I often find myself becoming attached to people I know nothing about. Most of the time this happens at theatre- I see somebody, most likely a lead, and I think, ‘hey, that person’s pretty cool. I want to get to know them.’ So what usually ends up happening is that I start thinking about what it would be like to be this person’s friend, and in the process I end up becoming a little bit terrified of them. I have an unfortunate addiction to people who are seemingly just out of reach.
This ‘out of reach’ quality could be contrived by my brain for any of number of reasons- the person is way more talented than me, they have a larger friend group, or maybe they happen to be a really cute guy (in which case the out of reach quality is multiplied by about 10,000). Anyways, my point is that I always find some reason why this person wouldn’t want to be my friend, and thus I shy away from pursuing a friendship. They’re unapproachable. Or so it seems.
People are usually nicer than we give them credit for. This is especially true at my theatre company- everyone is kind of the nicest person ever, to some extent. People are never completely unapproachable. We just have to find ways to break the barriers between us. And in my mission to become better at this very thing, I’ve discovered a few of these methods.
This first one can actually be more difficult than it sounds, but really, you should always start with a hello and a smile. Find some way to introduce yourself. There doesn’t need to be a conversation afterwards, but if you’re going to be friends with this person, they’re going to need to know your name. Actually, at my theatre, we kind of have an advantage in this, because we’re all wearing name-tags for the majority of the rehearsals.
One method that I’ve found to be particularly helpful (especially in group settings) is baking things. Note: this will work 100% every time if the group you’re in is predominantly made up of guys. I’ve had two experiences with this that both worked out in my favor. Working set crew for theatre, and my chemistry class. It may be sneaky, but it is an excellent way to make friends. It’s a bit Pavlov- you bring delicious things with you to eat, and they start getting happy when they see you without knowing why.
So, moving on from the more trivial methods of approaching someone- now it can get more difficult. Because at some point, you’re just going to have to start a conversation. But if you want the conversation to pan out well, you should find something that they’re interested in. I don’t mean go stalking them on the internet until you have their favorite sports teams, vacation spots, and aunt’s maiden name down (I admit I’m guilty of a large amount of internet stalking, but probably never to this extent. Probably). But if you’re seeing this person on a regular, or semi-regular basis, you’ve probably got some insight as to at least a few things that they like (or don’t like).
Those are a few of my favorite methods as to approaching the unapproachable. Honestly, the baking one is my favorite and I’m still shocked that it pulls through for me. And while this post is meant to be sort of silly, truly, if there’s a person you really want to get to know, there should be nothing stopping you from doing that. So I encourage you to try one out. It’s always really difficult to break that initial barrier, but once you do, it’s worth it.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7