To be frank, I'm perplexed about how one goes about forming acquaintanceships/friendships in a foreign country. The one friend I did succeed in making, and, boy, was I glad I did, just moved back to the UK. Rats.
After almost two years of living in CH, here are some highlights of my experience in the 'buddy department' so far:
Met a German woman last year through work. We hit it off and she gave me her number, suggesting that we met up for coffee at some point. This was after I had mentioned my challenges in meeting new people. On our coffee excursion, she mentioned her own difficulties in getting closer to people here in CH. Her example was that after five years of living in Zurich, she and her partner had yet to be invited to a Swiss person's place for dinner/apero/what-not. Thinking that they might like to be invited, at least, to an American's place, I invited her and her partner over for a bbq some weeks later. We all ate, drank and were merry. I then never heard from them again. Did they contract food poisoning?
Met a Briton at a party back in December. We hit it off and she suggests we swap nos. in order to meet up again at some point. After a few texts sent back and forth, we met for drinks. It turned out that she's a bit more established here, and, after eight years in Zurich, she's set with a solid circle of ex-pat and native friends alike. We chatted about the usual ex-pat stuff: language and culture challenges, the pros and cons of living in a foreign country, etc. I had a good time and sent her a couple follow-up texts. They must have fallen into the abyss as I never heard from her again. -guess her roster was already full.
Met an Irish woman last year again through work. We went out for a drink and a chat and seemed to hit it off. We then conducted a text correspondence over some number of months. She suggested at least a few times that we get together again. When I then tried to hammer out plan with her, she stopped responding to my texts. I bumped into her by chance at a pub about a month later. She was friendly and profusely sorry for not having been in touch, but, hey, she said that she had about '50,000' other texts to sift through and can't be expected to respond to them all. After that night out, I neither heard nor saw her again. It's been about six months. One can imagine I haven't sent her anymore text messages.
Met yet another ex-pat at a party a few months back who has been in ZH for just over two years. We've been pretty active about keeping up regular coffee dates and I enjoy hanging out with her. A week ago, I texted her suggesting that we meet today at 12.30 at one of our regular spots. She responded by asking if we could meet instead at four. That was no problem. At three o'clock today, she texted me too ask if I could come instead at 3.45. I did my best to arrive at the newly appointed time. Upon my arrival, I could see that she had already had a coffee date with someone else and that it seemed to be winding down. No biggie, I thought, I'm always up for meeting new people. After about 45 minutes of chit-chat between the three of us, it was time for my ex-pat buddy to leave. She had another engagement. Goodbyes were exchanged and I went home a bit deflated. It had taken me about thirty minutes to get to our meeting place. In total, the commute time to the cafe and back home took longer than the coffee date itself.
Sometimes it's difficult to muster up the inspiration to go out and meet new people, but staying home doesn't make one any friends or acquaintances now does it?