The Friendship Formula — It’s All About Your Resume.
The thing I’ve realized through this whole friends-making process is that each of us has a Friendship Resume.
(Now look. Before I go any further, I think it’s important that you read this. My friend Erin shared it, and it’s just so relevant. Especially if you’re searching for friendship, are obsessed with social media, or might be a narcissistic blogger. You know.)
Tip #1: Smartly Sell Your Attributes
So on this Friendship Resume, we each have a list of skills and traits we can bring to the table. And just like any resume, people only usually skim the first few bullets before deciding whether or not you’re a good fit for their company. (Get it? Not company like “conglomerate,” but company like “companionship.” So punny.) So what you put at the top is actually kind of important. Are you a great listener? Generous? A reliable designated driver?
These are the attributes you might want to list up-front, to garner a further investment of time before the potential friend loses interest and walks out of the restaurant/Base Exchange/yogurt aisle at Target forever.
In your eagerness to put your most awesomest qualities at the forefront of a potential friends’ notice so he or she will find you irresistibly charming enough to warrant a call-back, you run the very real risk of sounding full of yourself. Oh, yes. I trekked through Nepal back in 2003. It’s a little overrated. And the béchamel in this croque-monsieur is far saltier than the one I tried in Paris. I suppose their Gruyère was of a far higher quality, too. I mean… no one can cook like the French.
The trick is mentioning your selling points in casual conversation without talking incessantly about yourself. A relatively easy formula to remember is:
INTERESTING FACT + QUESTION = BLOSSOMING FRIENDSHIP
Example: I’ve done a bit of international travel, but one of the scariest times was when they wouldn’t let us back across the Nicaraguan border. What’s one of your favorite travel experiences?
Tip #2: Gather Intel
The other tricky aspect about Friendship Resumes is that, when you submit it, you know virtually nothing about the company to which you’re applying. Hell, you don’t even know if you really want to apply. Sometimes you put forth the effort — put all of your best stuff out on the table — only to find that you really don’t think the company would be a great fit for your particular set of attributes. Which is where the “question” in the above formula comes in really handy. It gives you a chance to read more of their resume while presenting your own.
Sometimes you can gather information about a person or a group while remaining incognito, just to see if it’s worth even filling out the application. Recently, and per your suggestions, I joined a couple of groups on Meetup.com. One seemed particularly enticing — a large, active wine tasting group. I’d been perusing the events they have coming up, biding my time before making a commitment, only to open my email one day to find a thread from one female group member badmouthing a male group member. Apparently this “disgusting person who uses women for sex” had slept with her, knowing her vulnerable state and the fact that it had been over a year since she’d had sex so she’d wanted it to be with someone special, but then he immediately stopped calling her and heretofore shall be known as the “perverted self-absorbed narcissistic sex addict” of the group.
Yeah. A little TMI for people I’ve never met. And while I’ll try not to judge the entire group based on the representation from this one individual, (she’d apparently sent the email while driving and accidentally mailed it to everyone in the group — winner all around), I’ll admit it makes me a little hesitant to become a joiner. I’m a low drama kind of gal.
On the other hand, friendship hookups, where a mutual friend introduces two people she thinks will get along, tend to be a bit more reliable since one party is already familiar with both resumes and knows whether there’s a level of compatibility. My friend Ashley told me via Facebook that she knows of a girl who lives near me who doesn’t have many friends here, either. Apparently she’s Japanese and is fluent in like four languages and has rescue dogs and is a dental hygienist and is also about to have a baby. Basically, her Friendship Resume sounds stacked. Way better than mine.
So I responded:
“Awesome! I have nothing neat about me. I took German all through college and went to Germany for a day. I tried learning Greek, Italian, and Spanish, but pretty much suck at anything besides swearing in each. Actually that’s not true. I can only swear in German and Spanish. I can say “cheese” in Italian and sometimes I can recognize a Greek letter. I like to eat.”
Tip #3: Be Honest With Yourself
But for real.
If I had to be honest with myself, what would my Friendship Resume say?
- I don’t have kids, so I have like… a lot of schedule flexibility.
- I’m an adventurous eater — always willing to try something new and expand my — and your — horizons.
- I have pretty great travel mojo. When we go somewhere together, expect good things to happen.
- I’m horrible at remembering birthdays or important dates in general.
- Sometimes I’ll forget to call for like… weeks — but it doesn’t mean I don’t care. It just means that time passes faster for me than it does for other people.
- Given enough alcohol, it’s very likely I’ll try to convince you to quit your job and follow your dream of joining the Peace Corps — mortgage and student loans be damned! And I can be quite convincing.
And this is why it’s important to not make snap judgements about people. We all have our weaknesses. And just like house-hunting, it’s unrealistic to expect to find a perfect match. Every person who comes into your life has something unique to offer — and, if they’re as lucky as you are, you’ll have something unique to offer them.
When I look at it, I really can’t figure out why I haven’t made a bajillion friends here by now. I mean — the experiential benefits of me force-feeding them Kofta Lajawab from my favorite Indian place totally outweigh the fact that I don’t know how old they are, right?
How about you? Anything good on your Friendship Resume? What about your weaknesses? As long as they don’t involve sending mass emails out about all of the reasons you hate me, I’ll keep you on my list of potentials. Weaknesses make us interesting.