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Jul 04, 2010

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Daniel Rocha

Jakub, great post. As a Brazilian that has been living and working in Google NYC for the past 3 years, I completely relate to what you wrote. The cultural differences make it very hard to make friends, specially when most of your time is spent working. After all the time I've been here, I've made some progress, but not much. Things haven't gotten easier, unfortunately.

Jakub Petrykowski

Thanks Daniel.

You said that cultural differences make it hard to make friends. Can you give a few examples of such differences that you or someone you know has experienced?

Igor

IMO it has nothing to do with a so called 'closed cultore'. I experienced the same in the Netherlands and... in just a different city in PL (so no cultural/language barriers).

There's a huge gap between having a casual small talk at the coffee stand and going out for a beer. Especially with people whom you have not met at work. So OK I met some guys at a gym or elsewhere but asking someone out was always well... pretty awkward. Definitely more naturals when dealing with girls, but with guys there was always this 'ekhm... r u into me or what?'.

Jo

Hey Jakub!

Dima K mentioned your blog to me recently and hence here I am :).

Totally relate to what you say in this post: it is a prevalent issue in post-college life, because you no longer can make friends as easily as you do back in those carefree days when you are a classmate/schoolmate/sports teammate with people around you. Once you enter the workforce/grad school, you tend to encounter people with "serious" obligations eg. married, family, kids etc, thus, you never seem to have opportunities to interact with them outside of regular working hours.

I think this occurs everywhere to everyone - cultural or language barrier merely introduce additional complexities. It's an ongoing challenge for me even living in an English-speaking country for so long :). But persistence is the key (and of course, it's always easier said than done...)!

I once read an article related to this: Developing social currency. Maybe you will find it relevant.
http://www.deandreaming.com/2009/10/building-a-network/

Love your writings, please keep it up! Will continue reading your achives and future posts. Also, please let Dima and I know if you are ever in the US in the future, we will always be happy to hang out with you, before, during or after work! :)

Take care,

Jakub Petrykowski

@Igor

Have you came up with some ways to make it easier then?

@Jo

I can see how people have less time which makes making new friends harder - this is very visible with friends from high school or university; we no longer spend that much time together. I do regret that sometimes.

Persistence is the last solution I like to apply, because there are other areas in life where I need lots of it - but I like the simple ruleset in the article you linked, thanks for that!

Definitely see you once I do my real sight seeing trip to the US. I'm thinking of going there next year, but we'll see!

Igor

Well... actually I did not. I treat it as a slow making-things-better process. I go out without mp3 player more often (this is a one serious interaction-killer!), engage more into conversations with people I meet on a day-to-day occasions. And somehow I am throwing a big party (shame that u won't be in Cracow) on saturday where I gonna have couple of ppl I met... at the gym.

Internet is also useful, so I've heard ;-)

Jakub Petrykowski

I found a very interesting summary of a discussion about friendships - some good questions & analysis. Worth reading!

http://svjunto.wikispaces.com/friendship

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