How To: MAKE FRIENDS AS A HUMAN ADULT

CANTA Issue #12, 2017

As time progresses, and (in my opinion) the earth spins towards its fiery end, the less were socializing with our bodies and brains and mouths. You know, like how we kinda did a while back? A while back’ could really mean a year, or 20. You choose.

We aren’t really functioning like we did ten years ago. Actually, we aren’t even interacting the same as we were three years ago.

Why go to a bar or club when your Bitmoji can drink a coffee and comically fall over on your Snapchat? Why would you try crack a joke off the cuff in a group of mates, when you carefully craft a funny Instagram caption to post during peak gram time?

This generation is shaping up to be stacked full of meta, self-depreciating meme shit, with delivery subscriptions and binge worthy media, and chat groups within groups, month long chats littered with gifs and screenshots. No wonder there’s no desire for you to leave your bedroom.

Life is filled with hot-desks and flexitime, and Echo 360 degrees and anonymous compliment pages and less and less with real people. People made of meat, and souls, and bad in-jokes and funny experiences. People with history and back stories and journeys. It’s less about making connections with people and more about making connections with Wi-Fi. Oooh. Deeeeeep.

The chances are 2017 will see you with less human bodies around you in real life. Is a Snapchat streak really a good indication of your best mates? What about a crappy Friendship Anniversary on Facebook? You know the answer is no. We have more friends in the cloud, less friends IRL.

Here’s another installment of How To: Student – it’s How to Make Friends As A Human Adult.

Tip one: kill the voice!

You know the one; the voice telling you that you can’t do that, you shouldn’t have said this, etc etc. If you were a cartoon, it’d be the devil on your shoulder. It probably wakes you up at 3am with *that* memory that makes you want to D to the I E when you think about it (In the interest of full disclosure, my DIE memory is sitting on a mince pie in baby blue Dickies when I was 13).

Killing this gremlin / demon / brain fart will take some time, and some training, but luckily it’s not a real devil and it’s also not telling the truth. Most of the time, we are not lacking for ideas on how or where to meet new friends. We are missing that motivational vibe, and the self confidence to get started.

Tip two: drop the pretence.

You’re not cool. Stop trying to be cool. No one is cool (Exceptions: Lily Rose-Depp and Frances Bean Cobain. Holy shit, they are cool). Those outwards signs of a crisp, cool exterior come off as frosty. Trust me, it’s too far.

What you think comes off as low key actually translates into I’m unapproachable.

Scale the fridge back from freezy to slightly chilled. Be decent to others. Use eye contact. Think of the things that mum told you to do when you were visiting relatives. Smile a little more. Smiling takes us out of our own brain, and makes us think more about the image we’re projecting out to the world. The chances are that people will think you’re insane are…slightly less than what you’d think.

Tip three: take the plunge into the unknown.

This idea really covers a lot. It means step out and try something new. It means say hi to someone as you walk past them. What’s the worst that can happen, they stab you in the face? That probably won’t happen on campus.

Try joining a UC club. There’s a billion on campus and there’s a chance you will find the weirdest, coolest subculture that’s just your thing. Embrace that. This is the time it’s most acceptable to do that! Turn up alone.

Go on, be brave. If we could do it in kindy, we can do it at UC!

Here’s the motivation: you’ll be in a room full of people, into stuff just like you. Sport is another good avenue to investigate. UC Sport are awesome here on campus, and they’re always keen to involve more of the university population in their activities. I know, it’s not for everyone, but there’s a lot more out there for you to participate in than being on the field.

Take it from me. I’m not part of the UCSA’s office social soccer team, but I am happy to take oranges along for half time. GO SPORTS.

University of Canterbury is perfect to test all of this out. It’s a concrete petrie dish of social interaction to conduct tests in.

If you were going to mosey up to a group of people at Undercroft and say hi, you’d have more luck than Westfield. I mean, if you want to be chased by Security then go for it. He might be your friend.

Tip four: #teamcreep

Yeah I know, I bagged on social media earlier, but this is where we make it work in your favour. Get on Instagram. You’re into vegan food? Find out where people are foraging in your area. Check out geotagged spots and hashtags and follow some peeps!

This is a very 2017 way of being a friend. Start off with a follow, and maybe some comments, then work on some convo starters. You have to go easy on this one, it has the potential to be super weird. Tread carefully. We want friends, not restraining orders. Worst case scenario, you’ll get to see where there’s interesting stuff happening, and you can check it out for yourself.

Tip five: The business end

Make sure you round off your newfound connections like you imagine businessmen do. I don’t mean drink top shelf whisky and go to a strip joint, I mean make sure you’re leaving your deets with your new potential mate. This is where you can ask their name again too – any time past this and you’re screwed.

Going back to social media again; an Insta follow or Snapchat add is less intense than robotically screaming HERE IS MY CONTACT DIGITS. You’re brave now though. You can judge the vibe yourself, maybe it’s a phone number add! Go wild. Do you know what’s worked for me? Being genuinely excited about a newfound friend. When have you ever thought someone was a dick for saying they’re stoked to have met you, and they wanna hang out again? Okay maybe a couple of times, but seriously…your success rate willclimb. I promise.

Good luck. Don’t forget – I’ll be your friend!

Issue Two: The Greasy Wok 4