I know how scary it is to move to a new town. Ever since that back-alley game of Liar's Dice got out of hand and you had to stab your buddy Steve to death with a serrated plastic spork, and consequently cut ties with all the lives that you've been living in, and flee San Fransisco to disappear into the screaming metropolis of Los Angeles, it's felt like your life might never be normal again. How are you going to find a job? How will you survive the crushing guilt known only to men who have watched the light leave their best friend's eyes? And how will you make new friends?
Well, I dunno about those first two, but I can say that the last one is actually easier than you think. Making friends is only intimidating in your mind -- in action, it's as easy as boiling an egg or writing a radio-friendly late-90s rock song. In fact, if you follow my instructions here, you'll be able to make friends with anyone you want. Even those guys over there.
See? They look so friendly! Just walk right up to them and say hello. And remember ...
Here's a tip they don't teach you at Friend School: Confidence is a choice. The only one stopping you from believing in yourself is you, and I'm not talking about it in the sense of those diabetes-inducing song tropes. Think about how children love to sing, but then their voices slowly fade away. Just look at Third Eye Blind: The lead singer can barely talk and the guitar player's hands are just deflated flesh-tubes, but they still managed to have a few hits in the late 90s because they believed in themselves and at that point we were pretty much taking what we could get. Anybody harder than the Goo Goo Dolls was considered "alternative." Not our finest hour, culturally speaking. The point is, everyone is shy, but if you take on the role of a character who isn't shy, nobody will know the difference! This comes with the added bonus that if you screw up and embarrass yourself, it's not you who's embarrassed, it's your character!
If it helps, try reminding yourself that life is just a waking shadow. A poor player, one might say, who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It's a tale told by an idiot, to be frank. Full of plenty of what you might call "sound and fury" but, ultimately, signifying nothing.
That's how I'd describe it, anyway.
So walk right up to those black-robed strangers (soon to be your friends, smiling in pictures you would take!) and crack a joke, or just smile and introduce yourself. I bet they're friendlier than you think! Most people are.
Here's a Bonus Friendship Tip: It's always a good sign if you overhear them saying things like this:
"He is perfect. So young, so trusting. He will be a fine vessel for the ritual."
"But he is not a believer. His soul is impure!"
"That can be remedied. Now be silent! If he learns of our intentions, all is lost."
... Then you'll know you're doing great.
I'm going to describe somebody for you. They're constantly lonely, and always bemoaning to themselves their frustrating and tragic lack of friends. But at the same time, when they do receive an invitation to something exciting, they say "no"! Does that sound like you? It sounded like me, once upon a time. But then I challenged myself to say "yes" to five things a week. First I said "yes" to traveling beyond my village's borders. Then I said "yes" to the invitation of a witch who lived in the dark roots of an ancient oak tree to drink a strange concoction that would "change me forever." I won't bore you with the rest of the details of that story, but the moral is that after making an effort to say "yes" just a handful of times, I became the creature I am today.
Vast and yet sizeless, silent yet screaming, a quivering clutch of stillborn nightmares.
And you can too! Just make sure to watch out for things I like to call "friend-portunities." They will often sound something like this:
"What are you up to?"
"I'm kinda bored, thinking about going to do something else."
"Hey, what's your blood type?"
"Do you mind if I take a sample of your blood?"
"Your skin is soft, your lineage pure. You shall be the perfect host for the coming of the Dark God."
"I'm actually gonna need a bit more of your blood."
"Do you you speak any Latin?"
"There will be no regrets when the worms come. And they shall surely come."
"You're not Irish, are you? Because we'd really like it if you had a link to the Druidic folk."
"You seem to have icing over a secret pain. Have you by any chance spilled the lifeblood of one who trusted you?"
"Are you afraid to die? You needn't be. The Dark God welcomes us all into his torment and embrace."
"Wanna go play video games later, with me, as a friend?"
"I'm really just not getting enough blood. Here, take this pill. Yeah. That'll loosen up the blood. That'll loosen up the blood good."
So when one of your friends tells you something like that, don't shy away -- say "yes"! "Yes" is the key. "Yes" is the first word for the rest of your life. Say "yes" to "yes"!
Most people are afraid of new experiences, but just remember: A new experience is just a fond memory you haven't had yet! So when you're invited to The Ritual, to be performed at the stroke of midnight, on the clearest, blackest, moonless night, in a village churchyard with bones weeping in a grave, say yes! Offer to bring beer, and when they tell you not to bother, don't ask any questions! In fact, never ask any questions at all. Just do whatever they say. It'll be far easier that way for everyone.
Ugh. Fine. Just give it to Dwayne, he'll figure out what to do with it.
It really is easy. If they offer you a friend robe, put it on! It'll show them that you're committed to their cause of friendship. When they start chanting and sprinkling your feet with vials of your own blood, just close your eyes and bask in the acceptance. Allow the smoke to sting your eyes, your lungs. It's a dull, comforting ache. Relish it. Embrace it. This is a cleansing pain.
What you once were is already fading away. You can barely remember what you wanted before this, or even why you're here. It doesn't matter. You've always wanted something else to get you through this life. They're laying you on the cold stone slab now but it doesn't bother you. You feel calm. You don't even remember what it's like to feel anything else. You're floating through an infinite, peaceful void.
All is calm now. You are safe, floating in an immense black void. There is nothing to do, nothing to be, nothing to feel. Suddenly you feel a pulse like a sonar from your days in the waves, and you're falling. You will fall now forever.
We are one now, you and I. A single vast entity. Our power is beyond measure. Feel it -- a great, intoxicating strength. Look at the tiny peasants who were once my disciples. Watch as they cower, as they run, as they plead and prey. It is all nothing to us. We are huge now. Gigantic and consuming. We scoop up the tiny creatures that brought us roaring to this mortal world, and then we eat them.
Behold what we have become. Thirty feet tall. A thick black hide, covered in coarse hair, and stretched over rippling muscle. Savage fangs, slathered with stinking acidic saliva. Behold our claws, savage and sharp. We will slit the throat of your confidence.
To even look upon us is to go mad with fear, but this kitten's photoshopped face is pretty close.
The world will fall before us. Everyone will be our friend. And then we will eat them too.
What's this? Our power is not what it should be. The ritual did not fully work! It's the accursed beer you brought -- one of our disciples drank of it, and it tarnished the ritual. As a result, our evil charms did not full take. We are not completely charmed.
Bah! For our purposes, it doesn't matter. Let us go, now. Let us fall upon this Earth with a terrible fury. Let us fulfill the dark purpose of this, our semi-charmed life. We throw back our head, and scream to the moon:
"Doot doot doot, doot do-doot do!"
For more check out The 7 Types of Friend Everyone Needs and 5 Tips For Awkward People Looking To Make New Friends.
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She definitely has some stories to tell.
The smallest changes in these men's lives would have changed all of history.