Meet someone new. Meet them because they are interesting. Meet them because they have an enticing smile, an interesting tattoo, or stomped in a puddle with more vigor than you've ever seen. Meet them because you wouldn’t normally talk to them.
Simply have a conversation with someone you’ve not met before.

Why:

This is as much for the people you're meeting as it is for you. We're starting The Brave New with a simple challenge that may be the most important of the entire project, as it involves breaking down social walls for you and, to some extent, the people around you. Why, as a society, haven't we made a habit out of knowing the people around us? Nothing bad will happen, to put it simplistically.

Bonus points!

Make a friend. Make three friends! Make five friends! Don't make four friends. Four's a terrible number. In China, they don't have a fourth floor on most elevators, because the word for "four" sounds a lot like the word for "die". True story.

How many people that you meet can extend into actual relationships? Exchange phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook adds, and home address if you're so inclined, and don't if you're not. Remember, the world's not always a safe place, so use your discretion here.

Resources:

www.howtodothings.com/family-relationships/how-to-meet-new-people
 
People from Every Walk of Life

Few, if any, of the people I met this month were actually legos. But if they were, this what they might have looked like.

There’s a lot of things I learned about myself and about meeting new people.  Thoughts were developed with friends on the psuedo-sciences of attitude in society, and how it factors in with making new friends.   It’s truly astounding what happened by the end of January.

Unexpected Positive Consequences

Constant socialization and adventuring snowballed, and rapidly reshaped my attitude in day to day life.

  • I was doing far more outside of work than usual, but to my surprise, I was getting far more done at the office.  I was out almost every night meeting new people, but the quality of my work was at a caliber that led to many compliments from my boss.  So, I’m proud to report my project has not gotten me fired.
  • I’ve lost weight, oddly enough.  I don’t know why that happened, I sure wasn’t trying for that, but it seems a healthy pattern of socialization is good for the body.
  • I’ve picked up new books, new skills, and new information from the people I’ve met.  I now know how to sew, can enjoy Alan Watts, and have eaten a wacky variety of vegetarian Indian food I would never have though to try, thanks to Renee, Matt, and Cassie, respectively.
  • I’ve been able to find out about jobs, which I’ve been able to pass on to new and old friends alike.
  • I’ve made more than a few PHENOMENAL friends.  One I talk to almost every night, and several that I hang out with regularly.

A Few Downsides

  • I’ve gotten a head cold.  And while I can’t say for sure that a new person gave it to me, it seems likely!  Or it could have been the guy coughing in the cubicle next to me, it’s hard to say.  Either way, my sinuses hurt and it’s everyone’s fault but mine.  Make me soup.
  • Exposure to some new people has led to exposure to tragedy.  While I was in no way involved, I found out that {redacted} lost a leg and nearly lost an arm in a nitrous oxide explosion that almost cost him his life.  This has nothing to do with my meeting him, but I can’t pretend that experiencing new things hasn’t brought me closer to loss and pain.  I hope to hold a fundraiser through The Brave New to help his family with their medical costs.
  • I’ve got mountains of laundry to do.  Between work, adventure, and blogging, I have far less time for some household chores… but honestly I hate doing laundry anyway, so it’s tough to say if more free time would lead to less laundry.

And Some Odd Synchronicities

Call it Jungian, call it coincidence, or call it a pattern developed from a failure on my part to branch far enough out, but many of the people met had some oddly specific things in common.  An interest in the author/philosopher Alan Watts came up multiple times.  A good number of the strangers met were fire performers, even though they were not met in the fire performer forum.  Almost all the females met had an interest in yoga.  Why is this?

Were the Results Tainted?

Heh.  Taint.

Because so many people I met turned out to have certain things in common, it’s easy to assume I did not leave my comfort bubble enough to fulfill this experiment.  However, I’d like to offer an alternate explanation:  No matter where you go, you will find people like you there.  Attracted by similar attitudes, like-minded outlooks, and coincident approaches to life, you’ll be drawn to people that you mesh with.  Not a single person I met rejected me, not a single person was anything but friendly.  Almost everyone had something to offer, and I seldom walked away without a story of some sort.  This across-the-board positive response seems unusual, so maybe there’s something more to my approach than I was initially willing to assess.

And Turning this All into Useable Information!

We’ve learned something about meeting people.

  • If you’re friendly, open, and happy to meet people, they’ll be friendly, open, and happy to meet you.  There’s nothing to be anxious about.  Unless you are buying pears, cause seriously, that is a panic attack waiting to happen.
  • Meeting people who are on the job isn’t exactly useless, cause you made their day suck slightly less, but if you’re looking to make a friend, you’re looking in the wrong place.  I didn’t meet anyone in the course of this month who was on the job where I ever spoke to them again, I am sad to report.  This may change next time I’m in their place of business, though.
  • If you’re uncomfortable meeting new people, find an environment where they’re uncomfortable too.  Case and point, my most socially successful experience this month was riding around on the subway with no pants.
  • If you are comfortable meeting new people, nothing brings you together faster than pursuing common goals together.  Working to learn a new skill with the girls at the sewing circle made me genuinely feel very close to them by the end of the sewing session, and vice-versa.
  • Meeting people at clubs does not work.  Seriously.  The guy I met at the hip-hop club was cool, but of all the clubs I’ve been to this month, that was the only instance that bordered on something meaningful.  Whether it’s the people who go to clubs, or the atmosphere it engenders, it’s a waste of time.
  • Not everyone who makes a good first impression is worth being friends with.  There were a few people I met who were interesting and amazing when I met them, but were not the greatest of people upon continuing a relationship with them.  But, we all knew that anyway, right?
  • More people are “friend” material than not.  And I’m very picky about my friends, so I was surprised to see how many of these meetings escalated into friendships.
  • The absolute quickest way to make a connection with someone is to meet friends of friends.  But again, you already knew that, didn’t you?

And thus ends January.  I grew a little, learned a little, and ate a pear.  How did it go for you?

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Brave Newbie Writers

Phil WarrenPhil Warren (81)
Founder and editor of The Brave New, Phil Warren is now an accordion player, a minister, a sonic weapons expert, a director, a photographer, a public speaker, and a bunch of other things. Mostly he's an adventurer though. An adventurer who smells nice. Except when he doesn't.
NickNick (6)
One part Burner and one part Engineer; I’ve lived through twenty-five-and-a-half winters, and aim to keep it that way. My world is a strange one, and it’s my goal to make it stranger.

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