With the International Day of Friendship coming up on July 30, life coach Kelly Armatage shares her expert advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of expat social life.
The ability to attract and maintain functional friendships is a significant one, if you want to enhance a healthy and happy overseas experience. As expatriates in the Middle East, how we relate with others can sometimes be a challenging task as we often come up against relationship behaviours that don’t serve us.
Here are my dos and don’ts for attracting and maintaining successful friendships in Bahrain.
Let your shyness beat you. If socialising is an issue for you, just be aware of the fact that you have allowed shyness to be your comfort zone. If shyness has been practised as a habit, then the opposite habit of confidence can be practised too. Studies say it takes between 23 to 66 days to wire in a new habit. So ask yourself, ‘Would I like more confidence and social interaction?’ If so, a daily practice of confidence and networking with others over the next two to three months can create a whole new social life and relationship future.
Realise all of your great strengths. Are you loving, kind, funny, giving, compassionate? A great friend realises their amazing strengths and what they can offer into a friendship. As you have a realisation of all that you can give, you enhance your self-belief of being a ‘worthy friend’.
Have expectations of others. When we pressurise our friendships with demands, we create resentment and disconnection. Expecting someone else to fulfill your conditions means you have picked up a behaviour of controlling others to meet your requests, so you can feel ‘happy’.
Allow others to be who they are. An understanding of other people’s strengths and weaknesses is the most loving thing we can do. As they feel your energy of perfect love, a perfect love is boomeranged back.
Be let down if others fall off your friendship path. Living as an expatriate will mean people come and go. For some, this might create a guarded reaction and fear of future abandonment. If others move away, we can still maintain great friendships via Skype, FaceTime etc. Some friendships are for a reason, some a season and some a lifetime. Working on maintaining a great friendship, despite any distance, can be achieved.
Have compassion for your own needs in friendships. Our basic needs are to be respected, supported and loved. Many of us operate from the belief that we need to over-give in friendships and sacrifice our own needs. In doing so, we attract toxic friendships that are unbalanced.
Run away at the first sign of conflict. As expatriates, our friends become like a surrogate family. As this occurs, we can get into negative dynamics and conflict can happen. If we have a fear of conflict, we actually end up attracting conflict and miscommunication. Being in harmony with assertive communication can enhance our friendships and keep discussions from elevating into fights.
Kelly Armatage is the inventor of A.S.K. A Serenity Kit. This Therapist in a KIT is a three-step subconscious re-wiring technique that creates major change.
KITs are available to buy at Alosra, Jashanmal and Words Bookstore. Visit www.aserenitykit.com.