In the introductory session of this course, we briefly covered 10 tips for meeting new people and turning first girl-dates into second ones. Today we’ll be giving our full attention to one vital word: Yes.
So much of making new friends is about being open. It’s about saying yes to the invitations that come your way, no matter how far out of your comfort zone they may be.
This comes with a caveat, of course: Only say yes if you mean it. Making a habit of saying yes when you actually mean no is a pretty good way to lose friends. Today we’re in the business of finding.
Even after months of dedicated BFF searching, my first reaction when I get an invitation is usually “I’d rather spend a relaxing evening on the couch.” Until I remember that the couch is what got me here in the first place. So now, unless there’s a scheduling conflict, I accept the invitations that come my way. So far this policy has led me to, in no particular order: A fortune teller, a cookie-making party, a 2-year-old twins birthday extravaganza, dinner with a pair of strangers, dozens of bottles of Pinot Grigio, more pieces of spicy tuna than I can count and countless other exploits.
Adventures like these are the fast track to friendship. Doing something you’re bad at, as long as you’re willing to be bad at it in front of someone else, will earn you insta-memories. And I must say, a trip to the psychic is a faster route to “Remember that time?” than even the most riveting book discussion.
And sure, my days are crazier than ever. I have fewer intimate evenings with the remote control. But I don’t have kids to tend to. I have an understanding and supportive husband who encourages this local quest. And while the hectic schedule can be exhausting at times, the new connections give me enough energy to make up for it. In fact, a 2004 study found that “when compared to time spent with relatives, children, customers, colleagues, or bosses, time spent with friends is rated as being the most enjoyable. On average, time spent with friends ranks even higher than time spent with your spouse.”
In her article “The Year of Saying Yes,” Patty Volk writes, “There isn’t one thing I said yes to I’m sorry I said yes to. And look what I would have missed. ‘No’ means safety and the numbing stasis that implies. I’m changed. The change has to do with the joy of being available to chance. There is a thrilling difference between being comfortable and being too comfortable.” I second all of that. Even the time I got stood up—she never showed!—I’m glad I said yes. What a great story!
I’m only a few months into this search. I don’t have all the answers. I hardly have any answers. And I haven’t found The One. I have found The One Word, though, and that’s got to count for something.
When it comes to plans with friends what do you say more—yes or no? Do you ever force yourself to say yes when you’d rather run in the other direction? Are you usually glad to have uttered the new magic word (“please” is so old school) or do you usually wish you’d stuck to your first instinct?