Friendly Egyptians: A statement you hear all the time, and that I partially agree with.
‘Friendly’ in what sense? With whom, when and why? Are they friendly to foreigners? To other fellow Egyptians who moved back home? Are they supportive and warm?
Egyptians, and by that I mean the rich and poor; sophisticated or simple, we welcome foreigners and we warmly and easily make friends with them, simply because we like to look or act cool, or improve our image by hanging out with Europeans, for example.
Duality is at the core of our social system.
The poor and simple are genuine; they share their dinner with a stranger, they are sincere and they express their warmth freely with no reservations. They don’t shy away or act from an ego-based mindset.
Yeah, you see the contrast. I know. I do too.
Locals grow up in closed circles; same neighborhood, school, university, social club. It is basically their comfort zone; the same friends, streets, outings, etc. and taking someone into their circle is not something they allow. It is an effort they are not willing to make as the unknown scares them, no matter how sophisticated they are. The tribe rules apply; we don’t welcome new members. Period.
Trial and error doesn’t apply in our social system; safe-social-zone is the language we speak.
I understand that life can be harsh, I do, and the society value system can pressure us. It’s draining. Nevertheless, our role is to adjust and stay flexible, the suspicious/cautious attitude won’t lead us anywhere but to a cold selfish community. New blood, new thoughts and new energy is what we need.
Why not make new friends? It doesn’t mean they should be ‘best friends’ or people we hang out with everyday, but having a casual cup of coffee with someone from the same or opposite gender could lead to a very deep and sophisticated friendship made of a special fabric. It doesn’t mean you will let your guard down, it just means you’re giving yourself a chance to meet new people, discuss new topics, grow!
Change is not a very tempting idea for most of us. We like our safe zones.
A safety net; that’s what locals want and need. They feed on it! Our souls don’t crave change, on the other hand, for those who relocated, travelled, lived in other cities, tasted new dishes and made friends with strangers, it is an easy thing. It comes naturally with their lifestyle, and it ensues embracing change and accepting it. Learn to enjoy it; it gives a new perspective to life.
Locals are sometimes hostile and their body language says ‘DO NOT come close’. To those ‘newcomers’ who want to blend in, I say, be patient; slowly but surely.
It is hard enough to be living in Egypt, but it is even harder and almost impossible to make friends. It takes ages, and Egyptians are like onions; one should peal them one layer at a time.
The bottom line is, we need to learn how to open up, meet new people, visit new places, enjoy conversation with strangers, and discover something new in each and every step we take outside of our comfort zones!
Life is too short.
Life Style and Image consultant
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