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My whole life I have never had a problem making friends. I'm an outgoing, friendly person but I have lived in UK for 3 years now and find it difficult to connect with people here. Does anyone have any tips?

I feel I must be doing something wrong. It's not because I haven't tried to get involved in the community and join clubs etc, I have and are, it's just that things never go deeper or further. I am always open to friendship and try to give off the right signals ie, smile, volunteer for things, invite people for coffee, have my children's classmates over for tea.

If I do manage to strike up a rapport with someone it is on a surface level and feel I am being kept at a distance. Do Aussies scare, irritate, bore British people? I have tried to tone down my directness and other ways to fit in. I've even tried not trying. It could well be me. I'm at a loss and it looks like we'll be here for at least another 3 years. It's really starting to depress me.

Any sincere advice would be appreciated. :confused:
 

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Making Friends

I know you posted this quite a while, so don't know if it's still the case! But I think it partly has to do with where you live in the UK. Having travelled abroad a lot and lived in Canada in the past, I have come to the conclusion that us English are very stand offish!! Don't really know why as I don't think we use to be this way, but I guess the way the country has evolved over the past 20 years has something to do with it.

There is a distinct lack of community spirit nowadays in the UK, people use to know everyone who lived in the same street, but know it is not unusual for someone to not even know their own neighbour!! This is one of the reasons I wish to go back to Canada as I find the people nicer!

With regard to joining clubs, obviously not knowing what kind of clubs you have joined, all I can suggest is you join clubs that you have a genuine interest in (which you probably already do)

Just one other tip.....when watching Rugby or Cricket you must always support England and never cheer at the success of the Australian nation!!! :D

Hope you are still enjoying your time over here, if of course you are still here!!

Stu






My whole life I have never had a problem making friends. I'm an outgoing, friendly person but I have lived in UK for 3 years now and find it difficult to connect with people here. Does anyone have any tips?

I feel I must be doing something wrong. It's not because I haven't tried to get involved in the community and join clubs etc, I have and are, it's just that things never go deeper or further. I am always open to friendship and try to give off the right signals ie, smile, volunteer for things, invite people for coffee, have my children's classmates over for tea.

If I do manage to strike up a rapport with someone it is on a surface level and feel I am being kept at a distance. Do Aussies scare, irritate, bore British people? I have tried to tone down my directness and other ways to fit in. I've even tried not trying. It could well be me. I'm at a loss and it looks like we'll be here for at least another 3 years. It's really starting to depress me.

Any sincere advice would be appreciated. :confused:
 

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Regional variation is a big factor here. Generally the further away you go from London, the friendier people tend to be. This is particularly so in the North of England and in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, where people are genuinely open and welcoming.
Also for most Britons, friendship develops on two levels: general friends and personal friends. General friends are people you meet in your daily life, such as neighbours, work colleagues, people in the shops and parents of children who go to the same school, nursery, clubs etc. They will be pleasant to you and ready for a chat when you meet, but it doesn't normally go much further or deeper. You don't discuss your personal problems with them, for example. In contrast to some other nationalities, the British (esp the English) are reserved, value their private life and only let certain select people to allow into the inncer circle. Once you are accepted as peronal friends, the British, and the English, can be as loyal and as generous as any, but it takes time and people will be slow to accept you. It shouldn't be perceived as unfriendly, but generally people don't want to impose their personal problems on others, and they don't want you to impose yours on them, until they have got to know each other well, and trust has developed. Don't take it as racism or xenophobia either - in certain villages, newcomers from cities are considered outsiders for decades, sometimes for generations!

So my advice is, if you are naturally bubbly Antipodeans or Canadians, continue to be smiling and welcoming, but don't expect the same in return, until you have really got to know them well and become personal friends. You may find it easier to make personal friends if you join in activity which is more than just a hobby or pastime, such as churches or other religious/philosophical bodies, where people are there because they share some fundamental values and beliefs.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to reply Bluejay and Joopa. I only posted this yesterday so your feedback is very relevant.

