Keeping Up Friendships

I always thought living overseas is an amazing thing. Moving to a different country and get adjusted to a different life (although living in Australia is not so much different than living in Switzerland) is a huge chance. It is an eye opener and it is definitely a learning curve as well.

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You are get pulled out of your ground, sort of, and moved to a place you have maybe visited and hopefully liked before. At least that was the case for me. But there are so many things that you have to deal with and it is absorbing you. It’s all those little things that are organized just slightly different. It is the fact, that you have to head out and find a new doctor, dentist or favorite hairdresser. It’s the driving on the wrong side (in my case) and the organization in the aisles of the supermarket, which still seem weird to me.

While settling in a different country and meeting new people is an adventure and definitely keeps you crazy busy, the staying in touch with your ‘old’ world can be a task as well. There is so much you suddenly have to do and have to get used to and life just takes over. While for your friends and family back home nothing really changes but the fact that keeping this friendship up will now suddenly need a bit more effort than before. Over the last weeks we’ve been running around seeing our kids friends here and catching up with our friends and so the days fly by and you find yourself already making plans way into March… In this planning and running around, trying to get the kids to their activities and making it possible for them to catch up with their friends, that little time left in a day is not much suddenly. Life happens and it takes over on so many occasions. So suddenly I find myself not talking to my friends back home for months, which I kind of feel bad about.

Thankfully we live in a time where we have so many options to keep in touch, as another fellow blogger and expat has stated as well. For me shooting out an email is still the fastest and easiest way to quickly say hi and give them an update on what I am doing at the moment. But then there is Skype and Facetime and Facebook and so on. So many options. And still time runs out… Crazy, right?

I have ‘scheduled’ a Skype call with one of my best friends back in Switzerland for the end of this week and I am really looking forward to it. I know it will be good. It always is, even if we don’t speak for ages. I guess that is, what a true friendship is about as well. The fact, that you can not see each other or talk for a long time and still pick up where you were immediately. In our case a lot has changed over the last almost ten years and it was not just my move to Australia. We are both busy with our families and with our lives. And given that there is a bit of a time difference as well, we just sometimes seem to be too exhausted to just quickly call. Given the kids and the time difference a spontaneous call is hardly ever possible. Although I would prefer this to planning them ahead.

I wonder how other expats deal with this… Sometimes I ask myself if a ‘call schedule’ would do the trick… Something like ‘Skype with so and so on Mondays’. But then… what if you don’t feel like talking at all on exactly that day? What if you are too exhausted then? How does the conversation turn out? What if something comes up?

22 thoughts on “Keeping Up Friendships

  1. Maintaining friendships can be challenging already just due to life… (kids, work, health, family, etc.) but add international living or time changes… Almost impossible! You obviously do a great job trying to keep in touch. You show you care in the little things. That’s what counts. πŸ™‚ xo

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  2. Your blog applies to not only country-to-country moves, but moving a long way away from where friends and sometimes family live. It is hard to keep in touch, yet it is harder to let them go. Social Media has been a help to me to keep up the relationship.

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  3. I lived a pretty transient life for a long time. As such, I have friends everywhere. Most of which, a quick line drop on FaceSpook will suffice. Others, I rarely speak to, but when we do eventually catch up it is like we were having a beer yesterday. πŸ™‚

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    • And those are the special friends, right? I think it is amazing how you can not speak for ages and then it feels as if you were hanging out all the time… I learned a lot about friends over the past couple of years and the number has reduced drastically. But the quality has gone up through the roof.

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  4. I can totally relate… I take it as a test of time to friendship, you know who you’re real friends are when distance did not made a difference. you simply click again so fast even with a little poke on Facebook.

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  5. I think if a friendship is meant to last then it will do regardless of whether you manage to talk that often, but I would like to stay in touch with people more than I do. And I wonder how much time is wasted trying to find things in a new supermarket when you move!

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  6. I’m not an expat but I’ve found it hard enough to get together with my friends for a coffee. People are juggling so many things and life proceeds at something of a sprint.It can get a bit ridiculous.

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  7. Thanks for mentioning my post.😊 It really is something to maintain friends when you uproot yourself from home. I am drafting a post about my experience with my “old” friends while an expat. In a strange way, the distance has brought me closer to them, thanks to technology. The private chats have bonded us. But it is still unavoidable to miss out on the little things, like how they laugh about that Friday night they went out together.

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  8. maintaining friendships can be a tremendous challenge even when you live in the same country. Proximity can help keep contact more frequent, but even at that, it has its challenges as we enter different stages, and go through different things at different times. The best thing about good friends is that time & distance don;t seem to matter when you finally do get together to talk

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