The Art of Friend Making has consumed my first year in Nashville. No one ever taught me how to make friends prior to graduating from my Masters program. I ventured to NC in 2007 w/o any friends and I would say left the state with 3 AMAZING friends but I met all of them through work at Duke. In planning my Nashville life I had a desire to do things differently so I began my friendship journey with meeting people outside of Vanderbilt and am only now venturing to make friends at work.
True Life: I’m a Joiner. I join things. I’m great at becoming a member. Therefore, I stepped into the Junior League of Nashville, Tri Delta Young Alumnae group, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cross Point Community Church where I serve as a First Impressions Greeter and a Co-Leader of a Community Group. I also frequented many Meet-Ups and YP Nashville events. Here I am a year later with a nice sized circle of friends that I can meet up for drinks, brunches, dinners, and other Nashville events. Some of them I know will become true BFF and others will probably remain really good Associates and I’m cool with that divide. A girl doesn’t need a zillion friends but the ones she does have must be legit ryde or die partners in crime ;). Thick as thieves, I say, thick as thieves! Oh, did I go to Real Housewives of New Jersey on you? My bad :(.
The book above chronicles one woman’s search for a BFF in the city of Chicago. She suggested a few tenets that I had already taken to heart but it was nice to feel affirmed in my tactics.
1. Never decline an invitation. God knows, just go to events. If someone wants you there then you should be there. Maybe I support that due to the southerner in me as well.
2. If you meet someone you click with then get their contact information. “Can you slide me your digits?” If that is too awkward get an email address. If nothing else, find out their last name. There are 8 million women named Katie in the world. Good luck finding the one you want on Facebook!
3. Follow Through and Follow Up! If you say, “we should totally get together” then follow up and make a plan. Most people don’t think folks are genuine when they throw that offer out there so think how surprised they’ll be when you actually reach out to make that happen. If you had a great time on your “friend date” then make sure that keep in touch and set up another outing. Consistency is key to making a great friend.
4. Join clubs, organizations, classes, groups. This is the easiest way to meet folks. Take the plunge and go places by yourself. You’ll be surprised that if you keep an open mind and demeanor the people you can meet. Nashville does a great job of catering you Young Professionals so look out for those opportunities in your area.
5. Once you meet a nice amount of folks then do something to bring them all together. I held a happy hour on my birthday and invited all of the lovely ladies I’ve met thus far and I had a small dinner that weekend with 6 awesome women who got along really well. Score!
6. Map out your connections. Think about schools you’ve attended, places you’ve worked, causes you care about and look for ways to reconnect with those areas of your life in your current city. I just had lunch with a W&M alumna and I reconnected with my sorority. If you have friends that have connections in town don’t be afraid to ask them to hook you up.
This is one area of life that I was super unprepared for in life. I’ve always been “popular” and didn’t have to work too hard to make friends. Hmm…that sounds really arrogant but it is the truth. Consult my yearbook!
Be brave! Everyone wants someone else to plan their social life. Put some invites out there and I promise you that you’ll get a nice return on your invesment. Start with low risk activities such as lunch during the workday (for most of us that can only last about 1.5 hours) and happy hours (alcohol makes socializing easier and almost anyone is awesome after a margarita).
Oh, also note that you won’t click with everyone. Totes fine. Brush it off and on to the next!