I think you are right about the clubs. I probably need to concentrate on what really interests me to meet likeminded people. You are right, we don't really interact with the people in my street except for next door and that's because they moved in the same time as us. Thank god they did! They have tried to have neighbourhood drinks etc but there's a general lack of interest. They are English.

It can be very isolating. Nobody wants to appear to be lonely because that makes people very uncomfortable, obviously. So you keep smiling and everyone thinks it's okay.

I live in the countryside, in the South, and I really notice a class divide here. Being Australian I'm probably a bit hard for people to work out where I fit in and that could be a barrier perhaps. I mean, I speak to everyone. I don't hold with all that and I can't change that. Don't want to.

If it takes years to get to make real friends, without wanting to seem negative, it seems like I just have to accept the situation as it is. And that could be a good thing I suppose. Too keep having to smile and be jolly without anything back Joppa, is a little soul destroying don't you think. And, dare I say, a little bit mean of people.

It made me laugh the crack about not supporting Aussie's in sport. I keep my enthusiasm in check, don't worry. I support England when they play other countries but I couldn't actively support England when they are playing Australia. That, I'm afraid, is a bridge too far!

Nice to get the feedback. Thanks.



I know you posted this quite a while, so don't know if it's still the case! But I think it partly has to do with where you live in the UK. Having travelled abroad a lot and lived in Canada in the past, I have come to the conclusion that us English are very stand offish!! Don't really know why as I don't think we use to be this way, but I guess the way the country has evolved over the past 20 years has something to do with it.

There is a distinct lack of community spirit nowadays in the UK, people use to know everyone who lived in the same street, but know it is not unusual for someone to not even know their own neighbour!! This is one of the reasons I wish to go back to Canada as I find the people nicer!

With regard to joining clubs, obviously not knowing what kind of clubs you have joined, all I can suggest is you join clubs that you have a genuine interest in (which you probably already do)

Just one other tip.....when watching Rugby or Cricket you must always support England and never cheer at the success of the Australian nation!!! :D

Hope you are still enjoying your time over here, if of course you are still here!!

Stu
 

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The English really are a strange bunch...and I say that being one of them, although I wouldn't say I was particularly proud to be English these days!!!!! I have always been surprised at how friendly other people are during my travels abroad, a lot more friendly than say one's neighbour!!!

You can certainly be a little isolated living in the country as well, closer to a city would be better for meeting people in the evenings, if that's your scene! It also depends on how old you are and what sort of things you get involved in, for example, when I was in my teens and 20's, it was all about going to the pubs with my friends and then meeting more people there, I think it gets a little harder in certain situations as you get older.

I would imagine, coming from Australia, that you enjoy the outdoors, so some kind of outdoors club would be good.....although unlike Australia...be prepared to get wet most of the time!!!! Where in the South are you? I live close to Bath, so if I want to go to the beach or Forest, then I have to get in the car, I use to live in Canada and we had all that stuff on our doorstep, it was fantastic!!!

If your anywhere near Bristol I know there is an Australian bar (if it's still there) in the city, good place to make some contacts. Joppa is totally right about people being friendlier the further north you go, and across the various borders!

It can definately be soul destroying constantly giving and getting nothing in return.....but then a lot of English people don't like to smile back as we have such bad teeth!!!! I joke of course!!! I sometimes think that one good way of making some good friends is to share in something challenging together, such as a mountain climb, or trek somewhere or something in that vain, people will bond more and quicker that way, in my opinion anyway!!

There are a few adventure clubs in the South and Southwest, if you want I can send you some details, might be a good place to meet people! You can do all sorts from Wine tasting evenings to Wolf walking or pub quiz nights to white water rafting!!

Stu

P.S. In future when watching Australia v England in the rugby or cricket I suggest you go into another room on your own, then you will be able to cheer to your hearts content!! lol
 

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It sounds like you may be running into the old societal divide. An Ozzie friend of mine used to say that the Americans and the Australians get on well together because our history is so similar. Yes, we're both from "pioneer" countries - where it pays to make friends quickly and easily, because everyone is originally from somewhere else and often far away from family.

