Why you find your best friends at the nerdiest places

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A friend and I took a walk in Manhattan the other night.

We came across this guy who had brought his huge telescope to the street.

He had it pointed at the Moon. He let us watch, and the detail was AMAZING!

a nerdy place to find a friendHe had a phone mount on his telescopes, which meant that I could actually film the moon with my own phone!

Here’s the clip I filmed:

Isn’t it mind-boggling that you can hear us talking on a street corner in NYC, but feel like you’re next to the moon?

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On my way home I came to think about how easy it is to connect with someone if you have an interest to talk about.

As you hear in the clip there was no awkward silence and no small talk, because it was so easy to just talk on and on about his telescope and the moon.

When you meet over a mutual interest, it’s easy to start talking about the interest, and then build your friendship around it.

When you build your friendship around a mutual interest, you can use that interest as an “excuse” to interact and ultimately keep in touch over the years.

However, any interest won’t do. You can’t build a friendship around a general interest. “You and I both like movies, let’s watch a movie some day” – is weird to say to someone you barely know.

But saying this instead works better: “You and I both like low budget horror movies from the seventies, let’s watch my extended cut of Jaws some day!”

The more specific the interest is, the better friends you will be

I’ve made most of my best friends through different interests. I’ve joined groups and meetups (I like meetup.com, and eventbrite.com is even better). Or, just kept my eyes and ears open for opportunities friends talked about or things I’ve come across randomly.

I look for meetups that match the following criteria:

  1. Is it something I’m interested in?
  2. Is the meetup about a specific interest? (Mold-making rather than “New in town”-meetups. Magic the Gathering rather than wine tastings.)
  3. Meetups that are recurring. (You need to meet people on a regular basis to bond with them.)

But David, I don’t have any specific interests!

This is a common misunderstanding. You don’t need to find your life passion. Anything that you find moderately interesting works great!

After all, it’s not really about the interest. It’s about the fact that people who like the stuff you like probably have other things in common with you, too.

For example, if you like poetry, you’re more likely to find your best friends at a poetry meetup than at a rugby game meetup)

We’re more likely to find friends we have things in common with if we look in the right places.

Have you met your best friends through your interests?

I’m excited to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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1 thought on “Why you find your best friends at the nerdiest places”

  1. Its so true. Im going back through my life and see that all my closest friends emerged from these types of activities. However, I find my interests are so unrelated and all over the place that it puts ppeopel off getting to know me better. For instance I love travelling and sitting round fires with my horsedrawn mates but that doesnt sit well in the botany club and vica versa. I love dusty old academic libraries. The two dont mix. I feel folk become suspicious.


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