Making friends was never, never, never an active pursuit until college. In first grade I was friends with two girls and those friendships melted into new ones again and again with every year and friendship cycle (first meet-awkward first hangout- the good times- the best times- the hard times- the awkward last hangouts), until finally at the end of my senior year in high school I was friends with five girls (especially), about thirty underclassmen, and I knew a majority of the people I saw from day to day. Effortless. They melt into each other.
The only opportunity to make new friends was at church, where one is supposed to befriend everyone so strangers don't feel left out. Therefore, nothing. No trying.
College happens. Best friends become estranged, and going home becomes desperate and depressing, so friendships must be made. I spied the people I wanted to befriend. By the end of the first year, after manually jump starting the friend cycle with each of them (show much interest, back away, and then swoop back in to hook a new amigo), a circle of friends had been established and we were well on our way to the intimacies of the closest friendships.
When I was displaced to Burnet I mourned my loneliness and friendlessness very dramatically in short bursts of sadness and smeared mascara. Not only did I need new friends, but also a new family. Eventually I found hidden treasures, hidden poets, delightful teenagers, and sage adults to be my family and friends. The summer that marked my last months there was beautiful, and never lonely. We rode bikes long after the sun had fallen behind the hills, and the street lamps (too far apart) saw us night after night laughing, dreaming, and planning.
The blessing of being able to make friends is not something I am ungrateful for. I realize how valuable it is.
Not to sound creepy, but it can be pretty formulaic. Spot interesting people, locate yourself around them, show a lot of friendly interest in them, be aloof (i.e. BACK OFF) for awhile (perhaps let your reputation find its way to them), and then wrap them up in the fun of being friends. Be personal, have intimate interests, let them have space in a group, bring them interesting parcels denoting your friendship, etc. On that last note it is entertaining enough to mention that I have given many strange friend gifts that have just perfectly done the trick (a black ceramic angel, a small plastic rifle, jelly beans, abstract photographs, potted flowers, etc.).
Josh wants to know how to spot interesting people, or at least how I do it. I have no answer. Oscar says we find each other. It is true. However, we are not just similar pawns that fate brings together. We have some say in those people we actively pursue. I suppose I have very high criteria for my close circle, though I will be friendly (and sincerely, at that) to anyone. The following criteria will be written in stream of consciousness. Forgive me my offenses.
I like people who have passions, who aren't obsessed with TV or the top 40, who plan, desire to move and grow.
I like to hear that someone has a favorite part of nature, isn't just going to get a tattoo because it is legal to do at age 18, respects their family, and is attempting to work out their relation to God.
I like thinkers, of course, but especially those with a sense of humor, a sense of humility, a sense of piety, and a sense of duty.
I like shy people with raging inside personalities, as well as people with extravagant personalties who have intricate and quiet inner folds of psyche.
I like people who read a lot, write well, and are recreationally active whether it be on a bike, on two feet running down whatever, taking some ball to some goal, or playing COPY or JUMP.
I like people who can make things, paint, draw, paste, sculpt, and photograph things.
I like people who have very personal interest, and are personally interested in the people around them.
I like people who don't know, but want to. I like people who know, but realize they don't .
I like people with long hair and funny stories, and people with short hair and comical stories.
I like planned people, spontaneous people, loving people, and critical people.
I like to be around the smart, the funny, the aloof, the nerdy, the warm, the genuine, the simple, and the moving people.
I like the silly, and the serious. I like the depressed and the joyful.
I attempt to scorn cliches, superficiality, insincerity, crudeness, hate, racism, sexism, close-mindedness, legalism, and superiority complexes.
Upon finding someone so beautiful, so interesting, who fits what I want in a friend, I kick start the cycle, and hopefully, we make something where there was nothing.