Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friendly Portrait

Why is it so hard, in Arabia, to make friends?

You meet an awfully huge number of people, simply because everyone knows everyone. You know names and faces, you 'hang out' and have endless dinners and coffees. But how much do you actually expose yourself to others? What are they most probably lying to you about, and to what extent are you yourself being honest?

Putting aside the gender barriers, and assuming that girls or boys can be satisfied with having platonic relationships with similar sexes only.

What is that social component that makes everyone a clone, a copy of one another? Why should you know more about the person in front of you - you'll only discover vulnerabilities that most definitely replicate in your character as well. And that is a painful way of living.

I am, of course, horribly generalizing, and talking from only personal experiences.

But, here, being friends with someone is like walking on eggs. You have to be so cautious, non-critical, and just pleasant and fun. Friends do not hold themselves as mirrors to each other here, but self-portraits that are but the exact portrayal of the friend - but never the real reflection.

Perhaps this is an honest cry for identity?
Or perhaps this is just the case everywhere?

- Bedouinette


  1. This is definitely not the case everywhere. Saudi is obviously a more conservative society, and that conservativeness extends beyond beliefs and morals but also to one's self exhibition towards others. We both know a shitload of people here but have only a very few friends we'd actually tell anything beyond "El7amdillah, wallah kil shay tmam - everything is awesome. Work is great, uni is tough but great, and family is great" It's like what we were talking about the other day. That bullshit conversation you have with so many people in the country "Hala, sh5barak? wsh 3loomak? keif elahil? etc." I mean no one is actually sincere about it, and you just along with your day as if none of that ever happened. It's like in emails when someone says "I hope all is well!" You don't actually really care how well I am but we're just doing work together.

    Back to work.

  2. It is also a way of avoiding headaches. You just tell people the most neutral thing, or you compliment them. That way, they will not harm you, on the contrary they might help you get something done in case you need to someday. Sincerity is not affordable anymore, I suppose.

  3. Nice post. That's very common when you live in a multicultural society. Dubai is a good place to meet lots of people from different backgrounds. But as some people say, making genuine friends is tough. We can do ourselves a favor by just appreciating the things "friends" can do to us and not resenting them for the things they can't. It's easier that way.

  4. Hi FX in Dubai, thanks for stopping by!

    Perhaps I should move to Dubai - I think this is the sign that I've been waiting for, since Bedouin is already there!

    Friendship is such an odd concept, having no biological aspect to it - in terms of connection - makes me want to hold it to standards that are perhaps too rigid.