Love Bites: Making friends in new cities
This month's columnist reflects on the vulnerability of finding new friends in new places
She asked me if I was okay because I couldn’t stop laughing and I couldn’t stop laughing because I was happy. We laughed so much at that tiny corner table that we terrified the waiter. It was like we were speaking our own secret, female language.
The night ended giddily with Irish dancing through a square in Stockholm, white sleet trickling down. We were encased in our own bubble of laughter and silliness that felt timeless, like we were schoolgirls, all eager and ridiculous.
I always know if I have found good friends when, no matter where I am – screaming about “clone a willy” in a fancy restaurant or dancing on a cold Brighton beach at night or running hand-in-hand after dining and dashing – it feels like the place where I am meant to be, like fate.
I had built Sweden up to be a fantasyland from years of watching Bergman films, dreaming of tall blonde boys, pine trees and lakes, and it did offer me all of these things. But the thing I came to crave the most was female friendship. No one tells you how to make friends in your mid to late twenties, when everyone is expected to have, if not their career or relationship sorted, then at least their friendship group. Putting myself at the mercy of a Facebook page for expat women, like a kid on her first day of school, I embraced the vulnerability and posted.
That night at the restaurant, in between the laughter, I made sure to tell those expat women that I was having such a good time because we will all die one day and, instead of telling me I was being ridiculous and melodramatic, they all smiled at my sincerity. I knew I was where I was meant to be.