Thursday, December 12, 2013

how to make new friends

Last Thursday evening, I walked from my apartment near Place de Clichy and through the hipster hub of South Pigalle. I was on my way to Artisan. Drink plans with Lauren, Lou, Marissa, and more brought me for a second visit; following a fantastic girls night with Rachael and Lorelei. It was just as as I'd remembered--charming atmosphere; approachable service; creative cocktails; and the most impressive small plates menu. Again, a great time was had... and to think, I shared it with people I've met quite recently.
I've been home in New York for three whole days now and have yet to see any friends here. Instead, I've been soaking up quality time with my parents and grandfather. Both in the midst of college finals, my brother comes back from Arizona tomorrow, and my sister will be back from Ithaca next week. Tonight though, I'm city-bound, and I can hardly wait to catch up with Anna. It's funny, too, because even she was once a stranger behind a blog. When I think about it, I've kinda made a lot of new friends as a grown-up.
A lot of the has to do with changing my whereabouts, of course. Moving around--whether it be for travel or relocation--resulted in a fluctuating proximity (or lack thereof) to childhood friends. Actively designing a life meant I had to build relationships in educational (college, grad) and work settings. Blogging has translated into countless opportunities to meet and connect in real life as well, however unconventional the point of contact. Dare I say I've gotten good at it? Or, have come to really enjoy the process.
When I wrote "how to make it in New York," I recognized I wasn't necessarily desperate for friends. And even still I moved out of the city with new ones. So, here's what I've learned :) First, accept that it'll be a little uncomfortable. There's no way to create something deep and meaningful without first surviving those awkward getting-to-know-you moments. And just like in dating, there's not always going to be a click. That said, there's less pressure, and there'll often be greater longevity when it does work.
Then, maximize opportunities. Frequent new places and introduce yourself to new faces. You don't have to become the friendliest person on the block, but you must realize all relationships are formed with repetitive contact. When an old acquaintance offers to amicably introduce you to someone or that lose tie platonically invites you somewhere, take them up on it. (Assuming, of course, you're comfortable with the social setting). It's very likely you'll be exposed to a whole 'nother network of potential bffs.
Lastly, be both mindful and vulnerable. To successfully create a circle of confidantes, you're going to have to open up; a lot if you want to get to true blue level. At the same time, along the way, don't hesitate to check in with how you find your friend-to-be. I'm not suggesting you become thoroughly judgemental, but I would recognize any warning signs like distrust. Just because you're in need of new friendships, doesn't mean you should devote your time and energy to the first few people who show slight interest. You deserve lasting relationships with mutual intent and similar values. And once you've got 'em, they deserve to be tended to with care. Which reminds me... I've got to start on holiday cards! Near or far, new and old, I have some of the bestest friends to appreciate.


Penny for your thoughts...