Making New Friends

By: Patrick Mintzer

Making friends is something that comes very easily to some people, yet can be very difficult for others. There is no exact science to making new friends. Even the idea of friendship is strange; meeting someone you’re going to spend all your free time with in a totally platonic way. Growing up there are three stages where  making new friends comes very organically: grade school, high school, college. When grade school starts your parents pick your friends for you by setting up playdates. In high school your friends are usually in your classes or in the same extracurricular activities. In college your friends are typically the ones that live in the same dorm building as you. Basically friendships start out of convenience. I am not trying to downplay the importance of a friendship because I have told my friends things that my family has no idea about. Friends are the ones you talk to when you start a new relationship so that way you don’t do anything stupid in front of this new girl/boy you are trying to impress. Friends are the ones that make you happy one minute and furious the next. It doesn’t matter though because come Friday night they are your first phone call when you are looking to have a few drinks and  drown out the mundane rat race we have fallen into.  As we get older some friends move away, some friends we grow out of, and some friends get involved in serious relationships so you don’t see them as much;  it sucks.

In my particular situation, I was the one who moved away. I was gifted with a great career opportunity that required me to move 6 hrs away from all of my friends and family. I’m what some call “an overly optimistic” person, so I saw this opportunity as nothing besides a glass half full moment in my life. The thought of moving to a place with no friends and family was intimidating at first. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, I am one who is able to make friends easily so I wasn’t concern, but I should have been. Making brand new friends at 24 is hard and terrifying at the same time. Having work friends is one thing, but it’s nice to separate work and fun so this is where we get down the nitty gritty. How does one make friends at 24? I tried all the tricks; I joined adult sporting leagues, went out to the bars, and even tried some dating apps.

The dating apps were  my first attempt. Living at home I never thought I would try dating apps, but being alone and using them for the right reasons, I was hoping it could be successful. It was not. I went on a few dates through tinder and bumble and found that the girl was either just looking for a free dinner, looking for a quick hookup, or was just someone I didn’t vibe with. I know there has been success stories with these apps but I found that these are more the exception than the rule.

Next I figured I would just go out to the bars by myself and see what happens. I’m a nice and fun guy, I should be able to make friends. Once again I was wrong. There’s three types of groups at bars; groups of girls, groups of guys, and mixed groups. Mixed groups are so into themselves they aren’t really talking to anyone but themselves, stonewalling any attempt I made to make friends. The group of guys are there to do 2 things, get as drunk as possible or trying and hookup with girls. The last thing these dudes want is some random guy coming up to them trying to start a spontaneous conversation. The group of girls is definitely the easiest to approach but it is important to approach with caution. Every girl’s first thought is going to be that me, a straight male, is just there to try and have sex with one of them which is not a good way to make friends. Another thing that happened to me was this group of girls used a trusting guy like me to buy them drinks all night. I walk out with a $200 bar tab and no new friends. So once again, going to the bar by myself, not the best way to make new friends.

Lastly I joined adult athletic leagues, softball and basketball. These are two sports I’ve always enjoyed playing and knew I’d at least have fun playing. Both leagues I joined were coed because I wanted to focus on the fun and less of the competition. This is where I found my friends. I went somewhere to have fun with like minded individuals and then I realized, it was never supposed to be so hard. It really just came down to finding people with similar interests and for me that was sports. Since then I’ve been living the good life.

For anyone that finds themselves in any type of similar situation that I found myself in my advice to you is just find something that you know you are going to have fun doing, whether that be sports,or volunteering, or anything you have a passion for,  the rest will come naturally.  

Love Yourself

Valentine’s Day is, in my opinion, an overrated holiday filled with unnecessary expenses like flowers and chocolates that are overly priced this time of year due to the high demand. Oh, and don’t forget the $5 card from Hallmark that your significant other will most likely toss in the trash a week from now. However, the holiday holds a respectable meaning behind it, which is obviously love. A day to celebrate love, appreciation and gratefulness… kind of sounds like a similar holiday we already celebrate in November, but it’s fine.  Here ends my negativity towards the holiday, and why I now view it as more than just a day for people in relationships, which is what society has come to depict it as.

First off, Valentine’s Day was a lot cooler when the whole class was your Valentine. Everyone got a cute little card and a bag of candy, and your teacher would throw you a party with enough junk food to make you sick. February 14th used to be a lot easier and fun as a kid, then it got weird and hyped up in high school and college, but now it’s becoming pretty cool again.

As someone who has a lot of friends in relationships, it makes my heart so happy to see them in love not just today, but everyday.  And to see my guy friends step up to the plate for the day? Refreshing.

