I came across Kid President’s 20 Things last week and, with American Thanksgiving just this weekend, I think it’s important to continue living in the essence of gratitude. It seems, sometimes, that we can get in the mind frame that the world is cruel, that people are selfish, that we are alone, but all it takes is a stranger with a friendly smile to lift your spirits. Let’s all be that stranger.
BTW. Number five is totally my favourite. Let’s say that more often!
If you can’t think of anything nice to say, you’re not thinking hard enough.
Suheir Hammad. A poet of beautiful power. I first learned of Suheir Hammad when I got lost in the world of Def Poetry Jam a couple years ago. Have you heard of it? I definitely recommend.
Poet, Suheir Hammad
I cried when I saw those buildings collapse on themselves like a broken heart. :: Suheir Hammad in Zataardiva
Suheir Hammad’s words moved me. She speaks & writes of her connection to being displaced, as a refugee, as a woman; to being, or refusing to be, an instrument of war. Her words are like a mantra that tell a story and electrify a need to stand tall as a woman, as a human. I’m not a refugee, but I can relate to her anger and her hope. Sometimes I feel lost, displaced in another sense.
Suheir Hammad is a Palestinian-american poet whose parents brought her from Jordan to Brooklyn when she was just five. She is a poet, author, performer, and political activist. You can hear more of her poems on Def Poetry Jam.
Five Fun & Easy Ways to Make New Friends After College
Have you ever been new to a city, left to your own devices, pressuring yourself to be more extroverted, more confident, more talkative than you really are? Have you ever felt like you need some new pals outside of your social circle but don’t know how to meet new people? Me too!
Actually, I just moved to Vancouver, a city with a reputation of being isolating and cold, where even long time residents have trouble making connections. Being here for three months I’m finding that’s not really the case. Strangers are smiley on the sidewalks and everyone is pretty talkative and friendly at events. So, how am I, an introvert sort-of-shy, going to make some lasting friendships?
Here five fun & easy ways to make new friends after college. Tried and tested, trust me.
1. Go to mini events, chats, or meetups. No more than 20 people.
Networking is such an awkward thing. No introvert wants to network especially if there’s pressure to make a sale or create a lasting working relationship. It’s such an unnatural mentality for an introvert no wonder we hate those crazy, giant conferences. Totally unnecessary to go to one of those solo. What I’m talking about are those little gems facilitated with a discussion. I recently attended a Crave Chat for lady entrepreneurs and I met so many lovely gals. There were under 20 people, no pressure, and everyone was there for the same reason, to make connections. The discussion was facilitated by the organizer and we learned a lot about what it takes to be an entrepreness. So check your city for any clubs or meetups centred around your interests!
2. Take a class.
I’ve found one of the best ways to meet new, awesome people is to take a class. Your attentions will be focused on the learning or creating so there’s no pressure to talk. Someone always breaks the silence into a natural conversation though. So, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be you who engages everyone. Some of my favourite classes have been artsy or coding, but do what you love doing and you’ll meet people with that common interest.
3. Start a blog.
Blogs are a great way to meet new people. They may not always be in your city, but it’ll be someone to chat with and maybe visit one day. Plus the act of blogging eases a bit of loneliness because you’re sharing your work with the world. An easy way to make a friend blogging is to reach out to them for an interview then share their answers and their links on your blog. It’s easy for them, they’ll love the exposure, and everyone loves talking about themselves. You can make this process more personal if you request a Skype chat or a coffee (if they’re in your city), rather than just an email.
4. Become a regular.
Have you found a favourite coffee shop or yoga studio that you go to practically every day? Sweet! Start to engage with the other regular customers and employees. You could comment on the weather or how great the class is and pretty soon you’ll have a new friend just by being recognized. Not everyone is open to new engagements at first, so don’t be deterred if they don’t respond enthusiastically. They may just be shy or surprised by your friendliness. Keep poking in a conversation and it’ll become more natural over time.
5. A friend match maker.
I was pretty excited to hear about RSVP 33, a friend-making service in Vancouver. Basically, you fill out a form and they arrange a friend-date with a group of like-minded people. You can bring up to two friends or go solo and choose the type of event you want to go to. It’s the first of its kind I’ve ever heard of, but it’s worth a shot to check out in your own city. Who knows, you could even start one yourself!
So those are my five fun and easy ways to make new friends. I hope this helps you make some connections. And, think of it this way, like Susan Cain, author of Quiet, you’re seeking kindred spirits not necessarily networking. Just seek one kindred spirit at each event and they’ll accumulate until you’re surrounded by tons of sweet souls.
Now it’s your turn! What are your tricks for meeting new people?!
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has a collection of over 2,000 free Canadaian-made films, trailers, excerpts, and interactive works. I’ve been perusing their selection and wanted to share a few of my favourites. You can find all sorts of films from arts to documentaries to animation to kids’ movies to interactive collections. You can search by topic or check out their channels and playlists.
Make sure to check out my story published on HyperLocal, their interactive collaboration with Canada Writes.