Tag Archives: Friends

Bite into Interest to Create New Friends

I was riding the train home from the mall this evening. The weather was kind of dreary, and the digital camera I was looking for wasn’t in the electronic store that I thought it would be in. I want to buy a video camera so I can start posting video logs. I think that will be fun. Also, table I usually sit at in my favorite coffee shop inside the bookstore in the mall had been taken, so I had to sit someplace else. Of course, that didn’t stop me from making my usual observations and journal ideas as I sipped my black iced tea. But on the train, I was sitting across from this woman, who’d I put in her mid fifties, that was very bored. She looked like I felt. So I wondered what would happen if I started a conversation.

Conversations can be tricky sometimes. Like Forest Gump says, you really don’t know what’s inside unless you bite into it. Sometimes you’ll see a really mean looking person, and when you start to talk to them, they turn into the friendliest person you could ever meet. Other times, somebody seems to projecting an aura of friendliness and kindness, but once you start to talk to them, they look at you as if you’d just ran over their puppy. People can be extremely interesting.

I was reading this book, and it was saying that you really do have the power to find this interesting. It’s like a movie. Sometimes you don’t find this movie very compelling, other times you just have to keep your eyes focused on this. He said that the more you can choose to feel interested, the easier it gets. It was kind of a strange concept, purposely turning up your interest level so you can find something very intriguing that you wouldn’t normally do. I guess like everything else, it takes practice. He compared it to a situation when you meet a new boss that you will be working closely with. At first blush, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you’d want to spend more than five minutes or so in a bar, but since you are in a situation where you have to interact with this person, you somehow find a way to find interest in the same things he does. It’s almost as if by pretending, you actually generate strong interest. I know more than a few marriages where the wife will say at first she wasn’t interested, but this guy kind of grew on her. Persistence pays.

So I asked the woman where she was going this evening, and she said she was going to the airport to see her daughter who was away at university. The reason she looked so bored was that she just hates to travel. She said that she would much rather use those devices on star trek, where you just disappear one place, and then reappear in another place. That kicked off a great conversation about high tech electronic gadgets and where we’d be without them. Which just goes to show you, you never know until you bite right into it and see what’s inside.


How To Make New Friends Anywhere, Anytime

One of the things I find most fascinating is how quickly you can get to know some people. Most people, it generally takes a while. You need to share experiences, become comfortable enough to talk about things until you can feel you know this person. Maybe you only see them for a little a couple times a day. Maybe you only see them once a week. And then you feel you know them in this particular context, you begin to share other things. Your family, funny stories about your childhood. The teacher you had a crush on in second grade. That thing that your partner or significant other did (and hopefully still does) that drives you insane with desire.

I remember once I was talking to this lady. We’d only been acquainted for a total of about two hours. It was the third time I’d seen her. Either she is a really outgoing person, who is able to feel really comfortable with almost anybody, or she just felt she really trusted me. She started telling me things about her daughter that I thought were kind of personal, but interesting. Nothing too terrible, just typical mother daughter stuff that people talk about sometimes. It’s funny when you feel really comfortable with somebody you’ve first met, so that you can experience.

I remember once I was by myself in a foreign country. And most people didn’t speak much English. I was feeling brave enough to venture out of my hotel room. My hotel was a large international one, and some of the staff spoke English, so I was comfortable enough while in the hotel. But once I left the hotel, it was a totally different ballgame. It was a totally different sport. I started walking around, figuring that I’d be ok, as long as I could make a beeline back to my hotel if I ran into trouble. I saw what looked like a large shopping mall. I decided I’d have a look around, and see if I could find something interesting. Who knows, maybe I would feel brave enough to go and try to buy something.

Suddenly I spotted something interesting. Across the mall, was a guy that looked to be about the same age as me. He was wearing a sweatshirt from my alma mater. Suddenly feeling courageous at the sight of those big black letters which evoked many fond memories, I decided to go and talk to him.
I asked him if he spoke English, and he replied that he did. I asked him about his sweatshirt, and it turns out he graduated the same year as I did! We had an amazing time chatting over a meal at a small restaurant that he showed me where they serve the local cuisine. It was fantastic.

The funny thing was, I would have never have guessed that this person was so interesting, and that we share so many things in common. Had he not been wearing that sweatshirt which immediately caused me to remember good memories and feelings, I never would have been able to develop the courage to go and talk to him. It made me wonder. How many other people am I missing out on meeting simply because I don’t allow myself to feel the feelings that will make a chance meeting turn into a great afternoon?

And it turns out that the lady was preparing me to meet her daughter. She was telling me the bad things about her up front, because she was planning on introducing me later. I guess her strategy was to respect me enough to give me a fair idea of her. Because when I finally did meet her, she was absolutely stunning. Had I not heard the stories about her from her mother, I might have fallen into the trap of thinking, merely because of her looks, that she was a stunning angel devoid of any human frailties. As it turns out, she wasn’t my type, and I wasn’t hers, so everything worked out.

I think a great idea when meeting new people is to always look for similarities. Because we are more alike than we are different, you can’t go wrong, and you’ll always be able to make new friends wherever you go.