My best friend dropped by this week.
I say dropped by like she just appeared in my apartment for a brew (that’s tea for non british folk). She was actually returning home to the UK from completing an MBA in Melbourne, how cool is that? Well done my love!
To set the scene properly, I am super lucky to have many besties. Each one of them is a bestie for different reasons and they all enhance my life in different ways. This bestie is the oldest of them all (not in age as I think she might be the youngest, I am chuckling as I can almost envisage her spitting out her brew at the mere implication she is the oldest!), but we have been friends since we were kids, our friendship has spanned 24 whole years! We have grown up together, been bridesmaids at each others weddings and we still sit here all these years later reminiscing and giggling about bygone days. Discussions of when the next sleep over will commence have been replaced with questions of what the future holds, where shall we go for bubbles (that’s actually a really important decision to make you know) and deep and meaningfuls about how we can achieve our dreams. Okay now we just sound old!
The earliest picture I can find of us is from 9 years ago (before you think I’m a bad friend, it’s because all the original photos are back in the UK…I hope!) I must have some terrible pictures from our childhood lurking somewhere, I am on a mission to dig them out. I don’t think we look all that different now, minus the stars 🙂
She scarily knows what I am thinking without actually having said anything, she is honest with me and she helps dissect problems by discussing options to arrive at a sensible conclusion. Note the word sensible, she is probably the most well-reasoned and shrewd person I know. She even follows up with me once a decision has been reached to make sure I am still on track!
See I don’t live close to her, so enjoying bubbles or hitting up a spin class isn’t an option, but when we chat on the phone, whats app or when she is sat on my sofa this week, I remember that geography doesn’t matter. She was only here for a short time but we relished our time gossiping over 100 brews (actually I don’t think that number does it justice), munching our way through bacon butties, shopping, sunbathing, sipping cocktails on rooftop bars and demolishing satay! She has also lived an expat life so our discussions are mutually understood and appreciated. I miss her already but whenever we part we always say, “See you really soon!”
This got me thinking…
For 5+ years now I have been on the other side of the world to her and my other dear friends back home. We have 7 hours between us and I live a completely different lifestyle. I am extremely grateful that we are all still close, when we meet up it’s like we have never been apart, we speak pretty much most of the time and I feel blessed for this. I just had to share some of their icke faces….
When you move abroad, they suddenly aren’t there, your network, your support, your shoulders should anything be wrong. You find yourself in a new place feeling like the only way I can describe it, as the new girl at school. I consider myself to be an outgoing and social person but even I found it tough when I first arrived. So if I find it tough, what about the people who arrive here alone and are introverts?
You see making friends can be the quickest way to feel at home in a new country, it’s not uncommon for expats to gravitate to other foreigners. My sister’s observation was interesting in that she was surprised my friends consisted of mainly expats. Actually that’s not such a shock as she used to think I lived in a shanty hut here so I am not sure what her expectations of Singapore were! I do however have to mention that I have some awesome local friends too – big shout out to you all!
It’s important I also share some of my fellow gorgeous expat friends who I have gravitated towards, I spend a lot of time with these guys and they are awesome!
The best and most simple advice I can give if you are new to a country is, be brave and have an open mind. If you are here alone or a trailblazing wife (without kids), there are many Facebook groups you can join (there are always expats looking for like-minded people to have coffee and/or drinks with!) and please be open to connecting with any groups of interest e.g. running, book clubs or wine tasting clubs! Don’t rule out socializing with work colleagues either, pretty much most of my friends are from the office!
If you are here with your family and have kids, I have to say it seems to be much easier to make friends due to the busy social calendar children have and the availability of connecting with other parents. But also, do some of the above, every little helps!
So why are friends so important?
They accept us for who we are – weak spots and self doubts aside, they still choose to be our friends.
They boost our self confidence – we may ponder, doubt or be insecure about making a decision or about whether we can achieve something, but our friends do the opposite. They support us, point out all the things we are strong at and give us the belief that goals can be smashed if we put our minds to it, and they help us with that plan.
They are a comfort zone, a comfort blanket – no makeup, spots, stinky after a spin class – they don’t care! I even had to endure a spin class next to my friend whose trainers clearly hadn’t visited a washing machine for quite some time, and I still love her!
We are never lonely – whether it be a normal week; spin classes, BBQs, walks, dinners, drinks or whether it be that you are feeling naff and need a hug, friends are prepared to rock up and lounge around with you at home, watch movies and order takeaways!
“Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, impossible to forget!”
It’s a good job you can’t actually hear me….I’m singing in pure Golden Girls style (for those who are old enough), ‘Thankyou for being a friend’…