How I Made 50 Friends in One Month

I’m not huge on crowds, so how did I make 50 friends in one month? My example is below.

As the years with the internet has progressed, it has made it easier to meet people online. People can find potential dates, people can sell things to one another, people can Couchsurf to make travel cheaper, etc.

As you know I’m a connector. I want to meet as many people as I possibly can.

Since I’m not the type to go to parties, I’m grateful for the internet.

The reason for this is that I like conversations with ridiculous amount of depth.

There are three types of conversation levels:
1. Small talk. When you talk to a stranger or have to talk to someone politely (just imagine that relative you aren’t close to.), then you have this. You ask them “How’s the weather?” or “How’s it going?” I don’t like going through it often because it’s boring and not that rewarding.
2. Interests. When you find a common interest, then the conversation gets better. If they like blogs and you do too, then you can talk about your favorite blogs, their favorite blogs, what type of blogs both of you like, etc. It’s nice to relate to someone but not quite where I’d like to be.
3. Passions, life-goals, visions, metaphysics, crazy relationship stuff that no one shares with anyone anymore. Now this is where I’d like to land with people because this is the most satisfying type of conversation. It can be difficult to reach this level when you’re not already close with someone but that’s what I strive to reach. I feel that the internet makes it easier for that when you’re just focusing on someone’s words rather than all the outside influence of clothes, appearances, and other activities.

All I did was find a site where there were thousands of people. You can do this with a forum or any other online site. Then I personally sent them messages based on their taste (music, movies, books, philosophy).

The 90-9-1 rule (by Sebastian Marshall*) applied here in a different way.
-Around 90% of people I talked to didn’t click. They wouldn’t reply or either party would stop replying after a couple of exchanges.
-9% of people I ended up talking to about interests, their culture, anything that caused good conversation. I still talk to them to this day.
-The magical 1% wavelength are those few people where you have free reign. There are almost no limits as to what you two can talk about because you have the same type of humor and a huge depth of commonality that nothing is taboo. These are the people I look for.

But that’s 1%. It holds true. Here’s my personal example:

During March 2010, I sent messages to around 400 people. I already knew that the percentages would end up being 90-9-1.
Around half replied to me. Then I replied back to them.
-Around another half replied to me. After a few rounds of talking to people I came down to around 50 people. I was about to connect with that many through many rounds of messages. They’re great to talk to about passions and interests. (It held true that around 9% of people will connect with you in a great way.) This is my definition of an awesome friend.
-However, out of those 50, I’ve only had the magical 1% wavelength with 4 people. So it goes to show how many people I had to initiate contact with in order to find the people who I could really connect with. This is the type of interaction I look for ideally because there are no limits. You can almost free flow to the person about what you’re feeling and thinking.

Of course, there are pros and cons to meeting people online.

Pros:
-For people who can’t take rejection well, it’s somewhere easy to start.
If someone doesn’t reply to you, then it’s totally fine to take. I like being able to find people with similar tastes on forums, twitter, and other websites very quickly.
-People are able to past through the waste of time that is ‘small talk’ extremely quickly. It makes it easier for me to get through to someone’s passion right away.
-You can talk to someone’s mind (see their words visually) rather than having to see their outer appearance visually. You can see their interests in text (through profiles, blogs, social media, etc.), rather than have to cold guess when you’re meeting a stranger in the real world.
-You can analyze what someone said and give more thought to how you want to reply. It isn’t awkward to be a bit more introspective and give more time between replies when you do reply.

Bonus: -Half the adrenaline rush is trying to figure out how to meet them in real life.
*I’ll get more into this soon in a future post.

Cons:
-People can easily fake their identity. You can filter out many of the fakes by the general rule, “If it’s too good to be true, then it’s definitely a fake.” You can also feel the pushy atmosphere and something about them is off. I block those people quickly because they don’t deserve the time.
-People you meet can be far away. The only other unfortunate situation is if people you meet are far away. I’ve had this happen to me a lot of the time. Luckily, Skype makes it possible to get close to the real-life depth of talking to someone face to face.

The internet gives another option on being able to meet people. That’s the genius behind it. All ways of meeting people are great (offline, online, online –> offline) but meeting people online breaks the location barrier, breaks the group influence barrier, and creates a way to go around the small talk.

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*Here’s Sebastian Marshall’s post on the 90-9-1 rule.

18 comments
The Millionairess
The Millionairess

wow this post has got me thinking about doing my own experiments. I am spinning right now. What did you say to people on the first email to the 400? I would like to do this as well. Did you just introduce yourself? What got the ones responding back? sorry i just saw your last response. Wow thats a lot of work. about 13 a day doesnt seem so bad though. I'll try it.

mdornz
mdornz

"Then I personally sent them messages based on their taste (music, movies, books, philosophy)." Can you please give us some examples of this opening message? I would like to try the same but I don't want to come off as creepy.

Richard
Richard

What do you do about people who like you and want to continue a close friendship if you don't really feel the connection exists?

Yuval Qen
Yuval Qen

What about the fact that meeting people offline stimulates more of the senses and feels more real (and thus exciting)? I find that a major con for online interaction.

Krista Stryker
Krista Stryker

I really liked your three different types of conversation levels - it's so true. Personally, I'm absolutely terrible at small talk, but I find it really hard to meet people who I can have an actual deep conversation with. As an admitted introvert, this can cause me to keep to myself way too much, and I think I would be incredibly lonely without the Internet! I love the fact that the Internet makes it easier to connect, and that if I did meet any of my Internet friends at a party someday I would be much more likely to engage in deep conversation with them. Great post.

Christian Hollingsworth
Christian Hollingsworth

The interesting part of the internet is that you have time to think. When you're out in public you've got think quicker it seems - because you're speaking face to face. When you're online, you can read a blog post - come back, and then comment. It's different, but much the same. Twitter on the other hand - so fast paced - otherwise you're going to get run over quickly!

Elle Dougherty
Elle Dougherty

You sent messages to ~400 people?!? Wow! That's a cool experiment. My online adventures have introduced me to some really great people too that I wouldn't have connected with otherwise. I never thought about how the internet has created a way to get past small talk of face-to-face meetings. Wonder if we could figure out a way to effectively translate that into our offline connections? No more "How's the weather?"

Rob
Rob

Hi Matt, Creating and maintaining harmonious relationships is one of the most rewarding experiences we can engage in. They beauty of the internet is that it allows folks to transcend physical barriers and mingle their minds with people they never could have never met otherwise. There is nothing out there that I am not connected to, and this is also true about you. This is what we discover when we dare to relax and open up to the myriad "soul mates" that are floating around out there.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 6. I do experiments to help people see more than superficiality. I give out you are beautiful notes to people. I cold approach people in hopes of accelerating the conversation to a deeper level. I offer people a moment to break the routine to see if they’ll take a step back and ask, “What was that about?” So the time I have with strangers, I try to break through the small talk right away and get to conversation that has more depth. […]