How Do You Make Friends (and Only Alienate People if They Suck)?

I meet people every day. You can’t work in customer service and not meet people. But they’re not the kind of meetings I’m particularly interested in. Unless I get regular customers, who then turn into friends, customer meetings hold no real appeal for me. It’s just business. But it poses the question; how do you meet people? More importantly, how do you meet people when you’re a perpetually angry, misanthropic introvert who is awkward in social situations and feels acutely uncomfortable meeting new people? There’s a Friday afternoon riddle for you.

As you may have gathered if you read my blog even semi regularly, I pretty much think people are the worst. But the flip side of that, is that my life consists almost entirely of work and home, with no real social interaction to break the monotony. And so, as loath as I am to admit it, I think the time has come to break free from my introvert shell, and make an effort to introduce new people into my life. The problem I face however, is that not only do I have very little time to hang out with theoretical people, I don’t even know how to meet them in the first place.

The shop I work at is smack bang between a supermarket and a big chain store. So the people I see every day are either too busy or too far away to try and strike up (probably incredibly awkward) conversation with. And in addition to that, I work on my own, so I don’t even have any work mates to develop a friendship with. I don’t have the time to fit anything more into my schedule, so signing up for a random class is out of the question. And my circle of friends in the city isn’t so large that I’m being invited to parties every other weekend.

I know there are dating sites, but is there such a thing as a friendship site? You know, like a dating site only without the sexual innuendo and expectation of any kind of romance. I’m sure there is, and I just haven’t really considered the notion before, but if there isn’t, there should be.

Look, ideally I would like to be browsing in a bookshop and have a rad stranger approach, tell me they love the book I’m holding, and end up having a long and interesting conversation that turns into a spur of the moment chai date and a friendship begun on the foundations of books and geekery. But let’s face it, my life isn’t a movie, and in reality I would be too wary of a complete stranger to do anything more than politely smile and turn away. But hey, it’s a very pretty fantasy.

Seriously though, I put this to you, because I am in grave danger of only knowing the same three people for my entire life; how the hell do you meet people? Inquiring minds want to know…or at least, I do. Come on, guys. Help.

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3 thoughts on “How Do You Make Friends (and Only Alienate People if They Suck)?

  1. I met one of my friends at a tram stop. He said hello and started talking about the band on my shirt. Polite conversation until the tram came. We sat down in different places and then I thought, ‘Fuck it.’ I scribbled my number on a scrap on paper and passed it to him. This was five (six?) years ago, and we still hang on occasion now.

    That said, a lot of weird people catch public transport. I’m just kind of lucky that his level of weird matched my own.

    1. I catch public transport almost every day but…the commuters aren’t weird, just creepy mostly! Still, band tees are always a good conversation starter!

  2. I tend to rely pretty heavily on Meetup.com. Of course most of the time it’s a similar problem; people come for a specific activity, and treat the whole thing like a social one night stand. But once in a great while I go to different events; a board game day, an anime night, a Renaissance Fair, a writer’s group, and cross paths with someone familiar. I think that’s when they start to think maybe there’s potential. Sadly a lot of people seem to, for lack of a better word, have their quota of friends, and all they really want is “someone to play/watch/do something with,” but the activity remains central.
    Still, it does get me out with people, and under circumstances where we are all choosing to have fun together, and that’s a good place to start from.

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