Making Friends in Foreign Places

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

Have you got what it takes?

Of course you do!  Moving to a foreign country is not for the faint of heart, but if you are reading this post on this website, you have heart and courage enough.

I know you can do it, but for some, it will be easier than for others. A few of us, and I include myself here, don’t have the personality for easy adaptation to an unfamiliar culture.                                                                                                        

Cause you gotta have friends
Cause you gotta have friends by Helena Lopes

According to a study by Paula M. Caligiuri, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University, certain personality traits help us find happiness and contentment in a new culture more easily.

One is an individual’s ability to establish interpersonal relationships or, in academic terms, “sociability”. The other is a person’s “willingness to learn and change in a new situation,” or one’s openness.

As I go about the work of making friends here in this city of half a million people, none of whom I knew when I arrived, I see others, my husband included, putting out their hand and introducing themselves to strangers, issuing invitations, and throwing parties; in short, being sociable.

By Ricky Kharawala (Unsplash
No man is an island–or a mountain By Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash

I am not like that.  I prefer to watch and listen before I speak.

To me, small talk is a necessary social convention. I am not shy, but neither am I high on the sociability scale.

My personality, warns Caligiuri, may stand in the way of my meeting and making friends, adding stress to my adjustment process.

So, at least I know what I have to deal with and recognize my challenges.

How about you?

If you are not sure, try taking this self-assessment.  Be honest with your answers.  Answer how you actually behave, not how you would like to behave. 

Then join us to discuss strategies for making friends. We want to hear from you!

by: Dana Dwyer