On meeting new people
I am sitting on a train as we speak. Yeah, it is only a little past 7am, and I’m pretty early. I remember reading about a monthly event where people have a party before work — with breakfast, dancing and working out — before 9am, which is obviously a little out of the ordinary, given that people usually party after work. The idea was a little appealing because I love mornings, and I can see myself getting hyped up and invigorated for a new week.
The event, which I have a bit of trouble recalling at the moment, obviously involves meeting people. About a year ago I decided that it was time to break out of my rather thin shell and get out and meet people. I was also a bit bored. I am by no means shy (well, I used to be shy before, but I have certainly become less shy over the years), and am a bit of an extrovert (you don’t have to be social or super outgoing to be one). I thought that meeting more like-minded people would be a nice experience.
I am not saying it was not a nice experience, but I realised I didn’t even get very far, and I didn’t meet new people or get very social. In fact, I didn’t try hard enough, and I didn’t bother making an effort. Also, like-minded people? What like-minded people? I have such unusual interests.
I used Meetup.com to join groups and find people who were into the same things as me. I narrowed it down to good vegetarian food, music, and technology. I went to a coder club once, and it was pretty neat. I didn’t go after that one time. It was a combination of not being bothered to do something else apart from the mundane home/work routine, not wanting to spend time travelling on a Sunday I would prefer to be at home, and just preferring to be alone.
I don’t have problems socialising. I claim that I suck at being social, but that’s because I prefer quiet gatherings with fewer people. The occasional party is super fun, don’t get me wrong, but I think ultimately I realised that this forced friend-making thing isn’t my jam.
Granted, since I started my new job at the beginning of the year, I have felt very lucky. I have met a lot of lovely people who all have different interests, and I get along with all of them almost equally. Some a lot better than others, but who can complain, right? Going to an event and trying to find like-minded people or deliberately hanging with “similar” people reminds me of the first day of each class in university, where you took two minutes to introduce yourself to people around you, then took a further two minutes to talk to the class and introduce the person next to you.
I kept deleting those emails from Meetup.com, not being interested in attending a meetup, or not wanting to spend the time. I ignored notifications about new groups I “might be interested in”, realising that I did not want to force myself into bonding with a group of people. I don’t think I feared anything, but I disliked the idea that it might be all you ever have in common with that person.
Now I could be talking bullshit right now, but for me, the best kinds of friends come from the day-to-day situations that life throws at you — not ones where you pick and choose when to meet and make them.
Thumbnail photo by Laura Zalenga.