliner came on and ended up being American. I thought well shit, hopefully I can relate to some of his material, and I did! He was good but he also pissed me off.  All of his jokes were around the stereotypical American, making us look even more stupid than we already do half the time. HE WAS NOT HELPING OUR CASE AT ALL FELLOW AMERICANS! Not at all! I think he had American radar because he found a way to pick me out of the crowd were the torture and teasing began. I guess saying that you use to live in Vegas, at a law firm is just too easy for them.  Cause that’s what they do,  they keep asking you questions until you answer with something they can play off of. Lucky for him, everything I said was an easy target, so he was stuck teasing me for a good 10 minutes. I didn’t mind, I argued back while sipping my wine and thoroughly enjoying all the fun. I Met a lot of people, but like usual, did not quite make any new friends. On the upside, I did met a Justin Bieber/Zack Morris look alike that showed us magic tricks. So…we will just toss this night in the success bucket as well.

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MEET UP NUMBER 3

Surry Hills Pub Crawl

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The third meet up for the week was a group called Sydney Activity and Adventure. I thought is one sounded perfect!  This particular event was a pub crawl through Surry Hills followed by the Surry Hills Festival. Once again, I grabbed my gf in Manly and we headed together to o this event.  The first bar we went to was The Wanderer and it was a really cool bar.  The ambiance was interesting and the food looked amazing.

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The next bar, some Scottish bar, wasn’t my style. It was  just large, empty, quiet, boring, and you ended up in an abandoned warehouse trying to find the toilet.  The only thing it had going for it was the fact they had awesome wine glasses as lamps and that the guys Scottish accents were adorable.  .

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The next bar was the Playbar and I really liked this one. It had an underground street feel to it and a dj. Thank baby surfer Jesus, Michelle can finally dance!  This was the bar that me and my friend kept getting harassed by “the guy in blue.”  He was so trashed, by himself and always saying the most offensive things.  He came up to me at the bar, stood by me and said,” I totally got laid last Saturday, sooo just as long as umm just as long as umm I get laid once I week I’m set… you’re American right, (eye roll) you Americans are so uptight I mean..”. That’s when I cut this jerk off and said, ” Look dude I am walking to the other side of the bar. DO NOT FOLLOW ME!!!!”   I was so annoyed at this tool I really couldn’t hide it. I grabbed some drinks and head back to the table where I found my friend getting smothered by boys. It was officially that point in the night where all the guys finally had enough liquid courage to approach girls, and my friend was by far the cutest one there. So I walked back to her surrounded by 5 vultures, and knowing that she wasn’t in to any of them,  grabbed her and we moved on to the next bar.

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We finally headed towards the festival around 8pm, and sadly the festival was wrapping up. We had just enough time to go buy some street food, stuff our face in it, get some chocolate, and of course challenge some guys into a dance off.

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IMG_5454.JPG We decided to head back to Manly to apparently continue this pub crawl of an adventures.  We went to a few more bars, got kicked out of a few, tried “cleverly” sneaking in to some.  (Everyone thinks they are clever when drunk right? Sneaking through the back.. going around to another bouncer.. no no.. we are just retarded, not clever, retarded.)  This night ended up being a great success, making about 10 new connections and just way too much fun!

So far Meet Ups rock! I am meeting people who are trying to make friends, instead of people at bars who are not. A lot of these people do not have many friends because they are new to the country like myself or new to area, which makes them prime targets in the friendship search of mine.

My goal is to go on at least one meet up a week, and then from there I should be able to slow naturally form some groups. I hope. I kind of give up trying to get into already long time formed Aussie groups. Trust me,  I want nothing more than to just scream out “

LET ME IN DAMN IT!!! I SWEAR I AM COOL, JUST GIVE ME CHANCE, COACH! I’LL TEACH YOU MY ROBOT MOVES AND HOW TO SAY BAD WORDS IN GERMAN!!!! COM’ON!”

MY NEXT MOVE

 After much thought and a lot of going back and forth about how I could make more connections, one action really seemed to help solve this problem . As much as I love living on the beach in Dee Why and I love my roomies, I need a change.My roomies are always out with their girlfriends and there isn’t much else going on where I live AT ALL.  I currently reside in a area where people go to settle down and pop out some babies or puppies. I need to surround myself with more young working professionals like myself. I need to be in the areas where all these Meets Ups take place. I need to be easily accessible  for people to come visit and me visit them.  I need to be where everything is happening in order to be in the happening. So next month my Australian adventures start a new chapter.

Hold on to your hats kids,  cause this  Hot Mess is moving to the City!!

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❤ Michelle

16 thoughts

  1. It can be hard making new friends when you move, I have moved around a lot and have had lots of wonderful times, but some lonely times as well. I’m now in a very small town in Outback Queensland, I wish we had Meetup out here but I think my best bet is going to be meeting people at the pub!
    Good luck.

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  2. Hi Michelle! As someone who’s been living abroad for almost 4 years I think you are doing great making connections. It is really hard to find meaningful friendships, but what I always say to myself is that it took me 28 years to made all that great friendships and connections back home, so I can’t expect to have the same great friendships here after a couple of months. It takes time but you are going to make it! Keep moving and keep putting yourself outthere you are going to find amazing friends soon! Good luck! 🙂

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  3. Hi Michelle,
    I reckon you’re doing really well on the friends front, 22 friends in 26 weeks sounds great to me, well done. Welcome to the inner city as well, if I see you around Surry Hills one night I’ll make sure to say hello.
    Cheers

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  4. Great post 🙂 I’ve also recently moved to Sydney and have been having difficulty making new friends that last because of where I live, work and other reasons and just getting used to a new country. Meet Up sounds cool, I’m definitely thinking of trying it out! Good Luck!

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  5. Totally understand is so difficult to make REAL friends when moving abroad. But, by now I am Ok with having a only couple of people in my life, who really get me, and who I want to spend time with. =)

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  6. It’s really hard to find friends easily whenever we are just new in a certain place, works. Me, at my senior years, still, experience such too. Patience, right attitude to different kinds of character to mingle, I slowly learned and incorporate myself. Nice reading your adventure, I like it though am older in age, find it nice.

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  7. Check out Couchsurfing.net if you havent before. Usually have meetups and events in most big cities. Can definitely relate having just moved to Bangkok myself. Trying to make friends outside the work circle can be tough!!

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  8. Making friends. I felt similarly and found that it was easier to build relationships with people who were new like me. Perhaps it’s because we shared common interests, like exploring the new city together. It takes time to forge bonds with locals, but I know with your positive attitude, you’ll be just fine (and it seems like you’re doing very well already)! 🙂

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