Breaking in to Argentine social groups

Diskosis

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I've had this conversation with a few expats here and would like to hear some more views. Do you find it hard to break into Argentine social circles? I've had an Argentine girlfriend basically the whole time I've been here and spend a lot of my free time with her, so this hasn't affected me that much, but I think if we broke up I would notice it a lot more.

Other expats have pointed out that they have found it hard to make any close Argentine friends. Some have been here for several years, and have never been to an asado at someone's house, for example. It's certainly not because Argentineans are not friendly, but it seems that they form their social groups very early on, based on their school/neighbourhood friends, then don't really expand that group much after that (except maybe for a new group of university friends).

I get along really well with a lot of my students who are of a similar age to me, but when we try to organise some socialising, they seem to have an endless stream of friend's birthday parties to go to. And going along to one of these events can be quite boring, since everybody else knows each other and talk constantly about other people that they know and I don't.

I'd like to point out that this is not a complaint -- if it really worried me I would put in the extra effort to join some clubs and meet more and more Argentines in a social context. I'm sure it is also related to the amount of time I spend with my girlfriend. But it does seem odd to me that most of my friends here are foreigners (Americans/French/Uruguayans/Colombians), and I am certainly not one to seek out other expats while living overseas.

Has anyone else had a similar experience, or have you found it easy to make Argentine friends?
 

nikad

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I think you should go to the said parties, etc, you never know who you are going to meet there and you might find that it is not so boring at all, at least give it a try. If you want to become a member of any social group, go with whatever they do usually and see if you like it or not, I think that if they are inviting you to their friends´parties, they must like you, it is a big OK sign to me ;)
 

steveinbsas

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steveinbsas said:
I must give credit to my long departed mother for this one:

Invite them to your house for dinner first.

Following that, if they don't invite you to theirs, you don't need them as friends.

And start small: Invite one or two Argentine couples and and an equal number of expats, keeping the language barrier in mind.

It will grow from there.
 

cricri58

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The situation that you describe is not because this is typical for Argentina,(would you be really interested/have time to know an "immigrant" back home?) it is about being an expat in a foreign land. I enjoy being here, but sometimes I wish to come across locals who have more intellectual curiosity....
 

steveinbsas

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cricri58 said:
The situation that you describe is not because this is typical for Argentina,(would you be really interested/have time to know an "immigrant" back home?) it is about being an expat in a foreign land. I enjoy being here, but sometimes I wish to come across locals who have more intellectual curiosity....
...Pourquoi?


Aren't you grateful for the fact that they talk to you in the first place?
 

Mano Negra

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It probably helps if you share an interest or activity. I play polo here and get invited to all sorts of things. I had a blinding evening recently at a wedding (which finished around five in the evening) and I would thoroughly recommend going to peoples birthday parties etc. If you find people are not making an effort to talk to you, just behave outrageously. The Argentines love outrageous foreigners. They also have a very English sense of humour and enjoy people who take the mickey out of them.
 

EliA

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You're absolutely right, people here form groups from a very young age. To be friends with one means being friends with all. That means you should find a group you like and try to break into it. Extending invitations is a good way to start, but so is accepting invitations and then just putting yourself out there. Be sure to tell them how much you love Argentina and why Argentineans are the best in the world. A little flattery will get you everywhere.

It's also crucial to speak the language. As one of my friends recently told me, she made some local friends but quickly grew tired of being the 'wacky foreigner who didn't understand anything.' It's like she was an accessory more than a friend.

And, Cricri, I love befriending immigrants/expats in the US - they're so much more interesting than my local friends, are always down to try new things, and often have recommendations for things that would never occur to me to do in my own country. When in the US I'm a volunteer English teacher as much for them as for me.
 

Diskosis

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Yes indeed, some interesting points, and sensible advice. I agree that once you are in with a group, you're IN. I do maintain that they are very cliquey to begin with though. My Spanish is fair, but it can be quite a strain to follow conversations in a noisy bar about Pachi, Lichi and Pancho from high school and the time they got drunk in Pacha and possibly cheated on their girlfriends Maru, Magui and Moni.

It's not just a foreigner thing either; when someone has a birthday and invites their friends from work, university and school, the three groups all sit/stand apart and talk amongst themselves - it's very rare to see any mingling (from what I've seen at least).

Love the ideas about inviting people around for dinner and forming bonds that way! Pity my apartment is so small!
 

steveinbsas

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Diskosis said:
Love the ideas about inviting people around for dinner and forming bonds that way! Pity my apartment is so small!
So start small (and invite then for "asado" even if your parilla is a cast iron stovetop model)!
 
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