“Hey! Ten years ago we worked together for around three months and even though we haven't really stay in touch except for a few Facebook likes here and there; do you want to go for a drink?” YES!
“Hey! We’re an established group of friends with an extensive bond gained from a history of knowing each other and supporting each other through the good and bad times and we're going for dinner and drinks on Galentine’s Day, you know the day that celebrates female friendship; do you want to come?” YES!
“Hey! Even though you don’t know me and probably couldn’t identify me in a police line up do you want to come over to my place for a drink where there will be no witness if I try to kill you or worse nothing to distract us if the meeting is incredibly awkward?” YES!
I know they sound like the plot to a Law & Order episode but, I recently moved to a new city and in a bid to make new friends in my new city I have been saying “YES!” to every offer I have received. Yes, it might sound like a really effective way to end up at the hospital morgue but, so far saying YES! has been a great decision... and this is coming from human me and not ghost me so, you know it must be going well because I'm still very much still alive to tell this story.
Yes, saying YES! can be deeply intimidating because once you say YES! you actually have to do the thing you agreed to do and sometimes that just feels like energy, work and money. Urgh, money. But, saying YES! means being open to new experiences and meeting new people (and, it also means getting out of the house which means your roommates are less inclined to think you're a crazy hermit weirdo).
So, here’s what I’ve learnt from saying YES!
It’s actually really easy
Mate, I get it, it’s easier to come home from work and watch Netflix in bed rather than going out and making conversation with a stranger. Therefore, stepping out of doona comfort zone to YES! seems even harder because there is a literal pillow fort in the way. However, it’s actually pretty easy and, it's only one syllable so you’ll nail it in no time! Try it out. Plus, as soon as you say YES! you will be filled with this euphoric world conquering feeling which will just encourage you to say YES! more often.
Organisation is important
No one wants to be the flaky friend… especially when meeting someone new! Now, for reasons only my personality can understand, it’s easier for me to walk into a room of people I don’t know and strike up a conversation then it is for me to organise/plan anything that is happening in my life. For example, I’m pretty sure I’ve asked my best friend every month since we bought Harry Styles tickets a year ago what the dates for the concert are. Therefore, for me saying YES! means I have to be organised enough to know when I am free and then organised to know what I have organised. It’s still a work in progress but, I’m better than what I was a month ago - and, at least I know the Harry Style concert is in April… or May… and, in Melbourne.
You will regret it an hour before the thing starts
What the hell was I thinking? I don't want to go anywhere with anyone and do anything! I can't really afford to go out and, I could get murdered! Maybe I should cancel.
Breathe. This is a normal side effect of saying YES!. Now, I’m not a scientist but, I reckon this feeling of regret is your body going into survival mode and engaging its “fight or flight” reaction. The reason you're second guessing your situation is because you're looking for a way out... and telling yourself that you’re an idiot for accepting an invitation to an unknown scenario and your body is going to end up in a washed up suitcase on a beach aka Top of the Lake China Girl is a pretty good way to convince yourself not do something. Just breathe. Instead be proud of the strong independent person you are who is open to new experiences. Wait until afterwards to feel regret.
When you meet someone new you always want to present the best version of yourself - the version that is well styled, up to date with all the latest news and current affairs and easily engages in thoughtful and entertaining conversation. The Obama rather than the Trump. But, as long as you're not a racist, sexist egomaniac who mimmicks disabled people then you should always just be yourself. One, because the real you will eventually drop an unexpected “that’s what she said” and the gig will be up; two, there will be no unexpected surprises later one; and, three, because pretending to be someone else is exhausting. Just be yourself. If their interest is 17th century Baroque music and you don’t know your Bach from your Vivaldi then don’t try and research it beforehand in order to look cultured, instead ask them to explain why they like it. Instant conversation topic and banter initiated. And, then afterwards you can explain to them the cultural significance of Kylie Jenner’s hidden pregnancy revelation.
Your liver will hate you
In a statement that will make Alcoholics Anonymous meetings hate me: there is no greater icebreaker than alcohol.... unless you're in Antarctica then you should probably use a ship. But, as a social lubricant meeting up for an alcoholic beverage is a great way to feel relaxed and comfortable with new found company. It’s also a good way to test if you like drunk them as well as sober them! However, these friendly drinks start to take their toll when you get along so well that the question goes from “should we get another glass?” to “should we get another bottle?” Drink water and thank your liver for its sacrifice by doing a cleanse or detox or something afterwards.
You’ll never know if you say NO
Will X and I get along? What will we even talk about? Where is the closest emergency exit? It’s harder to say YES! when you start to think about all the things that could possibly go wrong or worse, go awkward. But, you’ll never know the answer to those questions if you say NO. In my experience the payoff for saying YES! has been getting to meet/reconnect with truly phenomenal people and having the best time… and, even if they were duds then at least I would have known rather than have that lingering question over my head.
(Disclaimer: Let me just make this very clear - consent is VERY important and, if someone says no you should always respect their answer. Urgh. Why is it 2018 and we still have to explain consent?!)
For better or worse at least the guaranteed outcome of saying YES! is that you will get a story out of it. I mean, I said YES! on Friday night to crash some farewell drinks and ended up drunkenly eating nachos on a train to Newcastle… and, I made some new friends in the process!