The Negative Expat

From my time in Germany, I’ve come across a type of expat that I can only describe as the Negative Expat. All of us expats have times when we moan and complain about life in our new country as we go through that difficult adjustment time, which can last quite a long time. However, the Negative Expat doesn’t stop complaining.  To them, everything in their new country is bad. The language is too hard, the people are too rude, nothing is like it is at home etc, etc. Every conversation you have with them is a series of complaints and they can find nothing good about the country they have found themselves in.  Even after they leave their new country and head back to the safety of their home country, they keep bad mouthing the country they had their expat experience in.

Unfortunately, some expat groups seem to be full of people like this. It is one of the reasons why I have stopped going to expat meet-ups.  I want to give life here a real chance.  I don’t want my social life to be dominated by these types of people.  My friends here are mainly long-term expats who have chosen to make Germany their home. I find them much more inspiring to be around. They are, to me, a symbol of someone I could become if I put in the hard yards and learn to integrate.

Now, I’m not going to recommend that those of you who have recently moved to a new country avoid all expat gathering, like quite a few expat sites do.  Go to meetings and connect with people as they can provide lots of support and invaluable information.  However, be on the lookout for the Negative Expat and spend as little time as possible with these people.  Choose to spend your time with those who, like yourself, have decided to make the most of your expat experience. Also, get out and get involved in groups that are not targeted to newly arrived expats so you can meet people who have chosen to make your adopted country their home and talk to them about their experiences.  You will learn a lot more and get more out of your expat experience then listening to the never ending complaints dished out by the Negative Expat.


12 thoughts on “The Negative Expat

  1. Very good advice….only met one true Negative Expat and he has since moved back to his home country after barely six months in Germany. I also agree with not getting too stuck in an expat group. I started with this when I first got here and felt like I was holding myself back form truly integrating because of it. Sometimes it is nice to commiserate with other expats but I like the philosophy of trying to get to know those who have decided (like us) to stick around a while rather than only mixing with the more transient groups.

  2. I’ve met a few of the negative expats. Some of them I think made it a goal to hate the new place before they even arrived. Toytown tends to be full of them too, although there are also a lot of cool people there.
    We didn’t hang out with foreigners a lot at first because of all the mumbo jumbo about integrating, but after 3 years or so, we eventually realized and accepted that fellow foreigners are more open to friendship, and so we just go with befriending whoever is open – German or not.

    • I agree with your assessment of Toytown. I tend to stay away from that place unless I have a sadistic desire to watch something combust.
      I get where advice to stay away from expat groups come from, but honestly, in those first few months or even years, it does help to have at least some friends who are going through what you are.

  3. I couldn’t agree more! I think the Negative Expat is just looking for other people to confirm their own rotten conclusions. I also tend to stay away from these types of people. I chose to move here and to make Germany my home. Life is what you make it, and you get out of life what you put into it.

  4. So….I know it’s called the WEBMU (Whiny Expat Bloggers MeetUp) or even the WEBUM (Whiny Expat Bloggers Unmissable Meetup), but really. It’s like 95% not whiny.

    I am sure all the prior attendees will vouch for the actually overwhelmingly positive outlook WEBMUers tend to have and enjoy during that weekend. So please, just try to get past the ‘W’ part of the name, OK?

    For the record, I can only echo sentiments of Jen and texasborncologne and CN Heidelberg. I must admit: though I have found and grown great friendships among the expatriate community in Regensburg and around the Expat German Blogosphere, I am (still) cautious about speaking English within earshot of other English speakers (because let’s face it, we naturally hear each other better, if only because of how loud Americans seem in public over here). I don’t want to meet another Negative Nancy or Gloomy Gus or (unneccessarily) expose my foreignness to all those around me at that given moment.

  5. Heh, I know ppl like that, too – the ones that have been living in Canada for over 20 years and insist on importing snow suits for their kids from Germany (seriously!), claim they can’t buy the right kind of nails here (wot??), and rant non-stop about how sucky everything is here.

    I try to stay away from them, too :)

  6. Great attitude to your new life in Germany! The Expat Poetry & Photography Project wants to invite you to connect with other expats from around the world by taking newly acquired language skills and experiences to the next level! All languages and skill levels are welcome! Poems can be short or long, good or bad. Everyone that submits will receive a badge for their blog, and a permanent blogroll link to introduce new readers to your expat journeys! Please check out the “About” page and spread the word to other expats!

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