So this year, I'm going to be more friendly. I don't think of myself as an unfriendly person, mind you - but a combination of a little East Coast reserve and a retreat from my youthful (nigh psychotic) outgoingness has left me a bit uncomfortable in some common social situations. I also have the same "neutral expression" as my grandfather, which apparently looks sort of scowly or intense...when in reality I'm probably thinking about whether the dog ate my shoes while I was at work, or whether bacon or carnitas are better. So I project a little more proud and aloof than I consider myself. Plus, I have the counter-example of my boss at my first job here in LA, who was incredibly friendly and had an amazing talent for putting anyone at ease. He'd talk to people in the elevator and chat with them like they were old friends he'd just seen again...but when I asked later how he knew them, he'd say "Huh? Never met the guy, until just now!" It's a skill like any other, that kind of easy fellow-feeling, and something I can learn rather than be lazy and look at my iPhone as if something important were happening there.
So I'm making a point of chit-chatting whenever possible, with whomever possible. That's the start of the project...but if there's some formal "how to make friends and influence people" type training, I will certainly consider it. For now, I just sort of...put on a character who's more friendly than me when confronted with a stranger with whom I have the opportunity to chat. And naturally, questions about themselves and what they do are the way to go in terms of making friends. So that part is easy, it's really just summoning not quite the courage, but rather the energy, to just put it out there and ..chat. It's harder than it seems!
I'm not quite up to a cocktail party yet, that's going to be after I level up a few times...but I intend to keep at it. By the end of the year, hopefully, it'll be more like a habit than an effort. And if I fail, it's obviously the fault of all you rocks-with-lips out there, who JUST WON'T OPEN UP TO ME, dammit!