Tomasz from Warsaw could compete for the title of the most integration-prone immigrant – he even spells his name in Maltese on Facebook and is known as Tomax Anġej Nidezki. He never misses a chance to praise Malta and its people, and says making friends was easier than anywhere else he had been. Still, seven months on the Rock, even someone like Tomasz finds himself lonely when it comes to romance. So he decided to open up about it on Facebook, and the response – from Maltese and immigrant residents – was overwhelming.
“You find yourself alone in a different culture, out of the comfort zone, with everything around you new, and sometimes you do feel lonely. After all, even if we usually keep it to ourselves and sometimes pretend to be all fine alone, at least some of us do enjoy having a significant other,” he confided in a large expat forum. The outpouring of support took an unexpected twist. People who have spent various amounts of time in Malta confessed often feeling lonely as well (after all, some of our writers have been there too), and suggested just being patient with dating apps, or joining hobby clubs to meet more people.
Tomasz Andrzej Nidecki’s Facebook post touched a raw nerve for many. Photo credit: Martyna ‘Seth’ Pawlowska
“I feel that interpersonal relations are probably the only challenge that I’m facing with integrating here in Malta, which for me is the ultimate destination, not just a step of a trip. Everything else seems natural and easy,” Tomasz told Eve. In his experience, friendships and romance in Malta were just completely different genres, requiring different social circles.
“OKCupid in Malta is basically dead, and it’s the only site I know where people focus on the content (written) not on the visual aspect. Not to mention that at least in my age group almost every online site here is quite unpopular,” Tomasz wrote on Facebook, observing that Tinder is “like virtual Paceville,” which is not what he’s after, and speed dating is largely non-existent. “This is very much in contrast to what I experienced back in my country of origin, where speed dating was very popular and where there were several very popular dating sites (local ones mostly) including subscription-based ones for those more about relationships and less about hookups. […] I reckon relationships here form early via familiarity, e.g. meeting still at school,” he concluded. His audience read it as a sincere confession rather than a complaint, and many started suggesting that he organises a social event for struggling singles and their friends.
So Tomasz went out and did it. He approached his favourite venue in Valletta, selected the type of music, and started advertising the gathering. “We’re all in the same boat” is the title of the party on the 13th of October in Valletta (see the event page) that was born from this heartfelt exchange of personal stories brimming with loneliness, confusion, resignation – and eventual luck. “To be honest, I was prepared for mocking, jokes, and “go back to your own country” comments from other expats. I was almost shocked how many people shared private details in the comments. It was worth it to find the courage to write this,” Tomasz says, looking back at the online exchange.
Now he is waiting to see if his event can deliver. He knows that magic cannot happen by design, and formulates the event’s message as an opportunity to expand one’s social circle and to provide an additional opportunity for singles and their friends to mingle. If the response continues to be this positive, and if the venue likes the idea, Tomasz hopes to make this event regular.
While there are many meet-ups for the international community, this one aims at people who are open to romance, but without creating a hookup space. Has Tomasz and his sincerity unexpectedly upgraded the dating scene in Malta?