New friends aren’t reserved for singles only, especially because they new friends I met happen to be married! (Hi Katie, Hi Karin!) But I do think that this opportunity happens because I go out alone.
I think it is easy as a single person to fall into a trap that we cannot do fun things without a relationship partner or a best friend/partner in crime. I’m guilty of it. I recently had a friend bail when we planned to go to a gallery opening. I was going to go, but I couldn’t find parking on my first try so I just went home instead.
Most of the time if I see something I want to do but no one is available I go anyway. Which is what I did recently for a wine tasting. That wine tasting led to a conversation with the wine distributor (Cavanagh Family Imports) and we realized we have a lot in common. From that I was invited to a celebration of their wine and met more great people.
I’ve also randomly made friends waiting in an exceptionally long line at Whole Foods and we started chatting about a cool t shirt and our fun neighborhood. I’ve met a lot of great people going to concerts alone, theater events, and house parties.
It does help that you have something in common- whatever reason you are out. You can talk about the wine, music, theater, people you know in common. It’s a starting off point to get conversation going, but that isn’t what gets me out the door.
What gets me out the door is the desire to keep living my life, partner or no partner.
It doesn’t matter what the relationship status is on my Facebook. I value my life, I value trying new things and having new experiences. I value passion and going for what I want.
And usually that is what gets me out that door. I think it’s a kind of confidence that magnetizes these new friends my way. It’s not necessarily that confidence that all the self-help books tell you about. It’s not “I’m better than everyone!” “I’m all that!”
I think the kind of confidence I have (you know, the kind that shines from the inside out) says that I like who I am, I like my life, and I like living fully. It leads me to be open to new experiences and talking to new people, and it really helps when I am out alone.
It doesn’t hurt that I have no problem striking up a conversation with random people, I don’t really care what they think of me. (I know that most people don’t give other people a second thought. Each one of us is too absorbed into our own life to ever think about other people)
I’d like to challenge you. The next time you go out, at least make eye contact and smile with someone you don’t know. I bet they return the smile. If you’re feeling brave and confident, say hello and compliment them or talk about your surroundings. Almost everyone will respond to a simple compliment (“That’s a great t shirt, where did you get it?” “I love those shoes!” “Oh, I was thinking about picking up that vegetable but I have no idea how to prepare it. What do you do?”etc.) Ask them about themselves, and then listen to what they say. Really listen, with interest. Be curious about who they are.
Making friends is wonderful. Find your style of confidence, and rock it out there in the world. Share it with others, we all need your style of confidence.