A Kiwi expat living in Australia has opened up about the biggest culture shock about her new home – making friends.
Aussie TV soaps would have you believe it’s a place where “good neighbours become good friends”. But Ramsay Street it is not.
Making meaningful friendships is difficult across the Ditch. The New Zealander now living in Perth said that, coming from a more “openly emotional” culture, friendships she made in Western Australia were only so deep.
“I feel like since I’ve been here, I’ve tried really hard to make friendships and connect with people but it just feels like, while everyone is friendly, everyone is polite [and] they’ll ask you ‘Hey, how are you? How was your weekend? What are you up to?’ – but the depth of connection they’re willing to have with you, it only goes so far,” she posted to her TikTok channel in a “mid-arvo rant”.
It was “very sad” because, unless there was alcohol involved, certain topics would be taboo.
“I think it’s quite shocking because I come from a culture where everyone is quite open and shares quite a lot,” she told followers of her TikTok channel @luckisoup.
Most of her friendship network was with other immigrants to Australia. The online expatriate community agreed with this wholeheartedly.
“Been here four years and I can 100 per cent relate to you. All friendships feel vague and empty,” said one comment.
The video, which has more than 3900 comments, has become a talking point for expats in Australia.
“I moved to Brisbane from Germany about 4 years ago and can’t seem to find the same depth of friendship here!” wrote one. However, it was Kiwi expats, who had not expected such a cultural difference, who felt the friendship restraint most acutely.
“I’ve been having this problem! I moved to Australia six months ago and I feel like everyone I’ve met has like a limit on friendship,” observed another of friendships made on their Aussie OE.
It’s not only overseas visitors who felt that Australian friendships were paper-thin.
Australians were quick to share that their culture was way more reserved than the ones encountered while travelling.
“I’m an Aussie and come back from living [overseas]. I feel this, everyone doesn’t really value friendship and it’s the lowest priority,” said one Australian boomerang whose repatriation had been a comedown. “It’s lonely moving home.”
“I was born here and I feel this. Also I don’t drink so don’t really fit the Aussie expectation on gatherings,” said another Aussie. Others agreed it was “sad”, and the only time Australians felt they could be vulnerable was through the drinking culture.