Hi, I’m new in town.

I didn’t want to become yet another statistic and type “How to meet friends” into Google. So I narrowed my search a bit to “Bay Area Meet Up Groups”. Too many of these were centered in San Francisco; the city, despite being my favorite place in the world, is at an inconvenient distance to maintain any decent friendships. I don’t want to be be that girl that doesn’t drink, or that girl who leaves early to catch the last Bart train, or the girl that pays $100 for a Lyft, or the girl that always crashes on someone’s couch. Yes, I know this suggests that alcohol is essential to quality friendships, but–well, this is the end of this sentence.

Somewhat discouraged, I honed in my hunt even further: “Bay Area Peninsula Meet Up Groups”. The results here were enlightening. It turns out that to find a group of accessible, like-minded loners, I will have to become either a Bisexual Tennis Player, an Entrepreneurial Empty-Nester, or a French Bulldog. Finding the latter to be most appealing and least possible, I abandoned this online search entirely and decided upon a new strategy.

Here’s the plan: I’ll buy a nice dress. I’ll spill some splotches of orange, yellow and green paint on it–somewhere on the lower right side of the skirt. Then, I’ll go to Trader Joe’s to casually peruse the pre-packaged salad selection, and stand right in that area where the salads meet the sushi.

If you’re not asking “Why” right now, I’ve underestimated you. For everyone else, here are my rationales:

  • Positioning myself right near the pre-packaged salads centers me amidst others with a busy lifestyle and appreciation of all things Trader Joe’s. At this bustling hotspot, people are bound to notice the freshly spilled paint on my otherwise pristine dress.
  • Why orange, yellow and green? Mostly because they aren’t red or brown–but these are also reported to evoke the most positive, eccentric sides of people.
  • Since the paint is on a random far spot on my dress, I could have easily not noticed it on my own, so more than likely, a few shoppers will notify me, thus further whittling down my potential acquaintance pool to friendly, busy people.

“Hi, sorry, did you know that you have paint on your dress?”

And a lead has been generated.

“What? Oh wow I didn’t even notice! I just finished up at work and bolted out so I’d have time to grab some groceries and have dinner before The League is on! Thank God for these salads, right?”

This opens up avenues to a variety of conversation topics:

  • Painting for work? Why?
  • The League? I watch that too!
  • Yeah, seriously, I dont’ know where I’d be without the Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken.

There is also the possibility of a brief, indifferent reply and no further chatter, which is fine–on to the next.

But, best case scenario, something in my carefully-rehearsed-to-sound-natural response strikes a chord with this person, we hit it off, and carry on together in a life overflowing with mirth and mojitos.
I’ll be trying this every week until it works, then switching Trader Joe’s branches.

Helen

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