Let’s be frank: no one likes to admit they could do with a few more amigos.
But sometimes – perhaps you’re extremely unlikeable (I jest!) – you may find your social calendar a little lacking.
Maybe you’ve moved to a new postcode, city or country, or have suddenly realised all your friends are up to their necks in nappies and far too busy to flit about town on a Saturday night with you.
Whatever the case, there’s nothing wrong with giving the old social life a little rev-up. After all, they do say a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
So bring on the social awkwardness! Here’s some highly untested ways of going from being a lone wolf to creating your own wolf pack.
Be forced to deal with someone you dislike intensely
Not the most charitable strategy, sure. But is there any quicker way to bond with your workmates/teammates/uni mates than backstabbing that boss, coach, lecturer that makes everyone’s days a living nightmare? The more evil the person, the more effective the results.
Become a ‘joiner’
“You’re such a joiner Larry, that’s one of the things I like about you,” declared my old uni friend the other day (proof I have friends).
I didn’t know whether to be offended and/or grateful at this observation.
But yes, I have just moved to a new part of Melbourne and yes, I did just join a hiking group on Meetup. I can’t really remember anyone’s names, but can’t deny I enjoyed a day out being aggressively charming to random strangers. Might even go again.
So become a joiner too. Or as life and confidence coach Lucy Allen more gracefully suggests: “Start that new craft class, join the choir, apply for your bronze medallion at the local surf club.”
Be weirdly friendly
Yes, be that person that is so friendly upon first meeting that others don’t quite know if you’re a serial killer, or just very bloody gregarious.
Fix a massive smile to your face, thrust out a vice-like handshake or even better; go in for the overly familiar hug.
Repel or delight: let’s see which way this goes.
Become a friend stealer (preferably via Tinder)
I now have two new mates sourced indirectly via Tinder. In this case, my friends went on dates that didn’t eventuate in love for the parties involved, but did lead to friendship.
So let your compadres do the awkward Gary Groundwork, while you sweep in to cherry-pick cool new people you would never have come across otherwise.
It’s prudent to point out you’re not trying to cut one from the herd. But be aware that “I’m just here to meet cool people,” sounds a little odd in a face-to-face setting.
Get trolleyed and do/say something ridiculous
Surely the easiest way to break the ice ever invented: just add alcohol.
Overindulge and inevitably you’ll say or do something that will have your new friend admiring your forthright, devil-may-care attitude. This works best if you’re both embarrassing yourselves on the same, slightly wobbly wavelength.
Again, this can go two ways. But you gotta be in it to win it!
Wait out near the bins until your neighbours appear
A bloke down the road tried this strategy on me, before going in for an unexpected ‘Happy New Year Hug,’ deftly avoided by yours truly. Actually scratch this one, wrong list.
Ditch your old mates and get better ones
Coach Lucy Allen puts this a bit more tactfully, suggesting it’s not the worst idea to create space for new friends.
“If we’re constantly spending our time working and with toxic friends, often we don’t have room for new friends,” she says. “Add a bit more fluidity to your schedule so that you have time for impromptu invites.”
Friends leaving you exhausted? Ditch them and get new ones.
Friend-hunt via Facebook
I don’t know about you, but I’m heaps funnier on Facebook than I am in real life. Possibly hotter too.
So it figures that Stalkerbook is an excellent way to giving would-be mates an online taste of your awesomeness, while you’re continuing to add new ‘friends’ with abandon.
If it doesn’t lead to ‘IRL’ connections, who cares? Who needs real-life friends when you can banter from the comfort of your couch?