The Friendship Challenge: First Steps

Drawing by Pictofigo.

Part two in a series of posts about making new friends as an adult. Click here for part one. 

Over the last two weeks I’ve slowly begun working on how to go about making some new friends.

My first task was simple: whom do I want to meet? Some people are most comfortable hanging out with friends in their age group who share the same marital status, background and political/religious beliefs.

None of these things matter to me. The friends I currently have range in age from 20-60, are married, engaged and single, and may share all, some or none of my beliefs. What they do share in common is an unquenchable curiosity about the world around them and a willingness to listen to other points of view without feeling threatened. 

I still don’t know how or when I will find more people like this but I know they must be out there somewhere! Your criteria may be stricter. That’s ok.

Craiglist

In the comment section of my last post Jenna recommended Craiglist. I had already been thinking about either placing a strictly platonic ad or answering someone else’s ad. Here’s what I’ve learned about that section, though: everyone is looking for a mistress.

Ok, so maybe not everyone. But over my last few weeks of lurking I’ve seen a suspiciously large number of ads that read something like this:

Married [man, woman, couple] looking for a single [woman, man] for a discreet relationship.

or

Single [man, woman] looking for a friend. I like  teaching fish how to juggle and eating cold spaghetti. You should be interested in having a good time and must not be married or in a committed relationship.

I’m not sure how the phrase strictly platonic morphed into friends with benefits  over there but at this point I’m pretty uncomfortable placing or answering any ads on Craigslist.

Small Talk

Longterm readers know that Toronto is not the most outgoing city. Packing 2.6 million people into 630 km² does not leave the average person with much personal space (especially during rush hour). It’s customary, therefore, to avoid eye contact and conversation with your fellow travellers at almost any cost. Imagine 200 people squished into a subway car all of whom are pretending that the other 199 passengers do not exist or 10 people standing perfectly silent in an elevator.

I do not blame my fellow Torontonians for this. Sometimes what one needs more than anything else is to pretend as though your personal bubble still existed but something odd has happened to me more than once over the past few weeks, though: small talk.

The first time I was standing on a subway platform when a student struck up a conversation with me about a subway delay. She had just started classes at a local university and wasn’t happy with all of the changes in her life lately. We were separated when the subway finally arrived but for those few minutes I had a surprisingly honest conversation with a total stranger.

Now I’m noticing that more and more of the people who live in my building are starting short conversations on elevator rides. This is not quite as unusual as the subway conversation but it still surprises me just a little.

Will any of these conversations lead to newfound friends? I don’t know.

Respond

Have you made any new friends lately? What have been your experiences with Craiglist?

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