HOW DO I MAKE FRIENDS IN A NEW PLACE?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I moved with my husband to a different country three years ago but I still don’t really have any friends here. I am shy and it is hard for me to meet people. Sometimes people have parties but they don’t invite me. How do I make friends?

—Lonely in a New Country (Hong Kong)

DEAR L.I.A.N.C.:

You may be lonely right now but I guarantee that you are not alone in feeling lonely and feeling like it is hard to meet people.

Perhaps you could look on Meetup.com to see if there are any local groups you’re interested in. They have all different topics—film, hiking, dancing, writing, international societies, and much more. Many cities also have local clubs that are listed in the paper. You could also perhaps reach out to the wives of your husband’s friends and extend a friendly hand.

If people have parties but don’t invite you, how about hosting a party yourself? It’s a great way to show your interest in developing friendships with people and you’d probably make someone’s day who is also feeling a little lonely and isolated.

HOW DO I GET OVER MY OLD SWEETHEART?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I spent a lot of time getting to know and falling in love with someone special. We had great affinity and spent a lot of time together. Our paths went in different directions and I have moved on to a great degree, recognising it wasn’t meant to be. Although I don’t pine after this person any more, what I can’t get over is the belief that I won’t meet anyone else with whom I feel that merging of hearts and minds and souls. That I’ll ever feel as safe or wanted with anyone else. Or that my heart will skip a beat for someone else like it did for this person. Any thoughts on how to build a bridge and get over it once and for all? I’m so done with myself feeling this way. Thank you.

—Stuck (New Zealand)

DEAR S.:

Thank you for asking this question.

First, make space for your new mate by releasing old energies (old hopes and dreams about your previous relationship). Also, you might want to clean out any reminders of your old mate as well—photos, digital and otherwise. If you are friends on Facebook, perhaps unfollow him for a while until you’re solidly on a path where you don’t get caught up in moments of regret or fears that you won’t be able to feel that way about someone new.

You will indeed meet someone new but it’s important to get in a space where you will both recognize this new person as a potential mate and also have room in your heart for him. Get out there and join group activities such as Meetup or other clubs with people of similar interests. If you like hiking, look for a hiking group or a film group or singing group or whatever excites you. When you’re ready, you might even want to try online dating but you might want to start with groups so you can just have fun socializing and getting out and making new friends and being part of new communities.

Keep in mind that often when we want something and we’re impatient, it may feel like it will never happen or we cannot imagine how or when something will happen. Before you meet your old mate, do you remember feeling like you never would meet someone new? But you did, as you will again!

Much love.

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