Monday, January 21, 2008

Finding new friends

We were invited to new friends for dinner last night. It was such a nice, relaxed evening. Don't you just love meeting new friends to just... hang out with... completely relaxed... letting your guard down and just be yourself.

I get a lot of questions on "how do you make new friends as an alien?". And I shouldn't really be a good person to ask. I'm really kind of shy, reserved and cautious. You wouldn't find me happily socializing through a room at a party, or chatting away with strangers I just met.

But - moving to the US - and - social networking online really has changed me.

One of the best things about the US is the openness and the social interaction here. (Even though some people claim that this, compared to other cultures, really is more shallow and in the end doesn't really mean anything - and I always disagree... and besides - I rather talk to people on the bus these days but sit quietly, staring out the window like in Sweden.) It forces you to practice doing small talk however hard you think it is.

Social networking online really has boosted my self confidence and I now have a bunch of really good friends that I have hardly ever met IRL that I "talk" to every day, that makes me laugh, cry, learn and feel good (and isn't that what friendship is all about). And I've gotten more brave an open.

Of course you might need a bit of luck to find friends whom you connect to beyond small talk. But you can definitely find and make new friends as an alien - you just have to practice and be open minded - however shy you are originally.

Thanks A and P for a great afternoon and evening!


Saltistjejen said...

Vad roligt att du tycker det gått så bra att bilda nytt nätverk sedan du lämnade Sverige. Eller kanske ska jag säga "trots att du nu är en alien". :-)

Själv tyckte jag också det gått förvånandsvärt bra. Jag har ett jättebra socialt nätverk runt mig här nu som jag trivs väldigt bra med. Även om jag självklart saknar mina gamla vänner också.

Och som du säger så är det coolt att man verkligen kan täffas "på nätet" också och lära känna varandra på ett så bra sätt! Häftigt. För då spelar det ingen roll var i världen man befinner sig. man är ju bara en uppkoppling ifrån sina nätkompisar ändå! :-)

JaCal said...

Saltistjejen - ja, är nästan lite förvånad själv. Är inte känd att vara någon social stjärna - haha! Ja, nya vänner förtar inte saknaden av de gamla. Jag gillar socialt nätverkande på nätet - det är ju en chans att "träffa" personer jag aldrig skulle mött. Även om man alltid kan "förställa sig" och spela en "roll" i det skriftliga - så är det otroligt roligt med alla dessa vänner man kan lära känna!

Desiree said...

Håller helt med dig. Jag tror att det viktigaste är att vara öppen och en smula nyfiken. Jag är inte heller den som minglar hejdlöst och obehindrat på fester. Jag håller defnitivt med dig om att nätvänner betyder lika mycket som vänner som man träffar in real life. Jag räknar definitivt nätvänner som riktiga vänner.

Kram på dig nätkompis.

Isle Dance said...

So very true - good for you. Welcome to the club!!

JaCal said...

Desiree - ja, och nyfiken är jag ju - haha! Kram på dig själv kompis!

Isle Dance - thank you!

Anonymous said...

Tack själv. Det var jättetrevligt. Vi borde göra det igen nån gång snart. Barnen verkade ha kul ihop också, vilket är ett stort plus :)


Ally said...

Wow, A and P sound like great people. :-P We had a lovely time too!

I think you've got it right about learning to make friends. I've spent enough moved enough times to know that people won't come to you. While I don't always have the energy to look, I do try to put myself in conspicuous places and hope keep my options open.

I got in a disagreement with a friend of mine about this. He isn't very online savvy, therefore he's a bit lost and he doesn't think you can have a real relationship if you aren't physically present in their life (which explains why we don't hear from him much since we moved). I disagree and being that you've got a similar style network, I'm sure you understand why.

JaCal said...

Peter J - absolut! Alltid ett plus när barnen har roligt också!

Ally - haha! Yeah - don't they! ;-) You know what - I do think I have more friends now than if I would have stayed in Stockholm. Oh, I would have seen my good old friends more - that's for sure - but maybe wouldn't really have developed new friendships. Moving and moving to somewhere where you don't know anyone really kicks you out there. I totally disagree with your friend too. I'm on my way to San Francisco to meet friends I've been sharing my life with for the past four years, every day, but haven't met IRL yet. We're going to have a great time - despite "meeting" for the first time! You SO can have a relationship despite being physically present - why, would you suddenly not have a family if you happen to live far away from them... I'm so thankful for the cyber world - it really enriches my life (can you say that... or is that a bad translation of "berikar"...). ;-)

Ally said...

That's great, I love those kind of get-togethers. I'll have a few such meet-ups when I go back this summer. Whenever I've done voice posts, they always laugh at my California accent, or comment on how high my voice is (I guess they know I'm tall therefore I must sound like Barry White ;-) ).

My friend that I mentioned that stayed with us for 10 days with her husband and 2 children, is an online friendship that has translated into a physical one as well. Although she lives in Switzerland so we can't see each other often. We've only hung out in person two times but our husbands both commented on how eerie it is that we're so alike. She's my cyber soul sister. :-P

Have a great time with your friends!!!