7 types of friends, every woman living abroad needs
As an expat, you may find yourself in unfamiliar territory, with an entirely different culture and language. Moreover, you may feel like you're starting a new life from scratch. But, when it comes to creating a fulfilling life, having the right connections and friends can make all the difference.
Here are 7 types of friends you should seek in your expat life to help make your transition easier and give you the support you need.
Note: Don’t expect your friendships to start, grow and blossom overnight. You’ll need to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to reach out and connect to people. It may take weeks, months, or even a year. But if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually you’ll get there.
The 7 types of friends every woman living abroad needs. In random order:
1. The trustworthy neighbour
A good neighbour is better than a distant friend. The same goes for living in a new country.
Connect with your neighbours. There is bound to be one who is helpful, sympathetic, and trustworthy. One with whom you can leave a spare key, in case you lose yours. A neighbour who will look after your pets and/or plants when you are away. And one who will be willing to lend you a cup of sugar when you need it.
Talk to your neighbours and build a relationship with them. You don't need to become best friends forever. But it will make your transition to a new country much easier.
2. The friend who makes you laugh
You know the one: the friend who never fails to make you laugh with her stories or her witty jokes. Because we all need a bit of laughter in our lives. Especially when you're in the middle of expat rollercoaster life.
This friend is the one you turn to when you're feeling down, and her laughter is the balm that soothes your soul. This friend is invaluable, and she deserves your gratitude. So, find her and once you've found her and spent time together, don't forget to thank her for always bringing a smile to your face!
3. Your “family” when family is far away
Living in a new country can be daunting, especially if you don’t have family or friends close by. It’s important to build a support system of people who can be your “family” away from home.
These are the people that you turn to when you need a listening ear or just a chat. Having a strong network of friends and acquaintances can make all the difference in your expat experience. Note: it’s not about quantity and numbers. It;s about finding that few gems that are open to fostering new friendships too.
4. The one who knows all
This is the friend who has answers to all your practical questions. She knows where to shop for that special birthday request, where to find the best deals, what weekend day trips are the most fun. She is the one who not only gives you tangible advice, but also gives it with a compassionate understanding.
Now, once you've been in the country you're in for a while, remember you have a chance to be that friend to other expat women like you!
5. The friend with similar origins
Craving specific foods from home? Missing the office coffee machine chitchat about that favourite TV series from home? Want to grump about some cultural misunderstandings that happened to you? The friend who shares the same nationality, has lived in the country of your origins, is the one to reach out to.
When you feel homesick, lonely, or overwhelmed, this is the person you should talk to.
6. The friend who challenges you
This is the friend who doesn't let you settle for mediocrity. The one who pushes you to become the best version of yourself. This is the friend you need to get the most out of your expat experience.
She may not always agree with you and may even challenge your ideas, but you will appreciate her honesty and support in the long run. She will be your cheerleader and your confidante, helping you take those leaps of faith and make your dreams a reality.
7. The girl's night out group
Individual friendships bring meaningful encounters. But it's also fun to be part of a group. Even if you meet only once in a while. Whether it's a group of neighbours, colleagues, people from your sports club, your book circle, or just the mums from your kids class, enjoy going out for a girl's night. Have dinner, chat over coffee, put on your best dress and go to that fancy cocktail bar. But most of all, have fun and enjoy spending time together.
Which friends have you made? Maybe that one great friend you have matches multiple of the characters described above. Because you don't need 7 different friends or multiples of 7. Important is that you can find the different character traits described here in the people around you.
With the right friends, your expat life can be filled with joy and growth. So laugh, cry, and take on the world with your tribe by your side!
Want to know more on how to make friends? Have a look at these articles.