In my own experiences as an expat, and in talking to others in similar situations, the need to make new friends in your new home becomes paramount very quickly. Once the big stuff like finding a place to live and starting the new job are done, the fact that you are all alone in a place you know virtually nothing about crashes down on you like a ton of bricks. Well, at least that’s what happened to me.
So, I’ve been actively trying to make new friends here in Dublin. This is something that doesn’t come easy to me. It never has. I prefer to meet people and make new friends “organically” (I hate that word because it’s so overused, but in this case it truly applies). My BFF and I became friends after riding out a hurricane together. Another dear friend and I met at a funeral. Was I seeking out friends at either of these times? Absolutely not. But strange sequences of events and circumstances brought these amazing people into my life.
Now, I am not expecting a hurricane in Dublin anytime soon and I certainly don’t want there to be any funerals that I need to attend, so that means I’ve got to get out there and meet some people. Those of you that know me know that I would rather have a root canal.
This friend search is a lot like dating. And I don’t date. I’ve never had the energy or cared enough about meeting someone to put any real effort into it. If I do meet someone, grand. If not, well then, there you go. But I do care about making new friends and, therefore, I have no choice other than to put my energy into it.
The results have been promising. Sure, there have been some false starts – emails have gone unreturned after a fun night out, others I think may have misinterpreted and assumed I am after more than friendship (seriously, get over yourself).
But I’ve met some really awesome people and some of them may become true friends. Firstly, there’s the people I work with. They’re lovely, and I’m not saying that just because some of them read this blog (hi guys!). Of course, I have no idea how they feel about me, but I’m hoping that at least some of them will become friends.
And I’ve met some really great American expats. I know that I am over here to experience a new culture and hanging out with Americans isn’t the way to do that, but we American expats have a shared experience that I think can be the basis for true friendships. And the Americans I’ve met here so far are, in a word, awesome.
There are even a couple friendships that have developed “organically”. It’s nice to know that that can still happen.
Of course, this process has made me miss the friends I’ve left behind all the more. I can only hope that the friends I make over here will be as amazing as they are. Like the old ditty goes – “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”