So this month’s What Would Moby Do is much less risqué. lol Actually, I find this question comes up a lot and is a doozy for newbies to the world of gay. It is also a two part-er, hence the 3.1.
Q: How do you meet people for friendship?
A: There are a variety of ways to meet new people. Bars, online, social gatherings, volunteering, etc can all be venues based on where you live.1
Make an effort. Don’t show up somewhere and just expect others to magically engage you in conversation. You don’t have to be the life of the party, little nudges go a long way though. Be yourself, be honest. Let go of any unrealistic expectations of what or who you should or shouldn’t be. No one likes a phony and it often takes way too much effort to maintain such a facade.
Volunteering is a great way to not only meet people but you get to do a good deed. Find gay related charities or organizations in your area. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment but it should be something you can relate to or enjoy. Play the “newbie” angle. Use it as an excuse to introduce yourself to others. You’d be surprised how many people will reach out and try to make you feel welcome.
Join a social group that involves hobbies or activities you enjoy. Same as volunteering, you get to meet new people and work that “newbie” status! lol This can go hand in hand w/online social sites. There are plenty to choose from. Chances are high any hobby you pick there will be a social site dedicated to it. If you take the online route, take the time to fill out your profiles with your info, likes, dislikes, goals, hobbies, etc. Like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. I keep a master word (text works just as well) file with all of my profile data in it. I can easily copy and paste it if I find myself joining a new or different site.
I do not recommend bars as they often lead to situations where your judgment could be impaired. Also, not being a big drinker, a non-smoker, and very anti-drug, bars quickly become annoying. However, not everyone has the luxury of being choosy. If you must do the bars, it is easier if you can go with a friend. Not only do you get a chance to meet friends of friends, it also tends to make your more comfortable.
Social skills come naturally to some and not so much for others. Either way, like any skill, it has to be developed thru practice. If you go solo, don’t hide out in a corner and just let everything pass you by. Position yourself in a location where there is lots of traffic or activity. This increases your chances of engaging or being engaged by others. If you are shy or easily intimidated, consciously make an effort to say hello to at least one person when you go out.
And while I never recommend husband-shopping at a bar, there is nothing wrong with keeping an open mind. If you are looking for potentials, be friendly but skip the cheesy pickup lines. An earnest hello goes a long way in my book. Don’t be afraid to approach others. The worst they can say is no. Yes, there are some rude people in bars but that is not the norm. And frankly, anyone who would be rude probably has way more social issues than you care to indulge. Offering to buy someone a drink is a nice offer but don’t be offended if it is politely refused. If available, try bars that offer shows or engaging activities like line-dancing. These type of scenarios sort of force you into meeting people.
Small talk can be an art but you don’t have to be a guru. lol Just try to carry polite conversation. You can talk about the bar, the music, the decor, the bartenders, etc. I would recommend staying away from hot button topics like politics and religion. If the other person is interested, they will probably help carry the conversation. If the person is clearly not interested, I wouldn’t pursue it. Well, at least until you become more proficient at engaging strangers. heehee
Next month will focus on the more carnal pursuits of meeting people.
- Living in a remote or small town might mean having to trek to the closest big city. [↩]