I recall one of my first initial interaction with a really close girl friend of mine. Years ago in college, when commuting between campuses, those typically ‘get to know you’ questions came up. She broke the awkward silence with the usually, “Where are you from?” “Do you have siblings?” “What’s your major?” “Do you have a boyfriend?” Now a little bit about me, I am an introvert naturally and a very private person so I preferred to sit there in silence. Politely, I answered all of her questions and just reversed them so I could learn the same about her.
Once we reached our destination I had gathered that we had a few things in common and she would be someone that I could befriend and potential hang-out with in the future. And I was right. Until this day she is one of my closest friends and confidants, so imagine my surprise when she told me when she first met me she thought I was a lesbian. Laugh out loud hilarious. She asked me 4 questions. 4 questions and none of them were, “By any chance are you a lesbian?” What in the world did I say to warrant that conclusion, I thought.
Apparently when she asked “Do you have a boyfriend?” I replied, “No, I’ve never had a boyfriend and I’m not interested in men.” LOL which was true. While my peers were more focused on hooking up and finding love I was focused on school and “TAKING OVER THE WORLD,” (in my pinkie and the brain voice). At that age I felt socially awkward when it came to boys. I wasn’t comfortable being ‘all women’ and certainly didn’t know what I liked and what I wanted in a romantic relationship. So I choose to be the coolest and best dressed nerd Miami has ever seen. But what girl doesn’t want her own “Sex in the City” and “Girlfriends” crew… come on.
I was 17 or 18 at the time, so if making friends were hard at that age; imagine what it’s like now. Everyone speaks of how to build or maintain a relationship but how to do create one out of thin air. I’ve since moved from the big city and making friends has been a bit challenging. One may think that your place of employment is a great pool of untapped friendships waiting to happen, but for me it’s not. I personally like to keep my professional life professional so I venture away from deep private conversations and co-worker outings. I’m on a mission to be your next boss, the CEO to a hedge fund, on Forbes top 100 list and I can’t afford to let those with whom I am competing against to have insider knowledge on me. Think about it, all it takes is that oh so concerned coworker who you thought was a friend to say, “She’s probably been a bit distracted because she’s having marital problems and she’s pregnant”. Their goes your promotion. More on this in another post.
So what’s left, going out, parties, clubbing? I’m so over the club scene and besides women there are looking for a mate, not a long lasting friendship with this single mother of one. So for all the individuals out there in my predicament, #takemyfoolishadvice
1. Try to establish friendships at church. You’re already surrounded by like-minded individuals
2. Ask your mutual friends that are social butterflies to introduce you to some of their friends that you may not know. Chances are if you have a mutual friend in common you’ll hit if off well.
3. Speak; open your mouth it could be a compliment or a question. I complimented an old lady on her pants and we ended up talking about fashion for 10 minutes at the deli counter.
4. Decide to be more social and inviting. If you’re not open to making new friendships they’ll never happen. Decide to do something different because obviously what you have been doing isn’t working.
5. Follow-up; friendship are not one sided, go figure! You have to put in some work. Make plans and stick to them. Chat it up with your new friends every now and then, don’t always wait for them to contact you. Mommy play dates or working out together a few days a week are some examples of commitments that are less intense and fun, that is if your children bring out the best in you. If not, well…
The above tips are not gender specific. I am personally going to try them all and let you guys know how it goes. Trust me I’m scared for myself. LOL. Above all I’m just going to remember to have fun and you should too. Leave your foolish advice below; I would love to hear what worked for you.