The European cultures tend to be more standoffish and family centered, which is nice unless you come from somewhere else and don't have family handy.

Best you can do is to keep being yourself. Go for the clubs or associations that promote activities and/or causes you really like and believe in, and then be a little bit pushy about getting involved in the organization.

Here in France, I'm on the board now of a "newcomers association" - not entirely appreciated, as I'm a foreigner (even though I have French nationality now) and I don't speak or write perfect French. (Tant pis, as they say.) But lately I've seen the French react in much the same way to a lovely Belgian lady who has joined the group. Many folks think she's too loud, too enthusiastic and she does tend to snort a bit when she laughs - but I find that so refreshing after the "sang froid" of some of the proper French I know.

Throw yourself into something, and then pick and choose the folks you want to befriend. As one (long lost, unfortunately) friend once told me, "better a few strange and really interesting friends than a whole bunch of dull, boring ones!"
Cheers,
Bev
 

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My whole life I have never had a problem making friends. I'm an outgoing, friendly person but I have lived in UK for 3 years now and find it difficult to connect with people here. Does anyone have any tips?

I feel I must be doing something wrong. It's not because I haven't tried to get involved in the community and join clubs etc, I have and are, it's just that things never go deeper or further. I am always open to friendship and try to give off the right signals ie, smile, volunteer for things, invite people for coffee, have my children's classmates over for tea.

If I do manage to strike up a rapport with someone it is on a surface level and feel I am being kept at a distance. Do Aussies scare, irritate, bore British people? I have tried to tone down my directness and other ways to fit in. I've even tried not trying. It could well be me. I'm at a loss and it looks like we'll be here for at least another 3 years. It's really starting to depress me.

Any sincere advice would be appreciated. :confused:

Try befriending other foreigners.

I learnt the hard way that the British are not keen to building long time friendships with foreigners. This is nothing new, you should know about the lifestyle of the British "expats" elsewhere, well, that is not a pose, it is a national trait.

Also we foreigners are not aware of many of the most bizarre conventions of British life, and not fitting the unwritten rules of the class system we are always uncomfortable acquaintances because we don't know our place in the social pecking order.

I begin to involve myself with other Spanish speaking people, Germans, Polish and Chinese people and began to make real friends without a problem.

Very very strange, since British people are almost always kind and polite, but perhaps is the front they put in order to keep quietly to themselves :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You may have something there. It would be a lot easier if I lived in London to meet foreigners. But, unfortunately, where I live is very homogeneous. However, I will definitely extend the hand of friendship if I meet one. A foreigner that is.

I agree about the pecking order thing. British people like to know who they are dealing with and then treat them accordingly. Being an outsider confuses the issue so best not to get involved I suppose.


Try befriending other foreigners.


I learnt the hard way that the British are not keen to building long time friendships with foreigners. This is nothing new, you should know about the lifestyle of the British "expats" elsewhere, well, that is not a pose, it is a national trait.

Also we foreigners are not aware of many of the most bizarre conventions of British life, and not fitting the unwritten rules of the class system we are always uncomfortable acquaintances because we don't know our place in the social pecking order.

I begin to involve myself with other Spanish speaking people, Germans, Polish and Chinese people and began to make real friends without a problem.

Very very strange, since British people are almost always kind and polite, but perhaps is the front they put in order to keep quietly to themselves :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Bev. You are right. Who needs a whole heap of boring acquaintances. Making acquaintances is easy, friends are a different matter. I think a bonding experience like Stu suggested is probably the only way to forge friendships when you are an adult.

You would have a it a lot harder than me with the whole language barrier thing. That must be quite tough. The Belgian lady sounds like a hoot. I hope she becomes an ally on the newcomers association. With her snort and your bad French who knows what you can achieve together! Good luck.

It sounds like you may be running into the old societal divide. An Ozzie friend of mine used to say that the Americans and the Australians get on well together because our history is so similar. Yes, we're both from "pioneer" countries - where it pays to make friends quickly and easily, because everyone is originally from somewhere else and often far away from family.

The European cultures tend to be more standoffish and family centered, which is nice unless you come from somewhere else and don't have family handy.

Best you can do is to keep being yourself. Go for the clubs or associations that promote activities and/or causes you really like and believe in, and then be a little bit pushy about getting involved in the organization.

Here in France, I'm on the board now of a "newcomers association" - not entirely appreciated, as I'm a foreigner (even though I have French nationality now) and I don't speak or write perfect French. (Tant pis, as they say.) But lately I've seen the French react in much the same way to a lovely Belgian lady who has joined the group. Many folks think she's too loud, too enthusiastic and she does tend to snort a bit when she laughs - but I find that so refreshing after the "sang froid" of some of the proper French I know.

Throw yourself into something, and then pick and choose the folks you want to befriend. As one (long lost, unfortunately) friend once told me, "better a few strange and really interesting friends than a whole bunch of dull, boring ones!"
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Know what you mean about the bonding thing. Most lasting friendships coming out of a bonding experience. Treking might be a bit 'extreme' for me Stu but I get where you are coming from and will keep an eye out for that type of thing. Thanks.

The English really are a strange bunch...and I say that being one of them, although I wouldn't say I was particularly proud to be English these days!!!!! I have always been surprised at how friendly other people are during my travels abroad, a lot more friendly than say one's neighbour!!!

You can certainly be a little isolated living in the country as well, closer to a city would be better for meeting people in the evenings, if that's your scene! It also depends on how old you are and what sort of things you get involved in, for example, when I was in my teens and 20's, it was all about going to the pubs with my friends and then meeting more people there, I think it gets a little harder in certain situations as you get older.

I would imagine, coming from Australia, that you enjoy the outdoors, so some kind of outdoors club would be good.....although unlike Australia...be prepared to get wet most of the time!!!! Where in the South are you? I live close to Bath, so if I want to go to the beach or Forest, then I have to get in the car, I use to live in Canada and we had all that stuff on our doorstep, it was fantastic!!!

If your anywhere near Bristol I know there is an Australian bar (if it's still there) in the city, good place to make some contacts. Joppa is totally right about people being friendlier the further north you go, and across the various borders!

It can definately be soul destroying constantly giving and getting nothing in return.....but then a lot of English people don't like to smile back as we have such bad teeth!!!! I joke of course!!! I sometimes think that one good way of making some good friends is to share in something challenging together, such as a mountain climb, or trek somewhere or something in that vain, people will bond more and quicker that way, in my opinion anyway!!

There are a few adventure clubs in the South and Southwest, if you want I can send you some details, might be a good place to meet people! You can do all sorts from Wine tasting evenings to Wolf walking or pub quiz nights to white water rafting!!

Stu

P.S. In future when watching Australia v England in the rugby or cricket I suggest you go into another room on your own, then you will be able to cheer to your hearts content!! lol
 

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What an excellent thread! Exactly what my wife and I were looking for when we joined here. We would want to make friends, but it's been a challenge since we got here 6 months ago. Well, hope we find some soon. We wish vegegirl well.
 

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I hope it isn't like this for me when I go back. When I lived there 5 years ago I didn't have any problems making friends. My partner is from the UK and he had his circle of friends who welcomed me in, but I made my own friends through work. I lived there for 2 years and was in each job of my 2 jobs for 9 months each but made friends in both jobs who I am still acquainted with! One was actually staying with us in December on his RTW trip from Notts. :)

Maybe it was to do with my age, being only 20 when I went over. I was also very unreserved and didn't mind making the first steps. Now I am a bit older, wiser and far more reserved so it will be interesting to see what kinds of folks I attract when we get back to England. We don't have a huge circle and friends in Aus and are looking forward to seeing out British friends again.

Do you work? Sometimes the shared crappiness of working can bring people together like nothing else. Hehe. ;)
 

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Do you work? Sometimes the shared crappiness of working can bring people together like nothing else. Hehe. ;)
You could be right there. When I was in the UK (I was born there in Souff London) I made great friends with an Aussie. We worked together in the UK, in the Netherlands and even went on holiday together in Europe. Unfortunately in the last few years we've lost touch - she moved back to Australia and then I moved to Australia but no where near her.

One of her Aussie friends said I was far too nice to be a Brit - I was sure whether to be flattered or offended :D

vegegirl - keep being yourself and doing the things you enjoy and you'll make friends. We've been in Australia for 2.5 years now and it's only in the last year that I've made close friends.

Regards,
Karen
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You can't force friendships.

Hi Kym
Think living and working in London (in your 20s) is very different situation to mine. For a start you would be able to meet heaps of Aussies/kiwis/SAs with no ties and in the same situation.

Meeting people isn't the problem either. I meet people all the time. You have to put yourself out there constantly. If I was an English person moving to Australia there would already be a built in expat community if you didn't want to mix with Aussies or found that difficult. I don't know maybe people find it hard the other end too. Although, I can't imagine Aussies being quite so reserved.

Making friends is the problem. I live in the south, in the countryside, I am in my early 40s with 2 children at school. I agree about work though. It's a bonding experience which is quite hard to replicate. Have only just been able to work with my visa. Can't do full time without support network. Looking to start my own business on the net.

You can't force friendships. So I just have to accept the situation as it is. English people won't let you do anything for them ie, babysit or pick up their kids. They don't want to be obligated and sometimes friendships form out of need. I'm the needy one. Not them. Nevermind. Just thought people may have had a similar experience and some idea where I'm going wrong. Perhaps it's not me and that's just how it is.

Hope it's different for you. You'll probably have some contacts from when you were here last. Good luck. x


From the

I hope it isn't like this for me when I go back. When I lived there 5 years ago I didn't have any problems making friends. My partner is from the UK and he had his circle of friends who welcomed me in, but I made my own friends through work. I lived there for 2 years and was in each job of my 2 jobs for 9 months each but made friends in both jobs who I am still acquainted with! One was actually staying with us in December on his RTW trip from Notts. :)

Maybe it was to do with my age, being only 20 when I went over. I was also very unreserved and didn't mind making the first steps. Now I am a bit older, wiser and far more reserved so it will be interesting to see what kinds of folks I attract when we get back to England. We don't have a huge circle and friends in Aus and are looking forward to seeing out British friends again.

Do you work? Sometimes the shared crappiness of working can bring people together like nothing else. Hehe. ;)
 

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Thanks. 6 months is not very long. I wish I could say it will happen but, if not, try and get in touch with some Phillippine expats if you are in London. Good luck. Vegegirl x
 

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Hi Vegegirl. I think possibly the difference in our situation is the working part. I didn't say I lived in London, although I do love the place, I think you may have assumed that part. ;) I lived in a small village in the East Midlands (up north) with my partner. I didn't see any Aussies for 2 years except when travelling to London to Europe! Especially no expats. ;)

I only made friends at work, they were all English and local to the area. I didn't make any friends outside of work, although I made a few acquaintances through forums, friends of friends, etc. Just wanted to set the record straight. :) Maybe it's true what they say about folks being friendlier in the North. Haha.

Maybe you can create need in others? I read an interesting article on an expat site for American women (can't remember what it's called) and it was written by a woman who was travelling with her hubby who worked loads of hours and had a highly paid and stressful job. She spent a lot of time by herself and was miserable because she couldn't break in to those friendship circles. In the end it was going to be her marriage on the line if she couldn't be happy. She ended up getting involved in groups and created hobby/charity groups (or whatever it was) herself to get in the middle of it. I can see that you are participating in groups, but maybe you need to make yourself an integral part of these groups?? Create one yourself? Just some ideas. Good luck.
 

