Not having friends is hard.

Sure, I’ve met a ton of people, but how many can I really just call to hang out?

Cath, who has earned the title of my Manila BFF, just started working so I can no longer do things with her on the 8+ hours I’m home alone, and at night she’s busy doing her own things (and so are we, since the scuba diving classes are taking up all our nights this week, and will take all our weekend).  Then yesterday I was told, in so many words, by a friend (?) that she would rather stay home alone than hang out with me for an hour, when I happen to be in her neighborhood.

Needless to say, last night I was in tears with Karl, that I have no friends here, that nobody likes me.  I miss my friends in DC and my friends in Brazil.  I miss someone I can just call up and chat.

I’m starting to wonder.  Is it me?  Maybe I’m the bad friend?  I think I’m a good listener, and I KNOW I would do anything for a friend, but then why is it so hard to make friends and keep them?  There must be something wrong with me, no?

We all make mistakes, and I can pinpoint mistakes I have made in a friendship that years later still haunt me, but for other times, I’m dumbfounded, as to what I did.  Or maybe I’m just not a likeable person?  (But I wouldn’t have a successful running group in DC if being around me was bad, right?  People would choose to run elsewhere.)

This is the kind of post that if Karl sees it, he’ll turn around and go “now you won’t have any friends because you posted that.”  But sometimes, you just need to be honest with yourself, with others, and you need to get things out there, because I don’t want to spend another night crying that I’m not liked.  It’s no fun to live life that way.

I LOVE Manila.  But gosh, it can be so damn lonely sometimes.


Filed under Non-Running Stuff

32 responses to “Raw

  1. I’ve been reading your blog only a short time and I’m sorry you’re going through a hard time. I moved 11 times in 11 years, and remember every transition. The questions you raised in this post I asked myself more than once. I finally realized that it takes 6 months to a year to make really good friendships. Here’s to better days ahead!

    • Thanks! It’s hard posting these things because you also don’t want to offend the people that have been super-nice to you, you know? The good thing about working in a new place is that at least you have an instant social life, even if only at work. Here, there are too many hours of the day to try to fill up, and though I spend enough time by myself and actually enjoy my own company, I do better with people!


    Meeting people and making friends in a new place – ESPECIALLY a new country – is hard. Once you get past the “OMG you’re American? I’m American! let’s hang out!” and you’re left trying to make actual friends, it’s HARD.

    YOU ARE AWESOME. Crying because you are lonely is normal, even if it’s sad.

    • Tracy, you’re a sweetie!

      You’re right the whole “OMG, you’re American! Me too! Let’s hang out!” happens a lot (even though I’m not American, and the BFF I made is actually Scottish!).

      Karl doesn’t get the loneliness because he’d give anything not to have to work, and I don’t blame him. I like not having to wake up with the alarm and being able to workout whenever I feel like it, instead of only when I have time. But it’s a loooong day to stay by yourself!

  3. It’s definitely not you. Making friends without working is hard. Hubby works and I don’t, and sometimes I find that I am REALLY lonely and he doesn’t understand because he actually gets to chat with other people at work. Is there any type of volunteer activity that you’d enjoy? I joined a community band and it seems to be enough for me to feel socialized enough. 🙂 It really does get better, but it just takes time.

    • I didn’t know you weren’t working either!

      Looks like most of the volunteer work here happen after hours (which makes sense). I have yet to find something that I’m excited about either, except for volunteering at a pet shelter, but we all know what would happen if I ended up in a place like that: I’d be showing up with a new pet every.single.day.

      I like having my own schedule to do things, and being able to work out when I want to, etc, I just wish I had someone else to do things with me! I think for a while I didn’t notice it since Cath wasn’t working and I would see her a few times a week which kept my mind busy, but now that I’m the only one left not working it’s just too many empty hours! I miss girl talk!

  4. I am sorry you had a bad night. I have never met you, but I wish I had! Don’t let someone think such bad things about yourself!

    I totally understand how you feel. I feel the same way, except I have lived here 2 years, I just lost all my friends overnight because they were all His friends. So I sit in a town FULL of people and feel lonely. It seems silly. I need to get out and make friends, and I will, and so will you.

    When you come back I will be your friend in real life too!!

    • Angela, at least in DC I know where to make friends! Where do you live? If you’re in VA, you really should join my running group: http://www.irunyourun.com. They are WONDERFUL, people are SUPER friendly, there’s people of every pace, from 20’s to 30’s (and even a few 40’s), we do happy hours all the time, and it’s definitely not a competitive or snooty vibe. Give them a chance. I know it’s scary the first time you go, but believe me, they are not at all intimidating!

      • I have been thinking about joining a running group. But I am not confident in my running. I feel slow and I don’t want to hold people back. I am in Alexandria, near mt Vernon (for now – its a temp, situation until I figure out my next steps) I need to suck it up and try it…

        • You really should! Our runs with our group are usually by time, not distance (except the weekend long runs), so even let’s say, there’s no one at your pace that day, you will still get to mingle with everyone at the start, people will pass you after the turn around (and say hello), and you will mingle with everyone when it’s over. I love the “by time” thing because I know I’m not holding anyone back, but I still finish with all the fast people!

