A woman who moved from New Zealand to Australia has opened up about the culture shock she experienced when it came to making friends – and it turns out she is not alone.
The expat explained back home people in her community were much more open with others and didn’t shy away from “talking about anything and everything,” even the hard topics.
“I feel like since I’ve been here, I’ve tried really hard to make friendships and connect with people but it just feels like, while everyone is friendly, everyone is polite [and] they’ll ask you ‘hey, how are you? how was your weekend? what are you up to?’ – but the depth of connection they’re willing to have with you, it only goes so far,” she said in a viral TikTok.
The Kiwi, who lives in Western Australia with her partner, said she had noticed that you can have friendships but unless there is alcohol involved, there is no deep and meaningful conversations.
“I think it’s quite shocking because I come from a culture where everyone is quite open and shares quite a lot,” she continued. “There is a lot more community.”
The woman, who goes by ‘luckisoup’ on TikTok, said Australians were “quite individualistic” and if she wanted to see a friend she found she would be booking in that time weeks in advance because their lives didn’t intertwine.
She added that all Australians weren’t totally closed off to deep friendships but “it doesn’t seem like as a whole, as a community, they were comfortable with being open”.
“It’s very sad,” she said.
Thousands of people commented on the video, with other expats sharing they too had struggled making adult friendships Down Under.
“Most of my friendships in Australia are with other immigrants,” read a comment with more than 2000 likes in support.
“Been here four years and I can 100 per cent relate to you. All friendships feel vague and empty,” another expat agreed.
“Same! I moved to Brisbane from Germany about 4 years ago and can’t seem to find the same depth of friendship here!” wrote someone else.
“I’ve been having this problem! I moved to Australia six months ago and I feel like everyone I’ve met has like a limit on friendship,” penned a fourth.
“I moved here from the UK and quite honestly the only friends I’ve made are colleagues. People flake on commitments and vulnerability is a hard no,” said a fifth.
But it wasn’t just foreigners that felt that way.
“I’m an AUSSIE born and raised and I even feel this,” wrote one Australian, with almost 2000 likes.
“I’ve lived in Australia my whole life and wanted to leave so many times for this reason, the energy is locked up especially in the cities,” said another.
“I’m an Aussie and come back from living OS [overseas]. I feel this, everyone doesn’t really value friendship and it’s the lowest priority. It’s lonely moving home,” wrote a third.
“I lived in the US for 3.5 years and have been back since 2019. I made more friends in 3.5 years in the US than I have my whole life in Aus,” added a fourth.
“I was born here and I feel this. Also I don’t drink so don’t really fit the Aussie expectation on gatherings,” said another Aussie, agreeing with the comments about the drinking culture.