Someone once told me that making friends in Australia would be tough as Australians, especially females, tend to have their own close circle of friends that they’ve grown up with since childhood and rarely ever let others into that circle as adults. I thought that was true of anyone whether Australian or American or whatever.
Three years and a bit later, I find that I don’t have someone to call a true friend here. I know people here and I talk to people. I have some Aussie mates that I call friends as a generic term of endearment and thus have ended up being friended on Facebook. I may go into work and have a chit chat or vent or a gossip with my coworkers. However, of all these people I know in Australia, there isn’t a person that I would call on a Saturday and say “hey want to go to the movies?” or “there’s this awesome sale at this shop, let’s go together” or “the kids are driving me crazy, want to come over so your kids could play with mine while we just do grownup things?” And I miss that. I see my friends, my real friends from the USA, posting on Facebook about their day to day things and I wish I could partake in those things as well. While I’m not depressed or down or anything, I do feel like I’m missing something in my life. And I know that is just a friend.
Another person told me that once my boys were in school that would change as their growing social lives would force me to meet their friends parents and therefore form friendships with these ladies. So I waited eagerly for that inevitable day.
My eldest has been in school for 6 months now and I’m seeing that what I was told about Australian females and their circles may be true afterall. When I pick up LJ from school, I tend to stand apart from the other mothers. Not by choice. When I get there before the ladies, they don’t approach me and rarely offer me any greeting unless I make the first move. If I get there after the other ladies, I see they’re already in their circles chatting away about different things. I say “hello” “good afternoon”, “how are you?” and perhaps anything else that I believe may be of relevant as an icebreaker. One or two ladies are plain rude and look at me as if I have an extra head growing out of my nose but most are friendly enough to give me their one word answers and then resume their own conversations without me. I started to wonder if I smelled or if there was something off putting about me, like am I the obnoxious American that many people think Americans are. I don’t smell. I don’t believe I’m presenting in a negative way. While yes I am American, not everything that is on TV is true so not all Americans are obnoxious. I’m friendly and always offer a smile to someone. It is also a private school and I remember reading an article a few weeks ago about how some parents didn’t want “poorer” families to enjoy the same education as a more affluent family. I don’t want to believe that’s the case as I can be considered as one of those so-called “poorer families” since I drive a beat up 1990-something Holden something as opposed to a new SUV. Putting the article aside, I must assume that the reason I’m still considered an outsider is because that’s what I am. I am an outsider. I didn’t grow up with these ladies and haven’t been in their social circles since they could remember. So what can I do? Just keep on trying without it getting to me. I hope with time they will see that I am an awesome person to have as a friend and they open up their circles to me. In the meantime, I’ll just keep on trucking…and ask you: