How do you make new friends? And don’t answer, “I don’t,” that’s lazy. There has to be someone you met in the last few weeks that you didn’t know before. School is definitely an easier place to meet new people. I mean, classes change constantly—if you attend a school on the quarter system it happens even more rapidly. Sure, sometimes this means that if you don’t have the nerve to talk to someone, you never get the opportunity to get to know them, because 10 weeks passes by extremely fast. This happens to me quite often. I don’t particularly get outside my circle and talk to people. It seems weird to me.
Yet despite my best attempts I have made new friends this quarter. Because, ya know, people talk to me sometimes and it is rude to ignore them. I know a while ago I made a distinction between friends and kind acquaintances, which realistically is what these people start out as, but some of them have developed into friends. Take coworkers as an example. At my job on campus, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was friends with anyone when I started. Now, the girl (gender doesn’t matter, don’t look into it thank you very much) that I work with is one of my better friends. I mean, we don’t go out for a beer ever, but we text a decent amount. I know enough about her life and interests to talk about her with other people. I’m also respectful enough to realize that as her friend I shouldn’t parade information about her around.
Of course, every social arena is different. My second job doesn’t particularly allow me the same level of friendship. I mean, I have made friends with my coworkers because I have been working there long enough, but more so I have made friends with regular customers. Working at a luxury hobby store means that the people who come in regularly are typically into a specific thing. Because I know my product well, I can relate to that thing, even if I am not extremely interested in it. The more consistently a regular comes in, the more we chat, and eventually I know something about them. One of my regulars has an interest in working with the IRS one day. Another is interning for the music industry. Another is lazy and smokes weed every day.
So there are different social arenas. Sometimes you have the choice to make friends, like at school. It’s really a question of whether or not you are interested in someone enough to talk to them. Other times, people are thrust into a scenario where they either become friends or hate each other. Finally, there are situations where people develop friendships unintentionally. Regardless, it is important to reckognize that these friendships provide every person something that is valuable—connection. Not just the connection like “hey, you work for the music industry and my other friend is trying to promote herself as a country singer, could you maybe give her a look?” But connection on a more basic level. They provide a sense of camaraderie, and likeableness, which when a person gets isolated often falls to the wayside. Sometimes a simple smile brought to someone’s face is enough to brighten their day in ways you can’t possibly imagine.