Shortcutting… Making Friends

12 May

Hello and welcome to my new blog about simplifying everything that is time-consuming and tedious, or just a little bit tricky. If you’re looking to do everything the easy way, then look no further…

As this is my first post, and we are therefore meeting for the first time, I have decided to make my first post a guide to making friends, that most complex of arts which can often take weeks, months, or even years to complete. Here’s my guide to making friends in a matter of minutes (I can’t promise it’ll last – I leave that part up to you).

Pre-meeting Preparation

Sometimes, you are lucky enough to know you are about to meet someone – a friend of a friend for example, or a new colleague – giving you time to prepare a little in advance. In the past, this would be of little use, but we are in the 21st century my friends, and there is a glorious, wonderful thing known as the social network. And what with the anonymity of the internet, there is the perfect opportunity to do a little digging. For friends of friends, head to Facebook – you should be able to glean a little info on your potential friend through their likes, mutual friends and so on. There are of course some strange folk who deny access to their personal information to anyone who is not their friend (can’t think why), in which case, I’m afraid, there is little you can do (although watch this space for Shortcutting… Computer Hacking). For future colleagues head to Linked In, and if these sources fail you Twitter is very stalker-friendly – it positively welcomes ‘followers’.

Having learnt all you can about your potential friend, pursue anything that interests you. Listen to their favourite band, maybe even watch their favourite t.v. show, but make sure the ‘common interests’ you create are plausible – I would advise against faking an interest in cognitive neuroscience unless you’re really desperate. And one final piece of pre-meeting prep – comedy. Everyone loves a funny person, so perhaps take the time to prepare a few jokes related to your ‘common interests’ – while spontaneity is better, if your on-the-spot jokes tend to be met with tumbleweed, a quick search on Google is bound to provide you with a few sharp quips. Right, now you’re ready for the meeting.

The Meeting

So now for the big day. Let’s start with pre-planned meetings. Start the conversation with some light chatter about your reason for meeting, be it your mutual friend, your mutual employer, or whatever else the situation may be, ensuring to come across as humorous but approachable. Sarcasm is a dangerous area is it can often be misinterpreted during first meetings, so I would generally advise against it. Allow the conversation to flow, but stay alert of any opportunities to mention one of your ‘common interests’ – don’t force it in, but try to make it seem natural. And probably stick to only one or two things – there’s a fine line between a couple of uncanny coincidences and a creepy, stalker-like similarity.

Okay, hold that thought for a moment while we reach this point with the unplanned meetings. There are a large number of possible situations here – you’re both on the same course for something, or maybe you’re meeting at a party. A good way to start a conversation is with a comment on the situation such as  ‘She’s going to have a headache tomorrow’. Humour is not obligatory but advisable where possible. This ought to lead to more discussion of the situation, and try to maintain some sort of conversation.

Right, now both meetings are at more or less the same point. There are just a few steps left. Firstly, humour, humour, humour. A topical joke is guaranteed to make the potential friend warm to you, and a shared laugh is a great bonding experience. Having said that, if you don’t seem to be on the same wavelength humour-wise, don’t keep trying, or the potential friend could be left feeling alienated and uncomfortable. Secondly, ‘lose’ your phone, and ask them if you can borrow their phone to call your phone to find it again (I’ll explain later). Finally, allow the conversation to die down naturally, and don’t force it to go on longer if it reaches a natural end.

Post-meeting Follow-up

Leave approximately 24 hours before follow-up, to avoid seeming clingy. Depending on how well you think the previous day’s meeting went, you might consider adding them on Facebook/ Linked In (although only if they actually mentioned their name to you – don’t want them thinking you’re some kind of stalker!). Regardless of this, go on your phone and look at your call history. There should be a missed call from an unrecognized number – your potential friend’s phone, from when you ‘lost’ your phone! Text the number with a message along the lines of  ‘Who is this? :)’. When they reply with their name etc., you can then reply back with ‘Oh yeah lol, how u?’, hence starting a new conversation. Don’t come on too strong, but if the opportunity arises, you may even be able to arrange another meet-up!

Et voila, you have a new friend, no gradual progression over months and months necessary!

Keep shortcutting…

Zoe

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