Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to Make Friends

Someone on a forum was relating how they feel they need more friends and asking how they can go about getting them. They explained a failed attempt to make friends at a political gathering and concerns about people with different religious beliefs. I said this:

Friends are a subset of people and compatibility, in my opinion, only has a loose correlation with matching interests. You might meet people whose interests match up to yours 90% of the time and you’ll find that they’re a dick. Interests really don’t matter that much in making friends.

You don’t control the fish you catch, you just fish until you catch one, evaluate the fish to see if it matches your criteria. To increase the chances of getting the fish you want is to try fishing a lot. Of course in the process of fishing you get better at fishing.

If you want to make friends you just have to meet and engage a lot of people. Random people in random places. You engage a lot of people and you increase your probability of finding a friend. I believe you should forget about focusing on places where people with similar views congregate. Go out to places and engage the people you find where you go… the bar, the grocery store, the gym, the hardware store. A lot of people will think you’re a freak because some part of their brain is still four years old and is afraid to talk to strangers. Whatever, they’re welcome to self-segregate.

As for religious, political, or similar affiliations, push that aside. Well balanced people don’t spend every waking moment staring at their religion or political ideology. Well balanced people have those things as a part of their life but most of their life is working, spending time with their family and friends, and totally mundane shit like making toast. Few people make toast for Jesus, G-d, Allah, or whoever. They make toast because they’re hungry. The people that make toast for the Democrats or Shiva are batshit and should be avoided. If you engage the well balanced people with an open mind and interest in their beliefs you’ll learn a lot about what makes them who they are. If they have an open mind they’ll wonder about your beliefs and how those beliefs make you who you are. If they try to shove their beliefs down your throat tell them to knock it off and don’t do it in the future. If they fail at that remove them from their friend candidacy.

We all have more common ground than not. the rain falls on the rich and poor alike. We’ve all experienced loss, we all like food, we all wonder to some degree what things are all about. Jobs, political beliefs are ephemeral and a poor basis for friendship anyway.

All that rambling aside, what I think you want to look for is a attitude. They can hate your music, hate your clothes, hate your hobbies but if your attitudes are compatible then you might be life long friends.

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