I like friends.
When I was a kid, we moved a few times. My biggest concern when trekking into a new town was always making friends. Making new friends can be scary and even awkward. Follow these 5 steps to avoid making a fool of yourself the next time you try to initiate a nice, new friendship.
1) Find a Candidate Within the “Friendship Square”
As a kid I was lazy, so friendship candidates needed to be physically close, usually neighbors or fellow church attenders. I couldn’t drive, and didn’t care to pedal for more than a few hundred yards, so that automatically ruled out everyone outside the Friendship Square. It’s the same as an adult. I’m still lazy nowadays, just in different ways. The Friendship Square was physical then; now it’s more of a social square. We have to cross paths naturally during any given week or you’re out of the Square, and thus, not a potential friend candidate.
2) Initiate the Friend Probe
Once said candidate has been identified, friend probing begins. This is the stage where you probe each other’s personalities searching for likes and dislikes, walking on eggshells trying not to offend, and throwing out feeler-jokes to get a sense of their humor, or lack thereof. During this phase, questions should be asked carefully and thoughtfully. For instance, an appropriate question might be “Where did you get that beautiful vase in your foyer?” An inappropriate question might be “Why do you have pills for syphilis in your medicine cabinet?” For obvious reasons, this stage is both dangerous and awkward.
3) Discuss Others and Play a Game
If at some point the awkwardness ends, the friendship can continue to move forward. This is when you start talking about other people who think they’re your friends but really aren’t. When this occurs, the friendship has officially been forged. At some point soon you’ll find yourselves watching movies together and playing either a card or board game while discussing these other “friends.” In this phase, interaction should occur no more than once a week. Any more than that and you may suffocate your newfound friend and inadvertently end the friendship prematurely.
4) Share a Secret
If you do in fact survive the gameplay of phase 3 without a temper tantrum that causes overturned boards and projectile game pieces, you can move on to sharing secrets. This is when you reveal that you secretly like NKOTB and Snow (the rapper, not the weather phenomenon), you never miss an episode of Ice and Coco, and your freezer is filled with little blue smurfs. If your new friend reciprocates with a secret of their own like, “I don’t really have a job, I just dress up and walk around the block from 8-5 everyday,” the friendship can continue to progress. If, however, your new friend does not reciprocate secret-sharing, said friendship has reached its highest potential and should not be prodded any further. A simple board game every now and then will suffice, and you may feel free talk about this friend in stage 3 of your next friendship.
5) Raid the Fridge
The final phase of friendship is the fridge raiding phase. At this point, all bets are off. You may now show up at your friend’s house unexpected at any time. Middle of the night texts are acceptable and expected. All belongings may be borrowed without notice. And food in the fridge is free game. Mockery and practical jokes that sometimes end in anger are expected and required. Tears can be shed over nothing at all, and if you find yourself offended, an angry, ranting argument can spontaneously occur but must (and will) always end with hugs. The friend is also now free to leave the Friendship Square without threat of ending said friendship. Once this point is reached, new friendships can be forged without offending or threatening your old friend, and said friend may never again be spoken of in phase 3 with future friendship candidates.
If at any point you attempt to bypass a phase, the friendship will immediately be terminated. For instance, if you blurt out “I love Ice and Coco!” in the Friend Probe phase, you will be shunned. Or, if you try to prematurely interject mockery into the friendship during a card game by yelling “Did your alcoholic mother teach you how to play UNO?” you will also be shunned. While such mockery is acceptable by phase 5, it is completely unacceptable in phase 3. Be sure to keep the phases in their proper order to assure your friendship will achieve its highest potential level.
Follow these 5 steps and you’ll find yourself surrounded by friends as the most popular person in your Friendship Square. Your options will be limitless. If played properly, you’ll soon be able to raid every fridge in the neighborhood without question. And isn’t that the whole point of making friends anyway? It is for me.
Happy friend hunting.Keep Reading! The Day We Chased Nessie Up Mt. Everest How To Be a Man Dear 19 Year Old Me, A Game of Musical Beds