Having Dominican Friends

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asdsrfr

Guest
I am posting this in the North Coast forum because I visit Cabarete often and I have often thought of buying a place there one day. I am wondering how those of you who live in the DR deal with the economic differences that you have with the Dominicans that you are likely to get to know and develop a friendship with. In my experience after getting to know locals there you soon start to hear about there economic problems or other difficulties and often there is a request for help.

Is this a common problem for those of you that live there full-time and how do you deal with it? Do you develop any real friendships with Dominicans or does your social circle involve mostly other foreigners?
 
C

Cdn_Gringo

Guest
A lot will have to do with your lifestyle and your personality. Me, I don't have much in common with your average Dominican, professional or otherwise. I tried explaining to the taxi driver why what he routinely did would eventually get him or someone else killed and he didn't get it. Generally, my interactions get reduced to their daily lives and of course their problems, some of which they believe I am uniquely in a position to rectify.

I've tried hiring Dominican trades people and they were usually a disappointment. Some more than others. Now, my trades people are foreigners who are semi retired. I generally don't socialize with the locals apart from casual encounters and a very rare game of Dominoes. I do not enjoy hanging out at the colamdo drinking beer nor do I enjoy sitting on a stoop watching the world go by. My Spanish is pretty good but I still translate things in my head which slows me down. I just can't keep up with most social conversations where I first have to figure out what the topic is, then what is being said.

I'm not like everybody and all Dominicans are not the same. I've had some acquaintances ask for things and others who have not. I've had foreigners ask for things and others not.

To be honest, I'm not here to look for friends. I have all the friends I need and most are at arms length, just the way I prefer it. I don't need people contact every day and can go weeks before I seek out someone to talk to or have a drink with. I do not invite locals to my house and only a select few foreigners who are likely to reciprocate. Those that don't, aren't asked back. Again I have very little in common with the average Dominican, I cannot tolerate for even a brief time someone who can't put their phone away and social interactions with an average Dominican at least for me, are awkward, usually quite boring and difficult to get excited about.

Your experiences may be completely different. If you are an outgoing person and choose to pursue friendships with anyone here, more power to you. As for your concern, sure, you are going to encounter those who ask for things. You just have to be prepared and have a plan. In these cases, I usually politely say no. I find that when you help someone in need (especially with money), you are the first person they seek out the next time they need something (usually money).

I'm not a complete antisocial miser. I have just learned that I need to be discriminating or I can get overwhelmed and feel guilty a lot of the time. I am my own best friend and I really enjoy my own company. Other relationships I see as being akin to work, something I swore to avoid at all costs when I moved here. I prefer simple and predictable both of which relationships tend to complicate eventually.

Good luck.
 
C

CristoRey

Guest
I am posting this in the North Coast forum because I visit Cabarete often and I have often thought of buying a place there one day. I am wondering how those of you who live in the DR deal with the economic differences that you have with the Dominicans that you are likely to get to know and develop a friendship with. In my experience after getting to know locals there you soon start to hear about there economic problems or other difficulties and often there is a request for help.

Is this a common problem for those of you that live there full-time and how do you deal with it? Do you develop any real friendships with Dominicans or does your social circle involve mostly other foreigners?
Been living here 7+ years. Indeed, there are real economic differences.
I have a few good Dominican friends down here. Most of them are poor.
I treat them as an equal. I tell them I'm not interested in discussing money
or politics. Works for me. Whenever a Dominican/ Haitian or Venezuelan
has asked me for money, I always ask them how much they want (its usually
25 to 100 pesos) then I tell them "sure, no problem but you'll need to let
me hold your cellphone until you pay me back" PROBLEM SOLVED.

For those rare moments when a relative gets ill or they need money for
more pricier services, I always respond in kind.. "If you and I never met and
you needed money, who would you ask? Then I tell them to go ask that
person.

This country is not for everyone. Showing generosity or always being willing
to pick up the tab or pay the bill does not always garner the same appreciation
as one may be accustomed to receiving back home.

Having lived in several different developing countries, my advice to anyone
who wants to live in a place like the DR is to first learn the language, live like a local
and do show or share your wealth until you really understand the cultural differences
you have with the people down here who you choose to call friends.
 
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B

badpiece33

Guest
Why do most foreigners assume all Dominicans are poor ??? There are many Dominicans very well off and a greater majority who are not rich but do live a very decent life and they will never ask you for money. The problem is most people come to the Country and decide to hang out with people that they would never associate with in their own Country.
 
M

Matilda

Guest
I have some great Dominican friends, in fact all my face to face friends are Dominican and my online friends mostly expats who I see occasionally. Some of my Dominican friends are campesinos, honest as the day they were born and always there for me. Some are professionals, lawyers, doctors and the like. You need to speak Spanish to make real Dominican friends I think and once you have a Dominican friend you have a friend for life.

