Monday 14th November 2011

What to Do When People Disagree with Your Move Abroad

Making the decision to move abroad is not a decision that comes easy to many expatriates and when their decision is met with resistance it can be extremely stressful and confusion. At a time when you’re looking from support from your family and friends, you may sadly find that it is not forthcoming and bad reactions to your plans to relocate may seriously impact your relationships.

In order to deal with this you need to try and understand the reasons behind the opposition. People may react badly to the news that you are moving overseas because they are jealous, others may be worried that you may be making a mistakes and others still may be angry that you are leaving them behind or, in the case of your children, taking them with you. Here are some of the more common forms of opposition that you may come across:

  • Negative criticism. This can occur in many different forms. People may purposely say negative things about the host country you have chosen or may criticize the decision you have made. One of the major reasons behind negative criticism is the fact that people are trying to get to you change your mind and think that one of the best ways to achieve this is to make moving abroad seem unattractive.
  • Scare-mongering. Some of your friends and family may purposely try and scare you out of making the move overseas by pointing out all the things that could go wrong or the fact that the location may be unsafe. Others may be genuinely worried about your move, but either way, the impact can be the same.
  • Rejection. Some of your friends and family may start to distance themselves from you in the run up to the move. This may be because they feel like you have rejected them by wishing to move abroad, or could be because they are trying to communicate the fact that they do not approve of the decision you have made.
  • Emotional displays. Some people may get extremely upset at the thought of you leaving, especially close friends and family. This is simply an indication of how strongly they feel about you and how much having you in their lives means to them.

How to deal with negative reactions.

Once you have tried to understand the reason behind an individual’s negative reception to the news that you are moving overseas, you will be better placed to deal with their behavior. Here are some tips for staying in control and preventing their reactions from having a negative impact on your emotions.

1) Limit how much you talk about the move. While moving abroad will represent a major life-changing event for you, try and avoid spending all of your time talking about it, especially in front of those people who are not in agreement with your decision to leave. Make sure you that you also maintain a keen interest in the lives of those around you, even if their daily lives may not be quite as exciting as yours.

2) Keep your own concerns to yourself. If some people are trying to scare you out of your move overseas, ensure that you do not add fuel to their fire by sharing your own anxieties with them. Save your own worries for people who you know you can trust to give you an unbiased and well-measured opinion.

3) Educate people. If those around you are seemingly ignorant to what life in your host country will really be like, educate them and help them to understand why their views are misguided.

4) Communicate regularly. Make sure that you keep in touch with your friends and family back home on a regular basis and that you share details of your life overseas with them. Including them in your life will help them to accept the decision you have made and, just maybe, they may even start to understand it.

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