I emailed a stranger

That title sounds like a Lifetime movie. I DID email a stranger, but with a purpose: to make a new friend.

When I moved to Baltimore in July, I thought it would be completely different from living in DC. And it is, for the most part–people you don’t know say hello to you in the morning on the street, rent is cheaper, and a beer is $2. But what’s too similar for my taste is how hard it is to make friends here. People may talk to you at bars with no other agenda than to be friendly, but that doesn’t mean they’re looking for a friend.

My boyfriend and I go out to dinner or for drinks a few times a week, and he rarely fails to strike up a conversation with someone. Sometimes, people will start talking to us. And about half of the time, they seem normal or like people one or both of us would want to hang out with. But you can’t just ask a stranger to dinner (although this did happen to us at Crate & Barrel, which is another story).

I love food: reading about it, watching shows on it, cooking it, eating it, the dining experience, the excitement of looking at menus and reviews and picking out my next stop, the unexpected surprises. I generally like other people who appreciate a good meal or a well-made drink.

Finding these people isn’t easy, though. I ran a Meetup group for a couple of months here for people who lived in my neighborhood that were around my age. I hesitated to start another food Meetup (which I’ve done in Boston and DC), but looking back, maybe I should have. I met one girl I liked, but being the facilitator and making people feel comfortable at each and every event, rather than getting to talk to the people that seemed most interesting to me, got exhausting. My boyfriend and I hang out with one of his friends and his girlfriend, and she likes to bake. (From my experience, though, bakers and cooks are different breeds of people.) Half a year in, I’ve sort of given up trying.

I was reading the City Paper‘s eats section online yesterday and came across a review for a bar that’s near me. The writing was concise and funny, and when I Googled the author, she looked normal and nice. I emailed her, under the pretense of wanting to connect with other people that love food in Baltimore, and to talk about how she got to where she is. But really, I’m hoping we might hit it off and become friends.

God, does that sound creepy.

If it works, though, then I’m keeping on this blog bandwagon. I met my boyfriend online (he’s normal, I swear), found my apartment on Craigslist, and applied for a job on the Internet. Why not try to make friends through it?

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