Q: What’s it like making friends in Korea? Unfortunately for you, I can’t call myself an expert in this field yet. But that’s okay, I have a few friends so I’m a little credible, right?😌
I’m still learning and understanding the process of making friends in Korea and as I grow in knowledge, I will share my experience with you. I think for me, the main reason that I have a difficult time making friends here is because of lifestyle differences (and the fact that I don’t venture out much OR speak the language well. Dang, maybe there are a lot of reasons 😅😰.)
Anyways, back to what I was saying.
The things that are very normal here, go against my innate nature.
For example, those of you who know me, know that I go to bed before 12AM pretty much everyday (including the weekends). In Korea, most of the kids my age (well I think everywhere really) go to bed after 12AM. So, when most people are out and about socializing, I’m sleeping. Another reason is that I don’t drink. I mentioned before that, for Koreans, drinking is a form of creating and solidifying friendship. It bonds people in ways that they wouldn’t have otherwise bonded. However, alcohol and I aren’t necessarily familiar with one another. BUT let’s save that conversation for another time, eh? I promise to get to it eventually.
Yet, these issues are more personal if anything. There are other, more obvious reasons.
A big one that I mentioned before, is the language difference. If you can’t speak Korean, you obviously won’t make friends as easily. I mentioned before that a lot of Koreans are capable of speaking a little bit of English, but they are innately shy and not very confident in their English. They may be able to talk to you and even have an interest in learning about your language and culture, but they typically won’t approach you first. (They think that most, if not all foreigners, are super outgoing for some reason.) If you are able to break the ice with a few Korean words, basic as they may be, and make yourself friendly and approachable, then I think making friends won’t be as difficult.
So, if you are interested in making friends here, LEARN THE LANGUAGE. (That’s a pretty obvious solution, isn’t it?)
Also, put yourself out there! Go to places where a lot of Koreans hang out and involve yourself in things that they like to do. You have to be intentional in intermingling with the natives if you want to make Korean friends.
Some Koreans are kind enough to aid you in the process and are willing to exchange languages with you, but if you aren’t putting in any effort yourself, there is nothing they can really do for you. Besides, how do you expect to make friends if you can’t hold a proper conversation with someone?
I also think, like with everything, it’s very important to keep an open mind when making friends here. There are going to be cultural differences and other issues that may come up between you and your Korean friend. But don’t worry, they are trying to understand you, just as much as you are trying to understand them.
That’s all the tips I have right now.
Until next time,
See ya around, friend ~~^^