Making Friends as an Adult (the Non Creepy Way)
By Maria Hill
I recently relocated to Sacramento from Los Angeles. I moved for love, super cliche I know. I met a fantastically amazing man, who happens to have an equally fantastically amazing job in Sacramento, and we got engaged. Yay! Together we packed up my one bedroom bachelorette apartment in Venice Beach and headed North.
I can’t lie to you, I was not really thrilled about Sacramento…at first. I have had about a little over a month to settle in and start figuring out where I fit. I’m realizing it’s not so bad after all. One of my favorite things about this city is people are reallllllly nice. In fact so nice that I was a little weirded out and suspicious at first. In LA no one says hi, or even makes eye contact for that matter. Once I realized Sacramentans are just generally nice people, and not trying to draw me in so they can rob me in broad daylight, it made the prospect of making friends a lot less scary.
I never really needed to think about how to make new friends until I was an adult. When I was young there were so many ways to meet friends: school, sports teams, summer camp, yearbook camp (is that one just me?). As an adult I have worked from home the past 2.5 years, which means the only new potential friends were my neighbors (who I am sure thought I was trust fund baby or a drug dealer because I was home all day), or people in coffee shops wearing earbuds and staring at a laptop.
Full self disclosure: I can be super awkward in social situations, especially where I don’t know anyone. My mind races as I run through the list of funny life stories I have to tell, what common interests I might have with someone, or just focusing on trying not to drop the F bomb too many times (turns out not everyone is into that). So the idea of meeting new people is slightly terrifying for me, but as a certified extrovert I thrive off other people’s energy. The trick to friend making is to be available without being creepy.
Here are the general rules I adhere to when it comes to meeting people for the first time:
- Attitude is Everything: I believe like attracts like so if you walk into a room with a negative attitude you will probably end up in a circle of scowlers. Be conscious about not complaining, even if you really hate your job, your ex, or that person across the room. Negativity is draining and just plain unattractive. Put on a smile, talk about what is awesome in your life and interesting people will gravitate to you.
- Ask Questions: We have all been in a conversation where you spend the entire interaction nodding. I call this “The ME Show” or Kanye West syndrome. This person can’t wait to tell you all about how interesting they are, how much stuff they own, and how much ass they are kicking in their career. Don’t be this person, please. Conversations are meant to be two sided and an opportunity to share information. Try to ask open ended questions that encourage the other person to talk. Open ended questions start with phrases like “how do you feel about…” or “what do you think about…” always have a few in the back of your head ready to go in case you need to fill awkward silences.
- Be Interesting: This just means have engaging subjects to talk about. Make a list of your hobbies and why you enjoy them. Talk about places you have traveled or new restaurants in town you have eaten at, all of these subjects are interesting. If someone asks you what you do for fun and your response is “not a whole lot I just kind of hang out.” That’s not very interesting and really hard to make a conversation out of that type of response. Also brush up on current events, as an adult you should have a general awareness (and maybe even an opinion) about what is happening outside of your personal life.
- Stay in Touch: Chances are if you follow all the rules above you will meet some awesome potential BFFs who dig you too. Don’t let them slip away, set a date for a future hang session. As long as you think the feeling is mutual ask for their digits, or if that freaks you out a little ask if you can friend them on Facebook. I mean let’s be honest, there are probably plenty of people on your friends list you don’t know that well.
Since relocating to Sacramento I have thrown myself into full social mode attending Tweetups, Meetups, and good old fashioned networking nights. Following the rules set forth above has led me to some great personal and professional connections. So if you see me around say hey, I am always up for a chat with a fellow amazing woman.
What other friend making tips would you add to this list?
Maria Hill is the founder of the lifestyle blog Say Hey Girl (www.sayheygirl.com). She can’t live without coffee, donuts, and glitter.