Russian Friends - find'em, make'em, keep'em!
Came to Moscow and looking for Russian friends? Yep, the sad irony is that big city is the easiest place to get lost - both geographically and socially. You need a good company not to feel sad - and the good news it's not that hard to find friends in Moscow!
Muscovites can seem a little tough at first, but they're easy when you know the right approach - and trust me, you'll know it if you take the time to read till the end 😉
We are all human beings, and same principles apply in any society in the world. Decency, honesty, integrity - it'll work anywhere, no matter the language and skin color.
I would say in Russian society such principles are respected even more. Yes, there are many those who violate them, but a person with strong values will eventually earn deep respect from others.
Sure, no one said good old tricks don't work anymore - but I have never believed this stuff can create a lasting relationship. Instead of trying to fit yourself to the person, why don't you just be yourself?
After all, would you like to have a manipulative friend whom you don't really trust, or a decent person that you know you can rely on?
I think the answer is obvious, and that's what brings us to the single most important guideline of dealing with Russian friends:
Being bold means not being afraid to approach others, talk to them and try to make new friends. Being bold means being yourself, without the need to constantly adapt to someone else.
Being bold also means being firm, being ready to stand your ground, trying to prove what you believe in. Don't worry you may scare off the potential friends. After all, if they aren't willing to accept the true you - there's no need to waste time on them.
Yes, you are looking for friends, yes, you are ready to be proactive, but it doesn't mean you are willing to give up your values for that friendship - and trust me, this approach is deeply respected in Moscow!
Being bold is also being open to suggestions. Your friends invite you over to a party? Go for that! They ask if you'd like to have some Russian barbecue? Even better!
Remember - the more you say "no", the less your chances to make Russian friends become. Plus, don't forget you came for a new experience - and how can you have it if you're resisting it?
Again, Russian people value honesty and integrity. Don't try to be too "polished" and official with them - it will only hurt your relationships. It's much better to be who you are, without pretending!
If you don't like something - say it. If you like someone - say it as well. Become a little bit more straightforward, and you'll see the people will respond!
How to make Russian friends?
Well, it all depends on where you currently are. If you're already in Moscow (or any other Russian city for that matter), then all you have to do is a little bit networking.
You must have Russian colleagues already, but if you didn't quite get the chance to go out with them - how about taking initiative in your hands?
The situation will probably never be "just right", so instead of procrastinating, why don't you just ask them out yourself? I'm sure they will agree, both because Muscovites like to talk to foreigners and because it's a great chance to improve their English.
Plus, I'm sure at least some of them like you already, so there's no reason on Earth why they should refuse!
If you persist with this approach, very soon you'll find yourself surrounded with many Russian friends who will not let you spend another boring evening in Moscow!
Yes, it does take some effort, but in the end it surely pays off - and who said making friends was easy?
If you reside abroad and are looking for Russian pen pals, there are plenty of sites around that can help. Some of them require payment, but I wouldn't do that. After all, there are many of free services, so why waste the money?
Don't forget there're also plenty of forums, chats and messaging programs. Get there, look for people from Russia, and try to make friends.
I don't mean you have to be intrusive, just friendly. You'll see how many users will love to have an English-speaking pen pal!
...and who knows - it may just lead you to a great adventure in Russia 😉