I was on my lunch break at work and I saw an instagram story by a friend of mine. We first met through blog back in the days, but somehow got into the same university although different colleges. She posted something where she tagged, surprisingly, another friend of mine. Friend number 2 and I went to the same college in university. I didn’t know friend number 1 and number 2 know each other… until I realized that they were at one point, colleagues.
Ah, small world. That’s Jakarta to me. When I still lived there, I had a multiple circle of friends, and I found joy in finding connections between my circles. I would often be part of, or even host multi-circle gatherings, which may consist of my classmates, and then a friend’s classmate, or another friend’s colleague… you get the idea. I would meet new people, new friends, and the circle would keep growing, hahaha it does sound tiring now as I’m writing this but there was a time where I was happy to be a part of it.
Seeing the instagram story today made me realize that here in the United States, I don’t have that many friends, and I don’t think I ever will. I only have 2 circle of friends, one that I know from my husband and one that I know myself. At one point I tried to expand my circle, I tried to make friends at university, or even at my Barre class, but none actually made it past the “acquaintance” or “social media friends” part.
I have a good relationship with the people from work but it’s hard to consider them as part of my circle. I think my perception of friendship changes over time, and for the most part, being an immigrant has a lot to do with it.
As an immigrant, I think I’m keeping my circle small, but that circle is my extended family. As an immigrant, I have to rebuild my network, similar to what I did growing up in Jakarta, but here, they way I’m building it is purely for business. There’s got to be something in exchange. And that’s okay.
I used to think that making friends is the biggest struggle as an immigrant. I understand why, considering how social I was back home. But now, as time passes, I realize that it’s not the case. The biggest struggle is actually comparing things here vs back home. Once I do it less (hard to say that I completely avoid it), I came to understand and accept that I have less friends now, and that’s okay. After all, quality > quantity, right? 🙂