This blog was posted in the Expat Go website last April 17, 2017 with 83 shares and 13.9K reads (as of 24May17) but below is the original unedited version of it.
Are you a trailing spouse?
Here are 6 Simple Ways to Win New Friends and Keep the Treasured Ones! This article is also featured at the expat go website (http://www.expatgo.com/my/2017/04/13/survive-malaysia-trailing-spouse)
How to Survive in Malaysia as a Trailing Spouse: 6 Simple Ways to Win New Friends and Keep the Treasured Ones
Relocating to another country has many challenges and losing personal your support network, family and friends is one of them.
I remember those days when my kids Sofia and Maia were pouring out their emotions, crying before bedtime because of the fear of losing their friends.
I myself share the same sentiments and fears because my colleagues, who were with me for the past 10+ years, are my family that I have left in Dubai.
It is almost four months since we moved to Malaysia and I would like to share 6 simple tips that I believe can help you win new friends and keep the treasured ones.
Win new friends
- Join a group or community
One of the fastest ways to win new friends is by joining a group or a community where you can learn.
Here are some of the groups you can join and some of the many benefits you can look forward to:
- Parents class group. It is a norm for some schools in Malaysia to have a whatsapp group for parents. It is a forum where you can ask questions, obtain recommended list of doctors and clinics, send/receive birthday party invites and a great tool to understand and get reminders for school activities and requirements.
- Spouse association. Some companies have spouse associations that aim to support trailing spouses and their families through social events like coffee mornings, kids playdates, cooking & language classes and other activities. This is a great venue to makes friends, to learn other culture and connect with other trailing spouses who can guide or give you a helping hand in the challenges you are facing.
- Social media groups. In this digital age, social media groups are another great way that connects people who share the same interest as you do. Depending on your need, social media groups can also help in getting product and service referrals; providing or receiving career or personal advice and receiving support from like-minded individuals. 2. Volunteer
One of the best ways to find yourself and bring more meaning to your life is by giving yourself in the service of others.
Volunteering offers many benefits including gaining new skills and knowledge, boosting self esteem and feeling a sense of achievement and fulfilment.
Here are some of the volunteer activities available in Malaysia:
- Class activities. Some schools in Malaysia have various activities that require parent volunteers. Volunteering in this activities can help you improve communication with your child, the teacher and with other parents. It also creates positive behavior and boosts your kids confidence.
- Spouse association. Volunteering in the spouse association as a board member is another option. Here you can learn from expats coming from different places and culture about best practices from different countries. You can also develop yourself in the process in terms of improving communication or time management skills depending on the role you volunteered for.
- Non profit organizations. There is a huge list of international and local non profit organizations in Malaysia where you can use your time or money to support their cause. Big non profit organizations like Unicef, Red Cross, United Nations are here in Malaysia. Working with this organizations is an opportunity that can lead you to find new passions or even new careers because you will learn new skills.
3. Develop yourself through trainings
Investing in you personal development is one of the gifts you can give to yourself because it will definitely improve your life and the life of the people around you.
It is also a great venue to network and meet like minded people who are lifetime learners.
The cost of training and personal development courses here in Malaysia is cheaper compared to other countries like Dubai, Singapore, UK or US so you should take advantage to invest your time and money to get the most.
You can take a cooking class, a language class or attend live trainings or conferences. Investing in your personal development improves your self awareness, gives you sense of direction and clarity and gives you motivation to go for what you want in life.
Keep the Treasured Ones
4.Communicate. Communicate. Communicate
Making new friends is good but we should remember to keep the old ones because they are worth gold.
Taking the first step to communicate with your friends is one of the best ways to keep those golden treasures in your life. Here are some ways to keep the bond alive:
- Send a message. A simple hello, message, a prayer or a quote can make someone’s day so send that note because you can brighten somebody’s day today.
- Make a call. In the past making long distance calls is a challenge in terms of cost and technology but you are blessed to have the technology that enables you to call anybody at anytime with zero or minimal cost. Make someone happy today, call a friend and ask how they’re doing.
- Communicate constantly. Keep the bond alive by communicating regularly to your friends, a daily reminder or a weekly chat might help. A monthly email to your boss or colleagues can help you reconnect or open doors of opportunities for partnership too.
- Invite friends to visit you
Travelling maybe a challenge after relocation because you and the family are busy settling in so inviting friends to come and visit you is a better option.
Friends coming for a visit help you reconnect and create a stronger bond as you build new memories together. It also helps you learn more about the local community and culture as you explore different places and learn areas of interest .
- Set your priorities
In this constantly busy and fast changing world where we live, you may be one of those persons who forget to prioritize or spend time on the things that matter to you the most.
True friends are worth gold but do you spare some time to catch up with them?
Protect your time! STOP and take time to connect with your friends who really matter to you. Keeping a regular schedule in your calendar or in your journal might help. Your intuition is also a great guide to help you know a friend who might be longing for your call.
Knowing your priorities and dedicating time can bring you more happiness and improve the quality of your life so make good use of your time.
Wandalyn Tan-Calupig is a wife, a mother and a happiness coach in a mission to help 1 million or more women live happier lives.
If you want to get more useful tips and inspirational stuff visit her website http://www.livetoinspire.info/.
If you want to be part of her mission, email email@example.com and work with her to spread more happiness in the world.