When your parents force you to move a lot in your development years, be it international or domestic, you’re bound to make many friends. But you’ll not learn to keep friends, because you move before any long term friendship can be established. My F blog musings is about friendships.
When I was twelve, I had already been to five schools (plus kindergarten before that), plus moved across continents, but also countries. I was good at being ‘the new kid.’ I was good at adapt to the new place. I made easily friends and was interested in the new place, the new class mates, the new teachers. But, as grown up, when I look back at these years, I can see that I often made friends on a superficial level. I would rarely trust any of my new friends with my secrets or other things that you do to become friends on a deeper level. And it’s logical. You see, I had learned that, at some point, it could be tomorrow, next week or next year, my mother would tell me that we were moving again, and I would have spent much time making friends that I’d not see again. I also learned that since it hurt too much to leave, it was better to not become too much invested. It makes perfectly good sense when I think about it today. I was an openminded girl that was willing to accept a lot in my new environments, but I learned to keep my inner self to myself.
As child you’re dependent on your parents. My parents were restless souls who didn’t want to keep any bonds to the places they left. So there were no opportunities to pay my friends any visit, to keep in touch. I’d write letters, but after a while, you forget about people you don’t see on everyday level. I was better at this when I grew older and then, after a while, there was social media.
Unfortunately and sadly this has stuck. I am good at making contact with people, but I have few close friends, and very few that I’ve had for many years. I have one friend I’ve known since age of twelve, something I’m grateful for. Happily I have met again friends I made in West Africa as teenager on Facebook, and also classmates from Norway.
I know what is required to make friends, and I understand that it is possible to keep friends for many years, but I will probably still hesitate in investing myself too much. Also, I lack the steadily feedback from friends around me. I worry that I have become weird and eccentric in many people’s eyes and that they will have trouble understanding me, unless they have had a rootless background themselves, perhaps also as third culture kids. So, I’ve become a mixture of open and closed. Happily I’m aware of this, and that this is very normal for people with my background. Today it is also much easier to find people that share these experiences, via Twitter or Facebook or other media.