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Difficult to make friends in America?

Difficult to make friends in America?

Old Nov 14th 2012, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
It's funny how our experiences differ. I feel the opposite.
+1. I had forgotten what is was like until a few years ago I was invited to a party to meet someone's British guests. I was introduced, they asked where I was from, and when they learned I was from north of Watford, a look down the nose and off they went! Reminded me of what I do not miss.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 6:57 pm
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Talking Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Ok - I had to write in. I'm an American woman and see how you guys (and gals if you're out there) are having trouble understanding how to make American friends and not sure who to include in your circle of options.

First of all, you have to understand American culture. We are competitive to the max. Ultimately competitive and fiercely independant. We're taught from the time we're born to win and that losing is unacceptable. So we go out of our way to find something to compete about. If you're searching for male buddies to hang out with, you need to learn something about football (American football of course). That's number one. Yes, we are also fiercely proud of our colleges that we attended because it gives us a reason to talk to each other, again competing but in a friendly way. For example, I went ot the University of Florida, and the first thing out of a UF grad is - "Hey, at least we won the NCAA National Championship three ties in a row, in 1996, 2006 and 2008". That gets everyone going about their school and whether their football team was any good or not. You could also include basketball in there, but really, who cares that much about any other sport other than football in the USA? You could also learn about the NFL football if you don't have a college to affiliate with. I personally like the New England Patriots, but one friend likes the Pittsburgh Steelers and another, the Denver Broncos.

This also sort of goes along with being materialistic - the better you look, the bigger your car and house is, the more money you make, the more college degrees you have then the better a person you are. Not necessarily the truth, but we are SO competitive that we see the world through competitve eyes. For instance, I have three college degrees, am a female electrical engineer, am in head of a huge electrical engineering group for one of the largest cities in the country, and I make over $120k a year. Why do I say this? Because this is what you would need to learn to talk about in our country. Shallow? Possibly. If you want to get along and fit in with Americans, leran this, then move on to other topics, like football (American, of course). But there are elements in every culture that an outsider could say something negative about. Don't judge us by your own standards. I'm just trying to help explain what to do to make friends. We are American and are a very proud people. We do like the British, but find them a bit odd. Probably this is more due the cultural differences. We really do like you, though.

Second - you're coworkers are not your friends. They are your acquaintenances, not your friends to go to the bar afterwards. Americans simply are not the 'go to the bar with coworkers' type pf people. Coworkers are your competition. You see them as those who you have to compete with for the better job and more money. Also, you may work at many different places over your career, so what's the point in being best friends forever with someone you'll probably never see again if you change jobs? This isn't an absolute, but it is very typical of American culture.

Third - We don't make fun of ourselves the way I've seen the Brits do. We aren't self-abasing. Not going to happen. Ever. Get used to that. We value being the best, not the worst, at something. Putting yourself down, even as only a joke, may seem harmless to you, but to Americans it comes across as having a lack of confidence and people will avoid you. Especially women.

And a biggie fourth - If you guys out there are trying to pick up American girls - you're in luck with this one. You are already half way there with your extremely cute accent. Seriously. You could have three noses and be a total dweeb, but it doesn't matter if you sound incredibly sexy, and a British accent automatically puts you in this category. Just go learn something about American football. And don't call it 'American' football or you'll just tick everyone off.

Believe it or not, we really do want to make friends weith you. Remember: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Go watch football at the bar and then see who comes up to you to talk. You'll be an instant hit.

Good luck!

Last edited by Colorado Ski Girl; Nov 14th 2012 at 7:06 pm.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
+1. I had forgotten what is was like until a few years ago I was invited to a party to meet someone's British guests. I was introduced, they asked where I was from, and when they learned I was from north of Watford, a look down the nose and off they went! Reminded me of what I do not miss.
People look down on different groups here.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

I have also become very cynical thanks to the two groups I was in. I spent a lot of my money and saw it used totally inappropriately. I then didn't want to ask other people for money, knowing this.
Thanks - I thought it was just us.... We were invited to a couple of events for local fund-raising (actually for what turned out to be very good causes - we always check the goals and affiliations of any group before we donate).

But it became obvious that we were expected to contribute by buying raffle tickets. Nothing wrong with that, except that this wasn't your "ticket-for-25p, strip for a pound" type raffle - this was SERIOUS money that we didn't have and could never afford.

