A Confident You
You are traveling solo for the first time, in Reykjavik, the most expensive city in the world. The hostel is busy, with creaky beds and cranky guests. Silence is your first choice of introduction, but that won’t make the trip fun. There is no excitement being stuck in your own head for two weeks. How best to make friends in a hostel?
So you say hello to everyone who stays in your dorm style room. No conversations are struck. Then again, you don’t want to pry. You sit in the lounge, offering your company to anyone who walks by. Then again, you are writing on your computer so you seem closed off and uninterested.
You try the communal kitchen. Make hot chocolate and a cup of tomato soup and sit at the center table and wait for more hungry people. Then again, you bring a book and read and come off as inexplicably inside another world. You read for hours without noticing anyone, even though plenty and have come through. One even offered homemade soup and you said no. Why say no? You’ve got to get better than this.
Sit at the bar and talk, someone from home suggests. No book. You would try, but you don’t have ten dollars for a beer, or sixteen for your favorite cocktail. How to make friends in a city where everything costs a pretty penny. So you go to dinner alone. That’s depressing. And lonely. So you wait for others to talk to you. Fine, but if you always wait for someone else, people aren’t going to stick around. You make one friend. She came up to you. You go out to dinner, you go to a drag show together. She leaves the next day. You talk to an older woman while in line to catch a tour bus. You never see her again. After a week has gone by, you’re still alone.
Because you won’t go out and try harder. You are afraid people won’t like you, but what does it matter if you’re never going to see them again? You sit in the lounge, staring at a stack of bright yellow visitor’s guides. Remember you have a bottle of red wine from the duty free. Realize wine is a great bonding mechanism. So you head downstairs to find people to share it with you.
In the lobby, you freeze.
“Hi, I have wine, want some for free?” Sounds too good to be true, and a little creepy. Maybe sit in the lounge and offer it to anyone who walks by. Or sit in the kitchen and offer it to people making dinner. Maybe sit in bed and drink it alone and get drunk and use that to go meet people by the bar. You consider it, but its not authentic. You want people to like you for you.
You know there is no easy answer. Rather, the answer is easy but hard to follow through on. Talk. Put yourself out there. For just a little while, don’t be the quiet you. Be the you who wants company. Be the you interested in the stories of all the people bustling across the lobby. Be a fearless you, a confident you, a better you.