Surefire Ways to Make Indonesian Friends

If you want to master Bahasa Indonesia, learning with total effort and being in an intense contact with Indonesians are things you should do in order to make your learning accelerated. In this post are surefire ways to make Indonesian friends.

Knowing the Culture

Knowing Indonesian culture is a must as it determines how you will behave and how Indonesians respond. The feedback your will receive depends on your cultural inteligence about Indonesia. It is relatively easy to approach Indonesians. Just take a little of your time to get to know Indonesian culture. For general characteristics, you can find them revealed in posts on this blog.

Questions such “how much is your salary per month?”, “are you married?”, “what is your weight?” Which are taboo in other countries is commonly asked in Indonesia. In a conversation about body for example, Indonesians tell you their weight without hesitation.

In general, Indonesians are collectivists. They love being together, gathered in a crowd, and make some fun there. Indonesians hate to be alone. When you want to make friends, they will warmly welcome you. Thing to note that I am talking about collectivist is not the antonym of introverted person. Here, introverted Indonesians are also collectivists.


This may sound strange to you, that to approach Indonesians, asking them some question is one of the surefire ways. Don't worry about the possibility that your question will cause offense. It will be taken easy by Indonesians - even though your questions seem too personal. If asking too personal question is the case, Indonesians will easily tolerate that. If you think your question is too offensive, open your question with “maaf” (read: ma - ‘af - consult to how to read Indonesian word and how to pronounce Indonesian alphabet to know how to pronounce that ‘magic’ word). Here are two expressions that you can say.

Indonesian English
Maaf, saya ingin bertanya sesuatu yang agak pribadi. [wait his/her/their response then ask your question] Sorry, I want to ask you something personal
Maaf, bisakah saya bertanya sesuatu yang mungkin agak pribadi? [If the answer is “ya”, then ask your question] Sorry, can I ask you something that might be a little personal?

You can also ask your question first then say expressions above. If this is your choice, modify the expressions to be the following:

Indonesian English
[Ask your question, then say this line] Maaf, jika saya bertanya sesuatu yang agak pribadi. Sorry if my question is too personal
[Ask your question, then say this line]  Maaf, jika pertanyaan saya tadi terlalu personal, tidak perlu dijawab. Sorry, if my question was too personal, it doesn't need to be answered.

One of the general characteristics of Indonesians is they love to be asked. Begin your conversation by saying “Halo, apa kabar?” Or simply ask “Apa kabar?” - they will like it.


I have said this many times in this web, that “it is easy to find Indonesians on social media”. Once you are connected with Indonesians on social media, greet them first - say hello - and talk to them. If you can meet Indonesian face to face, then having some conversations with them is a must.

When your intention is to learn Indonesian from Indonesians you meet, give them some topics to talk. Let them speak. Just listen to them and notice how they apply the grammatical rules and how they combine words in a sentence. Do not forget to notice their intonation. But if making friend is your target, then just let the conversation be as natural as possible. Ask Indonesians some questions and being in some conversations with them mean you care about them. When you show your care, not only Indonesians would like you but also everybody.

Always Put Your Smile on Your Face

Do not ever talk to Indonesians with flat face expression as they will think of you as someone who is not ready to talk. When talking to Indonesians, always keep your smile on your face as they will love it. You will realize it once you step your feet in Indonesia. While walking around the city, there will be many Indonesians greet you. If this happens, just show your smile.

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