The Art of Making Friends

Making friends is a tough business. It seems the older you get, the harder it is to put yourself out there, and especially in this digital age where everything you do is out in the open for the world to see.

I can remember back to middle school and the awkwardness of trying to fit in with a particular group. For me, it was such a painful experience that I got to the point where I just kind of shut down and coasted around the halls unnoticed.

High school wasn’t too much different of an experience for me. I certainly had more friends but none that I would have called best friends. They were more like acquaintances. I was just way too uncomfortable in social situations and to risk what I had built in an attempt to be outgoing just seemed irrational.

I figured it would get easier with age and even though there was a point after college that I decided not to be the shy guy anymore, I still found the friend making process incredibly intimidating. The very first blog event I attended consisted of me hiding in the back of the room, near the M&M’s bowl, watching everyone mingling and having fun and wondering how they were doing it.

It certainly couldn’t be as easy as walking up to someone and simply talking to them, could it?

And then it happened. My three year old daughter was at her ballet class, when another young girl approached her and asked bluntly, “Do you want to be my friend?”, to which my daughter giggled and answered “Yes”. And that was that, they were friends. She retold the story a number of times that night, gushing about all the play dates they were going to have, and I remember thinking how easy their friendship transaction had been. Maybe it really was that easy.

I have since adopted this method in my own life and have to say that walking up to someone and saying “Hi”, is a lot less stressful than thinking about it for 3 hours and then walking away. Something to think about.