Daily Archives: June 12, 2012

Making friends abroad… the non-intuitive way

How do we choose our friends? What do we take into account when we begin the process of making friendships in foreign countries?

We look for common interests, right? We search out people who have something in common with us, people who share similar passions, and people who make us feel like we have at least some degree of familiarity in a completely foreign to us place.

But what about the others?  What about those people who are very different from us and who at first glance do not look like friendship material?

Interestingly enough our ability to overcome our friendship “bias” – the bias that makes us search for that thing we want everyone to have – is the ability that allows us to overcomes loneliness and lack of connection.  Because when the bias is gone, we begin to open up to possibilities of having many different kinds of friends in our lives.

How do you know if you have a bias?  Think about what has attracted you to the friends you’ve had and write the qualities you discover on index cards.  Imagine that those index cards were pinned on people who are mingling around in a large room.  Those are the people you’d probably approach right away.

Now think of possible human qualities that you have not written on those index cards and imagine there are people in that room that have those cards pinned to them. How likely are you to approach them? How much chance would you give to the possibility of those friendships?

Then try it in real life.  Next time you end up in a room with people who don’t seem to have anything in common with you, consider the qualities they carry – and decide if you want to extend your friendship range by giving them a chance.

Thoughts?  Ideas? Experiences?  Share them!

Remember — enrollment is open during the summer for September 1 start of the Expat Women Academy. a one of a kind program that provides expat women with strategies to overcome expatriate challenges.