Friendship between woman in The Netherlands and Indonesia. Aha !!

This morning I had a conversation group. Today’s topic is “Friendship between woman”.

One of the lady in the class has brought up this topic. She presented an article from Kelly Valen, a writer from US. Kelly wrote that jealousy and competition are always the obstacle in finding a true friendship between woman. Aha!

Do you think the same as well?

At the end of the discussion, our facilitator said that she didn’t have any of that problems with her female friends whom also to be her colleagues as well. When they work, they focus on work.

So.. I begin to think what is the difference in friendship between woman in The Netherlands and in Indonesia.

Aha ! Interesting. Don’t get mad, I don’t judge (yet!) hehehe.. I try not to… promise. I won’t talk about the jealousy and competition.

This will be super sensitive topic but I would like to share my opinion…


Almost every foreigner who just move to The Netherlands have the same complain, it is super difficult to make a friendship with the local.

I have to say, it is.

The degree of friendship in here is a lot. You have a friend, good friend, best friend, colleague, and acquaintances.

In the country where I was born, you can call your acquaintance as a friend, or a good friend, you can call your colleague as a friend also. So…everybody is your friends… you have friends everywhere… although maybe it is just an acquaintance!

You meet a lady in your yoga class for the first time, you smile to each other, laugh together, you guys can exchange a phone number and you can tell to your husband “I make a new friend!”…which is it is ! It is a friendly culture.

But that’s rarely happened in Holland.

My son joined a music dance class for toddler. Every time I went to the class, I met some mothers who also brought up their son. We chatted but we didn’t exchange phone number at the first time we met.. not also at the second time.. not even the third time..

Until now I even didn’t have any of their phone number and neither do they with another mothers. Aha !

But when accidentally  we bumped each other in the city.. we can talk a lottttt about our children, a glimpse of our lives… but no.. we are not friends to each other.

Confusing? Don’t be. It is just a culture.

In here, people really respect on other private life, people respect on other decision in life..

The value is independency and respect. We value friendship as a treasure. It is really true. It is typical dutch people that they have at least 2-3 best best friends from kindergarten ! well.. ok elementary school.. until now..

or maybe that’s the only best friends they have for the entire life.

Even between neighbours… I don’t have to make a good friendship with all of them.. only just a few and that’s ok.

People value what most precious for them and other people respect that.

Not the other way around…

People should value what I value and that’s respect. Understand the difference?

In Indonesia,

We value “social bond”… relationship with others is very important, doing things the same as others, doing things together is very important. We go with the flow. We are depending on what others think, on what others do, on what others opinion. I called it… a very friendly culture…means everyone is a friend to everybody.

It is very social that it is very easy to make a friendship.

It is a very communal tradition. We do everything together, we decide everything together, we think together.

But when you eat alone in the restaurant… people will think, how come? Don’t you have any friend?

The worst is when you are single, no boyfriend yet for a long time… people will really tease you, every single time.

Why? because it is a very social country. When you are single, there is must be something wrong with you.

So, in The Netherlands….

On the first year, I found it very difficult to make a friendship with a dutch woman.

So I push myself to join a lot of (I mean..really a lot) activities and really making a good contacts… and continue to prove to them that I’m a countable person.

Now.. I can say that I have a lot of social contacts and I have good dutch female friends, een echte vriendinen.

Dutch woman is not easy to say “you are my friend”… It requires a lot of meetings and occasions and dinner together with family… and then.. a birthday invitation. If you get a birthday invitation, it means they see you as a good friend. It is. Real friend stay, because we have a real bond. If it doesn’t have a real bond, I won’t call her “friend”.

Indonesian woman is easier to make contact among them. It is easier to say “you are my friend” and it doesn’t require a lot of meetings… even just a lot of whats-app already regards as a good friends. I find it more comfortable, because less effort. It is more friendly environment. People laugh together, make a jokes, even with another whom they just meet in Facebook. But the bond is also different.. not every “friends” is really a friend… maybe it is just a contacts, maybe it is just a acquaintances. Friends come and go, real friends stay.

In here,

We only invited a very good friends to come to our wedding party. People whom didn’t get invitation, they weren’t angry.

In Indonesia,

That won’t be happened, at least in a traditional communal society. We have to invite everyone we know, physically and literally. So maybe you won’t have a real connection with people whom you invite to your wedding party. The average invitation for wedding party is 1000 invitations. Aha!

What is the difference in friendship between woman in The Netherlands and Indonesia?

It is less messy here. It is a clear relationship. We are friend because we choose it to be like that.

If the bond isn’t exist… no one gets hurt. Life moves on.

It is less “games”. I find it more effort to make a friend but it is a real deal at the end.

in Indonesia,

It is more challenging.

There is a grey spot between friends and acquaintances, contacts, good friends… and we are friends because…. you are a friend of my friend, so you are my friend also. We are friends because… we are in the same sport community. We are friends..because… it is good to have a lot of friends, right? We have to be friendly.

If the bond isn’t exist? We still continue this friendship in the grey spot… but you still my friend.

It is too many “games”. I find it less effort to make a friend but it is exhausted to maintain the one whom in the grey spot.

That’s my very honest opinion.

Friendship is one of the most important relationship after family ties and children ties.

A real friend is a treasure. I learn that in here.

I really appreciate the meaning of a real friend when I move here.

People can have only 3-5 real friends in their whole life and that’s fine. The rest is only a contacts.

People can have a very small wedding party.

People can know each other for more than 6 months and still they don’t call each other as a friend and no one gets hurt if one doesn’t get a birthday invitation.

People can work together for 7 years and still they call each other colleague and don’t invite each other on their special occasion.

I love both culture.

Both have their benefit.

I live in both culture.

One is less messy. The other is more friendly.


and I’m happened to be a person who has a lot of friends…. nope, they are not in a grey spot. They are a real deal to me.




Thank you Aljona for drawing me this picture.

and.. Mariet was one of my teacher in my previous class. She drew a tree and put 3 character of me : Grappig (funny), Pittig (strong willed) and Sprankelend (friendly).


I really really value my friendship with her. She is my best friend. She is the one who come to my house and make her own tea and even make a tea for me ! That’s a real deal. 🙂


I am among a very great Indonesian people whom I adore their spirit and knowledge ! They are smart, single, knowledgeable, witty and funny !


Love them both ! Adore them both !


treasure my relationship with her. I know her from my very best friend. I asked my best friend “can you introduce me to your friend who has a son ?”. Voila ! now we become a good friend.


They came to my house when I just delivered my son… They came with a food !! It was super super sweet of them. I never forget that. She even changed the diaper of my son.


The longest friendship I have so far, since 1992. She lives also in The Netherlands. We have contact almost every single day. We share our thought, our worry, our happiness, our anger toward someone or something.


Always feel warm when I’m hanging out with them.. 🙂


Three handsome Indonesian man ! Always feels like home when meet them up.


Thank you for the friendship ! Thank you for the lovely bond…. Xx.


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