Do you find it easy to make new friends? Tell us how you’ve mastered the art of befriending a new person.
I find it very hard to make new friends. As a young person I was always acutely uncomfortable in social situations and found it very hard to talk to strangers let alone befriend them. Even today I don’t really feel comfortable at parties and prefer to get together with a small group of friends rather than attend large social gatherings. The few friends I made growing up were mostly through mutual interests and as I grew older I discovered that finding some common ground was the best way to break the ice with a new acquaintance.
The first time that I remember consciously putting this into practice was when I started working for the state rail authority and was getting to know the people I worked with. I usually tend to be very quiet when I meet a new group of people, listen a lot and speak when I feel ready to. My new co-workers were a friendly group, my sister was working at the same place and some of the older workers knew Hubby who also worked for the railways so it didn’t feel that strange to me. However there was one man, a team leader, who I never felt quite comfortable with. I felt nervous whenever he was around. Mostly I was worried that he might not like my work; the other team leaders didn’t have the same air of authority about them. I didn’t want to spend all my working hours being nervous so I decided one lunch time that I would start a conversation with this man about something that I knew we were both interested in which was motor racing. At that time we had a Formula 1 race in Adelaide and I was a big fan of the sport. I had heard my co-worker talking about the sport and knew that he was a fan of the Ferrari team. I can’t remember now how I got the conversation started (give me a break this was in 1987) but anyway we talked for almost the entire lunch break. After that everything was fine and over the next few years until he retired I enjoyed many conversations with Mario about motor racing, and many other subjects and we came to be quite good friends at work.
I won’t say that I’ve mastered the art of friendship. I probably like being on my own a bit too much to ever have lots of friends but I have learned that taking an interest in people and finding out what they like to talk about is a good way to begin a friendship.