I think the biggest fear of moving to a new place post-college is how to meet people. It’s always so easy in school. “Oh, I have class with you. Oh, you like pineapple Smirnoff too? Oh, yeah, I will be at the football game. Let’s get rip-roaring drunk together, spill our biggest secrets, and become best friends.” Nothing says friendship like doing a shot-ski together, and wiping mascara-soaked tears off your new BFF when the guy she is crushing doesn’t text her back.
Fast forward to this thing people keep calling “adult life” – where apparently it isn’t socially acceptable to puke on the first night of meeting someone. Suddenly there is all this pressure to have things of value to say. I can’t just complain about my Accounting final, or talk about our mutual friends that hooked up, or realize we actually used to live right next to each other sophomore year. Instead we talk about weather, our favorite local brewery, green tea, coffee addictions that led to green tea, and the recent sale on tights at Macy’s. Oh, and trend diets. My personal NON-FAVORITE OF ALL TIME EVER.
I’ve been trying to brainstorm ways to meet people – at work, at the coffee shop, at the tap room, and at the yoga studio. But the opening topic is the hardest. So below is my personal brainstorm session for appropriate starting topics while meeting new friends:
- Ranch Dressing is probably my favorite conversation topic of all time. My personal life-quest is to find the best ranch in the world. I put ranch dressing on everything. And if you can’t get down with that within the first five minutes of meeting me, then it’s just not gonna work out. This particular topic makes some people cringe, and they get this look in their eyes – like an internal alarm is going off, screaming “FATTIE ALERT. FATTIE ALERT.” But most true Midwestern-ers will usually just chime in with their poison of choice – blue cheese, guacamole, hummus, mayo… Condiments are always a safe and fun way to find commonalities when meeting new people. And maybe it can even lead to another meet-up, where we conquer the Ranches of the World together.
Croatia Yacht Week
- Some friends and I recently decided that the main goal in meeting new people would be to recruit friends for Croatia Yacht Week 2015. #CYW2015 if you will. Hashtag Blessed. It is common knowledge that the perefect number for said week is 10. Hashtag 10 Friends. In fact, 10 friends is kind of the optimal number for everthing – camping, renting out tap rooms, potluck dinner parties, summer softball league – you name it. 10 friends is ideal. So when meeting new people, I think this might be a worthy starter. “So. We are currently recruiting friends for Croatia Yacht Week. It’s over a year away, so that leaves plenty of time to assess your character. Consider this an audition period. And the prize is a starring role as ‘champagne manager’ on our yacht. Think it over. I’ll need to make sure we both look good in the same filter too, so if you could just hold still for this selfie really quick…”
- I’ve found I have a knack for telling people what animal they are. Give me a few minutes of creepily stalking you and judging your every word, and I bet I can guess exactly what animal you would be. Although, sometimes this can create immediate enemies, rather than friends. Not everyone is comfortable with the truth about their spirit animal. But I am just here to serve the people, ya know? If things get awkward, I tend to just place focus on me. My spirit animal is a moose. And I turned out okay. Kind of.
How About Dem Packers?
- This particular topic is touchy. In Minneapolis, there is a good chance the person you are talking to is a Packer Fan. Because. The Packers. But if they aren’t, just run. It’s better than listening to them talk about their fan hood for some other team. Much like the ranch situation, if you don’t care for the Packers, then I’m over you, and you are not #10Friends material. Here’s the only problem with Packers talk. I actually don’t know anything about football. I know I want to have babies with Clay Matthews. And I know that Aaron Rodgers is the greatest human specimen on the planet. But the second you start talking about play-by-plays, it is pretty obvious I am a football phony. It’s kind of like knowing one phrase in another language. I ask you “Where is the bathroom?” in Italian, thinking I’ll appear really cultured and sexy for knowing another language. And then you respond in Italian. Only for me to ask you to respond in English cuz I don’t speak Italian….. yeah…busted.
- Lord knows I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. It’s cold, okay. Winter blows. You know it. I know it. Can we just stop already? Cuz nothing says anti-friendship like complaining. No more weather. Just. No.
Perhaps soon I will have data to support the success (or failure) rates of these topics. But in the mean time, I could use some suggestions for how to talk to strangers. Where all my adult friends at?!