Monday, 20 March 2017

Why are women so mean?

I’m battling boredom and loneliness here in Dubai, I just about established some roots after 4 years in South Africa, made friends and found a purpose and it was gone over night as we relocated to Dubai, just over 2 years ago.

In South Africa we knew very few expats, in fact hardly any. We lived in an Afrikaans area, around Pretoria, with the children attending an English School. I was unable to work, due to visa restrictions and Peter worked in Johannesburg, which had a higher concentration of expats.

Peter’s colleagues were all South African as were our friends, even the few British people we met had been resident in South Africa for upwards of 10-20 years.

I went to every event I saw advertised, charities, golf do’s, accepted church invites, attended coffee mornings and events at the kids school. Unfortunately I would often be the only none Afrikaans speaking person there and I’d smile and nod along not knowing what was being said. But I persisited until I made friends and found a purpose.

I had upsets along the way such as when I met and English family who invited me to their home then forgot I was coming and I never heard from them again. Or arriving at an event to discover the only spare seat had a handbag sat on it and despite me asking if I could sit there, I was ignored. There were also loads of coffee dates that people would fail to turn up to, without messaging to say something had come up, only to discover being friends with the newbie wasn’t going to be beneficial to their husbands business or child’s development.

We got to know one couple whose children were in school in the UK and had been living in South Africa and other African countries for 2 decades, who were affectionately known as the ‘when we’s’ as in ‘When we lived in Keenya…….’ And were keen to make us feel like South Africa was just like living in the UK compared to their experiences. As time went on, I realized that one of their children had attended a school local to where we had lived in the UK, that we knew some of the same people and had been to events at various places, probably at the same time and the friendship turned sour.

Then one day we turned up to their house as arranged, they weren’t in and despite seeing them at the golf course they repeatedly ignored our existence until eventually one day, I walked over to talk to some other women I knew and upon this woman seeing me, she pulled her chair round and blocked me out the conversation.

I’ve had similar experiences also in Dubai and despite making a few friends through having worked here for a year and through walking Bob. Dubai is more transient and quite frankly can be very false. People posting endless pictures on facebook of them at brunch, relaxing at a spa or hiring a cabana on a private beach, the reality is often different and they are living in debt, up to their max on credit cards and generally living outside of their means. I’ve found a lot of women don’t want to discuss day to day life, they don’t have issues, worries, concerns they want to share. It's all about networking, who has been to the best brunches and had the best experiences.

It's sad really, people come for a few years, move back to the UK and spend the rest of their lives as 'when we's'

I know I'm sounding judgemental, but when you attend a coffee morning and all everyone is discussing is their latest designer bag or talking about their brunch experiences, it's hard not to be.

I walk into new environments now on edge, I'm asked my occupation, I don't have one. This can go either one way or another. If I'm meeting a group of people in a bar, it's usually because they're working and have nothing to say. If I'm meeting a group of people in a cafe, usually all women, they ask if I have children and what my husband does for a living. You can quickly see that a) I'm no use for play dates as my kids have left home and b) my husbands job can't benefit their networking aims.

Not all the women I meet are like this, but I often find a lot just aren't being their real selves. They too have been in a similar situation to me, where they've just not fitted in, but unlike me I refuse to play games and if I don't fit I just walk away, not change myself to be something I'm not.

It strikes me as being similar to the school playground. But in the playground, working life and in South Africa I finally found my 'place' and made good friends, I just think it's slightly harder in Dubai as it's so transient. 

Do you find it easy to make friends? 
Without children for play dates and not working it does get harder to meet people. 
How do you make friends?


  1. This doesn't sound good at all! Are there any nice people out there? Sounds more like mental cruelty!
    I hope you have more luck in Dubai. You have a new on line friend here!

  2. This made me feel really sad reading this. I hope you manage to find someone on your level soon. I know the feeling, not the same situations but similar as I struggle to fit in but there is always someone out there, even if they are friends online! Good luck pocolo

  3. Hope you find friends soon. It's hard finding your place and meeting others. Good luck

  4. It sounds like an isolating situation to be in. Wouldn't it be lovely if people could just friends for the sake of it and not because it will benefit from them in some way. It sounds like quite a shallow existence for these other women.
    I'm new to our area and it's been hard to meet new friends at the school gates, the cliques were already established when I arrived. I just smile and crack on with my day. Life's to short. #pocolo

  5. I found dog walking a good way. Admittedly, there are still some people that I refer to by their dog's name. There are others that I've subsequently recognized at an event and I'm accepted. Any volunteer organizations you could join? We moved a lot when I was younger and my mother used to volunteer.#PoCoLo