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My whole life I have never had a problem making friends. I'm an outgoing, friendly person but I have lived in UK for 3 years now and find it difficult to connect with people here. Does anyone have any tips?

I feel I must be doing something wrong. It's not because I haven't tried to get involved in the community and join clubs etc, I have and are, it's just that things never go deeper or further. I am always open to friendship and try to give off the right signals ie, smile, volunteer for things, invite people for coffee, have my children's classmates over for tea.

If I do manage to strike up a rapport with someone it is on a surface level and feel I am being kept at a distance. Do Aussies scare, irritate, bore British people? I have tried to tone down my directness and other ways to fit in. I've even tried not trying. It could well be me. I'm at a loss and it looks like we'll be here for at least another 3 years. It's really starting to depress me.

Any sincere advice would be appreciated. :confused:
I'm sorry to say, but I'm having a similar experience. I'm originally from the States but have lived in Spain and Holland. I'm too am finding the Brits diffficult to get to know. There is a certain distance that they maintain. I had an easier time making friends in Spain, and I didn't speak the language, then I'm having here. Don't worry, it isn't you, it's the culture. I wish I had better advice, the only thing I can come up with is that it will take time....and I'm not sure I'm right about that!
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Mark

Sorry to hear that's your experience too. But at least it means I'm not a freak.

I was thinking also that with the means of communication (like texting and email) used these days, it creates another barrier to real relationships. No one rings up for a chat anymore, everything is organised by text.

Americans are definitely friendly people. It must be very frustrating for you. A friend of mine has just moved to Pennsylvania and she is having no problem making friends and she isn't working either.

The Spanish are warm people too. Maybe if I could turn myself into a dog I might get some warmth out of the English people I meet. Sorry, a low blow I know but Geeeeesh!!!

Thanks for responding Mark. Keep smiling no matter how weakly. :eek:


I'm sorry to say, but I'm having a similar experience. I'm originally from the States but have lived in Spain and Holland. I'm too am finding the Brits diffficult to get to know. There is a certain distance that they maintain. I had an easier time making friends in Spain, and I didn't speak the language, then I'm having here. Don't worry, it isn't you, it's the culture. I wish I had better advice, the only thing I can come up with is that it will take time....and I'm not sure I'm right about that!
Mark
 

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making friends

Just by coincidence, I had a similar coinversation with one of my students (I teach at one of the univserities in Cardiff). He is a Brit and said he knows that's the case. It isn't just with foreigners, but a similar things occurs amongst themselves. Tough group! I have the people from the university department to 'fall back' on, and even with that it's difficult. Again, mostly friendly with the other ex-pats in the department. I do notice changes, just very slow.



Sorry to hear that's your experience too. But at least it means I'm not a freak.

I was thinking also that with the means of communication (like texting and email) used these days, it creates another barrier to real relationships. No one rings up for a chat anymore, everything is organised by text.

Americans are definitely friendly people. It must be very frustrating for you. A friend of mine has just moved to Pennsylvania and she is having no problem making friends and she isn't working either.

The Spanish are warm people too. Maybe if I could turn myself into a dog I might get some warmth out of the English people I meet. Sorry, a low blow I know but Geeeeesh!!!

Thanks for responding Mark. Keep smiling no matter how weakly. :eek:
 

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Hey Vegegirl,

Don't want to completely distress you but we were in the UK for 6 years and found it very hard right to the end. I was at uni and worked in pubs etc and the wife had a fulltime job. Although we were always willing and inviting the reciprical invitations were very scarce. We eventually just accepted the situation and resorted to making friends with other expats. This can have pitfalls as other expats may also be as homesick / depressed / etc just like you and could change your positive outlook.

South Africans, Aussies and Kiwis abound. Search for expat communities/websites and go to the get togethers... although they can get out of hand it can make you smile just to be around happy (tipsy) like minded people with the same strange sense of humour.

Good luck :)
 
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