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AIBU

Dil has no friends.

(57 Posts)
kircubbin2000 Mon 29-Nov-21 21:38:26

She always asks me how she can make friends but has not taken my advice. She is from a far eastern country and sometimes it is hard to understand her.
I have suggested a group of foreign women on Facebook but she thinks they will all be lesbians, another group meet in the pub but she doesn't drink. She did try a ukulele group but they were all hippy types.
I'm beginning to think she doesn't really want to make the effort and her latest thought is that everyone is racist.
I don't know what more I can do to help her.

M0nica Tue 30-Nov-21 09:05:51

You give no idea what country and what culture she comes from. Everything being suggested here are the suggestions we make to people from our culture who feel lonely.

Perhaps you need to find out more about the social norms of her culture and then work with those to help her integrate into society here. If her accent makes understanding her difficult, then discuss this with her husband about the best way to address this with her. Perhaps some help on a one-to-one basis to improve it will help.

It is very difficult when first getting to know one, if you cannot understand what they are saying and would lead to people not talking to her much because they struggle to understand what she says. I had this experience with DDil's sister. For some years her partner came from another culture. He was a British academic and had done higher degrees at British universities and spoke English as if it was his mother tongue, but I found his accent impenetrable. he stayed with us a number of times and felt really embarrassed the number of times I had to ask him to repeat things because I simply could not understand what he said.

MayBeMaw Tue 30-Nov-21 09:09:46

Wondering if there are no members of your family who are closer to your DIL in age who could encourage her or go to activities with her?

eazybee Tue 30-Nov-21 09:13:24

Your daughter in law needs to improve her speech because that is impeding her communication; she can understand other people and obviously do her work but if people cannot understand her speech that will inhibit her. Would she consider some form of voice training, short and intensive if such a thing exists?

She does sound rather prejudiced: not joining groups because they might be lesbian, enjoy drink, are hippies.
Are there activities she enjoys and can pursue at her own level, not with the intention of making friends, but simply for pleasure: art, craft, cookery, physical exercise, even study online, because they will give an additional focus in her life and boost her self-esteem.

Oldnproud Tue 30-Nov-21 09:28:46

I second the English classes suggestion. I wonder if there are any groups in her area for people in her position: conversational classes for people who do speak English, but still want to improve in various ways, or just get together and talk about their individual experiences of life in this country.

Something like that would put her amongst people who automatically have something in common, and friendships can develop naturally in groups like that.

And I know from first hand experience that if you are not a very confident, outgoing person, it can be a lot easier and more relaxing talking (in the second language) to non-native speakers, whatever their mother tongue, than talking to native speakers of the country you are in.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 30-Nov-21 09:39:30

I agree with the suggestions that she first do something to improve her accent, as I can’t see how she will make friends if they can’t understand her. I sometimes need subtitles for people from the UK with very broad regional accents. Surely OP’s son should be helping her with this, and trying to broaden her horizons and integrate into British culture so that she can enjoy a non-alcoholic drink in a pub and not think others are lesbians or racist.

annodomini Tue 30-Nov-21 09:58:12

Joining a group is probably the worst suggestion for a shy, insecure young woman. It would be far better for someone who is already a member of a group - or groups - to befriend her and gradually introduce her to others who might share some of her interests. Language would seem not to be a problem as she is already fluent, albeit with an impenetrable accent. Only conversing with native English speakers will sort that out. I'm glad she has a job, but that doesn't seem to be doing her much good socially. She is clearly not going to make the first move so it's important to find someone who will. I'd suggest a local church as a possibility. As she's from the Far East, I assume she isn't Muslim.

luluaugust Tue 30-Nov-21 09:59:54

Unless you live in a big town or city I can see this is very difficult as most villages don't have the kinds of groups she needs. I can only really think of the WI as the pub and presumably the church are out.. If you are somewhere larger then English as a second language maybe available at the adult education centre, where of course there will be all sorts of other groups.I do think her OH should make a big effort on her behalf and arrange meet ups with his friends and the wider family. I suppose at present all groups are not necessarily up and running.