A friend will ask you how you are
A Dominican friend will tell you, you look good, will hug you and give you a kiss.

A friend sends you flowers and a card when you are in hospital
A Dominican friend will sleep on a chair at your side

A friend will ask to borrow something and will give it back 2 days later
A Dominican friend will ask to borrow something and after a week will forget it was yours

A friend will offer you the sofa to sleep on
A Dominican friend will give you his bed, he will sleep on the floor and not let you sleep but spend the whole night talking to you

A friend will know a few things about you
A Dominican friend will be able to write a book with all the things he knows about you

A friend will give you a paracetomal when you are hungover
A Dominican friend will make you chicken soup, and give you his grandmother's cures, and will make sure you drink the soup, even hand feeding you.

A friend will knock on your door, waiting for you to open it
A Dominican friend will open the door, walk in and then say I am here

A friend will ask you to make them coffee
A Dominican friend will go into the kitchen, make the coffee and go next door to ask a neighbour for sugar if you have none

Matilda
 
T

the gorgon

Guest
I have some great Dominican friends, in fact all my face to face friends are Dominican and my online friends mostly expats who I see occasionally. Some of my Dominican friends are campesinos, honest as the day they were born and always there for me. Some are professionals, lawyers, doctors and the like. You need to speak Spanish to make real Dominican friends I think and once you have a Dominican friend you have a friend for life.

A friend will ask you how you are
A Dominican friend will tell you, you look good, will hug you and give you a kiss.

A friend sends you flowers and a card when you are in hospital
A Dominican friend will sleep on a chair at your side

A friend will ask to borrow something and will give it back 2 days later
A Dominican friend will ask to borrow something and after a week will forget it was yours

A friend will offer you the sofa to sleep on
A Dominican friend will give you his bed, he will sleep on the floor and not let you sleep but spend the whole night talking to you

A friend will know a few things about you
A Dominican friend will be able to write a book with all the things he knows about you

A friend will give you a paracetomal when you are hungover
A Dominican friend will make you chicken soup, and give you his grandmother's cures, and will make sure you drink the soup, even hand feeding you.

A friend will knock on your door, waiting for you to open it
A Dominican friend will open the door, walk in and then say I am here

A friend will ask you to make them coffee
A Dominican friend will go into the kitchen, make the coffee and go next door to ask a neighbour for sugar if you have none

Matilda
as i said, this is why you are Matilda, and we are not...
 
M

mofongoloco

Guest
Why do most foreigners assume all Dominicans are poor ??? There are many Dominicans very well off and a greater majority who are not rich but do live a very decent life and they will never ask you for money. The problem is most people come to the Country and decide to hang out with people that they would never associate with in their own Country.
Those well off people don't interact with foreigners.
 
T

the gorgon

Guest
Those well off people don't interact with foreigners.
there you go. you will never see a Dominican with money in a caseta on the malecon. not going to happen. they will all huddle together in Tio Pan in Torre Alta, but not in a malecon hangout.
 
U

user123

Guest
The friendlier you are towards them the more comfortable they feel asking you for money, because "ya hay confianza". No thanks.
 
B

Buffness

Guest
Those well off people don't interact with foreigners.
Not necessarily. Yes ,social stratification is alive and well in the DR and still dominates most business and social interactions. And yes , most of our professional Dominican friends( lawyers, doctors etc) tend to interact mostly with people in their socioeconomic group , or at least, with people of similar backgrounds and interests .

Mi esposa and I are foreigners , and our friendships with Dominicans came from mutual respect and shared interests. We’ve known our doctor’s family and abogada for a while and they consider us as friends and vice versa.

So , while we probably don’t do everything on Maltida’s list , we watch and play sports with our doctor and his family when we can , and we go to movies with our abogada and her daughter most of the time . It depends on the individual.
 
C

Chirimoya

Guest
I've always had a combination of Dominican and expat friends. Expat friends are all very well bu they tend to come and go. Most of my Dominican friends are educated, well-travelled, socially and environmentally aware professionals and we have plenty in common. On the plus side, all the things that Matilda says ring true to some extent. Open, generous, and always there for you. One thing I find frustrating is that it's often difficult to get a word in edgeways but this is not exclusive to Dominicans - I could say it about many other Latin American friends and acquaintances too.
 
U

Uzin

Guest
Those well off people don't interact with foreigners.
This is very true, Dominican class structure is more complex than your average western country. There are big differences and different expectation between various classes here.

Also language and your background as a foreigner plays a part, and how long you stay here every year, full-time, or snow bird, or tourist, at the end of the day it is far more difficult to mix with the well-off in DR than some other places, I think. They mostly look at the majority of worse off in their own country and distance themselves (rightly so I guess, there is a big gap), then they carry that chip on their shoulders when it comes to foreigners.

