Making new friends

Now these two can write the book on how to make friends!

I have learned that a downside of your Hubby being your best friend, is that it may distract you from making other friends.  I love spending my time with Hubby and look forward to our “Feierabend” when we sit beside each other and just talk.  I can tell him anything, and look forward to sharing my thoughts with him.  When he isn’t here for an extended period of time, I become very sad.

Before moving here, one of my close friends warned me about becoming too isolated, as it will be more challenging for me to make friends in a foreign country. I naively thought not much of it; perhaps I was too caught up in the excitement of moving here.  Besides, as I have never really experienced a period in my life without many friends around me, I had no idea how that could feel like or that it could happen to me.

Well, now I know.

Normally when Hubby is away on travel, I keep myself busy enough with Little T, work and exercise that the time generally passes fairly quickly. This last time though, my feeling of loneliness escalated and for the first time since moving here, I have really felt the absence of close friends.  That’s not to say I haven’t made any friends here, as I have made some that I’m very grateful for, but the friendships are not at the same level as the ones I have back in Canada.   Maybe that just takes time. 

I have come to appreciate how difficult it is to make new friends in a foreign country, especially when neither yourself or your spouse is a native.  It’s like you have two strikes against you before stepping up to the plate.   And, when you are older and are trying to make friends with people who have lived in the area for a long time and have demanding schedules with work, kids, and whathaveyou, it’s like showing up late for a party.  They’ve already made their large circle of friends and although they may like you, finding time to fit you in is the challenge.

And, I know that I’m to blame in this, as I haven’t put a whole lot of effort into meeting  new people.  Since arriving here, I have been so absorbed with integrating and dealing with all the unforeseen challenges that were thrown to us, that at times it feels strange that I can actually now breathe (and sleep at night).  It’s as if I have finally woken from a nightmare, looked around, and realized I have forgotten to focus on something very important… friendship!

Maybe I haven’t tried to make friends because I know we are likely moving soon to another part of Germany. After sharing this concern with Hubby’s brother last month, he pointed out that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to making friends only when we know we will be settled somewhere for a long time. Circumstances can change, and from his experience, when you make a connection with someone, often you will keep contact with that friend for life regardless of where you live.  He met someone on a two-week course in another country, and 15 years later is still in touch.  Now, that’s inspiring.

I realized too that I have focused a lot of my energy in the past few years making sure Little T is making friends.  Now it is time to apply the same energy on me. 

So, I decided to have some fun with this, and sat down and wrote a list of traits and preferences I would want my new friend(s) in Germany to have.  The neat thing is, all of my friends can be described with most or all of the traits.  As for my new friend(s), I don’t really care about age, or whether or not they have kids.  And hey, my new friends don’t all need to be female!

I have thrown my wishes out into the Universe and hope to meet my new friend(s) soon.  Until then, I will remind myself each day how lucky I am to have made such good friends that inspire me to make room in my life for more.

It’s time to come out of my shell.

2 thoughts on “Making new friends

  1. Heather – Jen and I went through the EXACT same issues when we lived in NB. We found that almost everyones’ “friend bank” was full. In the end, we stopped trying so hard and found that friendships tended to find themselves. You find friends in the most unlikely places. The best friends we had in NB were actually NB’ers (which was odd since we were labelled as “come from aways” and would never be truly accepted into the local community). Alicia was a co-worker of Jen’s and her husband, Scott, and I have become good friends. I personally miss the fun times Scott and I always seemed to have. We have been able to get together annualy for the last couple of years which has been great. We don’t want distance to become an issue to remaining good friends. Scott and I had very similar interests – he was a good ol’ country boy and he let my country boy side out, too. He was a kid at heart but an older man in thought. Jen would say I am the opposite…

    You’re right that you tend to judge the potential new friendships on the ones you already have. But that’s not fair. If you reflect, you’ll see that it’s taken many years to develop those deep ties. We all have friends that we talk to infrequently and when we do talk, it’s as if no time has passed at all. Those true friends are rare and invaluable. But you never know when you will find find that spark with someone else…


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