Sometimes adults complicate things. Kids know what's up- they just walk up to another kid and say "hey, can I play?" Yep. I usually act like a big kid, so maybe it's not as hard for me as for some of you, but making friends can be toughhh! I KNEW I had to write this post after I saw people on the struggle bus at my Babes & Bros Valentine's Mixer! It was painful for me to watch you guys try to interact, introduce yourselves, find common ground, and overcome insecurities. So, here are my top tips to make it easier to make friends!
What Kind of Friend Are You Looking For?
Who are your people? What kind of people do you want to hang with? Need a rock climbing buddy? Coffee shop and reading pal? Concert partner? Think about what you want this new friend for...maybe a specific activity or something you really like to do. Think about it and that will help you find them faster! If you happen to be going to an event soon- awesome! You'll be in a room full of potential new friends...excellent. You can skip step one. ;)
`1. Find Them
After you've made a mental list of what kind of friend you're looking for, you can figure out where you're going to find them! If you need a prayer partner, maybe join a new bible study. If you want a running buddy, then grab your kicks and hit up the many running groups you can find in Dallas. You get the idea...if you want them to enjoy a specific activity, then find out where that activity is happening, and GET THERE!
Yes, that's right. Flirt. We flirt to find out if somebody might be a good romantic partner, so what does a friend flirt look like? Well, it's easy... throw out some conversation topics that you love and see how they react. Mention a recent activity or place you visited and try to gauge their interest. Are they into that new coffee shop? Instagram? Your new adorable wedges? ;) If they're not interested in anything you're putting out there, it's time to move along.
3. Read Signals
I had a pretty serious situation at Babes & Bros where a guy was NOT reading the signals I was giving. I tried to make it clear that I wasn't interested, but he asked for my phone number anyway and I had to politely decline. It's fine, but could have been avoided if he would have just accepted my signals! Both parties involved have to know how to send and receive signals for this to work. SO if you're not feeling a new friend (or maybe you're just busy or have to use the restroom!), you can try to politely excuse yourself from the conversation by saying something like "well, it was nice to meet you...I'm going to grab a drink." or "would you excuse me? I need to..." If you're on the receiving end, you should graciously accept those signals, end the conversation, and move along! If that person is interested in being friends, they'll find you again, and you can move forward.
4. Set a Goal
Making friends can wear you out! Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, engaging with new people can take a lot of energy! Before you arrive at an event, walk into a coffee shop, or check-in at your next workout class, take a minute and decide how many new connections you're going to try to make! I think ONE is a solid goal for most people! That's right. Just one. BUT there's a difference between friendly interaction and making a new friend. If I chat with you but don't exchange any form of contact info, you're just a nice person I happened to exchange words with. If we chat and our "flirt" goes well, we can exchange info, then there's potential for a new friendship to follow! My favorite way to do this at workout classes is at the end of class when I take my daily boomerang. I might invite someone to join me and if they think it's fun, we'll probably start chatting, then I'll tag them on Instagram, then, boom, new friend. Set a goal, and be proud of yourself when you achieve it, even if it's small! If you fail...there's always next time. ;)
5. Don't Take It Personally
I have had PLENTY of failed attempts at new friendships. One of my favorites was last summer when I tagged along with some friends to a girl's birthday party; I didn't know the birthday girl, but was excited to meet her and make a new friend. Well, let me tell you: she was NOT interested. Even though her Facebook event said that new friends were welcome, etc., she was clearn uninterested in making new friends. haha! That's ok! I went, I made the most of the situation, and to this day, the Instagram photo and caption that came from that experience are among my most engaging from the past year! Don't be offended if someone doesn't "seem" like they want to be your friend- you never know what's going on, and maybe they didn't even hear your name correctly and felt awkward. Don't take it personally, be nice, and say hello if you ever see them again.
Hope those tips helped put some things in perspective and gave you some action items to focus on next time you're out and about, ready to mingle!