Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meeting People Part 2

My recent post about an expat's difficulty meeting people led me to think of another difference between expat and native social norms, namely the 'hows' of meeting people. On more than one occasion, I've noticed that the way I meet people here in Turkey reminds me a little of dating.

Random Public Place Meeting:
At a mall, gym, park, etc., one or the other overcomes initial shyness, no doubt the result of a subconscious fear of rejection, and "makes the first move," starting a conversation.

I have noticed that Torontonians and New Englanders are particularly loathe to use this method of establishing contact, perhaps afraid that we might be bothering the other person. On more than one occasion I've explained to my Turkish husband, much to his bafflement, why I didn't say something to that tourist we just saw. He's led me to question my assumptions about others -- that they have an itinerary and are too busy to make conversation; that they want to meet Turkish people, not fellow Canadians; that they would be insulted at my presumption they need help, having in fact well-researched their trip.

Book clubs and rugby teams, professional women's organizations, mom and tot groups are all great ways to bring together people with similar interests. A fun distraction, while you surreptitiously see if there is one person in the group with whom you might form a closer friendship. Kind of like taking a cooking class in an effort to find a boy/girlfriend?

An introduction by a mutual friend, aka The Setup;

followed by The Getting-to-Know-You-Better Coffee Date.

In the end, you're left exhausted and defeated; perhaps you should just settle for the people you already know. Sound familiar?


  1. HI there, after living here for a little more than a year now, I've actually found it easier to meet friends here than in the U.S. - where people are stuck in the same social groups. The problem we've had is finding other couples that hubby and I can go out with and have a good time. It's easy to meet a girlfriend. Yes, much like dating!

    Good post!

  2. Hi Joy; excellent points ... I agree!