10 Ways To Make New Friends In An Unfamiliar Place

Family-tested and recommended.
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Shutterstock

1) Yell nonsensical phrases out the window: It’s hard to underestimate the importance of a first impression. So if you’re looking to make a lasting one, there’s nothing that works quite as well as rolling down the window, letting the cool breeze in, and yelling “pickles and milk” at the top of your lungs to a random pedestrian. The look on your new friend’s face will let you know that you two will definitely have something interesting to talk about during your next meeting…which may occur sooner than expected—yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re about to arrive at a red light.

2) Fight in public: Arguing is a healthy form of communication among family members, and sometimes problems just happen to surface in public places. It may not be socially acceptable to let it out, but why keep your feelings bottled up inside when getting personal can lead to getting personable? Seriously, what better way to let people warm up to you than by speaking in a heated tone in broad daylight about your family’s darkest secrets? If not an intervention, you are sure to at least attract a few stares, which probably indicate that people are interested in getting to know you!

3) Demolish food as soon as it arrives at the table: Manners? Etiquette? Respect? What are these things but words in the presence of friends? If you’re looking to initiate someone else into your close-knit group, make them feel comfortable by doing the things society says that you should only do when in the privacy of your home. These things include but are not limited to putting your feet up on the chair across from you, drinking excess salad dressing straight from the bowl, eating the garnishes, refusing to wait until everyone is served before starting to eat, and creating your own “beverage” by mixing leftover food and condiments into your glass of water.

4) Ask every person for directions: A true friend is usually someone who can be counted on in a time of need. A true friend is also usually someone who you’ve actually known for longer than thirty seconds, but don’t let this minor detail deter you from your goal. To maximize friendship potential, you should approach as many people within hearing distance of each other with the same question regarding how best to get to your destination. Even if the first person you ask seems to give a satisfactory answer, it is probably wise to get one, or two…or ten, “second” opinions. Because I mean, you’re obviously not really trying to get anywhere, right? You’re just trying to meet as many people as possible…

5) Talk with an unmistakable New York accent: It is a well-known fact that everyone who hasn’t lived in New York has at least one close relative or friend who lives/has lived there. Using “words” like “cawfee”, “dawg”, and “lawn-guy-land” in excessive quantities will let others know that you are open to taking a trip down memory lane (i.e. discussing the history of Cousin Joe’s pizzeria for two hours). And if you’re lucky, your new friends will offer to take a literal trip to your house next time they’re in town, and once there, will surely initiate engaging conversations about grocery shopping and the weekly weather forecast.

6) Refuse to stop for pedestrians: If you’ve got the New York accent thing down this one should just come naturally to you. Even if you’re in a 4,000 pound vehicle, does it really make sense to stay away from someone who you’re trying to befriend? Of course not! Sometimes when someone won’t go to you, you must take the initiative, and what better time to do this than when you have the literal green light to get closer? Just to make sure you get noticed, try to avoid hitting the person by such a small margin that he/she is forced to take a few steps back. If you’ve used this tactic correctly, when you look in your rearview mirror you should see the pedestrian you encountered give you an enthusiastic, one-fingered wave—the universal gesture for “nice to meet you”.

7) ALWAYS volunteer for the street performer: Are you looking to make a spectacle of yourself in front of as many people as possible in order to gain their awe and respect? If so, this is the method for you. When the street performer asks for a volunteer, you probably shouldn’t even wait for him to pick someone out of the crowd. That’s right, just run on out there like you have no shame (because you don’t) and disregard the fact that he asked for an 8 year old girl and you’re a 16 year old boy. I promise you, it will be well worth it in the end when a bunch of people approach you to call you a good sport because you “let it slide” when the street performer forgot how to make your shoes reappear.

8) Appear to be a homeless person: This is a good method if you want to immediately weed out the fair-weather friends and only attract good-hearted people. Simply sit on a stoop or bench alone while waiting for the rest of your group to leave a souvenir shop. Bonus points for falling asleep. Chances are, someone will approach you and offer you money. When this occurs, politely offer the money back in exchange for friendship—what? You think it’s wrong to pay for friendship? Paying to be in a frat or sorority is kinda the same thing (minus the looking homeless part) and nobody thinks there’s anything wrong with that! So yeah, just go with it. And hey, if the person rejects your counter-offer, even if you didn’t make a friend at least you made $1.75.

9) Try to speak in the native language even if you have no prior experience speaking it: Okay so you’re in Italy and the only words you know are “ciao”, “pizza”, and “pasta”, but when has a limited vocabulary ever kept anyone from having an intriguing conversation? Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and say the few words you know at random to anyone you encounter. Your butchery of a beautiful language and apparent disregard for proper pronunciation will let your new friends know that you’re not afraid to make mistakes. Even if they have no idea what you’re actually trying to say they will surely appreciate the fact that you made an effort to assimilate into their culture (even though you may have simultaneously disgraced it).

10) Make large talk in the elevator: If you only have a minute-long elevator ride to get to know someone, it’s usually best to skip the small talk and get straight to the topics that actually matter. That means feel free to trade in the stale “nice weather we’ve been having lately” for a fresh and interesting “so about the current state of our economy”. Oh and that silly rule about avoiding the topics of politics and religion? Well you’ve probably predicted by now that it’s best to totally ignore that. TC mark

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