Posts Tagged ‘how to make friends’

From Quantity to Quality: How To Make Friends Part III

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes you have to mine a lot of coal before you find a diamond. So if you are bent on expanding your community, or if you find yourself building from scratch, the fastest way to meet the widest range of people is probably what you’re looking for. The final frontier, so to speak.

Speed dating and Social Mixers.

Seriously. I’m not joking. You don’t have to be looking to date anyone, or maybe you are and that’s OK, too. But Speed Dating and Mixers are going to get you in touch with the most number of new people the most quickly.

We’ve talked about doing things you enjoy, and we’ve talked about getting over fear – and frankly, both will help you if you go this route, the former by providing you with subjects on which to converse, and the latter, because, well, you got to have some chutzpah to put yourself out there like that.

I’ve never done it but I’ve definitely thought about it, and actually it seems like such an awesome idea. A public forum to meet new people and hopefully create platonic, romantic, or even business relationships from there. It’s like networking on steroids.

Guaranteed if you live near a major city there are several companies devoted to this kind of event – but your local church, college, or community centre might host them, too. Double check whether you need to be a member to attend.

I know some people laugh at this kind of thing, or think it’s weird, or only for desperate people – but really, what’s so wrong with it? And if you try it, what have you got to lose?

Here’s what I would do to prepare for an event like this:

1. Get dolled up. Not because you’re looking to lure a man or woman, but because when you look good, you feel good. When you are putting your best image out there, it’s so much easier to feel confident. But be wise about it. Don’t wear 3 inch heels if you’re a flats girl, don’t buy a blazer you found on the pages of GQ if you’re a sweater vest type of guy (sweater vest are hot, by the way).  Be comfortable, be you, but be the type of you that feels beautiful.

2. Pack appropriately – mints, anyone? Chapstick, some cash, business cards if you have ’em. Makeup if you’re into touching up. A lucky charm. If you’re really nervous you might jot down some topics to bring up, or a quotation or mantra that you find soothing or inspirational. Bring a pen and some paper for info exchanges – just in case nobody else brought business cards…

3. Bring a Friend – yes, yes, I know you’re here to meet new people. But it’s always nice to have some back up, someone to laugh with on the way home if the night went horribly awry, and especially for women, there is safety in numbers. Generally these events are held in brightly lit (streetwise) public areas, but it may be a section of town with which you’re not familiar. Or parking could be a few blocks away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and having a friend along when you’re lost, or not sure if that guy is following you, or just headed to the same lot as you will be a huge asset.

4. Be open to the experience. Try not to have preconceived ideas – just go and enjoy. That’s the only way you get anything out of anything – just see what happens. Be present in the moment.

You may not meet your soulmate, or your BFF, but you might have fun. You might have fantastic conversations with people you might never have looked twice at if you’d passed them on the street. You might find someone who can help you with that furniture restoration, or squealing belt in your car’s engine, or who can set you up with an interview for a better job. Or, you might be able to help someone else out. How cool would that be?

Whatever happens, it would be an experience.

What do you think? Is speed dating still too weird? Or is it passé now? What about mixers? Are they just conventions in miniature? Or a house party gone corporate? Would you ever try one of these?

How To Make Friends: Part 1

Friends

Successful friends courtesy stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As promised…

I don’t know much about keeping friends, but I do know a very little about making friends.

See I spent my childhood with only one or two friends at a time. I had a lot of time to observe.

Then I blossomed. I discovered drama, and theatre people, and figured out how to make friends.

You see, theatre people are a whole other species. Really. Anyone who has been or knows someone who has been a theatre person, knows this.

The actors spend their time observing humanity from the outside in, and performing to feel it from the inside out.

The writers observe and deliberate over nuance and context, seeing plot in every sentence.

The directors find relationship dynamics and power shifts in every movement, every volume level, feeling to pull those strings at the right time to form the right message.

The stage managers see everything. They know all. And they are everywhere.

The tech crew work harder than anyone gives them credit, creating art out of nothing, out of negative space, and for the most part, they do it smiling.

It was here I found my niche. You don’t become a theatre person. You just are one. Even after you sell out to corporate life for drugs and money.

So what are you?

What activity turns you on? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?

Because if you’re looking to attract new friends, that is where I would start. With something that, even if you don’t make a lasting people connection straight off the bat, at least you’ll have fun swinging.

My father played in a recreational baseball league until he was 50. My sister continues to play volleyball after college. My mother travels. Her spouse joins the Rotary club.

I read, and swim lengths, and go for walks and movies – all things that can be done in groups, but I usually end up solo.

Why? I don’t know.

I think that acting is my thing. I am an actor. Even though it’s not lucrative (for me), and it’s time consuming (like you wouldn’t believe, unless, you know… you know), theatre people, they are my people. That is the one social circle I’ve ever felt like I fit into.

Who are your people?

If you don’t know, if you’ve never had that “Aha, click” moment of just sliding into place, start with an activity you’ve always wanted to try.

But mostly, I’d think of the things you remember doing as a kid. My sister, and father, and mother, and stepmom all played sports – competition is their thing.

I’ve liked reading and imagining myself in stories and imagining stories around me since I could read. Having an audience’s attention without having them staring at me, myself, is all I could ever ask for out of life. It just is. But I would go nuts if I had to talk about fouls and technicalities and scoring averages. I just don’t care about winning or losing in that sense. I see the beauty of sport, but the competition part just misses me.

So – do you like talking sports? See if you can join an adult recreation league in your area. Or hang out on game night at your local watering hole instead of in your own den.

Enjoy the arts? Join your local community theatre, or volunteer to usher at performances.

Is food or cooking what gets you going? Take some classes in a cuisine that’s unfamiliar to you, or learn how to frost cakes with all those flowers and leaves.

Love languages? There’s usually “X” as a second language courses at your local college or university.

Whatever it is, once you’re there, find one person who you find approachable, and strike up a conversation. It may be difficult at first. But just start with one person. Listen, and share your thoughts. It will get easier.

There is something about surviving something – even something as small as a play, a season, an exam – that bonds people together. You stop being a collection of individuals and become Mme. Leclerc’s 6:00 class. Or the cast of Footloose. Or the Flaming Weasels, most improved team of the season…

Whatever it is, as long as it’s an activity you enjoy, and you can do it with others who enjoy it, you will find a community, and you will find that you belong.

Bondage to Buddies: Going From Bonding Over A Unique Commonality to Friends

The ultimate bonding activity

Three Legged Race courtesy State Library of Victoria used by Creative Commons License

It is amazing the strange things over which people bond. I’ve had friends with whom I shared one class in university – that’s all. One class. I’ve made friends over brands of yogurt in the grocery aisle. I once had a community of picky eaters within a cast for a show I was in – Picky Eaters Unite! I can have fabulous conversations with people I run into while walking home and reading Harry Potter, or stopping by a war monument in a park, or sitting in traffic (true stories! – and not just this one).

My point is, I’m approachable, I have spark, and some people enjoy conversing with me – but the initial bond isn’t always enough of a foundation on which to build a lasting friendship. I’ve talked about how to keep friends – let’s talk about how to make friends. From initial sparks to person you can phone and call by first name – without trying to sell them anything.

This will be a weekly series (well, we’ll try for weekly!). At the end of which, maybe I’ll try out some of the techniques and work on expanding my community and report back as to which theories worked for me.

Stayed tuned for the thought experiments on how to make friends – starting next week!

For now let’s get a little silly – what crazy bonds have you formed that led to (or didn’t) lasting friendships?

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