Everyone needs a friend, or at least one person who will pick you up at the airport or pay a ransom to a Nigerian prince.
Making new friends is never easy. However, there are ways to make the process easier. Here are just a few that don’t require paying someone to say, “No, those jeans definitely don’t make your left buttock look big.
· Take initiative — You’ll never know if that perfect stranger you spot on the subway could be your best buddy unless you step forward and invite him hiking on the Appalachian Trail for a week.
· Smile — A beaming grin will make you appear approachable. And even if it doesn’t lead to a burgeoning friendship, it may at least get you a good reference for some excellent psychotherapy.
· Be a good listener — People appreciate an empathetic ear — as well as a sympathetic nose and a compassionate eyebrow.
· Join a new club or organization — Just because a group is being monitored by the FBI doesn’t mean you won’t meet a lifelong friend at its yearly Aryan Resistance Barbecue.
· Be open about your flaws — Sooner or later, someone will appreciate the fact that you’re a middle-aged man still living with your parents.
· Be curious — People love to be asked questions. For example: “I noticed your name tag reads ‘Big Penis Parksdale.’ Is your middle name ‘Penis’?”
· Try a new activity — Some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet belong to Greek Orthodox fire walking clubs.
· Step outside your comfort zone — Delivering a TED talk about losing your virginity to a pretzel kingpin from Königreich Romkerhall may seem like too much sharing, but how else are you going to meet other people who lost their virginity to someone from Königreich Romkerhall?
· Be enthusiastic — You can’t imagine how many people will want to know more about you by simply screaming at the top of your lungs, “OH GOD, YES, SUPERSIZE IT!
· Be yourself — Unless, of course you can be a more interesting version of you.
Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”