Hetty58 Tue 30-Nov-21 10:40:13

I asked my DIL why she didn't chat with the people next door here - as they were from the same country. (If I were abroad and heard an English voice, I'd introduce myself.)

'Oh no' she said 'I'm a city girl and they're just country folk!' I gave up at that point. I think cultural differences are quite distinct and we underestimate them.

Hetty58 Tue 30-Nov-21 10:47:08

Some people just don't feel the need to join groups - or even have close friends. Perhaps she'd find things easier if she was involved in volunteering or learning about a hobby. There she might find company while doing something useful - without that immediate pressure of launching into conversations.

Caleo Tue 30-Nov-21 10:47:30

Calistemon, it's snobbish world, and if the young woman tries to look like her social class she will integrate better. It is normal immediately to judge from appearances.

I agree that English classes would help. If her English pronunciation is poor this needs attending to if she is to make friends more easily.

DerbyshireLass Tue 30-Nov-21 11:17:54

Communication skills are key here. She may be able to understand English and might be able to speak it at a functional level, enough to do her job but if she does have a strong accent that people cannot understand then it will hold her back, both in her career and at a social level.

I too would recommend voice training or what we used to call elocution lessons to help soften her accent. Also English classes. That would probably be enough for starters. Also the family taking her out and about as much as possible, covid permitting obviously.

Simply advising her to join groups won't really help. It's bad enough for quiet shy people to join groups of strangers let alone someone with language issues.

I also think that you mustn't minimise cultural differences, religious teachings etc Some cultures do take a very dim view of LBQT issues.. We Brits are very tolerant on such matters, not all other countries are.

We might think it wrong and narrow minded but she can't help the way she was brought up. Hopefully as she becomes more integrated in British Society she will become more tolerant and open minded.

A lot of her reticence to integrate with those of different racial, cultural backgrounds will be due to fear and nervousness. The only way round it is education. As she integrates and assimilates into the British way of life she will begin to broaden her mind.

But she needs help.

How much do you know about her culture, her history, her family. Encourage her to talk about herself and get her to open up. That way it will be easier to learn "what floats her boat" and find activities, groups etc she can join. But not yet, she's not ready,

Right now just joining any old group, hoping something might stick is not the best way forward. Top priority is for her to improve her communication skills. Until that happens she will just feel isolated and lonely.

My mother came to the U.K. in 1949 as a war bride with not a word of English. She lived in the Black Country at first. She taught herself English, there were no classes available. She spoke perfect English, with just a slice trace of her home accent, none of the Black Country.

I asked her how come she spoke such good English without any trace of a Black Country accent. She said she copied the people on the BBC because she figured they would be the best speakers so she did her best to emulate them,

It might sound snobby to suggest elocution lessons but trust me she won't end up sounding too "plummy". I took them as a child to help me overcome a stutter and although I'm often told I have a nice speaking voice, I don not, want of a better word, come over as too posh or plummy. My speech is just clear and easily understood, which is what she needs to aim for.

DerbyshireLass Tue 30-Nov-21 11:27:24

As for her appearance, if it is letting her down then yes it does need to be addressed.

Like it or not we do live in a lookist society and appearance does matter.

We have 7 seconds to make a impression, and that first impression is the one that counts.

And as the old saying goes....."you only have one chance to make a good first impression".

Dressing well and looking ones best is also a confidence booster as is good posture.

You don't have to wear the height of fashion and be dolled up to the nines, but nice clean clothes, a flattering hair cut and maybe a bit of make up can make a huge difference to how a person feels and to how they perform.

Neglecting one's appearance is often a sign of depression. If she is feeling homesick, lonely and isolated she may well be feeling some low level depression.

DerbyshireLass Tue 30-Nov-21 11:38:48

Sorry for the typos.😂. I really must check my posts before hitting the send button. And of course it should read LBGT and not LBQT.

