Feeling isolated?

I definitely can relate to the hibernation theory. I do it all the time. Just can’t work up the energy to do anything to meet people. It’s terrible and if this continues I fear I’ll go back home.

Not quite working out?

I worry a lot about finances, visas, finding love and starting a family. I wonder if it would be easier to get on with life if I were in the States. How do you know when to pack it in and head back?

What gets you through?

Happy global people never use the word ‘expat’……What gets you through times of loneliness, frustration, suffering? Expats, what coping strategies you have found in your travels?

What is the 'she' expats need to thrive in the expat life? Click here!
  • Stress Assessment
  • Are you and your partner communicating well? Find out here:
  • Latest Blogpost

Are you so used to expat stress you don’t even know you are experiencing it?
Like a fish who doesn’t realize she is wet……  read more

This confidential online 20-question assessment will help you reflect on how well you and your partner are communicating.

Whether you are a new expat, or a seasoned one, the expat life can take a toll on your communication.

Or the expat life experience can enhance your support of each other.

With this assessment we invite you to take some time, check in with yourself, and try to be completely honest with yourself about each question.

Time Required: 10-15 minutes
Results Delivered: Immediately upon completion and by e-mail (requires entering your e-mail address).
Confidentiality: Your results and e-mail address will remain private and will not be shared without your permission.
Instructions: We will give you 20 phrases that indicate what you and your partner communicate about, and how you do that.
The answers are a simple 1-4 scale, 1 being low, and 4 being high.
We have not put any other qualifications in the answers, because we want you to determine for yourself what the scale is and where you find yourself.
Just give answers that are helpful for you, as you understand the questions and topics.

Relationship Communication Checkup

Progress:

1. My partner pays enough attention to me.

2. My partner understands and values what is important to me.

3. My partner makes physical contact with me, without necessarily wanting sex.

4. We are able to say "I'm sorry" and forgive each other.

5. My partner listens to my views, even if he/she does not agree with them.

6. We are able to talk about sexual desires and issues.

7. We are able to talk about our dreams and ideals for the future.

8. My partner encourages me in what I do.

9. We regularly plan time to go on 'dates' (at least 1x every two weeks).

10. We have fun together.

11. We are able to talk about strong emotions we feel - like anger, excitement, hope, sadness.

12. My partner understands my sexual needs.

13. My partner understands and encourages/supports me in my 'spiritual' life.

14. My partner pays attention to my emotional needs.

15. We can talk together about new ideas and goals.

16. We are on the same page regarding running our family (children, if you have them), household, relating to in-laws, etc.

17. We have common interests that we pursue together.

18. My partner listens to me without criticizing me.

19. My partner knows how to express his/her love for me.

20. I am satisfied with our relationship in general, and how we communicate on all levels in particular.

Disclaimer: This is a short test, not designed to screen for depression, anxiety disorder or any other mental health problems. It is meant as an indication tool for you to see how you and your partner are communicating, and if you might benefit from extra support. Let us know if you have any questions.

Three Concrete Things You Can Do To Start Making New Friends

We’re talking about friendship and the expat life, trying to be honest about the fact that it is not always easy for all of us to just make new friends when we come to a new place. I am finding out that is true even though I have just repatriated back to my home city and you would think it would be the easiest thing! It’s not!

So I’ve wondered what I would say to someone if I were coaching them on this issue – kind of a “selfie”, but then with coaching, I guess. Last time we talked about the self-identity issues involved in building new friendships, and now that we’ve got that out of the way (that was easy, right?), we’re ready to move on to some practical things you can do to actually meet people and start to make friends.

Making new friends will most often take some planning. It will not happen on its own when you have moved to a new area. In general, people will not come to you. So here are some exercises you can do, some questions you can think through:

1. Take some time to think about friendships you have enjoyed – past or present. Write down a few names.

What made those friendships valuable? Think of some specific characteristics, and write them down here.

(As you think about friendships you may now be missing acutely, you will probably feel them tug at your heartstrings. Don’t be embarrassed by that. Perhaps you could take some extra time or spend some extra money communicating with one of those friends and expressing how much you appreciate their friendship. It might be helpful to ask that person to help you be accountable for developing new friendship where you are now!)

DSCN19552. Now we want to think concretely about how you could get in contact with people in your setting, with a view toward building friendships of integrity with them. Here are some specific questions you can work through. Some of them may apply to you, others will not. Feel free to skip those. Remember: we ask you to write things down not because we don’t think you know them, but because writing helps clarify and energize your thinking.

What kind of setting are you now living in? Rural, city, suburbs? Do you speak the language of the people around you?
What kind of activities are you engaged in on a daily or weekly basis that involve interaction with people other than your immediate family or work colleagues? List those activities are specifically as you can.
What kind of activities are your children and/or partner involved in that you could join in order to meet people? Do you have a chance to talk with any other adults at any of these venues/events? List them.

3. Now let’s think about activities you might get involved in in order to meet people and make friends. Here are some examples to jog your thinking:

Is there an organization which represents your nationality in the area in which you live, i.e. embassy, consulate, club, etc.?
What about organizations or clubs frequented by locals? For example: Rotary, Lions, sports clubs, hobby clubs?
Have you thought about involvement with charitable or volunteer organizations? Working together to help others is a great way to bond with new people.
If you are religious, are there compatible religious groups you might become connected with?

As you think through these possibilities, write down just a couple of them, find out where and when they meet, and make concrete plans to attend a meeting. The internet is a great resource for this kind of information.

Then put the date in your calendar and plan to attend!

Next time we’ll talk about what to do once you actually get to the event, because you should give that some forethought and planning too, to get the most out of it.

I love your site and the way you go about helping people. I love that you bring in philosophers, poets, musicians and so much more to get your points across. It seems to be a deeper way of connecting with people.
Cathy Heyne, Living Abroad LLC