“What are you doing?” I bury my face in my hands. “Oh my god, you are so embarrassing!”
“Quoi?” replies my boyfriend (his typical response to everything). He is standing on the edge of a group of people at a bar, looking at them but saying nothing.
“You are practically stalking them, stop! Seriously, come back to the table.” I am whispering in that loud, half-scream whisper, my eyes widened for impact.
“What is your problem? I was trying to see what they were saying. They seem cool.” He says, once he has reluctantly returned to our table.
“I know they seem cool but you can’t force it! You have to let them come to us, ya know?” I say this just as someone from the group looks our way. I flash the supposed “cool kid” an overly friendly smile and get nothing in return. “Ugh. This place is stupid; we’re not going to meet anyone.”
“Hey, what about that guy we met last weekend, let’s text him,” my boyfriend suggests.
“I don’t know; do you think it’s too soon? I don’t want to scare him off.”
We take a sip of wine and ponder this momentarily.
“No, I mean, he seemed to like us, right? I think we can text.”
Ahhh…the human ability to rationalize.
I have found that making friends in a new city is very much like trying to date. You go to the bars that you think the desired people will be, and then sit close to them in hopes of there being some incident that will allow you to start a conversation; you smile too easily and too often at too many people. You force yourself to go out even when you are tired because you might meet someone, and you think hard about when and under what pretext you should contact a new person so that you don’t seem too needy.
My boyfriend and I are currently in the midst of this struggle, constantly trying to think of ways that we can meet more people. But, the reality is that we just have to be patient and go with the flow. The general consensus seems to be that it takes about 3-6 months to make friends when you move to a new city (a period of time that you magically forget ever existed after you have made friends) and you never know how it is going to happen. I’ve met friends at apartment visits, while getting pedicures, even a walk around the block has turned into an impromptu dinner with strangers. You can’t predict the “when” or the “how” but it is always when you least expect it.
So, we will continue to endure and await the unexpected, but until then, stay alert and watch out, we might be stalking at a bar near you.