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We answer what you want to know before moving to SG, “Are the locals friendly”

We answer what you want to know before moving to SG, “Are the locals friendly?”

A good laugh and a few drinks after a long day at work help keep the stress at bay. Moreover, sharing that good laugh and a few drinks with a good friend will make you live longer!

But are Singaporeans friendly enough to join you? 

Luckily, Singaporeans are generally friendly and accepting of foreigners thanks to their open-mindedness and acceptance of diverse cultures and backgrounds. 

If you’re new to the Lion City and wondering how easily you can make friends, we’re sharing some key insights about Singaporeans to help ease your newbie worries!

Factors That Contribute to Singaporean Friendliness

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities 

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities

Singapore may be a tiny country, but it’s an island filled with people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. If you explore the city’s most popular neighbourhoods, you’ll quickly notice that they’re inhabited by different ethnicities. 

Little India and Kampong Glam house the Malay and Indian communities, Chinatown is packed with Teochew, Hokkien, and mainland Chinese communities, and Katong-Joo Chiat has strong ties to the Peranakans. 

Because of this cultural menagerie, welcoming and accepting new cultures are a part of the Singaporean way of life. They’ll likely greet and treat you the same way they treat locals—just like normal, friendly people. 

It’s also not uncommon to find so many tourist families and groups exploring the island. You’re likely to bump into people from your home country in a shopping mall, restaurant, or theme park.

Singaporeans can speak English and other languages 

Singaporeans can speak English and other languages

Worried that a language barrier might stop you from making new friends? Don’t worry lah! 

While Singapore’s national language is Malay, other official languages that are widely spoken on the island are English, Mandarin, and Tamil. 

There is even an unofficial language, Singlish, that blends both English and Singaporean slang and is relatively easy to understand. 

Moreover, English as Singapore’s instructional language makes navigating the city effortless. Reading signs, following instructions, and exploring malls and attractions should be easy for any traveller visiting the island for the first time. 

That said, it shouldn’t be too hard to introduce yourself and communicate with other locals whether it’s in the streets, at a restaurant, a bar, a club, or even around the airport. 

Singaporeans have a strong sense of community

Singaporeans have a strong sense of community

The Singaporean term “kampung” refers to the villages where Singaporeans settled for decades before the island became what it is now. In kampung life, neighbours are regarded as extended family, offering unwavering support during tough times. 

The profound sense of community and solidarity formed the cornerstone of kampung’s existence in the past.

Although Singapore has undergone significant urban development, the spirit of kampung life endures. This is evidenced in the cultural diversity, religious tolerance, and openness of locals towards foreigners and minorities.

How else is that connected to Singaporean friendliness? Well, there is an organisation, SGKampung, that aims to connect neighbours with other neighbours and foster a stronger sense of kampung in the digital age. 

If you decide to visit Singapore’s neighbourhoods, there are community centres that welcome visitors to their events and activities. It may be a good idea to join in on the fun and potentially make friends!

There is an organisation that’s dedicated to promoting kindness

There is an organisation that’s dedicated to promoting kindness

In an effort to spread kindness to others, a non-profit organisation called Singapore Kindness Movement launched Kindness Day SG. 

This annual event brings together Singaporeans and encourages them to do acts of kindness and show appreciation for others. 

The organisation also provides corporate Kindness Kits, lectures, workshops, educational activities, and even volunteer work for anyone who wants to lend a hand and support the organisation’s initiatives to spread kindness. 

However, the Singapore Kindness Movement isn’t the only organisation that focuses on spreading and encouraging kindness. Many community volunteer centres also host related activities for anyone to take part in! 

Singapore has a lively and vibrant nightlife

Singapore has a lively and vibrant nightlife

While the club isn’t exactly the best place to hold a long conversation, it’s a prime spot to get social and meet new people. Luckily, Singapore has a vibrant club and bar scene, with many places that cater to casual hangouts and full-blown formal parties. 

Safe to say, Singaporeans know how to have fun, and even though some areas have a curfew of 3:00 am, there are other spots for you and your newfound friends to hang out until sunrise. 

Singaporeans learn about character development from a young age

Singaporeans learn about character development from a young age

In Singaporean schools, good values and character development are taught from a young age. Children are taught that respect, courtesy, and empathy should be reinforced beyond the classroom and in their families, friends, and communities. 

Almost all schools in Singapore, local and international, implement and promote character development and education in their curriculum. Therefore, Singaporeans grow up to be considerate and friendly to strangers, especially when they need help. 

What to Consider When Making Friends in Singapore

Singaporeans are used to a fast-paced life

Singaporeans are used to a fast-paced life

If you’ve stayed in Singapore for a while, you’ve probably noticed how fast-paced life can be here. You’ll come across a diverse range of people, but they’re likely hustling to meet the standard of living and quality of life that Singapore offers. 

That said, not everyone will be free for a casual cup of coffee or a hangout at a bar after work. However, if you make plans ahead of time, Singaporeans are likely to mark their calendars and make time in their busy schedules to catch up. 

So, don’t be disheartened if not every Singaporean you meet can spare their after-work hours just for you. 

Singaporeans observe strict values and customs 

Singaporeans observe strict values and customs

Singaporeans put a lot of emphasis on respect and order, which may come off as rude or unfriendly to first-time tourists. 

However, don’t be quick to judge locals for being that way; they simply respect your space and expect you to do the same. 

That means that Singaporeans are more likely to hold a conversation with you if you start it. It’s not disrespectful to strike up a convo out of nowhere with a local, but it doesn’t hurt to approach without disrupting their business. 

Moreover, don’t expect locals to act all excited or happy when you give them something. It’s considered disrespectful in Singapore when a receiver reacts loudly and hastily opens a gift in front of the gifter. 

It’s also considered rude in Singapore when you don’t respect the elderly. If you’re speaking to an elderly local, prepare to listen attentively and avoid speaking over them. 

These are just a few customs that Singaporeans observe and highly factor in when meeting new people. 

Singaporeans tend to be competitive

Singaporeans tend to be competitive

While Singaporeans are generally open-minded and friendly, they can also be pretty competitive, not just in academics or their careers but also in other aspects of their life. 

This can lead to tendencies of insecurity and being highly driven to be the best at anything they do, even in friendships. 

Singaporeans tend to forego basic pleasantries

Singaporeans tend to forego basic pleasantries

If you’ve started a new job in Singapore, a simple “Good morning!” may not be something you’ll hear every day. Some Singaporeans aren’t big on basic pleasantries like that, especially in a corporate or work setting, so a “Good day” isn’t really the norm. 

That doesn’t always mean they’re unfriendly, though. It’s more common in Singapore to nod or wave back with a smile! 

So, to avoid disappointment, greet everyone else the same way if the culture at your workplace forgoes the constant “Good morning!” and “Hi, how are you?”

Singaporeans are big on festivals 

Singaporeans are big on festivals

Festivals like Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Deepavali, and Eid al-Fitr are among the most widely celebrated festivals and annual events in Singapore. During these festivals, locals gather in flocks and join in festivities with other people. 

These festivals are a few of the best times to get yourself out there, appreciate the city’s cultural scene, and meet new people. 

However, because Singaporeans are big on festivals, you’re expected to respect and join in on the festivities the way the locals observe them. 

If you’re attending but aren’t enthusiastic about the festivities (or are only there to meet people), then you’re setting a bad impression on the locals you might meet there. 

If the festivities don’t appeal to you, consider holding back from attending or at least taking some time to read up on them and genuinely enjoy the events. 

Attendees will usually take this time to appreciate their loved ones and friends, so if you want the locals to do the same to you, do your part and appreciate the festivals in the country. 

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