Talking to Strangers

212Access August 22, 2012 1

Can you make friends with a stranger in New York City in a day?

It’s not the hardest task one could be given. But, then again, there is a cliché that NYC is the loneliest city in the world.

And I can see why. There are over eight million people jammed into this city, and everyone has their own agenda and no time to stop and see what anyone else is up to.

I had accepted that reality. And I was familiar with big-city anyway, being from Phoenix – the sixth largest city in the nation. I already had a city mentality, but I just didn’t quite have the New York City mentality. I swear it’s even more intense and self-indulgent than anywhere I’ve ever been.

I wanted to make friends, but I didn’t know how. I had even discussed this idea with my boss that I’m not a very outgoing person socially.

I’m kind of weird. I’d get up and sing a solo song in front of a crowd of peers and parents in high school and I love being on stage once I got past the butterflies. I moved across the country for a summer by myself, but I’m scared to strike up a conversation with a stranger.

What was I to do when my roommates were off at their internships and jobs? Who would I talk to if I wanted to have face-to-face interaction with someone?

But then, something magical happened a few weeks into the summer.

When I went to wait in line for free tickets to the musical, “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” I made my first, non-roommate friend in New York City. The star of the show, Daniel Radcliffe, had purchased 100 tickets for fans to celebrate his 100th performance and he was giving the first 50 fans in line two tickets each.

But, I only needed one ticket.

About three hours into my wait, I was trying to think of new ways to kill time. I settled on watching YouTube videos on my phone when someone suddenly appeared in front of me.

This girl, Amanda, heard that I might only be getting one ticket so she asked if she could wait with me and get my other ticket. I decided that would be okay. After all, I thought, if she was willing to come out and wait in line for a few hours then she deserved a ticket.

One of the great things about Amanda is that she is never afraid to talk to people or speak her mind. So, naturally, she started talking to me. We talked about theater and life for the next few hours. After we got the tickets, we walked to the subway and Amanda invited me to go get dinner with her and her roommate, Sabrina, before the show.

The girls next to me in line also had a ticket to spare, so Amanda was able to get that so Sabrina could go as well. The ironic thing is that the show ended up being cancelled that evening, and we never ended up seeing it together.

But I had made two friends that enjoyed theater as much as me, so I was happy.

I also found out that we were all Harry Potter fans. Amazing! Amanda invited me to Harry Potter trivia at Bid Daddy’s restaurant, where me, Amanda and Sabrina tied for second place, and to see all of the Harry Potter films at AMC the week of the final film’s release.

Just meeting those two ladies made me feel so much better about life in the city. As pathetic or needy as it might sound, I really wanted a friend. Sure, I have enjoyed exploring on my own, but sometimes I really want company.

Don’t we all want that?

If it weren’t for that line for free tickets, I think I would still be friendless even nine weeks into the summer. I’m just that shy. I don’t know how anyone meets anyone else in this city.

I’m so thankful that I met two lovely ladies to call my friends. Now I’ll always know someone in New York City, when I come back and visit.