  5. I can relate! We got to post three weeks ago, and because it was (at least until a month or two ago) an adults only post, there is, quite literally, no one here for me to hang out with during the day. It’s been a very lonely three weeks. I can only hope that this adjustment period is temporary (for both of us). Hang in there!

    • Now try making 3 weeks into 3.5 months! Some weeks have been better than others, and fortunately moving to our permanent housing helped a LOT (since there’s actually things to do around here). But sometimes, even the best distractions in the world don’t help when you have no one to hang out with!

  6. Honestly, I was wondering how you were doing with this. I know when I was unemployed in December, I got really lonely and pretty miserable being at home by myself. I started to cook a lot, which meant I gained weight (mmmm home baked bread). I tried to get into volunteering places, but it didn’t really work out. I did a lot of blogging, and watched a lot of TV.

    One thing that helped me a lot was coming up with a list of things to do, and goals. So I started a photography blog, and then I started taking pictures for it. I went to the library and checked out books and did a lot of reading. I started quilting. It helped to at least feel like I had things I needed to get done, to have projects again. Because friends are great, but like you’re finding, sometimes they flake and sometimes they are busy. I think keep working at it – you will find your people somewhere.

    • Most days I keep myself busy. I’m lucky enough that there’s enough to do where we live. I can walk everywhere, explore everything. But even when you do keep yourself busy you still miss conversation and chitchats, you know?

  7. I posted something like this awhile back… I really love my friends, but I don’t feel like I have super close friends here. We moved a couple years ago and I have met people, but they have moved too…so yes it is really hard and it does make you feel a little like it’s something you (I) have done, but I know that’s not really the case. So I guess we both have to just keep trying!

  8. Laura

    I don’t even know you and I want to be your friend! It’s not you – don’t beat yourself up like that. I was going to suggest volunteering but I see that you already mentioned that mostly happens in the evenings and that a pet shelter is out of the question – ha ha. Are you allowed to work? If so, what about a part-time job where your English would come in handy? Are there any running stores there where you can look for another running group? What about volunteering at a school (again speaking English might help), a senior center, a hospital? I love the photography idea and you take great and fun pictures. What about writing a book based on all your experiences?

    On another note, can you Skype with your friends outside of Manilla?

    I hope you meet someone soon that you can chitchat with. Thanks for sharing your blog with all of us. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day!

    • Hi Laura, you’re too funny — and nice!

      No, I’m not allowed to work here since I don’t have American citizenship yet (so an Embassy job is out of the question), and there isn’t much in the local economy unless I teach (I’d be really bad at it). It’s not like there are no jobs, but the local salary is so little compared to what it is in the US, that is not worth giving up my free time to earn a 5th of what I would doing the same thing in DC. As for photography, I’ve been wanting to take classes but the schedule either doesn’t work (we have a trip planned for the weekends they’re held in — yes, they’re on the weekends), or going during the week means Karl would have no way to get back home by car (classes are 9 to 5, but they’re not offered very often during the week).

      Hahaha on the book! I wish my life was that interesting 🙂 And as for Skype I’m trying, but the 12 hour time difference is a bit of a killer.

      • Erica

        You might have to look at the salary at a different angle. Yes, it might be just a fifth of what you would have earned in DC, but the cost of living in Manila is much, much lower. So that salary will actually go further than you might think.

        • Actually, things in Makati are pretty much similar to the US (except for services, but those were so expensive in the US that I never got a pedicure or a massage anyway!). But the way I see it is not cost of living, but what my time is worth? And it’s not worth the salary when I rather enjoy my one chance in years of actually being able to afford to NOT work! (It won’t last forever so I like the leisurely life I have, I don’t think work would be making me any happier on the friends department…)

  9. I have a hard time when I move somewhere making friends. I was in Maryland for two years and can’t name a single friend from there. It’s hard. Can you Skype with your DC friends? Just to have a familiar voice? It’s not only a new city, but a foreign city, makes it double hard. Any classes you can sign up for where you might meet someone with common interests?

  10. Margaret

    only mean people would say that. you don’t want to be friends with them anyway.

    • I definitely don’t think it was an attempt of being mean, but of honesty. At least I rather know than waste my time inviting people who don’t want to hang out with me for doing things! But it hurts nonetheless…

      • Margaret

        I see. Don’t let it make you feel bad though. I doubt its you. Give it more time. You will find compatible friends. At least you have hobbies to sustain you until then. I love all your pictures by the way. Gorgeous!

  11. Chica – It’s rough here and it does take awhile to make friends. Much (much) longer than any where else that I have ever lived. Please – if you want to hang out – just give me a shout. Seriously. 🙂

  12. Pingback: 6 months or 25% of our time here | I Run, You Run

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