One thing that I’ve found to be the hardest as I grow up (read: as I enter my 30’s) is making new friends. It’s so easy when you’re in school and you see the same people every day. You take classes with those people and can relate on whether you like the class or not. I was lucky in that I took music in university and met quite a few music people — though, while we were great friends in university, the inevitable happens, we drift apart, and now I really only stay in touch with one of those people.
Recently, I asked on Twitter how people make new friends. I had seen an article in the NY Times about how it’s so hard to make friends the older you get, and Rachelia from Bookish Comforts directed me to another article over on the blog Yes and Yes, which gives plenty of advice on making friends.
Since I’m a big reader, one thing I’d love to find in a friend is someone who also loves books. I’ve met quite a few book bloggers who took to blogging about their reads because they really didn’t have anyone in their life who was also a reader. So that’s what I’d like to talk about — how to find some bookish friends. As with most friends you make, they usually start out as acquaintances, until you both take the steps to becoming real friends.
How to Make Bookish Acquaintances
There are a few people who work at my local library who are awesome and who also love books. One of the reasons it’s easy for people to make friends in school is because they see the same people all the time — there’s repetition. I visit my local library at least once a week around the same time in the morning, which means I see the same people there whenever I go. They like reading the same kinds of books as I do, so we always find great things to chat about.
Join a Book Club
I’m lucky enough to be a part of a book club at my local library, where I can chat with other people once a month about books we enjoy — or sometimes don’t enjoy. The great thing about my book club is that it is full of ladies who aren’t afraid to share their opinions, and we recommend books to one another that we might not otherwise think to read. Even though I don’t meet with these people outside of the book club, it’s always nice to have bookish conversations with them.
It’s a wonder that I manage to get anything done during the day because Twitter is such a distraction! I’ve met so many bookish people through Twitter that even though we don’t know each other in real life, it’s nice to know who I can chat with about my favourite books, or even just random things.
Through Your Blog
Blogging is a great way to meet new people. You get people who comment on your blog regularly and usually they’re people who like the same books you do. Everyone loves to share their opinions, so a book blog is great to open up the doors to discussions on a book you may have loved and others hated, or vice versa. One of my favourite things to do on other peoples’ blogs is visit their ‘About Me’ pages — it’s always nice to know a little more about the person behind the blog. Sometimes you might have a lot in common with certain bloggers!
Start a Book Blogging Group for Bloggers in Your Area
Through my own blog, I also started a directory for the bloggers in my city — in one week, there was 5 new bloggers added to the list. I had no idea there was that many book bloggers in the city! While there are people on Twitter I might not ever meet, it’s nice to know bookish people in my own city. Through meet-ups and book signings we may attend together, we can all get to know each other better.
So, I’ve met some bookish people, now what?
It’s easy to find some acquaintances in real life and online, but then the real work begins. Yes, friendship is work! In real life, it’s a little easier, I find, though you really have to just get in there and talk to someone — don’t over-think simple chitchat! With the people I’ve found at my local library who I love to talk to about bookish things, I make sure to get there often (but not stalker-often) to say hello and to see what their reading. It sometimes even gets to the point where I want to add them as a friend on Facebook, or seek them out on Goodreads or Twitter.
With bookish people online, it can take a little more work. Obviously, in real life, you have a reciprocity when you’re talking to someone. They’re right there in front of you! But online, you mainly converse with other people through their blog posts or on Twitter. In order to get some reciprocity going on online, there are a few things you should do:
Comment on other peoples’ blogs!
There are a few people whose blogs I really enjoy reading, so I make sure to comment, comment, comment when I can. And don’t just leave a comment that’s a few words long. Write something meaningful to the post they’ve written. Over time, they might just add your blog to their Reader and start commenting on your own blog as well.
Add blogs to your Reader.
So you’ve found a blogger you think is really nice. They write great posts and read the same books as you. Make sure you add their blog to your Reader so you can regularly check out their comments. I’m constantly adding new ones to mine and making sure I comment with frequency.
Chat on Twitter.
Twitter is great because you can make lists. I have a list of bloggers in my city, and a list of some of my favourite bloggers. When you follow hundreds of people, it’s hard to sift through all of the RTs and self-promotion to find the people you really want to chat with. If I check out my lists once a day or so, I can comment on tweets from the people I know I like to chat with.
Tag a friend’s review at the end of yours.
So you liked a book and reviewed it. If your blogging friend also wrote a review for that book, why not give their blog a boost by tagging it in a “More Reviews” section at the end of your review? In the same sense, if a person encouraged you to buy a book, why not mention it in your vlog or mailbox post?
I’m sure there are many other ways you can get a friendship going with another book blogger! Maybe they live in your city and you can meet up for coffee and a book shopping spree? Or maybe there is a Skype chat or a Twitter chat online you can participate in? Or maybe you just finished a book you know they’d really enjoy, so you could send them a copy? There are so many ways!
Do you have a story about meeting a friend through blogging? Do you have any tips for other bloggers on how to make and sustain friendships?
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