Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Making New Friends Leads to All Sorts of Opportunities

I have a theory that if all the people who note on their dating profiles that they "love to take long walks on the beach" actually took them, there would be no need for dating services. They'd meet other people who love taking long walks on the beach, and who knows where that would lead.

But if you hate taking long walks on the beach, surely you like doing other things. So do them. Even if it's knitting, join a group and go. You don't know who's mother or sister is going to befriend you there.

My friend, Kristen, is a writer (among other things) who took to working from a table at Panera Bread over a year ago. Since she's hardly alone in this, she's since met a commercial artist, a doctor/astrologer (yes!), another writer, and most recently "two really cute guys who know all about computers." Kristen's married, so she's not in the market to meet two really cute guys, but surely somebody else is.

If time constraints prevent you from hanging out in coffee shops, don't despair. I made two lasting friends in other countries through Irish Penpals, a free service that connects you with other people of either sex (your choice, and nobody has to be Irish).

At the time I joined, I spent most winter days trapped in the house with two toddlers and was eager to "meet" a new international friend. I've been writing to Elaine in Manchester, England and Petra in Germany ever since.

Irish Penpals reports that at least one marriage has resulted from the service.

Viveca Stone-Berry, who founded Dog Captions cards with her photographer brother Richard H. Stone, recommends that you make a friend of a serviceperson through A Million Thanks (

If you express your appreciation to someone in our military, you'll be doing a good and worthwhile thing. Good and worthwhile things often lead to more good and worthwhile things -- one way or another.

Photo credit: Richard H. Stone. Proceeds for his hilarious Dog Captions card collection go to animal organizations.