Friends are good things to have around, in general. Humans are social creatures, and we need people to talk to who aren’t related to us and who don’t know far too much about our sleeping habits and how long we spend in the bathroom every morning. People who are interested in the things that you are interested in. Friends.
Unfortunately, friends are hard. How do you make friends? How do you maintain friendships? How do you categorize and plumb friendships in ways that don’t lead to vicious fights because you believe in being completely, bluntly honest and your friend believes in being tactful and supportive? (Yes, I’m that friend. I swear I’m not trying to offend you, but if you ask, “Hey, do you think my book could get published” I’ll say “After some editing by objective sources and depending on the market at the time, sure. But seriously, though, edit.”… I’m working on it.)
I have a very scientific brain, and I have a relatively low social IQ, so I have come up with a scientific technique in order to make friends, according to the scientific method.
1. Ask a question:
How do I make friends?
Captain Awkward’s blog provided much useful research, as well as several books. I recommend Princess Academy by Shannon Hale for the incurably untactful. Lots of etiquette and diplomacy tips in the context of the story, and the main character ends up making several new friends as the story progresses. Research agreed that people tend to bond over shared experiences, that most people like to talk about themselves, and conversations don’t start spontaneously, so someone has to start them and it may as well be you.
Asking people about themselves should lead to shared experiences and bonding.
-Attempted friend strategy on New Kid. Resulted in monosyllables and New Kid’s escape. Later, my dad managed to spark an in-depth conversation with the kid. Fault is apparently on my end.
-Attempted friend strategy on established friend. Friend appeared amused but cooperative. Beginning to strongly doubt hypothesis.
-Attempted friend strategy on vague acquaintance. Acquaintance was busy and brushed me off, appearing annoyed.
Either my hypothesis or execution is wrong. Likely, interrogations are not very friendly. Amend hypothesis.
6. New Hypothesis:
A blend of talking about yourself and seguing neatly into asking about the other person, conveying your personal impressions on their answers, and connecting shared experiences, will lead to a fruitful conversation.
7. New Experiments.
To be performed.