Ruchi is back! And this time she’s sharing about her journey to making friends upon moving to India.
Personally, I love this post. This is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Maintaining old friendships and making new ones as an adult is just plain hard. I plan to share my thoughts in a future post, but for now, I hope you enjoy reading about Ruchi’s experience.
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Gee, I’m almost 30 years old, and I have to make a whole new set of friends, in a whole new country. Should be interesting.
This is one of the first thoughts I had when I moved to Kolkata. My automatic assumption was, ‘Okay, I can just become friends with Jai’s friends’ wives.’ Then, we realized, most of Jai’s childhood and high school friends had left Kolkata. (In most cases, if you didn’t join your family business, you left for another city for more opportunities). All right, let’s re-think that one. Well, I guess it’ll just happen.
Think again. Making friends is hard! When you’re in school, it does just kinda happen. You find people you have things in common with – through extracurricular activities, through social groups, sometimes your roommates, you know.
But, when you’re out of school, married and in another place, that’s where the challenges are. First off, your priorities and obligations change. In our case, we live in a joint family, so a lot of your free time is taken up there. We also have to travel a lot for work, so when you’re actually in town, sometimes the last thing you wanna do is socialize and make an effort. I know, if you want to meet new people, you have to step out of your comfort zone and try. Our work environment is also very different from the States – we’re the bosses so no making friends there.
We both realized things needed to change. We had to start making more of an effort and not being so uptight. We also needed to break away from the house and, in turn, the family a bit more.
I had joined the Kolkata International Women’s Club but had barely made it to one meeting. I finally decided to take part in a Bazaar showcasing small business owners. Through this, I met a few ladies, and things started taking off from there. Then, we attended our first annual Monsoon Ball and couldn’t wait for the next year where we’d be planning which table to be at. I think it struck me (quite late in the game, but it did nevertheless) that friends were not just going to fall into my (our) lap. No need to be desperate but small steps had to be taken.
Our first Monsoon Ball – fun times all around!
And, the same for Jai. He started playing golf with friends of friends, and he joined a league where he barely knew anyone. I guess these things come easier when you’re a little younger and not so wrapped up in work and life in general.
One more thing. I also realized that we didn’t have to do everything as a couple. It’s funny – in Atlanta, when we were dating, we had very independent lives. Yes, we had some common friends, but we were very good about separating our time, too. After moving here, I just wanted to be stuck to Jai because I didn’t know any better. I was such a fish out of water.
Second point. We both realized (even though we’ve said it many a time before), but quantity over quality. We wanted to spend time with people who we could learn from, who we could be ourselves with, who we could potentially take a trip with, and just order a pizza and hang out on a Friday night.
And the final point. We were hanging onto our American lives too much. The food, the places, the friends, all of it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But, when you know this change/move in your life is pretty permanent, you have to start adapting to your new place, too. Accepting all the parts that come along with that. Yes, some of our friendships have suffered due to our move, but I also think that’s just the natural shift in life. It gets harder and harder to stay in touch with time differences, families growing, jobs changing and responsibilities increasing. But, this has also forced us to truly appreciate and cherish all the people in our lives, near and far. Sorry, not trying to get mushy on you guys!
It’s tough dealing with so many changes, but it also makes you a stronger person, and I believe deeply in that. I struggled with the friendship part at the beginning and still do sometimes, but I’m powering through and figuring things out day by day.
If you find yourself moving to a new place, try to embrace all your surroundings. It’s daunting at first, but you’ll manage. Join clubs, try to find 1 or 2 people you get along with and build a friendship with them, attend events you normally may not be inclined to, explore.
I’m definitely not an expert, but I’m happy with where I’m at and where I’ve come from in this little journey of mine.
As always, thanks for tuning in! I’m leaving you all with 2 quotes I thought were quite appropriate for this post 🙂
Thanks, Ruch! As always, it’s so nice to read your thoughts and have you on MIS 🙂
Do you think it’s harder to make friends as an adult? Any tips?
2 thoughts on “New Country, New Friends – Pink by Ruchi”
Wonderful guest post – thank you Ruchi and thank you Parita for sharing this! It can be harder to make friends as an adult. We get so busy with our “adult” lives (work, gym, if you’re married – ensuring your married life and household is ok first, etc.) that we forget about the friends and ourselves sometimes. And, over time the friends you had for a long time can grow more distant because you’ve moved, they’ve moved, their lives changed, etc. I insert myself into things to help keep myself socialized. It’s weird, but one of my best friends now is someone I met up with from Twitter here in Ann Arbor. I joined a bunch of networking groups for work so I have professional-techy-friends and then I also joined up other meetup groups like the Vegans/Vegetarians of Ann Arbor to have another set of friends. I think the big thing is being able to make the effort. When you’re a kid, it was easy to stay friends with someone b/c you saw them every day in school, you arranged play dates and slumber parties with your parents help, etc. As an adult, you have to make that effort and be willing to do so! That can be hard for people. I think it’s harder when you move to a foreign country. But again, I think you can first try to associate yourself with other ex-pats, then find local groups to meet local people so you can become friends with them! 🙂
I’ll stop rambling now haha. Longest comment EVAR!
Thanks so much, Aparna! Those are all great ideas – and yes, I agree, finding some other ex-pats/groups to associate yourself really helps! 🙂