Of course there are always exceptions but we are talking on average and generally....
 
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bob saunders

Guest
Those well off people don't interact with foreigners.
Neither my wife or I are very social creatures but we have Dominican friends that are wealthy and those that are very, very poor, including relatives at both ends of the financial spectrum. We have travelled through South American and to Europe with a group of 20 Dominicans that includes a retired Supreme court judge, a general, several high up government officials, and a couple of business owners and we consider most of these people friends or at least good acquaintances. None seem bothered by my lack of fluency in Spanish, indeed many of them speak English.
 
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badpiece33

Guest
Those well off people don't interact with foreigners.
That is not necessarily true, I have many well to do Dominican friends in the Capital and Santiago, They dont go out of their way looking to friend foreigners, but that doesnt mean they are adverse to it. The Dominican Republic is like any other Country, you will meet people in the circles you keep. If your meeting people in bars on pedro clisante you may be meeting a different Dominican than if your meeting a Dominican in a Bar/Restaurant like Saga or Vino de beber in Santiago, Two completely different crowds, Im not judging but , you will definitely meet a different type of Dominican.
 
H

hard times doug

Guest
A lot will have to do with your lifestyle and your personality. Me, I don't have much in common with your average Dominican, professional or otherwise. I tried explaining to the taxi driver why what he routinely did would eventually get him or someone else killed and he didn't get it. Generally, my interactions get reduced to their daily lives and of course their problems, some of which they believe I am uniquely in a position to rectify.

I've tried hiring Dominican trades people and they were usually a disappointment. Some more than others. Now, my trades people are foreigners who are semi retired. I generally don't socialize with the locals apart from casual encounters and a very rare game of Dominoes. I do not enjoy hanging out at the colamdo drinking beer nor do I enjoy sitting on a stoop watching the world go by. My Spanish is pretty good but I still translate things in my head which slows me down. I just can't keep up with most social conversations where I first have to figure out what the topic is, then what is being said.

I'm not like everybody and all Dominicans are not the same. I've had some acquaintances ask for things and others who have not. I've had foreigners ask for things and others not.

To be honest, I'm not here to look for friends. I have all the friends I need and most are at arms length, just the way I prefer it. I don't need people contact every day and can go weeks before I seek out someone to talk to or have a drink with. I do not invite locals to my house and only a select few foreigners who are likely to reciprocate. Those that don't, aren't asked back. Again I have very little in common with the average Dominican, I cannot tolerate for even a brief time someone who can't put their phone away and social interactions with an average Dominican at least for me, are awkward, usually quite boring and difficult to get excited about.

Your experiences may be completely different. If you are an outgoing person and choose to pursue friendships with anyone here, more power to you. As for your concern, sure, you are going to encounter those who ask for things. You just have to be prepared and have a plan. In these cases, I usually politely say no. I find that when you help someone in need (especially with money), you are the first person they seek out the next time they need something (usually money).

I'm not a complete antisocial miser. I have just learned that I need to be discriminating or I can get overwhelmed and feel guilty a lot of the time. I am my own best friend and I really enjoy my own company. Other relationships I see as being akin to work, something I swore to avoid at all costs when I moved here. I prefer simple and predictable both of which relationships tend to complicate eventually.

Good luck.
Right on target.
 
A

AlterEgo

Guest
Retired or not , always good to have a General as a friend. Thank God I have 2
Agreed, we have two, first cousins. We’ve never had to “use” them, but let me tell you, everyone in our campo knows who they are and that Mr AE is their cousin. When one of them visits us, we hear about it for weeks from casual acquaintances. They miss nothing. I suspect it’s one of the reasons our home has never been robbed, despite it being empty more than half each year.
 
S

suarezj519

Guest
I have a broad range of "true" friends in the DR. My truest friend is my old neighbor in Cotui and he was very very poor, but I could count on him for anything as he could on me as well. Never asked for one peso from me. I also have well off friends and family in SD and have experienced that life as well. Most of the time it's just doing things that I do here in the US on a normal basis. Go out to eat, movies, etc. When I first came to live long term, I was grateful to my neighbor for showing me how to spot out good people in my life that are not just there for $ or to get something out of you. With the exception of one time giving a shoe shiner a good amount and getting him something to eat, I usually go with the food or drink approach when asked for money and it works 99% of the time since that is what they're gonna use it for anyways. I get asked for 200 pesos and I'm like you gonna get food with that? Great. Let's go down and get something for both of us with this. I believe sharing is a great thing, but there's a point where you should know if you're being taken advantage of. True dominican friends are people you want to keep in your life, poor or well off.