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To feed off of my previous post on about winning and losing at the flatmate lottery in London, cities are extremely dynamic and the people you meet are what engines that. Each person’s priorities, hobbies and interests are drastically different. When I first moved to London, making friends all over again was something I never had to do before. City-hopping in the US was easy as networks had contact to connect me with and there was always a mutual friend or someone I knew. London was the wild and I was just one specimen trying to find the means of fitting and doing my thing.
Making friends was a lot of trial-and-error. I would meet someone and be introduced to someone via them and then realized that the initial “social relationship” was just not what I was looking for. For example, I met my friend Sofiya through an event I was invited to organized by another friend. I realized the other friend who organized it was just not cutting it in terms of what I was looking for and went off on a bestie-affair with Sofiya. See? Lots of trial-and-error.
As time went on, and considering my interest lies in everything that the universe has to offer, I sought close relationships with groups of people. And just like my work calendar, my social calendar has proliferated to the point where weekends become slightly hectic. My approach to the social jungle in cities is quite easy:
different groups of friends
There are times I want to just relax in a cafe and enjoy a piece of cake with a pretty setting, so I tend to do that with blogger friends. Other times I want to have an overindulgent dinner, so I tend to hit up foodie friends. Based on my igniting senses, I tend to embrace certain groups of friends. That has helped undermine inevitable drama and getting tired of people.
Cut them out or take a major step back. I had a friend come to me about their same issue constantly over the span of 6 months. No matter how much I tried to help, that friend was just not listening. It was becoming exhausting and ended up having negative affects on my personal life. I decided to remove that person, keeping conversation at a minimum/wrapping it up quickly, and things have never been better. Eventually, I will let that person in and it will be more of a catch-up and back to the friendship we once had.
stick to your schedule
I used to be the type of person that would cut someone out after being late once. Until I moved to London, I realized I couldn’t really afford to do that since I knew literally 3 people. Since then, I adapted the strategy that if someone is late to something important to me (read: work event), I don’t invite them again. If someone is late to just a personal catch-up, I stick to the allotted time I have with that person. Recently, I had brunch with a friend who was 30 minutes late. We were to meet roughly from 12pm-2pm. I kept the brunch until 2pm, but that just meant we had 30 minutes less. This made her realize pretty quickly that I value my time as well.
This may sound extremely selfish, but I tend to stick with people who are uplifting, encouraging, and/or people you can learn from. You must be open-minded yourself and once you are, you will find the beauty and intelligence in each person. I have a group of friends who are younger than me, but their careers are very different from mine and it makes for interesting weeknight dinner conversations.
I will admit that I changed my personality just for a little bit over the summer to align with someone I was hoping to get closer to. That failed miserably and in reality I noticed that I didn’t actually enjoy being around myself or that person. I crave fun, intelligent, energetic conversations and that should be what I look for in each friendship.