I Went on a Blind(ish) Friend Date. And No One Got "Catfished"

This weekend I met up with my friend Rachel, from Life Unsweetened, in real life for the first time. We’ve been e-mailing/tweeting/Facebooking for a while, but hadn’t actually met face to face until this past Saturday, when we met at a mall for some lunch and shopping. I figured the friend date would go well since we’d spent a pretty good amount of time talking online, but I was still a bit nervous. What if we were both different online and then had nothing to talk about in person? What if it felt uncomfortable? Luckily, it couldn’t have gone better. We had a lot in common and our conversations never felt awkward or forced. It was like we had been friends for a while, and were just catching up on old times.

I write a lot about making friends after college, and how difficult it can be. Regardless of the type of city you live in, it’s hard to make connections with fellow twenty-somethings. It’s easy to assume that making friends in a big city is easy, or that you’re more able to connect on a personal level in a smaller city, but I think each type of situation presents its own challenges. People are busy or have their own group of friends already established. It’s just not as effortless as it was when you had class or a dorm to connect you to other people your age. For this reason, I’ve been making a conscious effort to put myself out there in order to expand my social circle. Even if I feel like sitting on my couch, I make it a point to accept invitations and get out there. Just like anything else, friendships take effort.

I’m a naturally shy person so I think it’s safe to say that, in years past,  I would never have ventured out to meet an online friend in Nev-Schulman-Catfishreal life. I would have made up a dozen excuses about why I couldn’t make it, or I just never would have settled on plans with the friend in the first place. But things are different now, and I’ve realized that in order to build yourself a social life after school, you have to be open to new things. I’m so glad I took this approach, because Rachel was great. We’re already working on another time to get together.

Making friends after college sometimes requires a non-traditional approach. Sure, you can try meeting people at the gym or at the bar, but you also have to consider new ways to do it. People do online dating all the time, so why not try building friendships with people you meet through Twitter or blogs? Connect with people who share common interests and you may end up making a real-life friend too. Rachel and I are both full-time writers and bloggers, so that common bond was the basis for the friendship.

Interestingly enough, my boyfriend (and Rachel’s too, as it turns out) was convinced that I was going to get “Catfished.” He thought I would end up meeting some random dude at the mall who had been posing as a girl online. I think he watches too much TV. Anyway, if you do plan on meeting up with a friend who you’ve met online, do your research beforehand. Do they have a Facebook that looks like it’s real? Do they have a blog? Can you check out their company’s website to see if they actually work there? Do you know anyone who has met them in real life? This can help to prevent you from needing Nev from “Catfish” to step in. And, of course, always meet in a public place for your first friend date, even if you’re fairly certain that the person you’re meeting is who they say they are.

Would you ever consider meeting a friend online? Are there any other non-traditional ways that you’ve met new friends?

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Comments

  1. I had so much fun! This was my first “blog blind date” and it couldn’t have gone better. I’m still dying laughing that both of our boyfriends thought we would be Catfish-ed. Ay yi yi!

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