This year, according to other blogs and social media accounts I follow, the trend of “Galentine’s Day” is becoming progressively popular, which I think is awesome. Your girlfriends are the ones who let you bitch to them about the same things over and over again, talk you off the ledge when you have drinker’s remorse, drink a bottle of wine with you in the middle of the week just because, shop with you, kill the dance floor with you, and probably hold your hair back while throwing up after a long night out. WHY NOT appreciate these lovely ladies in your life on Valentine’s Day, they’re basically holding you together like glue! And to all of my girlfriends out there, and you know who you are, I love you to the moon & back.

I’m also feeling a lot of love for myself today as I recently started a new job in a  full-time position, finding my daily routine, planning exciting things for later in the year, and above all else, finding the happiness I deserve. Sometimes we don’t appreciate ourselves enough, so today can also be a day to reflect on the person you are and think about all the things you love about yourself. Be as conceited and self-absorbed as you want today, we deserve it.

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So, whoever you are, go out and treat yourself tonight! Whether it’s a bottle of wine, a pizza, dessert, a scratch off (guilty pleasure), or whatever it is you love, go get it! Because you are loved, appreciated and beautiful, and you definitely don’t need a life size teddy bear or flowers to tell you that. Love yourself, today and everyday.

Happy V-Day everyone, cheers!

Post Grad Dating

If you thought finding a boyfriend in college was hard, you’re obviously still in college because trying to find a boyfriend once you’ve graduated is near impossible.
In college you’re constantly being exposed to new people, even if none of them fit your criteria for prince charming, at least you’ve got options. Once you’ve graduated, a lot of these outlets for meeting people disappear; so how’s a gal supposed to find a boyfriend now? The options don’t seem too promising: you can start dating one of your friends, hope to be introduced to a friend of a friend, meet someone randomly at a bar, or resort to apps like Tinder and Bumble. Neither of these options guarantees you’ll end up with a winner either.

Most of my guy friends would probably make great boyfriends, but that doesn’t mean I want them to be my boyfriend. We’ve gone through a lot together and that isn’t necessarily a great foundation for a new romance. I don’t need my boyfriend and potential husband knowing all of the dumb things I’ve done over the years.

Another con of dating one of your friends is upsetting the balance of your friend group. What happens when you fight or god forbid break up? You have to be prepared to be exiled from that friend group; worst case scenario or best case scenario, you share the friend group and alternate weekends out like the child of divorced parents. I won’t even suggest you both stay in the friend group because that’s just awkward and torturous for all parties involved. Some people are just better off as friends.

Possibly the most promising of the post grad options for meeting a man is through a friend of a friend, but this also leaves the most up to chance. Friends of friends can be a great resource for post grad dating. In my eyes it would be ideal to date a friend’s friend. You don’t have to worry about your date being a serial killer and they’re far enough removed from your life to not know too many dirty details.

The only kink in this plan is that it depends explicitly on your friends having other friends that you’d want to date. First, you need the friend with suitable friends, then you need them to make the introduction, then you need the guy not to be a weirdo. It’s a delicate situation, especially if it turns out that you don’t like the person all that much, you risk offending your friend.

Before going away to college was the norm, people pretty much depended on meeting their spouses randomly. My parents met at a bar, my dad and his buddies went to my grandparent’s house the next day for a barbecue and the rest was history. I can’t even put into words how strange I would find it if someone I met at a bar wanted to come to my parents house the very next day. It’s not hard to start talking to someone you don’t know at a bar, but it can be risky. You never know who you’re talking to; is this guy going to be the answer to your prayers or is he going to unwantedly follow you around for the rest of the night. Even less likely that you’ll find a potential suitor at a bar, imagine meeting a stranger at a coffee shop. I can’t help but think about how utterly strange that would be not to mention unlikely.

Thankfully apps like Tinder and Bumble let you be proactive in post grad dating so you don’t have to hold your breath for coffee shop guy. However, finding someone you’d even consider boyfriend material on these apps is like finding a diamond in the rough. You’ve got to be persistent, you’ve got to have patience and you’ve got to use up a lot of data every month. So you swipe for what seems like eternity, send out a few messages and then wait. Getting an answer is only half of the battle though because from there you have to materialize a conversation out of thin air. If the connection is there you can take the relationship off of Bumble and eventually into real life. Just be prepared to tell everyone you encounter for the rest of your life a fake story about how you met, perhaps at a coffee shop?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since graduation, it’s that I don’t want to settle for anything, especially not for a love interest. Sure my contestant pool took a devastating loss after graduation, but that just means I’ll be more likely to recognize and commit to a good thing when its right in front of me. In college it was hard to keep someone’s interest, now it’s hard to even find someone worth interesting. Post grad dating is basically a waiting game. Wait for one of your friends to express interest, wait to get introduced to somebody, wait to meet someone randomly, wait for him to message you back on Bumble. As much as I want this waiting game to be over, at least the few prospects I have now are keeping me entertained.

Good luck out there ladies.