Moving into the expat bubble as a trailing/supporting spouse is like time travelling back to high school. How will I meet people? Will anyone like me? What if nobody talks to me?
Social isolation is part and parcel of the process, initially. The dialogue in your head can be pervasive and counter productive. So too can be factors like the lack of language skills in your adopted country, a newly diminished self confidence, heightened anxiety and so on.
Interestingly all spouses have similar experiences and most will extend a welcoming hand of friendship to newbies. However the first step is up to you. Tough love is needed to accept invitations to functions or events and push yourself out the door.
Be bold. Don’t fear rejection. Take a breath, smile and say hello. Put on an extrovert hat for a moment and ask open ended questions to start a conversation. If you feel that the person are a possible good fit, ask if they’d like to swap numbers or even meet for coffee. The worst they can say is no!
Utilise technology. Explore Facebook and join community or interest groups in your area. You’ll meet new people in addition to getting out of the house which is a double boost for mental health.
Say yes. Accept every invite and attend with a positive attitude. You may not gel with the person who invited you but you will meet new people and you may even meet that one special person who becomes your new best friend!
Be patient. Know that forming your new support network takes time. Be patient and be willing to cull those who do not lift you higher; the ones who drain you of your life force and happiness. Remember that you won’t gel with everyone and you won’t be everyones cup of tea either.
So be brave, be bold and more importantly be you as you begin your journey as a trailing spouse.