Kiwis in Australia Struggle to Forge Deep Friendships Amid Cultural Differences


Relocating to a new country can be filled with excitement, culture shock, and a whole lot of resilience, as recounted by a New Zealander now residing in Australia. The heart of her newfound struggle centers not on the adjustment to the exotic fauna or sun-scorched climate but lies in forging profound friendships on Australian soil.

Contrary to what Australian television soaps may depict, the reality seems to diverge from the welcoming streets of Ramsay. The Kiwi expat, currently living in Perth, shared that the challenge comes primarily from the lack of depth in friendships she has managed to form. Hailing from an “openly emotional” cultural background, she found the relationships in Western Australia to be appreciably more aloof.

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On her TikTok account, within a contemplative afternoon soliloquy, the expat lamented, “I’ve tried really hard to make friendships and connect with people, but… the depth of connection they’re willing to have with you seems restricted.” She further fleshed out this sentiment, citing that even the most innocuous topics would become prohibitive unless there was alcohol present.

One of the most striking revelations lies in the extent of reciprocity of her experience resonating with other expats. The online community of immigrants to Australia profoundly agreed with her sentiments. Her video, which gathered a staggering 3900 comments, became a hotbed for further discussions on the intricacies of forging friendships in a foreign land. An expat from Germany candidly stated, “Been here four years. All friendships feel vague and empty.”

The struggle seemed to be more acute for Kiwi immigrants. The unexpected cultural difference put a strain on their attempts at establishing meaningful friendships. One commented wistfully, “I’ve been having this problem! I moved to Australia six months ago, and I feel like everyone I’ve met has a limit on friendship.”

The feeling of shallow friendships isn’t alien to the natives either. There were Australians who chimed in, admitting their culture was markedly more reserved. One remarked, “I’m an Aussie who returned from living overseas. I feel this. Everyone doesn’t really value friendship.” The sentiment of loneliness and superficial interactions was widespread.

So, it seems the quest for genuine connections extends beyond geographical or cultural boundaries. As humans, our longing for a heartfelt camaraderie remains universal, transcending borders and oceans. Regardless of whether we are on home soil or in a foreign land, our shared humanity continues to unmask our vulnerabilities, fostering bonds that transcend the superficial.