Saturday, October 12, 2013
Friendships in the Real World
A lot of men who end up typing "how to get laid" into a search engine seem to have a pretty strange understanding of how social interactions work, which gets readily exploited by shady PUA marketers. In recent years PUAs have moved from claiming to teach you how to get laid to some kind of all-encompassing lifestyle advice. Now they tell you how to make friends and become popular. Sadly, their approach seems to be about as flawed as their pickup advice was. PUAs tell you to go out and hit on chicks indiscriminately, and unsurprisingly this is also how they tell you to build your social circle. However, you normally don't make friends just by talking to someone. So, let's step back and look at how "friendships" in the real world work.
I think there are just two main factors: Randomness and common interests. The latter is pretty much irrelevant for the majority of people who have no real interest in anything, so I won't focus on it. Instead, the "friends" your average Joe or Jane have come primarily from the first category. This means that they draw almost all their friends from those people they interact most with, be it high school, university, or the workplace. This is pretty much all there is to it. They don't necessarily have much in common with those guys, apart from an accident of fate that put them in the same building. The implications are obvious: If you're an average bore and you want to go out, then you probably pick some of the guys that just so happened to attend the same school, and go out with them.
Some of you may now think, "Wait a minute! There are so many morons in my school, and I was just a fortunate accident that I met Jim in my Calculus for Beginners and Artists class." Sure, but it just so happened that some admissions officer drew a few random numbers, or looked up your dad's net worth, if we're talking about the Ivy League, and sent you an offer to attend their esteemed seat of learning. You would have found a new best friend at any university you had chosen to attend, or any company you joined. Some places are toxic, so you will avoid spending time with your colleagues, but those are statistical outliers.
In fact, whenever you meet a big group at a bar or club, they're mostly from the same school or workplace. It could be that the entire office trotted down to the bar at the corner to start the weekend with a nice pint of beer. Or maybe the younger guys are all new in town and want to get laid, so they team up and go out as a group to ogle chicks so that they've got something to jerk off to before falling asleep. People in general are terribly afraid to be on their own because they have so little to occupy themselves with, and therefore the prospect of getting drunk with people they vaguely know is pretty appealing.
I'm making some huge generalizations here, but for "normal" people this is pretty much how it is. Only a small minority actively seeks out their peer group through common interests. Heck, plenty of people will be afraid to try this or that hobby because they're afraid it'll make them look weird. Allegedly, this is one of the reasons why there are so few women in computer science and engineering. If you're a guy studying such a field, you are quite likely to fall somewhere on the Asperger spectrum, and therefore you may not always take the feedback of your "well-adjusted" peers into account. Or maybe you just gave a fuck what they thought because you realized that there are more interesting things to spent your time with than gossiping about celebrities, some "slut" from 12th grade, or obsessing about what kind of sneakers one was supposed to wear this season.
So, if you are concerned about your number of friends, then just be visible to enough people, and make sure it's a setting that allows you to meet the same people over and over and over again. However, instead of taking a course in Modern Set Theory with five other nerds, pick an Intro to Communications course, and attend all their social get-togethers. In general, people need the feeling of belonging to some kind of group, no matter how artificial it is, so if you're feeling alone at university and value quantity of social contacts over quality, then just follow the herd and practice your beer pong skills. On the other hand, if college is behind you, and working 40 hour weeks still doesn't make you value the time you could spend all by yourself, then join your colleagues for a drink. Don't worry, they don't really want to be around you either, but after a few drinks this won't matter so much anymore. Alcohol is often described as a "social lubricant", but, really, any kind of excuse that allows you to get together will do. Alcohol is just cheap, and easy to get, so you getting a bunch of guys together to play FIFA Soccer on the PlayStation while getting wasted is much easier to do than, say, getting enough coke for 12 people.
People generally aren't that smart, and they aren't particularly selective with regards to anything. You're a "friend" once they've seen your face a couple of times and made a bit of smalltalk, and if you think you don't have any chance to get laid, then just being around enough single women --- as long as you're borderline attractive --- will lead to enough opportunities. Sure, it's tough if you have to "cold approach", but if she has seen your face before it's absurdly easy. It just depends on your standards. My "lay count" could be three or four times higher had I gone home with any chick that hit on me at work or university. However, don't discount just being around many people either, since it will put you in a better position to meet at least a few interesting people like, say, some guy you genuinely like because he's got a similar world view and interests, or the very rare girl that is smart and good-looking. So, there is some value in "knowing" a relatively large number of people. It's just a question of whether you want to pay the price.