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I think a lot of people under value friends when they go overseas the first time around. They may have a good social circle in the US, but poor dating options so they focus on finding girls in their trip. After a time, it really gets old to only meet girls every day and you want to make some friends and a social circle to spend time with.
What in your experience has been the best place to make friends? Was it better in a large city, a 2nd tier city, or a rural area? Did you befriend locals or expats? Where did you meet?- expat bars, online, work, courchsurfing meetups, language courses, etc?
I'll share my own experience:
I made mostly expat friends: Turks, Arabs, Persians, Brits, Aussies, Nigerians, and Americans.
I met most of them at Russian language courses and through work when I was teaching English. It was fun, but most of these friendships were temporary (1-2 months), simply because people were moving on to new jobs in new cities or heading back home. Some other friendships lagged after a while since people started to worry about finding jobs and it became their main occupation. I found larger cities (capitols especially), tended to attract the most expats. Unfortunately, these places also had the worst girls....so its a balancing act. 2nd tier cities had better girls, but many fewer expats. In Belarus and Ukraine, I mostly met girls as friends or for romantic reasons. There were a few local men I talked with but we never became close friends. There is something about the expat mentality that I can relate to, whether it was Turks or Brits. The locals were mainly people interested in their own things (very provincial mindset), just like non-expat Americans usually are. Probably, I would prefer moving to a city with at least a medium sized expat community so that I could have a social circle of 5-10 people.
I was curious about this too. Is it easier to make friends abroad (in non english speaking countries)? And I don't mean acquaintances for just brief chit chat and bull$h!t. I mean real friends. I've had some real friends in america, especially when I was younger. But in my travels, I did notice that most of my real friends were usually other travellers from outside the anglosphere.
Last edited by QuestionMark on Wed May 14, 2014 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
This is a VERY important topic.
If you don't have your own support group / circle of friends you are totally dependent on a girlfriend, and will end up socializing with her family and friends only.
I don't have any success to report, but it seems to help if I hang out in bars, restaurants and neighborhoods that are "upscale". Then my limited Spanish sets me apart from the fossilized gringos who don't speak any. And if necessary the Mexican I am talking to can switch to English if I don't understand something. So I would say focus on attractive, well-groomed locals who are in areas where there are some expats. Since they have chosen to work around expats, they will not be hostile at least.
WHy not focus on expats themselves? Well, that might work in Prague or Moscow or Buenos Aires, where expats have lives and jobs. But here in Mexico many are here simply to live cheap and drink. OK to chat once a week with this type, not daily. Else the moss growing on them might start creeping onto me.
Regarding Mexico specifically, I would not focus on people who speak English. Why? Many are "deportados", deported from the US after living there most of their lives, then serving time in jail. They are eager to make friends, but boundaries are lacking in some cases. A better bet is to be around educated people who like Americans, then eventually run into one who knows a little English.
I guess the best way to make friends is a common activity. Rugby, soccer, baseball, fishing... these are universal languages.
That's all I got... so far.
Looking forward to reading other comments.
"Well actually, she's not REALLY my daughter. But she does like to call me Daddy... at certain moments..."
Kindred souls. Makes sense.
Also, I guess they would have an unmet social need.. like us. I guess the sedentary local with a wide circle of friends from school would be less likely to be open to real friendship.
Yes, I found local Belarussians to be boring, except the most educated ones such as businessmen, computer programmers, etc. These people were more good to talk to, but I never made friends with them. I guess I could have tried harder to meet more of this type and then invite them for a drink or something.
I think in capital cities there will always be a lot of expats, no matter the country. Kiev, Warsaw, and even Minsk all had expats and foreigners.... but finding a decent girl in a capital city is much harder. Even some locals will go to the provincial cities to find girls. Capitals always attract tons of men who are looking for work and have skewed gender ratios.
I am considering spending the next few years in a more provincial city and then moving to a capital if I feel the need for a boost to my social and economic life. Usually it works like this- places that have a lot of girls have few good men for friendship.
Seems obvious - but not until you said it.
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