On meeting new people

As we strolled through an unusually hot and humid Downtown, my friend uncharacteristically verbalized some of the wisest words I’d heard in a while. We were on the topic of meeting new people when I confessed my lack of prowess in that department, especially as of late.

I conveyed a degree of frustration with it, saying I wished things weren’t that way. My friend told me not to stress it, that the key to meeting and charming new people is to work as ardently as possible on myself and letting the universe throw worthwhile people my way.

This fascinated me, if at least for the few hours thereafter. I’ve been told countless times that the key to getting better at something is practice, is to work harder and harder at it. That anything worth accomplishing is difficult. That if you dedicate yourself to something a hundred and ten percent; it will most definitely come true.

This is the reason why students spend sleepless nights mulling over the course material for their bachelor’s; the reason why people spend years crafting their careers in search of ever-higher salaries and positions. For some reason, though, the same procedure cannot be applied to the goal of meeting new people and crafting good relationships.

You can attempt to expedite the process by going where the people go – bars, nightclubs, libraries, coffee shops and shopping centers – and increasing your odds by talking to as many people as possible, hoping that one or two or three of those possibilities becomes a worthwhile relationship. But the reality of the matter is – at least in my experience – that this strategy yields little but inconsequential affinities that you might as well do without.

You end up befriending people that won’t fan your flames, that won’t lift you higher and that represent fledgling affinities that stick around only when given a fun event or excuse to spend time together.

On the other hand, an arduous investment in self-development – as my friend prescribed – appears to bring the best of new people to your door. You inadvertently – but thankfully – create a screening process in which only the best of people are kept on the list. These are people that are attracted to your hustle, that will help you professionally and spiritually and creatively. They’re more than your average bar hopper or EDM junkie that’s just with you when the music gets loud or the drinks start flowing.

Meeting new and worthwhile people, then, appears to be one of the things in life where mastery involves anything but dedication and hard work. The less you think about meeting and pleasing others and the more you think about working on yourself and your career, the more new and worthwhile people you meet. It’s the antithesis of what I’ve been told about success for years, but like my friend said, that’s the way of the universe.