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How to handle forming friendships?
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alonzo9772



Joined: 23 Sep 2016
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: How to handle forming friendships? Reply with quote

I am about to begin my ESL career. Currently, my plan is to switch back-and-forth between working in Chinese language centers and Korean hagwons for about five years. During the middle of that, I will earn the CELTA certificate. Following, once I build up my CV and have the certificate, I will try to get a job in a Chinese university.

Anyway, back to my original question. How do you handle the fact that the other foreign teachers and co-teachers that you meet during the career can be there one day then leave and go off to work in another country the next day? I am already saddened by the fact that it will happen where I become very attached to someone then one day I see the person packing his/her luggage and tell me "Alonzo...I got accepted for the university job in Kazakhstan. I couldn't turn it down. I am heading off to the airport right now." Have any of you experienced something similar to that?
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1317
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A job is a job, don't get too wrapped up in coworkers. As you get older, a few long-term friendships will form and you get used to distance communication. Marriage, kids, retirement life events will make and break more. It's natural and especially common for nomad teachers.
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SammytheSlug



Joined: 23 Nov 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You just accept it.

Some teachers never bother that much trying to become friends with colleagues due to how often people come and go. I think that's the wrong approach.

Just take things as you would at home. You'll meet some people you instantly get on with, others you take a while to warm to, some you can't stand. Of those, some will eventually become friends. Then you'll both move to different countries. At that point, you'll lose touch with some people. Others will remain in touch. Some will exchange visits or meet up on trips home etc.

You settle into a rhythm where your friendships with different people are conducted in a different way. You'll get used to your best mates living all over the world.

That's the life we have chosen. Embrace it.
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OhBudPowellWhereArtThou



Joined: 02 Jun 2015
Posts: 1168
Location: Since 2003

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many of the people you meet won't be moving vertically, and some may not even be leaving of their own accord.

You'll even be glad to see some of them go.

As was stated before, most FTs don't get too close to other FTs. There's a reason for it.
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cartago



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 283
Location: Iraq

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's sad but at least you can still stay in touch through email and Facebook.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11534
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that other expats are most people's first friends, but as you are around longer, it becomes easier to be friends with locals and other long-term expats.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1317
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Befriending locals has always been more fun for me, I prefer to avoid coworker friendships. The exception was in the middle East, where local friendships are basically a no-go..
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reblair79



Joined: 15 Jan 2016
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are not already, you would need to learn to be happy within your own company and not be dependent on others being around you, I would imagine. I spent a few years in the forces and very strong bonds were built with people - then they could get reposted to another ship very quickly with hardly the chance to say goodbye. I personally love making new friends and building relationships but I don't get too upset when they end as at the end of the day, I am number one and my happiness depends on my own perspectives and mind-set. It is not dependent on those around me. I will be starting my teaching career next year and after my CELTA and I expect much the same to happen as in the forces.
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cartago



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 283
Location: Iraq

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange I live in the Middle East and I find it very easy to make friends here but I suppose it depends on the part of the Middle East where you live.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1317
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cartago wrote:
Strange I live in the Middle East and I find it very easy to make friends here but I suppose it depends on the part of the Middle East where you live.


Egypt, for me. I think most women my age simply had too many family/close friends to consider friendships with expat women. Perhaps it is different for male expats.
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LH123



Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Posts: 61

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:51 pm    Post subject: Re: How to handle forming friendships? Reply with quote

alonzo9772 wrote:
How do you handle the fact that the other foreign teachers and co-teachers that you meet during the career can be there one day then leave and go off to work in another country the next day?


New teachers in entry-level jobs, especially those in countries/cultures which are markedly different from their own, do tend to forge quite intense - albeit short-lived - interpersonal relationships with each other. At least, I certainly did with the people I worked with. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and it doesn't accordingly mean that your heart is broken every few weeks/months when a loved/trusted colleague and confidant abandons you for pastures new. On the contrary, you have a constant stream of new people to meet and get to know (and, invariably, hook up with - if that's your thing). The fact that it is short-lived doesn't make it devalued.

I found that when I was in my transient life phases (moving around and changing jobs/locales fairly frequently) I was able to make some very good, albeit temporary friendships with whomever I happened to be with at the time. Most of those relationships have fizzled out, or have been relegated to 'person on Facebook who I still occasionally see pictures of but never contact' nowadays - but that doesn't negate the value that those relationships had to me at the time.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel that you're overthinking this OP. I'm guesssing that you are still in your twenties? As you get older you realise that you only need a handful of true friends. They may be family members, childhood/university friends who ppl you met on a working holiday in a far off place. These are the people that you may not chat to for months at a time or see for years, but they never judge you and you pick up conversation when you do meet as if it was only yesterday.
Sure, you may meet new people who may turn out to be one of these true friends along the way. But just enjoy the companionship of people that you find common ground with and/or respect and more importantly, that show you respect. Don't give too much of your time to negative people (especially people who have a negative influence on you).
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cartago



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 283
Location: Iraq

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

santi84 wrote:
cartago wrote:
Strange I live in the Middle East and I find it very easy to make friends here but I suppose it depends on the part of the Middle East where you live.


Egypt, for me. I think most women my age simply had too many family/close friends to consider friendships with expat women. Perhaps it is different for male expats.


I think it may be different. Women in the Middle East, very generally speaking, are more restricted in their social activities. Like, going out in the evening away from family could be a problem.
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twowheel



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 752

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

getbehindthemule wrote:
Sure, you may meet new people who may turn out to be one of these true friends along the way. But just enjoy the companionship of people that you find common ground with and/or respect and more importantly, that show you respect. Don't give too much of your time to negative people (especially people who have a negative influence on you).


This, definitely this.

+1

twowheel
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Osiry



Joined: 19 Mar 2015
Posts: 84
Location: Nanjing

PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made quite a few friends during my first stint in China. Most of them I'd say hello to if I saw them again, and there are a couple I maintain semi regular contact with via wechat and facebook. Just because you don't live right next to each other doesn't mean you can't maintain a meaningful friendship.
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