It was very, very embarrassing - we felt like we were being watched and judged on how much cash we were prepared to splash. Most uncomfortable.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:07 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Thanks - I thought it was just us.... We were invited to a couple of events for local fund-raising (actually for what turned out to be very good causes - we always check the goals and affiliations of any group before we donate).

But it became obvious that we were expected to contribute by buying raffle tickets. Nothing wrong with that, except that this wasn't your "ticket-for-25p, strip for a pound" type raffle - this was SERIOUS money that we didn't have and could never afford.

It was very, very embarrassing - we felt like we were being watched and judged on how much cash we were prepared to splash. Most uncomfortable.
The causes may be good but how much of the money actually goes to it was the problem I had.

The auctions are a bit scary with pressure to bid thousands for items (this happens at school events too). Yes a long way from the strip of raffle tickets.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Interesting post. Rather than comment on each of your points, I think I can summarize my thoughts by saying there isn't one "American culture", there are many. (And you and I are from different ones. )

That's part of what has made this thread interesting to me, because different people are making comments on different Americas.

Regards, JEff


Originally Posted by Colorado Ski Girl View Post
First of all, you have to understand American culture.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

And a biggie fourth - If you guys out there are trying to pick up American girls - you're in luck with this one. You are already half way there with your extremely cute accent. Seriously.
HAHAHAHA !!! My son is 11, SERIOUSLY awkward, but blond-hair, blue-eyes and a British accent. He has a gaggle of 11-12 year old girls round him CONSTANTLY asking if they can carry his bag, help him with homework, etc, etc. He let's them "Mum" him.....
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:22 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Please excuse my slightly cynical stance here, but we've been used-and-abused by groups offering "friendship" and then fleecing us for cash.

If I want to contribute to my local society, school, library, roads, etc, etc, I primarily do that via taxation so that everyone pays a fair amount. As passed by Prop 30 this last month, Californians finally realise that - relying on private fund-raising and philanthropy just doesn't work. We've known that in Europe for years. Cameron tried his "big society" ideas and it fell flat-on-it's-a**e. You can't trust Big Corporations to fund public works - they don't even pay their fair-share in in-country tax and dodge their social responsibilities at every turn. That is why Amazon, Starbucks and Apple were called-to-account this last week - I'm sure there are more of them out-there and it is time to call them in.

I'm not denigrating what you and your group do, but I just want to make friends on neutral terms - not related to money, good-deeds, competitions, etc, etc. Cuppa-tea/Kir-and-nibbles type friends.

It's impossible here.
Different strokes for different folks - I dont knock anything till i walk in their shoes - I dont want to sit at home so i put myself out there - and in the meantime if i raise a bit of money thro standing on a stall selling cakes for whatever charity the group is supporting then great - costs me nothing but a yearly membership fee and few goodies to bring to the meeting once a month.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:27 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
On the outside, yes. Once you try to break in - no-way. They are just as cliquey, obsessed with money and work as every one else....

There are the odd (and I mean ODD) beach-bums out there that are just at one with nature, man, but if you lift-the-lid on Silicon Valley, you will see staff that are living the American Dream - that is keeping themselves within their narrow cultural zone and working 24/7 because they are just sh*t scared of being sent back form whence they came/not being able to afford the rent or mortgage/loosing health "benefits" (that should be rights).



Nicest bloke I ever knew was a Baronet. I didn't even know he was one until I read his obit !!!! Salt-of-the-earth type, slightly left of me politically....

And YES I've been trying to work this one out since we've been here. The US is far more class and status-divided that the UK (which itself is more class and status divided than most of Europe, although even places like France have a social pecking order once you scratch the surface).

What I really, really, really don't like about the status system here is that it is based on money. Everything is related to the nasty stuff - from schooling to healthcare. People rudely and arrogantly talk about money without considering whether they may be upsetting someone else's feelings. I have taken to asking people not to talk about money as I find it distasteful. The looks I get....

Connected with that is the way that people wear their badges of education as if it infers some "right" for them to be superior to you because they can afford it. Public education, especially in the Valley, is sneered at by some even though we have found the teachers and the education level to be just-as-good if not better than the UK. I have sat in business meetings with people that would be called total idiots in the UK to their face but they proudly state their qualifications as they introduce themselves expecting to be revered as demigods. And they are....

