Finding friends in Beijing

By Nick Waln Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/8 0:03:44

I've lived in the US, UK and China and traveled to many different countries. I came back to live in Beijing because I love it.

However, forming long-term relationships and friendships here have always proven difficult although you are likely to meet loads more people than you would in your home country.

This last statement isn't entirely accurate, as some larger, international cities, such as London, New York, Paris and Singapore, tend to have lots of expats from all over the globe.

Beijing has a way of accumulating and intermixing these groups like no other city around the world. Also, the range of industries and specializations of these people is far more vast than you might find in most of the other international cities.

For instance, in one night you can meet Beijing locals who work in film, an expat or two who teach, someone who works in marketing for a financial tech company, another from the EU who's a professional programmer, someone from Latin America who works for Amazon, and someone from the video game industry.

 You might find a similarly diverse mix in cities like New York or London but not as often as it occurs in Beijing.

The downside to all this is how hard it is to make these friendships and connections last. Beijing affords for meeting a diverse mix of people, but many of them leave after a year or less or travel back home for most of the year.

The constant movement is excellent for meeting new people, but not to keep friends long term. Not only that, seeing your other friends who are here can also be challenging.

This can even be true for the locals, as most Chinese working in Beijing are not actually from Beijing. Often on weekends and holidays, your Chinese friends are nowhere to be found. You would think that it might be different for local Beijingers, but they often spend time with their family on weekends, which means they have even less free time to spend with you.

All in all, Beijing is a fantastic city with nearly unlimited opportunities to make friends and connections from every industry all over the world.

However, it'll make you work hard to keep them, which in some ways means that the friends you do make are all the more special.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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