It’s pretty simple, really. There are a few guidelines I follow and so far it’s worked out reasonably well for me.
1) Don’t turn down plans.
2) Be you, not somebody you think people want to meet.
3) Don’t turn down plans.
Yeah, 1 and 3 are the same, but that’s really the key to it all. I wasn’t always a remarkably social person – early in high school I was WAY more introverted, shy, awkward, nerdy, whatever you want to call it, but I was not anybody you’d see as popular. In fact, if you ask me, I’m still not somebody who is particularly popular. But as high school went along and I got into college, I began to come out of my shell and figure out who I wanted to be. (It also helps when my older sister is Queen Socialite and in order to keep up, it’s necessary to maintain a certain level of outgoing personality and social prowess).
Fortunately, maintaining that outgoing personality fit in exactly with rule number 2. I’m a social person. Like I said, I’m not particularly popular, but I have a decent number of friends ranging from really great friends to friends I see regularly but who don’t know my darkest secrets, to friendly acquaintances who I see every so often. I’m an outgoing person and I’m good at striking up conversations with people – I tell myself that I’m pretty likable, though that’s obviously for other people to decide.
The point is: I’ve had conversations with some people in the past (particularly in the last week or so) about making friends. Nick has called me popular (and his girlfriend agrees), which I’ve always taken as a silly and empty compliment. I’ve come to realize, though, that it’s just a way to point out an aspect of my personality – that I’m good at making friends. I realized this on Saturday when I went to a friend’s party at her house. Initially I’d planned on going with Nick and potentially his girlfriend, but they ended up doing other things. I very seriously considered bailing on the party knowing fully well that there would be one person I knew there (the friend hosting) and a grand total of 3 others who I’d ever had contact with.
Then I remembered rules 1 and 3. Don’t turn down plans. What else was I going to be doing that evening? Was hanging out relaxing at my house alone REALLY going to beat going and meeting people? Fuck no. It almost never does and almost never will.
Turns out, the party was tons of fun. I didn’t know anybody other than who I expected to know. So I made new friends. I started chatting with some people who seemed interesting. They were. It was a great night.
So there it is: a quick guide on how to make friends. It’s a lot easier and more fun than a lot of people think. I know so many people who recognize awkward moments with strangers, but really, those are just invitations for introductions and friendships. Seriously, next time somebody invites you somewhere, try just going – worst case scenario? You don’t enjoy it and ditch early for other plans.