Friending: The Only Thing You Need To Know

Last night I was at a wedding with a couple of friends. During dinner, Friend #1 mentioned that there were two other guests she knew, but hadn’t seen in years. She was deciding whether to say hello, but wasn’t sure if they’d remember her. Or if she even had the energy to do the whole catch-up small talk.

Friender that I am, of course I said she must say hello. If you remember them, they probably remember you, I told her. And if they don’t, just say “Hi, I’m Friend #1. We used to work together. So good to see you again!” See? Easy peasy.

Friend #2, after listening to this conversation, summed everything up perfectly. “The big thing I took from your book,” she said, “is that everyone’s waiting for the other person to reach out.”

She is exactly right. That’s the big lesson. It’s not that an old coworker pal thinks it’s weird if you remember her. It’s not that your new potential friend doesn’t want to have a friend date with you. It’s that everyone is waiting for someone else to make the move. To do the work. To take a chance.

So remember, if you want to see someone, extend an invitation. If you want to talk, say hello. If you want to know their name, introduce yourself. I promise, no one is analyzing your “friend-making tactics” nearly as much as you are.

Friends back east: Stay home! Stay safe! 

17 Comments

Filed under The Search

17 responses to “Friending: The Only Thing You Need To Know

  1. Suzannah

    This post said it all!

  2. I just sent an email on Saturday to someone I haven’t seen in 7 years or communicated with in at least 3. I figured I had nothing to lose because it’s not like we stopped talking because we had a fight. We just lost touch. We have plans to get dinner this weekend and he told me that he’d just been thinking about me too. Had I known it was so simple I would’ve sent an email years ago.

    I’ve decided that this, my last year of my 20s, is going to be my year of living bravely. I applied for a job I didn’t think I was qualified enough for but got, I went on my first blind date (as if dating isn’t terrifying enough), spent $75 on a pair of boots (hey, this is big for me. I’m pretty cheap when it comes to shoes. I love them but hate paying a lot for them), and reached out to an old friend.

  3. Good advice. I just started reading your book over the weekend. Within minutes I had joined meetup.com and signed up for a book club, walking club, and jogging club, PLUS there is a Puget Sound Shy Gals club – perfect! Thank you for the inspiration and little nudge. :)

  4. Anonymous

    i started a new job and feel awkward and shy around my coworkers. this is just the thing i needed to hear :) thanks!

  5. Great advice, but tell me, what do you do when you clearly know you DO NOT WANT to be friends with someone? (My blogs about the Playdate lady would explain it better, but I have a lady who is dying to become my friend, meanwhile I’d do anything to avoid her, including flat out saying “I don’t like you.” Nothing chases her away!!)

    • Haha…I’m the one who wants to be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends with me. It’s so hard! In my case it’s a man (whom I really only want a friendship with based upon a singular shared interest), and he wants nothing to do with me. :( So embarrassing. His technique is to give me the total cold shoulder. Eventually I got the point. She will too. But if she doesn’t, it doesn’t hurt to just tell her something like, “Look, I just don’t feel a connection with you, I’m sorry. I have no interest in getting together.” I’ve said this to men who’ve pursued me in the past and it takes courage but direct communication is the most respectful way. Much more mature than the cold shoulder.

      • You won’t believe it, but I did say that, and I even tried to make her feel better by saying “I’m just not a nice person, I don’t like to make friends”… I am nice, but I was trying to put them blame on me. Nothing has worked… NOTHING!

  6. Good reminder that most people are just too scared to make the first move :) Bravery is always good in making new friends :D

  7. You’re so right. I can think of so many times when I hesitated to reach out to someone, because I feel awkward for not remembering his/her name. This is a great reminder that it costs nothing to say “hello” and reintroducing myself.

  8. i like this. No truer words have been said.

  9. so true. love this. your awesome.

  10. Shannon

    Ah ha ha… I was at a wedding this past weekend and there were a bunch of ex-students there whom I TA’d. So of course I caught up with all of them, mostly at the church – it was a VERY small wedding. One girl, whom I’d given a deservedly poor mark to didn’t even make eye contact though. So at the reception, I made an effort to go up to her and say hello and introduce my husband. She didn’t in turn introduce her husband, and just said “Oh hi.” And nothing else. No “how are you? What have you been up to for the past 7 years?” Nothing. It was sheer awkwardness. So, I slowly backed away and grabbed another drink! What else could I do?! Oh man… She obviously had NO interest in catching up! Sometimes I guess, it’s not worth the effort!

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