Help! I've become an embittered, anti-social foreigner


I was walking home from the 7/11 last night when (surprise!) a couple of young and optimistic but friendly and unpretentious - in short, 2 decent people - stopped their bikes to have a chat. They were not mormons. They were interesting, apparently educated and studying Chinese at a local university, and, like I have said, they seemed fine. But I was kind of embarrased to be ‘caught’ wandering back to my pad with a hotdog. They were drinking and on their way, I wanted to invite them in for a chat, but my room was in such a state, it would have been embarressing.

I am not ‘lonely’ but I could do with some new friends, especially ones outside of work… Why did I just walk away? Why has it happened to me, too. I used to get it when I was younger/newer from the older/older crowd. I used to think it was so sad - If you approached one, they often seemed to uptight and bitter, so isolated and beaten down (espcially in S. Korea). But now it’s happened to me! :doh:

Why couldn’t I just stop and have a nice chat with these people? Is it not because I’ve become beaten down - used to having social interations that go nowhere/break off due to language and cultural differences, have I not internalised and habituated myself to this, have I not stopped fighting against it. Had I not even, just before in the 7/11, broken off a discussion about the worlk cup because I didn’t even know the words for ‘football’…? I broke off the conversation, just walked off, in the same way. Damn!

If I were a doctor or a physician seeking to heal myself, I’d perscribe a social activity and some chill pills - no more drinking… The cause, I think, is that pretty much all my social interation is with colleauges to whom the right attitude is one of sarcasm and a sallow face. Does this mean I have to enroll in another expensive language course?! Damn!

What are your diagnoses/remedies?

I didn’t see any gender-specific pronouns in that post. :ponder: I think that means you need to get laid.

:noway: DB made a joke!!

I feel for ya. Friendships in Taiwan…sometimes I feel like we all hold back a little bit because we know that for the most part things will be temporary. On one hand I envy my high school friends who have stuck together and have a close bond that has formed over the years, on the other hand perhaps the depth of experience we have over here is greater.
The idea of new friends is always exciting. It’s hard in Taiwan though because we work so late on the weeknights and follow a routine on the weekends.

Life goes on.

File this away for future use.

Smile more.

Don’t think so much.

Be careful crossing streets.

Don’t let yourself fall into the “sarcasm” trap. Its merely an excuse for being rude and not thinking.

This morning I’m in McDonald’s and this one guy comes over to my table and spreads out two napkins on my tray and pats them down flat and then looks at me and nods and waves.

Don’t beat yourself up with it. They probably would have refused and wriggled out of it. People are busy and are mostly afraid of making friendships and bonding one on one. Nobody minds a little small talk and chit chat, but you try and develop any kind of relationship and WHAM, they pull back.

That’s life today, that’s why am looking forward to going back home, reconnecting with my friends who really still meet regularly despite the fact they have families now, and go to each other’s homes and an invitation to tea doesn’t mean ‘let’s hook up and screw the brains off each other’. Invites are exchanged and wellpolite social rules are observed. With being a waiguoren, you really are free of all social responsibilities and the flip side is, no socialising.

Amen sista, that’s well said. I’ve always know about the first part but now the second part makes a lot of sense.

What a friendly guy. That was his way of telling you you had a bit of Sausage McMuffin on your chin.

:eh: I don’t get it.

My diagnosis…next step Angry Foreigner Syndrome.

Arguments about putting the wrong icing on the McDonalds Ice Cream and getting banned from McDonalds ( :sunglasses: ).
Muttering curses in two languages under your breath in the 7-11 queue.

It’s probably not just that you’re an ex-pat - it’s also that you’re growing older. My similarly-aged friends at home, especially the male friends, aren’t actually that much more sociable than I am here in Taiwan; I think it’s just a “life change” that men in particular go through. (And if my father and his contemporaries are any standard to judge by, once men retire they become super-sociable again and suddenly know everybody in town.)

Wasn’t there a lengthy thread with a great original post on a similar topic a few months back? Perhaps started by Bismarck, but I’m not sure.

