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Why are adult friendships so hard?

For Maggie Zhou, shared lived experiences with friends can bring a level of comfort. Source: Maggie Zhou

On this episode of Chinese-ish, Wing and Mark are joined by Qi Zhang and Maggie Zhou to unpack how young Chinese-Australians today are making friends, keeping in touch and navigating big life transitions.

It’s no secret that adult friendships involve a unique set of challenges. 

Getting new jobs or moving to new places are common transitions which can make it harder to make or maintain friendships once you've left school or uni. These transitions now overlap with COVID-19 and rapidly evolving social media norms, making them even harder to navigate. 


In this episode of Chinese-ish

  • How are young Chinese Australians navigating early adulthood?
  • How do we find or stay in touch with people, make connections and establish new friendships?
  • What role do identity and lived experience have to play in all of this?

Acting student Qi Zhang says, “For me, social media is really performative… I can present myself however I want.”

As a result, he feels there is a distinction between putting yourself out there to make friends and letting genuine relationships form over time.

"When I was [doing my undergraduate degree], I loved to make friends. I go out to the parties…to meet people, put my face out there. And now I feel like I changed a lot…I don't actively seek out making friends. I just attract people."

Qi Zhang sitting on a couch
For Qi Zhang, friendships develop differently now that he's left university.
Qi Zhang

Writer and influencer Maggie Zhou notes that there are sometimes unspoken rules or understandings when it comes to cultural identity.

Speaking about her predominantly Asian friendship group, she says, “our ethnicities aren't that central to our conversations, you know, we're not meeting up and being like, ‘so what collective trauma do you have?’. She says that's just background noise.

It was really lovely when we found each other because it almost felt like a jigsaw puzzle coming together, like, oh, okay, here's comfort, here’s contentment.

Listen to the episode below or by clicking the image at the top of this article.

Chinese-ish is a podcast about what it’s like being a young Chinese-Australian in today’s Australia. The series is hosted by Wing Kuang and Mark Yin.

Catch up on the first episode of Chinese-ish below, and follow or subscribe to the series in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or the SBS Radio app.

Why are adult friendships so hard?
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