Making new friends as an adult (The Sequel)

Who the hell makes a sequel to a one-page blog about not knowing how to make friends?… Someone who schedules time to avoid human contact, that’s who. It’s your fault, really. The first ‘making friends’ post was probably my most viewed blog yet, and definitely the one I’ve received the most feedback about. It was an interesting and humorous medley of responses:

Fellow introverts:

“Yaaaaaaasssssssss!”

Old friends and family:

“We always knew you were special.”

But the responses of my newer friends (specifically the female ones) were the most precious. Let me first say that y’all are fantastic and caring people. Out of genuine support, you wanted to make it known to me that you value our friendship and don’t find me as *awkward as I think I am. Thank you, and rest assured that I don’t have any issues with depression or angst, I just like staring off into the distance and time alone… Anyways, the general feedback was “I don’t think you’re bad at making friends” and, furthermore, “look at all the friends you have – you made at least two of them all by yourself.”

Sure, I have a fair number of friends and there are even a few friendships that I’ve helped facilitate, but introverts aren’t typically completely devoid of companionship unless they’re gross or hideous – and even those characters usually have someone. The fact is, all of my friendships are the result of the most unequivocally passive friendmaking you can imagine. Actually, “making” is probably too intense of a verb – my apologies for the hyperbole. Henceforth, for the sake of brevity, when I refer to “making friends” I really mean that a friendship has occurred by natural and organic means, as the result of proximity, tolerance and the incidental exchange of phrases between myself and another human. We clear? Ok.

There are factors in play here that you’re not considering. Because I have friends does not mean that I’ve actively made them. I am genetically, socially and situationally predisposed to friendships, despite myself.

Firstly, and perhaps the most compelling of factors, is that humans are naturally curious. You see someone sitting alone in a social setting, drinking a glass of whiskey, his eyes skipping here to there as he observes the conversations of others and pondering silently. You think there’s a story behind that portrait. You want to believe that this island of a man found his way there as the result of an intriguing journey down a road less traveled. You wonder – you know that there’s a deeper story behind that façade. There isn’t. I’m just sitting here enjoying this whiskey by myself, not thinking of a solitary goddamn thing – just looking at folks. It’s fantastic. But, my point is that this act of inactivity – literally not doing anything – compels people to interact and that makes perfect sense. It’s no mystery. I’m not saying that I’ve uncovered some fossil of the human condition. I’m just saying that if you really consider that example, you’ll realize that I haven’t done shit and found myself in a conversation with someone.

Also, genetically, I’m tall. I know, crazy right!? Yeah, tall as Kathryn Johnson. If you read my blog ‘Keys to being a straight, single man,’ you’ll recall my explanation of the “Lighthouse Effect” phenomenon. Basically, when you are tall and people are drunk, they are drawn toward you as the most visible human structure – compelling stuff. I detailed it in the context of women being drawn to a man for *flirtational purposes but it actually applies to any sex being drawn any other in a social context. Humans are simple – just by being relatively more visible than most other people, I’m more prone to social interaction. That’s just science.

Additionally, I’ve observed that people truly respect honesty, and (in my experience) that especially applies to women consulting the advice of a man. I’ve found that my own signature brand of honesty seems to be especially endearing. I’m not bragging about it, nor am I implying that it is something I’ve actively cultivated; it’s just who I am. The best way to describe it is that my natural compulsion to always be straight up and honest is fighting with my natural inclination to not hurt people’s feelings. Also, I have a bad memory and can’t remember the lies I’ve told so it’s cleaner to just be honest all the time. Those factors converge at the point where my advice and opinions are direct and leave little to the imagination; and while sometimes harsh, manage to avoid that realm of overt brutality. That shit is like crack to my lady friends. So when an unassuming lady I’ve just met happens to unearth this goldmine of relevant truthfulness they’ll tend to tolerate my quirks for continued access to it.

My point is that I essentially am able to make friends through no fault of my own – floating through life doing what feels right to me and picking up hitchhikers along the way. Does “hitchhikers” have a negative connotation?… Wasn’t meant that way. And not only do I make friends with little/no effort, the maintenance of those friendships is comparably passive. It’s the result of what I like to call The Screen Door Theorem.

In most instances, no one really pays much attention to the door itself. If it’s there you’re enjoying the breeze and going about your business as usual. If it’s not there, you’re still enjoying that breeze but bugs and debris are all over the place, so you wish that screen door was there. You appreciate it more in its absence. That’s why people keep me around. I’m the screen door. So, when you tell me you’ve missed me I know why – you wish you didn’t have all this goddamn debris in your house… or the social equivalent to that.

 

*Appendix:

Ok the blog is over…. How has your life come to this? You’re reading an “appendix” to a blog. Who even reads blogs anymore (or appendices)? What kind of content do you expect down here? I mean, really? Welp, here goes. How cool is the word “awkward?” What other word in the English language has w-k-w in succession? Furthermore, the five-letter palindrome “awkwa,” well that’s just magic. Really good stuff. Also, no, “flirtational” is not a word. Ok bye.

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