Looking to correct my Contempt

I hate being labelled as ignorant, or worse discriminatory. I want to accept responsibility when I have done something wrong and learn how to make things better.

I have tried countless times to build friendships with many Taiwanese. It always starts out quite well. Some even blossom into relationships that we explore together. But almost always (of my more than 200 attempts I have been able to maintain about 2 regular consistent friendships that rely on the fact that Ian not always bothering them).

I want to get to know Taiwan better. I want to use my strengths to position myself in this wonderfully welcoming society. But the difficulty I keep having is that this friendliness covers a deep issue.

For many Taiwanese, they find it very difficult to see a future with a foreigner. Social media is a big thing for them, and that outward appearance matters so much (which I acknowledge is the case almost everywhere). In the two years I’ve been here I’ve often been the only 外國人 in groups of Taiwanese. I know it makes people uncomfortable. I stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t feel it myself, but then on social media it attracts discussion that ultimately harms the relationship I am building with those new friends.

Is my analysis correct? Is this something that I should accept and move on from? I do not live in Taipei, so I recognize my experience may be different there. I also loved in Beijing a year, and had a support system almost immediately. Very fulfilling friendships with locals that I maintain to this day. But here in Taiwan the experience is very different, I really feel that at first I’m welcome but in the long term it’s better I not bother these people - I’ve outlived my usefulness.

you’ve made 200 attempts?
sheet, I’ve been here over twenty years and might have made 1/10 the attempts?
What am I doing wrong?

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LGBT forum?

I’ve met hundreds of people and had many conversations, but made less friends in Taiwan than in anyplace I’ve lived.

I think it’s common and just the way things are for the majority of people. Big cities, social media, living in different areas from potential friends, etc. and people actually feel and become more isolated. Look at Tokyo for example lonely people, low marriage and birth rate, etc.

Not being part of the culture will always contribute to a separated feeling.

Taiwanese have long term “friends” from school and work tends to fill more of a friend situation even if not real…

It’s hard to make friends in Taiwan I think and I also speak Chinese to a reasonable level . There is too much obsession with looks here, true… And yes mainlanders can be more straightforward in general. On the mainland a lot of people are migrants but here in Taiwan it’s a bit different. They are either thinking of getting something from the relationship.
Also Taiwanese themselves aren’t very outgoing, depending on family networks in many cases.
I mostly don’t bother now. Which isn’t a great answer but yeah it’s probably not you . Its still a lot easier for me to make friends with Westerners overseas. It’s cultural and if you can’t blend in looks wise it can be a bit tough.

After nearly twenty years in Taiwan my Taiwanese friends were overwhelmingly either foreign-born/raised Taiwanese or friends/family of my wife who have also become my good friends. The very few Taiwanese friends I had outside of these groups were colleagues.

For what it’s worth, I moved to Vancouver two years ago and the only friends I have made here are people I was friends with twenty years ago when I lived in Montreal who I’ve reconnected with because they have moved here.

Part of my problem is probably due to getting older and wanting different things out of friendship. My experience doesn’t sound relevant to your situation though tbh.

If you want to make more friends the best advice for you is to leave Taiwan and go to a western country (assuming you are a Westerner ), especially when younger. It’s harder to make good friends when you are older no matter where you are . But it’s easier to make easy acquaintances in Western countries , again, culture.
You are taking the ‘im not able to make friends easily here’ too personally . It’s just the way it is and it’s nothing to do with you as an individual most likely. If that’s the way it is , it very likely won’t change no matter what you do. Look around you do you see people talking to each other on the MRT, in 7-11, in the elevator , in the playground ? Do they talk about football after the weekend over the water cooler ? Do they ask each, 'what are you doing for the weekend or ‘Friday drinks?’.
It’s just the way it is.

Yes sorry, I should have indicated that being gay, many of these attempts have been started using online apps (well over half). Meeting people once or twice. Then not being ghosted, but reaching a point where arranging times together again seem near impossible as they change plans last minute or find absurd excuses (it may rain tomorrow so I need to rest, my roommate got mad at me for not locking the door so I can’t see anyone today, there is a sound in my phone that I need to get fixed today instead, etc…).

Yes, I understand. Your experience is useful to keep in mind. Many friendships you’ve built up over time, and they’ve been ones that had a clear sense and purpose. Thank you.

Thanks for sharing your experience Brian. I don’t think I’ll return to a western country, but I feel the compulsion to leave. Which does sadden me. I want to love Taiwan, but I find it difficult to shake off this feeling of not belonging here.

Taiwanese people don’t like saying no so they often do things like this. It’s actually very frustrating because it would have saved me a lot of trouble if they just said no rather than changing their plans last minute.

And I find gay people everywhere (not just in Taiwan) are very provincial and there are distinct groups, and they do not mix at all.

It frustrates the hell out of me. I’m supposed to figure out from contextual clues that someone saying yes means no.

Seriously, the face loss for everyone concerned would be greatly reduced if they just said no when they don’t want to do something. Rather than saying yes and then not doing it, or coming up with some excuse involving a sick family member.

Thinking about it, they often enthusiastically say yes when they mean no.

By the way I had a lot of difficulties making any friends at all in the US too. I don’t know why but everyone there is always busy as though they are working crazy hours.

Well people on apps are flaky. It’s just the way it is.

Who needs friends when you have forumosa

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