Tips on Making Friends in Unexpected Places

A few weekends ago, I got the opportunity to go to Anime Milwaukee (AMKE for short). While I was there I met a plethora of new friends. I’ve never been one who could make friends easily, but slowly, throughout the years, I’ve learned a few tricks in regards to the art of friendship.

  1. 1. There is no comfort in a growing zone and no growth in a comfort zone

    This is something that my dad taught me as I was growing up. Life is going to be hard and it’s going to suck sometimes. But in order to make those great connections and make the moments that mean the most to you, you’re gonna have to go out on a limb sometimes. That might be for you asking someone you like to talk to in class to get lunch after or maybe it’s even talking to that person in the first place. They might say no, but they might also say yes. And the only way you can get to those yeses is to risk getting the nos. This doesn't mean pester them until they cave, but you should take the chance and ask!

  2. 2. Talk about similar interests

    I have a lot of quirky interests, so I looked at the clubs on campus to find like-minded people. There are clubs for practically everything, so go check some of them out. I personally checked out the Tabletop RPGs Club (I love Dungeons & Dragons), Carthachords (I love to sing), and I hang out a lot with the Cosplay Club (you guessed it, I love cosplay). It’s easier to get to know people when you know that they have at least one similar interest to you. After that, it’s all about continuing the conversations you were having and getting to know the club members beyond that initial introduction.

  3. 3. Remember to ask questions (and LISTEN to their responses)

    Statistically speaking, people love to talk about themselves. So while getting to know these club members, people from your class, someone you were stuck in line with, whoever, a great way to start a conversation is to ask questions. The classic “what’s your major” and “where are you from” are great starting points, but what really helps is continuing to ask questions that relate to what your friend-to-be just told you. That way they know that you’re actively listening. Don’t forget to answer some questions yourself, or else you’ll make them feel like they’re playing 20 questions.

  4. 4. Know people who know people

    Focus on one friend. If the idea of getting to know 30 strangers scares you, that’s fine. If you feel there is a possible connection with one person, focus on that relationship because, most likely, you’ll end up meeting their friends. That’s how it worked for me. A lot of people ask how I know so many people. It’s because my friends have introduced me to their friends and from that we all became buddies. Let your shared pal be the wingman to help you on your journey to finding friendship. It really does help.

  5. 5. It's okay if it doesn't work out

    Sometimes friendships just don’t work out. Most of the girls I hung out with at the beginning of this year don’t hang out with me anymore, but that doesn’t mean we hate each other. We just realized that we don’t click as well as we thought we did. Instead, now I have a huge friend group that I fit into wonderfully. Don’t treat every failed relationship as your fault, just know you two weren’t right together and there are other friendships just waiting to set sail!

  6. 6. "Hey! What's your snap?"

    The internet has made it a lot easier to stay connected. It’s so easy to just ask someone “hey what’s your snap/insta/other social media platforms.” Heck, even asking for a phone number can work wonders! If socializing face to face is scary to you, maybe taking the first steps of friendship via the internet would be easier? Also keeping up to date on what they post might help you get to know them a bit too.

    And if an online friendship is more your speed, here are some helpful hints on how to maintain that long-distance relationship!

I’m definitely not a friend expert - I’ve just found what works best for me. There’s no one correct way to make friends because there is no one type of person. I know that that very well could be the last thing you wanted to hear right now, but trust me. You got this!