Making friends

Sounds more like you’re fresh off the boat. All Chinese (Taiwanese) divide the world into “Chinese” and “foreigners”. Most foreigners who live in Taiwan for any length of time pick up the terminology. I don’t see anything weird about it.

There’s a difference between not discriminating on the basis of differences (i.e., thinking that they don’t really matter, although they do exist) and completely ignoring them. The first is possible, the second is really against human nature.

For Bri: I agree about attrition and its problems. I think what I find interesting is how few long-timers I’ve met! Maybe we just get into ruts and go to the same places and see the same people (or the new crop of the year). I mean, I hear lots of people on ORIENTED who’ve been here for a good many years. Had no idea. At least now I only feel like half a freak.


10 years ago, I had many friends and even more acquaintances. Now I have my wife, two friends who I consider close, and a handful of less-close friends.

For me, the endless cycle of making new friends, only to see them leave after a year or two, became too painful.

Plus, of course, I became a bad-tempered curmudgeon, prompting most people to give me a wide berth. The restraining orders don’t help much, either.

Well, they do leave, but at least now with e-mail you can actually hear from them, unlike the 2-week-airmail-cycle of years ago, where you would forget what you were all upset about by the time the reply came from your friend or relative. And then you have more places to stop over on long air trips, if you play your cards right and meet people who live in desirable destinations.

Actually I’ve been pleasantly surprised lately at the number of friendly folk I’ve met, some of whom I do consider new friends, particularly at the office. I wonder if some of us who’ve been here for a long time aren’t too focused on whatever we’re doing (or have completely lost focus so that the vacant look in our eyes scares everyone off?)

Anyway, you never know which of the “fresh-off-the-boats” will become addicted to Taiwan and stay for the next 30 years, so doesn’t it pay to be nice and friendly to everyone just in case? (Big Florence Henderson smile here). But seriously…


You know what? I’ve made several new friends recently just through Oriented!!

Of course, being a moderator has its advantages in that quite a few people have contacted me in regards to ‘Teaching’, but then again, others have contacted me in regards to my posts, in general.

Big Babou
Iron Lady
LJ’s boyfriend
etc, etc, etc…

I’ve only met in the “flesh” Big Babou, Ironlady, and LJ’s boyfriend, however I’d love to meet the others. Where were you at Happy Hour, btw???

I also have quite a few friends I already know on here, some of whom I’ve probably become closer to, DUE TO Oriented discussion topics: Sandman, Maoman, Poagao, Chainsmoker, ckvw, Abracadabra, etc…

And there are other Taiwan centred internet sites in which I’ve also scored a couple new friends.
Look around.

So, I think the internet is a great place to meet people, actually. And through studies (whatever kind you choose). And work. And other activities. My advice is to stay active while living in Taiwan. It doesn’t mean you have to go out to pubs every single night, but it won’t kill you to make the rounds once in a while. Don’t become a recluse here, and always look for new people, opportunities.

The flow of “guanxi” in Taiwan is absolutely stupendous, so take advantage of the tide!!!
Help your friends and acquaintances out as much as you can, and it will flow back on you, and you’ll be a much happier person living here, and you’ll never feel lonely, even when they move away.
But think, at least when they move on, you can score some of their belongings!
People will have a field day when and if I move in two years time…