piątek, 23 listopada 2012

Dutchman's Anatomy: "getting friends" age limit

- My friend asked me today if we'd like to go this weekend with her and her husband for a concert in Amsterdam.
- Sounds fun. If you want to go, than tell her we're in - answerd Maurice pleased with my increasing social life.

Two days later.

- You know, there's a little change of the plans. They got an idea to go for some party after the concert. They've also already booked a hotel for all of us, so we could go to sleep after the party and than go home the next day fresh and relaxed - I informed calmly, but with a bit of excitement and anxiety in my voice.
- Whaaat? Do you know how much is it gonna cost? - Maurice started his protest.
- Relax, they said we should not worry about the money. It's on them.
- Yeah, but this way we have already Saturday AND Sunday planned...
- Soo? Did you have any other plans for Sunday?
No, but... I don't even have time for my own friends, who I haven't seen for a long time and now you want me to spend the whole weekend with YOUR friends!

And here's the problem... This is what I was afraid of when I say "anxiety". This whole protest is not about Maus spending time with my friends. He actually really likes them.The problem is, he doesn't want his friends to see it as some kind of betrayal! That's exactly what it is... the Dutch loyalty is strong, but it has an age limit.

My expat girls once complaind, that it's not easy to become friends with Dutch people. Sometimes it's actually even hard to meet new people. The help comes from another expat who's in a relationship with a Dutch and who tries to mix both groups of friends from time to time. Together with Anna we noticed a very specific thing when it comes to our Dutch partners  and their friendships. Both of them have a lot of friends. They have a lasting gang, where everyone knows eachother since ages. So where's the problem? They met all of their friends when they were still children, at school, a bit less during studies. They don't keep any personal, private contact with their colleagues. Well... not more then needed minimum. And where are the new friends? They don't exist! There's no place left for any new friendships for a long time.

So let me see this clear... what's with this whole famous dutch openness? Is it just a lie? Noo, not at all. They are very open and friendly. It doesn't mean you cannot get any contact with them. They would actually happily talk to you, go crazy at a party, drink hectoliters of beer in tiny glasses and would make you feel very welcome. However (!!) it doesn't mean they would same happily go out or meet again. And this openness and friendly attitude is definitely not some kind of mask or so. No... Their agendas are simply already too full to squeeze you in! 

- You know what, I talked about it lately with Simon - tells Maurice - We both come to the conclusion, that all of our private contacts come from before we turned 25. After than we didn't meet anyone, we would get friends with. We simply don't have time for this anymore!

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