It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor, Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
–Fred Rogers, from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
I know I am in the minority, but I always thought Mr. Rogers was kind of creepy. I mean, really…what was he thinking, coming right out and asking us to be his friends? Sure, that kind of direct demand is cute in a child, but in an adult, it’s a little off-putting.
It’s like people who attend networking events and quit after a time or two, disappointed that their grip-and-grins didn’t result in hard business leads.
For grownups, it just doesn’t work that way.
It takes shared experiences, commonalities, time to build trust.
Which is why it’s so hard to figure out how to make friends in my adopted city.
I no longer work in an office every day, and writing is a solitary pursuit, so I don’t have the luxury of building up those daily contacts that lead to friendship.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m lonely. I’m an only child, so being by myself suits me just fine. But I have met a couple of people here whom I like. I’ve had coffee with one, gone to a play with another, dinner with a couple.
But after, I find myself like an anxious date. Will they call again? Should I end the evening with plans for the next time? How long before I can call them without seeming pathetic?
I can’t just turn to them like Mr. Rogers and say, “Won’t you be my friend” without seeming like some kind of stalker.
So the question I have is…what are the rules for grownups for making friends?