BreakingModern — Gone are the days when everyone lived in a 12-mile radius of his or her hometown. Maybe you just got a job in a new state, or you’re following your partner to the city they call home. Either way, you’re adrift in a new place with few or no connections, without even the organized events and forced interaction you had back at school.
This calls for an entirely new way of making friends. An adult way. Don’t know how to do it? “Where should I go? How do I talk to strangers? What do I say?” you ask. Don’t worry — it may seem daunting, but follow these simple rules and you’ll be hanging out with your new best friends in no time.
Sign Up for Meetups Online
The first thing to do is get out there. You won’t meet anyone if you stay inside, silly. Luckily, since we live in the future, we no longer have to blindly attend events and hope other lonely people will show up. Sign up for MeetUp or Citysocializer to find other people with the same interests you do.
If you don’t find your bosom buddy at the first event you attend, don’t give up hope. Sometimes it takes a while to find a connection, so patience is key. Hey, at least you’re getting out, right?
Make a Move
Okay, you found someone you like at one of these events. You have a sparkling chat at the bar, or share a giggle over the venue’s tacky décor while waiting in the ticket line. Do NOT let the moment pass. Don’t wait for her to get sidetracked or zip off to the bathroom — ask her for her contact info, stat. It’s more than likely that she’ll say yes, and you won’t be kicking yourself later for not asking while you had the chance.
We understand — when you know next to no one in your new town, picking up new friends at events can be as difficult as picking up dates at a bar; secretly you’re hoping this person will be The One (aka your new best friend), but you don’t want to come off as needy and desperate for their attention. But on the other hand, being totally nonchalant can cost you valuable chances to connect. What to do?
Believe it or not, your best option is to be 100 percent honest and upfront about your new living situation. Use your recent move as a prelude to asking if you can friend someone on Facebook. Say, “Hey, I’m new in town, and I’m trying to meet more people. Do you want to maybe get a coffee sometime?” By exposing your motivations, you get rid of any creepy, why-does-this-person-want-my-number vibes.
Follow Up — Before It’s Too Late
Okay, so you got her number. Or Facebook. Or Snapchat. Whatever.
Don’t let it just sit there — you need to use it before she forgets what you look like. Send a witty comment about the night before, snap a picture of your hangover breakfast or notify her about a similar event that’s coming up. Keep it light. See if she responds, and try to get a repartee going before asking if she wants to join you for that coffee. It’ll make the interaction more natural once you do meet again in person.
Find Friends of Friends
If a buddy of yours has a buddy in your new town, pounce on that opportunity. Ask if that friend of a friend will show you around. If she’s settled in, she probably knows all the best local haunts. If you’re both new in town, that’s better still — you can have fun exploring your new home together.
Besides, if your friend likes both of you, there’s a good chance you’ll like each other too. And if the conversation ever stalls, your mutual friend is a ready-to-go conversation starter. “Did Alex ever take you to any of his Dungeons and Dragons Parties?” “Oh my goodness, I went to one once and had the craziest time…” See? Insta-conversation.
Ban the Word “Sorry” From Your Vocabulary
In your search for new friends, never apologize. Okay, if you knock over their drink or accidentally punch them in the face, by all means, apologize, but don’t apologize for trying to be their friend. If you ask for their number and they say no, say “Okay, that’s fine,” but don’t say “sorry.” If you ask someone to hang out and they say no, don’t say “sorry” or belittle your plans. “It’s not going to be that fun anyway.” And never pre-empt a query with “sorry” — you know, like when you say “Sorry, could I get your number?” or “Sorry, would you like to get coffee sometime?” There’s nothing to apologize for — they aren’t doing you a favor by hanging out with you. You’re awesome. Saying “sorry” can make it seem like you’re ashamed to ask for their acknowledgement. And that’s just ridiculous.
It might sound cliché, but be patient, and don’t give up. You’ll find your new best friend soon enough.
For BMod, I’m Alison Maney.
Featured Image: People talking via Wikimedia Commons
Image Credit: Woman Laughing via Wikimedia Commons
Screenshot: Alison Maney