What’s it Like to Make Friends as an Expat in Mexico?

It’s sort of funny because before moving to Mexico I was a socialite. I was always out and about doing things, however now, not so much. But that is a choice based on my environment(s).

Let me explain.

When I first arrived in Cancun I tended to navigate toward other expats. It only made sense to seek out people who understood my culture and spoke my language. Meeting them was easy enough.

I joined a large social group that met regularly and went from there. My social circle expanded enough that by my first Christmas (a mere five months after moving to Mexico), I already knew enough people to throw a Christmas party — which I did with great success. However after a year of hanging around them, I’d had enough.

Turns out that most expats in Cancun (at the time) were not exactly what I would refer to as happy people. Over the course of that year, and during many nights out with drinks, some confessed to running from the law, while others were running from a bad marriage.

I met other expats who admitted to being stuck in Mexico. They failed to do the legal paperwork, didn’t have money to leave and were working illegally, which created an extremely stressful daily life which in turn, made them moody as hell.

Others were just plain oddballs who were trying to start over. I met one woman who was as crazy as the day is long, another who regularly self medicated and others who had obvious substance abuse problems. I’m guessing they all had these same issues where they came from. Moving to Mexico wasn’t going to solve anything.

Then there were the older folks. While some were very nice, others saw my being single as a disease — “something’s wrong with her” – barren, no husband. It was also hard to make friends with couples when you’re single.

Turns out the Cancun scene wasn’t for me. I left them all behind when I moved from my central city location and relocated in the quiet suburbs of Playa del Carmen.

So, in trying again to make friends with expats in Playa del Carmen, I found my luck to be much as the same as when I lived in Cancun. In Playa del Carmen I continually ran into complainers. While some were absolutely off their rockers, most lived here only to complain about it.

They complained about the culture and language mostly, but also about the Mexicans (were they expecting to find a different race of people here???). They complained about the services, the heat, the cost of things, about being “ripped off”, about the long lineups, the traffic, the way things are done, the manana mentality, the lack of American (food) products AND about other expats!…you name it, they complained about it, so I took my ball and went home (as they say).

You can still find them complaining on social media platforms as they furiously type their negative words, backward thinking and hate-filled comments only to be scolded (and sometimes banned) by page administrators.

For me, making friends with expats just didn’t work. I never met anyone I enjoyed knowing until I mixed more with the local people. I discovered there to be almost a secret type of expats that live here that also don’t mix and mingle with the typical foreigner.

Living in a very traditional suburb of Playa del Carmen, I’ve met my fellow neighbors who, oddly enough, are of that very expat type. On my street alone I have neighbors who are from Italy, Spain, France, Canada and the Ukraine. We are all mixed in thoroughly, not only with our fellow Mexican neighbors, but also in the culture and, I can honestly say, are people I enjoy knowing.

Love, Roaming Canadian