I just got back from coffee with a stranger; I’m still not sure his name, but we’re getting a drink this weekend.
We met two months ago in the basement of a jazz club. I heard him speaking English as we passed each other on the stairs, so I said hey. Turns out, he recently began working for my old company, so I gave him my number and told him to message me with any questions.
He messaged me on Monday asking if I could grab coffee sometime. When today came, excuse after excuse came with it. “You have work to do, you’re tired, you have to do things tonight…” They’re the same things that kept me from going to a language exchange the last night and a party this past weekend. They’re real things to consider, but they’ve become disproportionately heavy as of late.
He went to the wrong cafe near my apartment. There was a weird moment where both of us were having a coffee together, over text. Finally, he made it over to my shop – it was like fire meeting a fuse. We shared stories like old friends, talked about life, dove into new ideas and found solutions to mutual problems. I gained a new perspective, new ideas, new comfort in my own skin and a better understanding of this city. It was the fastest two hours of my day, by far.
And I almost didn’t go in the name of sitting in my apartment and staring at a computer screen.
The hardest thing about moving is finding new people. It doesn’t matter if it’s entire continents or 40 miles away, a new move always carries that in common. I’ve been comfortable recently and decided it was unnecessary to make new friends. How could I imagine replacing the old people? How could I even find good enough people? In reality, that is a clever way of excusing myself from discomfort. The courage to text someone for coffee and the persistence to go is all you need for someone new to enter your life. Someone who might be as important to you as the person who left.
Send the text. Know it’s worth it. Start the friendship.
Thanks for taking a sip,
P.S. I’m really excited for Malcom Gladwell’s book coming out this September about meeting strangers. Last time I was excited for a book to come out was in 8th grade with Rick Roidan’s “The Last Olympian”.