Do you think it has something to do with expected stability (most new arrivals don’t stay for more than a couple years, so why should a long-timer invest in a friendship), or with different perspectives (people like to hang around with those who are similar to them, thus newbies with newbies, and oldies with oldies)? Or do oldies just get tired of always providing orientation to the newbies?

Or have you just become a crabby old fart like the rest of us? :laughing:

Taiwan adds extra challenges although being a foreigner anywhere means you have to actively make friends.

Most foreigners in Taiwan are transient. There is a low diversity compared to Australia or UK for example. The new guys in town are interested in something that you would have gone through years before, it’s not a stimulating conversation in the main. Teaching English, learning beginners Chinese, trying the weird food, dating the hot chicks…well it’s all something I did years ago. It’s kind of interesting to talk about but not really. I’d like to talk about other things like work or history or society here, things I learned over many years. Then some of your friends leave that you made early on and there is a bit of a gap…it’s like…where do you start again?

If you stay here long enough you will start to be older than the newbies also and as the other poster said older people tend to get a bit more reserved. Then you might be settled down or whatever, not a chance to go carousing around meeting people in bars which is where some foreigners congregate. What builds friendships, shared struggles and experiences that’s what.

The density of foreigners is low also, there’s just not that many of us living here. There is a limited range of professions here too…although there are plenty of people doing different things of course. I have never met another foreigners who remotely does the same job I do in Taiwan (no I am not a speciality banana farmer), just a small country here. Maybe in China I could have more of a ‘professional circle’.

Then Taiwanese, well everybody has different opinions on this, but personally I don’t find it very easy to make friends with male Taiwanese. They make too much of a deal about me being a foreigner…it doesn’t feel natural. Cultural gap or whatever.

One of the things a lot of guys like about our hockey league is that as soon as they arrive, they have a group of people with whom they share something in common instantly. I’ve had a lot of guys thank me to say that the league has made their lives in Taiwan better and that they probably would not have stayed as long as they have had it not been, at least partly, for that. That seems like a bit of an exaggeration I’m sure, but for a lot of them, they arrive f.o.b., join the league and instantly have 20 or 30 friends.

There are lots of groups out there. Forumosa is just one of many. Get out to a Happy Hour or another group’s similar event and talk to folks. Making friends may take a bit of work to begin with, but it’s surprisingly easy once you get out there.

Oh, and clean up your room so you can’t make excuses next time, lol! Jiayo.

There is no solution or remedy. It all lies with you and what you want. If you want local friends, then go be around locals. Read the news and try to get a good grasp of what Taiwanese people are thinking about. Find strange local events that most foreigners avoid and just participate. There is the language barrier but as you integrate into the scenery and show your honest intentions, people will come out of the woodwork and try to form a relationship with you. You will see that aside from eating some weird stuff and burning a lot of paper, most locals are just regular folk.

The other thing they like is smashing into guys at high speed and hitting them with a big stick?

and? did you invite them (err him) to your house?

and? did you invite them (err him) to your house?[/quote]
No. I’m an embittered, anti-social foreigner. But I’ve always been like that.

He did come back on his way out. He said, “Where are you from?” I said, “America” He said, “California?” I said, “Yes” He said, “Los Angeles?” I said “Yes”

Sorry about that, Doc. :blush:

I just assumed from your wide stance and foot tapping that you might have been interested in some action.

My questions about where you’re from were your clue to follow me to the bathroom . . . with the napkins.

I agree; it’s hard to make friends here. :cry:

Was at a pub one time when this blond kid came over ( I was reading the China Post) and said “oh you read English”.

I said "kinda looks that way dont it? "

If he was trying to make friends… pretty dumb way to go bout it.

If he had said something like “oh hey, did you read bout … and …” I couldve answered.

edit: Now had it been a nice looking young lady I am certain I wouldve been much more accomodating :slight_smile: And it wouldnt have mattered what her opening line was. yeah, im a dog.