Apologies.

kircubbin2000 Tue 30-Nov-21 11:38:57

Hetty58

I asked my DIL why she didn't chat with the people next door here - as they were from the same country. (If I were abroad and heard an English voice, I'd introduce myself.)

'Oh no' she said 'I'm a city girl and they're just country folk!' I gave up at that point. I think cultural differences are quite distinct and we underestimate them.

Thats very true Hetty. She has been to church a few times but a lot of the ladies here are quite snobbish ie my hubby the surgeon etc.She found that quite funny!
Sometimes there is no answer to the problems on GN but it is interesting to get replies. My son has done a lot with her, introduced her to his lovely cousin etc but most people are busy with work and own families.I think this is true for any age or nationality.

Madgran77 Tue 30-Nov-21 12:28:27

but I think perhaps she is right about the racism as strangers presume she must be a cleaner or an unskilled worker.
That's rather odd; I wouldn't worry about what strangers think and there's nothing wrong with being a cleaner or any kind of unskilled worker anyway!

The IS nothing wrong with being a cleaner or an unskilled worker. However making an assumption about that is not on and is based on racist assumptions, inadvertent/unconscious or otherwise, and even if it is a stranger it is hardly likely to make DIL feel welcome/confident!

A close friend, who is a successful headteacher and whose parents were part of the Windrush Generation has lost count of the number of times she has been mistaken for a cleaner/kitchen staff/serving staff when walking into other schools/conferences in hotels etc! That happening, despite being dressed in very smart clothes, silk dresses, tailored jackets, stunning trouser suits - hardly what one would wear when cleaning/cooking!!

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 30-Nov-21 12:44:28

No different to when I was a young solicitor and despite traditional black suit was often mistaken for a secretary but at least that was the 70s

Calistemon Tue 30-Nov-21 15:54:48

Madgran77

*but I think perhaps she is right about the racism as strangers presume she must be a cleaner or an unskilled worker.*
That's rather odd; I wouldn't worry about what strangers think and there's nothing wrong with being a cleaner or any kind of unskilled worker anyway!

The IS nothing wrong with being a cleaner or an unskilled worker. However making an assumption about that is not on and is based on racist assumptions, inadvertent/unconscious or otherwise, and even if it is a stranger it is hardly likely to make DIL feel welcome/confident!

A close friend, who is a successful headteacher and whose parents were part of the Windrush Generation has lost count of the number of times she has been mistaken for a cleaner/kitchen staff/serving staff when walking into other schools/conferences in hotels etc! That happening, despite being dressed in very smart clothes, silk dresses, tailored jackets, stunning trouser suits - hardly what one would wear when cleaning/cooking!!

Madgran I did say it was rather odd ie rather an add assumption to make.

Perhaps I should have expanded that point as you did
🙂

There are several rather strange assumptions on this thread.
In fact, it's rather strange altogether.

Calistemon Tue 30-Nov-21 15:55:27

Typo - an odd assumption

Madgran77 Tue 30-Nov-21 16:53:04

Calistemon I misunderstood your point, yes expansion would have stopped me doing that. I tend to agree about odd assumptions!

Madgran77 Tue 30-Nov-21 16:55:03

No different to when I was a young solicitor and despite traditional black suit was often mistaken for a secretary but at least that was the 70s

I think it is different. A secretary might well wear a black suit whereas a cleaner wouldn't be wearing a silk dress.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 30-Nov-21 17:19:10

Secretaries didn’t usually wear smart black suits where I worked back then, but as you wish Mg.

MissAdventure Tue 30-Nov-21 17:21:53

Isnt the daughter in law also making assumptions about others?
It cuts both ways.

Madgran77 Tue 30-Nov-21 17:27:13

Secretaries didn’t usually wear smart black suits where I worked back then, but as you wish Mg

Ok!.

Madgran77 Tue 30-Nov-21 17:28:27

Isnt the daughter in law also making assumptions about others? It cuts both ways

Apparently so. One doesn't cancel the other!

eazybee Tue 30-Nov-21 18:46:30

Secretaries did wear smart suits when I started work in the 1960s, and for many years afterwards.