Why it can be difficult for western Women to build a social Life in India – 2 Jul 15


I have been writing about challenges that western women can face when living with their Indian husbands in India. That ranges from issues with the mother-in-law to questions of how far you accept superstitious traditions to domestic violence, maybe even against your children. Today I would like to think a bit further, outside your relationship and outside your joint family’s home. What about your social life?

Obviously, when you move to another country, you will have to start from nearly zero with your local social life. I say ‘nearly’ because your husband and his family may be a help in this. May be. The problem is that it is not so much the approach where you can find people to befriend – India’s population is so big, you will normally find people – but whether you will actually want to be close with them!

Having grown up in the west, having been raised there, you are thinking in a very different way than the average Indian person does. This alone can make it difficult for you to cope with certain situations in India.

Let me give you an example: you are at the market with your husband and meet a female acquaintance of his. You get into small talk and you hope that this will be your first connection in India. Maybe your first friend. She seems elated to have met you, too! You exchange numbers and she promises that she will come by at the weekend. You get excited, prepare refreshments and get used to the fact that there is no certain time but just the words ‘at the weekend’.

Can you imagine your feeling when, on Sunday evening, nobody has come by?

Indian people mostly don’t give much importance to the words they say, especially when it comes to such meetings. You are used to fix a certain date and time and you will call if you cannot come. They didn’t think of it that serious in the first place! That’s how they won’t feel sorry about it either – it is a difference concept and perception! They have a different focus and mindset, which makes them think very different.

Of course the topics to talk about will also be very different, as the interest of each person depends on his cultural background as well. A lot of women don’t seem to have other topics than when you will finally get a child or several children – while you would actually like to talk deeper!

I have already mentioned the superstition which is so common in most families. Even if your Indian family is extraordinary and don’t believe in superstition or not so much, it is so common in the people around you that it plays a role in each and every talk! You don’t like to hear questions about auspicious timing, about fasts and ceremonies? Get used to it or stop talking to your new friends. Sounds harsh to you? You may experience yourself that you are just not interested at some point anymore to invest a lot of energy in that friendship.

I have also written about domestic violence and how you should never accept it in your home, against your children. But what do you do about your friends and your friends’ homes? Do you want to go there, have your children play with theirs and then watch your friends slap their own children because they didn’t obey? You won’t enjoy it and you won’t like your daughter or son to witness, see and experience that! You will start managing your child in your way, in your surroundings.

Maybe in India’s big cities where people are more open-minded and follow a different way, things are different. Not completely different though and not for everyone! It is not common to have a non-traditional approach on life.

I speak from my own experience with my German wife when I tell you that it can take a lot of trial and error to find just a few friends with whom you actually enjoy spending time. But again – it all depends on the individual situation, on every person involved and what you are really looking for. So go for it – I wish you all the best!

Should you decide instead to move to your country in the west together with your Indian husband, you can keep on reading my blog on Monday – I will write about some issues that he may face in that new environment!

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