18 Is the Loneliest Age of All for A Beautiful Girl like You–How to Make International Friends

friendship guideA beautiful, young, and talented girl approached me at an event one day. I have met her at some activities in a group and we both know quite a few people, although we don’t really know each other.

She asked me, Yoky, how did you become friends with Cecilia, Peter, and Jonathan? Specifically, how are you good friends with Cecilia? Why do you have so many international friends? Why can’t I make friends with them?

I corrected her, uhm, I don’t have that many friends. My life is not as glamorous as you see from my WeChat moments.

I actually spend a lot of time feeling lonely, just like everybody else. It was not until recently that I embraced my loneliness and made peace with it. Once I have done that, I gained friendship. lol.

I think having studied abroad certainly helps me make international friends.

But for the most part, it is about being comfortable with your own skin.

I understand how hard it is to be pretty, intelligent, and lonely. I went through what you are going through. You are transitioning from finding who you are to accepting who you are. It is a very tricky period of time.

When I was in college in the states, I had the hardest time building friendship.

When I was in Shanghai for the summers during college, I felt the same way as you with my expat friends. I didn’t know how to hang out with them. My English wasn’t great. My self-esteem was low. I was still in college and wasn’t familiar with the happy hour/ bar culture.

I told this girl that don’t try to please, don’t always agree, and have your own opinion. 

That is my biggest tip for friendship: just fucking be you! 

Don’t be too eager when you want to hang out with somebody. When you are comfortable with yourself, they will be attracted to you. It is o.k. to let them come to you.

Don’t keep toxic friends in your life. I have met a couple expats in Shanghai who are only interested in bringing negative influences towards you. Delete their contact right away.

Don’t think that you need to have fun or to entertain. I have gone to parties in the states where I felt very awkward about my presence. I realized that I don’t have to smile and have fun. I can just be there and observe.

It helps a lot when you are funny. Here are my humor styles:

-being sarcastic

-telling the truth

-telling the opposite of truth

-being arrogant

I will write another post on “how to be funny”. Don’t worry girl!

It helps a lot when you speak good English. I have only spent all that tuition, time, and money to speak good English…so don’t worry….Uhm, see, that was an example of being sarcastic.

It helps a lot when you meet one good friend who has a great personality and is well-connected. That friend will most likely introduce you to his/ her circle.

Don’t pretend that you understand something when you don’t. The quickest way to lose a friend is when you pretend. 

Last but not least, don’t force anything. I have always believed that happiness comes from quitting chasing the wrong things. If somebody is not willing to make friends with you, leave and find a new friend to talk to.

Growing up is a pain in the ass. It made me stronger. I am sure you will be just fine when you get older.

Good luck to you my darling. I wrote this just for you.

Sincerely,

Yoky Yu

(1934)

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