One of my current classmates at the language school has noticed that the older you get the harder it is to make new friends. Why so? The answer to that question is deep and deserves a separate blog post. Here, I would like to talk about my personal experience in making new friends in Germany.
As you would expect, trying to make friends as an adult in a new country, new culture, and new environment does not make it simpler. If you start your journey in a new country as a pupil/student, I believe, that helps. You are young and have fewer things to care about. Everyone around you is in the same boat, studying the same subject, probably having the same sort of problems that every teenager/young person experiences. There is time for joy and entertainment. More than often, young people who study abroad are taking care of by their parents. Hence, financial problems do not bother them. They are still trying to figure out about their own personality, getting in touch with different groups of friends. Later, after a certain age, you understand yourself better, you see what you are and what people do you want to have around. You are getting very selective about the people you spend your time with. You do not have that much of a freedom anymore and cannot afford hanging out with someone who has no interest in your life. So I think. 🙂
Many of my friends back at home find it a bit strange that I complain about not having a German friend to talk to. In fact, none of my new foreign friends from the language school has any German friends (not to count German boyfriends/girlfriends). What type of a contact do I have with Germans here? Talking to someone in a supermarket, at a post office, at a language school, at a train station etc. I have not managed to find a job yet, so I cut myself out of any possible work buddies. On the other hand, another classmate of mine has been working in Germany for 3 years, nevertheless she found 0 colleagues to have a chat with. She says that she prefers to keep quiet, while most of her colleagues love talking behind her back.
From my personal observation, people are alike everywhere. You can put stereotypes on them and think that they are completely different from where you come from. In the end, you will be wrong. There are good and bad, lazy and hard-working, shy and bold, short and tall, obese and slim, etc. people everywhere. The only difference you will find is the language, religion, economics, and political system of a country… Those are additional factors that mold the character of a person without a doubt, nonetheless deep down people are all the same. Sometimes, you do not have to speak to a person to feel if he/she is kind or not. Often, the body language says more than we think. Our behavior, not the speech shows our true nature. Some might heard, that in Germany there is no such a rule to give up your seat for the elderly. Despite this fact, I see that some people do that and the elderly do not get offended (on the contrary, they look happy). Even though, the majority of the population in Germany might believe it is rude to point out at the age of a person by offering him/her a seat, there are people who do not follow the rule. In Japan, for example, you can also see that commuters do not give up their seats for the elderly. This is just a quick example of similar rules in two completely different societies (so do people think). This principle applies to many other life aspects.
So, why would I expect to make new friends in Germany in a short period of time, while the same people surround me as if I was at home? Did I make new friends back at home every month? Obviously, that was not the case. Do I have any German friends? Yes, I do. I met them some years ago and our meeting had nothing to do with my future life in Germany. I shall not think that just because I have moved to another country means I am going to meet new possible friends every day. Life is busy for an adult. You have things to take care of, and you have responsibilities. You have your long-time friends. So have your peers.
Do not wait for the miracle to happen, new friends will show up in your life with some time. You cannot force this event to come faster. Meanwhile, as a newcomer to the country, it is better to settle down and concentrate on other things, such as learning the language and getting used to new living conditions. In the future, new friends will come into your life just as it happened in the past.