Making New Friends

Most of us old enough to be fabulous, sophisticated women remember meeting people as related to some smoke-filled room with tremendous amounts of alcohol and loud music.  We were trying to “meet new people” or otherwise find love, companionship or at the least great sex or a job lead.

Our parents and most adults had friends when we were growing up.  We learned that friendship meant lots of real back and forth communications on the phone or through the mail.  The primary way it worked was by mutual talking, listening and responding, following up, and remembering birthdays. It focused on listening to other people’s stories and lives and of course sharing – gossip, secrets, dreams.  We didn’t really have any place or way to present ourselves to others except through conversation or photo albums, or sharing experiences.  Good news is, most of us know how to BE friends, it is the ‘meeting the right people’ part that has become a bit of a drag.

Unlike our early searches to find new and different people, and also discover ourselves, we now know who we are. We’re comfortable in our own skin or REALLY working to be, and set on what works and doesn’t work for us in terms of acquaintances.  This is probably one of the very reasons it is so hard to find good new friends.  We know what we want—and will know it when we see it—but till then it is sort of hit and miss at the club, church, synagogue, neighborhood or volunteer activity.  We plan “dates” with singles or couples, with or without mates and see what happens.  Often, nothing happens.  It is a bust of sorts—nice people as we say—but nothing really “in common” or as fabulous women, we conclude—they are nice—but basically boring.

So what’s an adventurous person or couple to do?  How can you attract and find great new friends.  Well truly, I don’t know—but here are my sources, successes and failures; and for what they are worth, use them in your journey to find just the right people for you!

Good ways to meet people

  • Have something important to you in common—be honest—if you hate people talking about their grandchildren, do not look or try to reach out for people who are living very close geographically to their children.  If they live close they talk all the time—you will be bored and they won’t care because they are surrounded by their kids and that is all that matters.  If you have at least two or three other interests in common like art, food, politics or whatnot—OK to try them—but don’t get your hopes up.
  • You heard them talking to someone else, or they gave a talk or you heard them share something and just something about their style appealed to you.  If you find someone drawing you in—it is a possible friendship lead.  See if you can find out who they are and introduce yourself.
  • Reach out specifically to someone even if you they are not your age or other “obvious” category —hey if you live in a small town or even NYC—you read about someone owning a gallery, writing a book, opening a restaurant, starting a club and think—hey that sounds “neat” or “cool”—contact them and suggest coffee or an iced tea—you are fascinated by what they do or are doing and would love to meet them—if you have an eye on George Clooney or Ryan Gosling I wouldn’t get my hopes up—99 percent of real people will be flattered and meet you.  And if they blow you off, who cares—you don’t know them YET.  We are long out of ANY school—and NO ONE CARES. Their rejection just proves you are not yet the best at pre-friendship selection—but you will get better.
  • Clubs—golf, or otherwise—or churches—or neighborhood associations—but make sure you are truly in the demographic stereotype– (there is a grain of truth in most stereotypes—especially in terms of what you are doing here)—what I mean is don’t join the local country club hoping to find others who adore President Obama and want to get involved in inner city volunteer activity—most country club members really are republicans—not all and maybe not one or another specific club–but wake up—it isn’t a happy hunting ground for friendships for the very liberal . . .
  • Ask around—remember that one—ask your vendors if you use any—hairdressers, law professionals, your new lawyer or local accountant—who is fun, or who is interesting—who are their favorite clients and why—I really like our neighbors—but unsure how to connect—till Sherri showed up in the seat next to me having her hair colored by MY Jason at MY salon.  The old adage that birds of a feather means something.  Likely someone like you will love the same people—including people like your hairdresser.
  • Do dump people you don’t like quickly—it is like dating—you kind of do know after a lunch or dinner that it just isn’t going to make it—let it go with grace—and style—don’t extend again and if you really don’t like the people/person, be direct but very nice—“hey we really just don’t have more time for new friends”—sounds cruel—but if you say it in a nice and light-hearted way people get it—and if they don’t aren’t you glad you are dumping them?

As the Rolling Stones put it: “you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.  The key is self-knowledge coupled with some assertive useful rules of thumb—we fabulous women are good at that—or try to be.