"The challenges of developing and maintaining friendships as an expat". - Expat Nest e-counselling


“The challenges of developing and maintaining friendships as an expat”.

Catch our guest blog on IamExpat in the Netherlands: “The challenges of developing and maintaining friendships as an expat”.




  1. Arulnathan John says:

    ” Don’t be discouraged if your first evening at a social event doesn’t yield a Saturday spent at the beach with your newly found friends. Attend the next meeting, and the next one. Eventually, bonds will form, and you will have your coveted long weekends or day at the beach with friends.”

    Yes Vivian, I can concur with that comment. It has been my experience. I have been burnt in many personal experiences before, and meeting new people still gives me apprehension. But I force myself out because the missed opportunities mean that I lose out on the richness life has to offer through new friends, acquaintances and experiences.

    Some of the friendships started awkwardly but I persevered and went for the subsequent meetings, and eventually many friendships have been forged. And we still meet up whenever we can. Or they call me to visit for coffee or visit them in their hometowns.

    So it does work out Vvvian. It may not work out at first but persevere and you eventually get there if you chin up and do not give up:))

    1. Vivian Chiona says:

      Dear John

      Thank you so much for your comment which I am sure it will be of value to other members of the Expat Nest community. You are such an example and you walk your talk!

      I couldn’t agree more with you more on keep trying, not giving up when things don’t go as planned…! The right people eventually come into our lives and based on our past experiences (and what we have learnt from them) we are ready to welcome them and to give them the right place in our heart!

      Best wishes


  2. Louis Hofman says:

    A very good advice to bond with the locals. To take but an example, when I lived in Athens in the early nineties, I got friends with the owner of the petrol station in our street. It turned out that he was a member of a (English speaking) theatre group and I attended a very nice performance by them. Who would have thought that the petrol station owner would be an actor in his off time. And the other day I stayed a few days with friends too befriended when living in Athens. Nowadays they own a gorgeous boutique resort on Zakynthos. So all in all I consider myself one lucky fella and the friendships that lasted exceeded by far those that never materialized or dissolved. As John writes, go for it and keep on trying. In the end one will hit a few winners as to say so.

    1. Vivian Chiona says:

      Dear Louis,

      Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your experience in making friends in Greece (some memories came to my mind when you were talking about some places in my homeland ?

      Great also to see that you found John’s comment to the point and of inspiration to you.

      Love to see this interaction in our community!

      Glad that you found this article valuable, especially the point on making bonds both with internationals and


      May your initiative, courage, and your values of friendship be an inspiration to us all!

      As you and John highlight: socializing as an expat, however difficult at times, will ultimately pay off in the shape of a few invaluable, lifelong relationships.

      All the best,


  3. Dimiliana says:

    Having been an expat in not just one but two countries(France and Netherlands) in my short life of 26 years old, I have to admit that saying goodbye has a bittersweet effect. Bitter as it is hard to leave or to be left back, sweet because it motivates you to reconnect in a different place with a familiar face. So many times I have visited my friends worldwide and these welcome hugs at the airport were the best of my life! True friendships know no goodbyes, so what I decided is to say instead is “A bientot – See you soon” and try my best to commit to that, just for the sake of all the joyful memories that me and my friends managed to built together in our “foreign land”.

    1. Vivian Chiona says:

      Dear Dimiliana,

      Thank you for your comment! Indeed, as you say, leaving behind some, and reconnecting with others are two sides of the same coin as a relocating expat… Perhaps both emotions are amplified: sadness about leaving a place and its people, and excitement about arriving at your destination, where other loved ones are waiting for you. It sounds like you see the beauty in these unique experiences; keep being the happy expat you are!

      All the best,


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