Shades of Friendship among Thai Women in the Netherlands

in Conceptualizing Friendship in Time and Place
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This contribution focuses on two issues regarding the relatively recent migration of Thai women to the Netherlands, as a bride or partner to a Dutchman. The first issue concerns the relationships of the migrant women with their partners and in-laws. Building up these relations involves substantial adjustments. Expectations of family members towards each other are substantially different, Thai women being used to their large extended family life, consisting of far wider family circles to which also friends are regularly invited. Life in a secluded Dutch home demands the mastering of a new kind of ‘sociality’. The second issue addressed by the author concerns the relations of Thai migrant women among each other. These relationships entail comparatively far larger and more lively get-togethers—also allowing friends to stay overnight—than is customary in the Netherlands. They can also ask for loans and other forms of assistance like taking money and gifts back to their families in Thailand. On the other hand, these connections with other Thai women are challenging, as only few of them are trusted friends to whom they can turn in a crisis.

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