Everything about you - your car, your education, your Visa, your house/apartment/letting/owning status, your mobile phone - is used to judge and place you in a relative position with your "peers." Totally superficial and childish.

But my biggest issue is the arrogance and self-righteousness that seems ingrained in US culture - the belief that they are RIGHT and everyone else is WRONG. I have no problem with people being proud of their country, or of feeling allegiance to their fellow human beings (that is basic socialism...) and the Americans do that in spades. But what I do have an issue with is the inability to question accepted norms and practises in the way that I think Europeans do without it being seen as some form of high-treason. Not that people don't complain here - I hear them moan in private about the roads, the healthcare, the schools, etc, etc. But in public ? Never - the US is king.
But isn't that what you're doing? You're right and everyone is wrong?

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post

So, to the original point "Difficult to make friends in America?" - virtually impossible. Because once you understand what a judgmental society this is, you are always thinking "what is it you REALLY want from this relationship ?"
But you're acting as the biggest judge....
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:28 pm
  #85  
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by Colorado Ski Girl View Post
...If you want to get along and fit in with Americans, leran this...
Yeah, don't think most people do, nor care as it's really a load of gonads.

It's this artificial friendships that people have and aren't interested in.

Welcome to BE though
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
I have also become very cynical thanks to the two groups I was in. I spent a lot of my money and saw it used totally inappropriately. I then didn't want to ask other people for money, knowing this.

I'm sure the Daughters of the British Empire is legit and I'm glad CADreaming found it good. I haven't tried it myself, because I heard from others that our local group is comprised of real crusty old dragons.
Its totally legit but not everyones cup of tea (or coffee!)
It's made up of women from all walks of life - in my group the oldest member is 80 and the youngest is around 35 and the rest are scattered in between.

I would never in a million years have thought I would be interested or fit in - me being a "hip happening London type of gal" but Im very open minded and open myself to new experiences because as I have said before I dont want to be lonely and hey Im having fun!
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by CAdreaming View Post
Different strokes for different folks - I dont knock anything till i walk in their shoes - I dont want to sit at home so i put myself out there - and in the meantime if i raise a bit of money thro standing on a stall selling cakes for whatever charity the group is supporting then great - costs me nothing but a yearly membership fee and few goodies to bring to the meeting once a month.
Aren't you just a tad embarrassed by the groups name? We have a family friend from Kenya, and I can not imagine telling her "My wife is a member of the Daughter of the British Empire" never mind what her reaction would be to being inviting to join (as I understand she would be eligible).

(On a side note: She is nobbing off back to Kenya for a better life)

Last edited by kimilseung; Nov 14th 2012 at 7:31 pm.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:30 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
But isn't that what you're doing? You're right and everyone is wrong?



But you're acting as the biggest judge....
I'm guessing that he's talking more about America as a whole believing it is right - leader of the free world etc.
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:34 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
Aren't you just a tad embarrassed by the groups name? We have a family friend from Kenya, and I can not imagine telling her "My wife is a member of the Daughter of the British Empire" never mind what her reaction would be to being inviting to join (as I understand she would be eligible).
The name is what it is -whatever feelings I have for the name are outnumbered by the nice people I have met.

Im just putting it out there because some folks are on this thread saying that they are lonely because it's hard to make friends etc - if one doesnt want to join a group such as this then that's fine.

Last edited by CAdreaming; Nov 14th 2012 at 7:39 pm. Reason: spelling
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Old Nov 14th 2012, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: Difficult to make friends in America?

Originally Posted by Colorado Ski Girl View Post
Fundraisers. Yeppers. Those can cost quite a bit of money. But to be honest, I usually don't see anything go for over $100 at most. I see things like a dinner out for a family of four for about $50 at a local restaurant, or a ski package for two for maybe $200. A bottle of wine for $25-50, etc. When you go to fundraisers, remember that they are trying to raise money, not run a raffle. I do, however, still see the local school fundraisers sell $1 raffle tickets for some sort of prize. A single dollar doesn't go very far, so you won't see this at the bigger events fundraisers. Fundriasers and their auctions are sort of fun, actually. If you don't want the item but want to appear to be a good samaritan, bid low on something that everyone wants. You'll lose it and still come out as wanting to participate. Hopefully, the money goes to what the fundraiser intended for it to go to.
What the heck are you talking about?
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