How to Make Friends in The Big City

The famous Boston Harbor


Rocky Balboa statue


A question

Have you ever been to New York City, Los Angeles, Boston or Philadelphia? Okay. I want to propose a scenario to you: You are in a tour group from Alabama traveling on a nice, air-conditioned bus, excited about seeing the sights for your first time in any of these cities. Philadelphia will be our choice since it is called, “The City of Brotherly Love.”

Before we get back to your tour group, let’s absorb a few facts about Philadelphia. There is no such thing as a “slow” day (or night) in Philadelphia, which is also known as the “The City of Brotherly Love,”—always something going on no matter the time or day. The vast majority of Philadelphia residents are always super-busy, crowding every sidewalk, nook and cranny either heading to their nine to five corporate jobs or scurrying to beat the rush and get home by 5:30 for a dinner date or just to crash on their loveseat that cost more than your car.

Philadelphia has it own big crowds


"Oh my! I am lost as Mary's little lamb."


Life in the big city

True, many Philadelphians, like people in the other big cities that I mentioned, are rude, abrasive, and do not have time for people, not just you because you come from a rural part of the country, but people in general. These are a “mind our own business,” “leave us alone,” and “we didn’t see anything,” type of people.

Fear, as if you hadn’t guessed, reigns silently in Philadelphia, or any big city due to the presence of high crime stats, not enough police officers to dry the blood on the sidewalks, and too many jails are over-crowded. Bottom line: Do not expect a busy Philadelphian to stop and lend you a hand even if they witness you being stabbed and robbed in broad-open daylight. Goober, you are not in Mayberry anymore.

Okay, now as your tour group arrives at the designated check-in point of your exciting tour, your could hardly contain the happiness running in your veins to being able to say, “I have been to Philadelphia,” the town that Sly “Rocky Balboa” Stallone trained and later beat “Apollo Creed,” in a highly-advertised boxing match.

"I am in the upper class--can't you tell?"


Hours pass


Being lost: Pure panic

Then it all starts to go down-hill. All you remember is the rest room break where you and members of your gender headed to your rest rooms and then when you had relieved yourself and came back to where your tour guide said to meet him, he was not there. Your nice air conditioned bus wasn’t there. No one you went to the rest room was there. Just you and the throngs of Philadelphians who mostly glared and sneered at you for “looking” like a lost puppy.

You have watched Survivorman (on the Sci Channel, formerly Sci-Fi), enough to know that you do not need to panic or over-react. So you stand perfectly-still and watch for someone who was on your bus.

Hours pass. The day is slowly slipping into history. Your heartbeats are coming fast and your blood pressure is rising like home-made bread with too much yeast. Sweat droplets roll down your neck. Panic is setting in and you are literally growing more frightened by the moment. This reminds you of that time in fifth-grade when you got lost going to the rest room all by yourself--your teacher and principal found you along with the students in your class whom your teacher appointed as a “Special Search Committee,” found you curled-up in a corner in the gymnasium underneath a gym mat crying for dear life, did they have a laugh at you for being so timid and scared? You have never forgotten the dark terror you experienced in those deathly-moments.

"Time to go count my millions."


"Here's to us! 'The' rich and privileged."


"My shoes cost more than your home."


Reality is not your friend

Now it’s Déjà vu. You are lost. More-accurately, your tour and tour guide have lost you—now you are all alone in Philadelphia, and this ain’t no movie starring Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Candy and Macaulay Culkin. Now your mind is racing faster, faster, to come up with some logical notion as to why you are lost when it was only a moment you spent with your friends on the “Brotherly Love Tour,” in the rest room. You even had a good talk with them as you were finishing “your business.”

The human mind can be your best ally in times like this, or your darkest enemy. Now your mind is conjuring-up scary ideas such as: Your tour friends are pulling an ugly practical-joke on you because you speak with a southern drawl, your tour guide is really an Al qaeda terrorist ringleader heading toward the famous Boston Harbor to do harm to people, not to dump tea, and oh, my, you are going to be arrested for “conspiracy to commit a terrorist act,” just by being on this tour. You know how those fella’s can be at the F.B.I.

Finally, with all hope gone, and faith worn thin, you find a bench and sit down. You think a logical thought: Sooner or later someone from the tour will ask, “Where is that goober from Alabama?” and gasps of fear will be heard all over the nice, air conditioned bus. Yeah, you think. That’s how it will be. So you relax, smile at what few children do not throw small stones at you, and think of happier times.

Pure luxurious surroundings


Upper-class people always ask, "Uhh, now whom are you?"


Bing! A light bulb comes on above your head

Then another logical thought enters your mind: I need to make some friends, and right now. You were raised to believe that if you made a friend out of a stranger, then the stranger would be glad to help you when in trouble. A tear rolls slowly down your face as you think of your “Granny Bolger,” a Quaker at birth, and married your grandpa, “Benny Bolger,” when they were no more than sixteen, but oh what wisdom “Granny,” passed along to you.

So you gather your wits, courage, and compose yourself and begin a serious campaign to make friends in this big city of Philadelphia.

"Birds of wealth feather together."


Could you find one friend in this crowd?


Round the clock crowds


Rich women always dress superbly


These wealthy ladies sure know their fashion


The rich and stuffy


Can you pick out the smart alec?


You won't be friendless for long

Here are ways “not’ to approach strangers in Philadelphia:

Wear a big grin and say to the first stranger who will stop, “Uhh, would yew like to be my friend?” This will get you cursed, scorned, and threatened. And this was by a Philadelphian who was in a good mood.

Offer a friendly handshake to a Philadelphian – and he or she will start running away as fast as possible.

Small talk of any kind “Nice day, eh?” is the wrong thing to say. Philadelphians will think you haven’t seen the inside of a big city in your entire life.

Walking alongside a resident of Philadelphia – will get the stranger to whip-out his or her cell phone and summon the cops because the stranger is sure that you are either a pervert or pick-pocket.

Seriously-scared methodwill not work. Philadelphians see plenty of people like this everyday.

Threaten bodily-harm to a stranger – if they will not be your friend will get you a huge laugh from a Philadelphia, for they have grown used to threats from other people.

Here are ways “to” approach strangers in Philadelphia:

Walk-up with a $50-dollar bill in your hand, give it to the Philadelphian, and tell them your situation. Remember, “Money talks.”

The “Mongoose Approach”will most-likely work. Pretend that you are a swift mongoose fighting a cobra—get in the Philadelphian’s face and grit your teeth like Kirk Douglas. Then ask the stranger for their friendship.

Cry like a whipped childand shed real tears to explain to this semi-compassionate Philly person that you are lost and just need his or her help. And tell them it will cost them nothing.

Reverse Threateningmight gain you a friend. “Did you hear what that vulgar man just called me?” You ask a Philadelphian who looks sorry for you. And when he or she answers, “No,” you begin a oracle to end all oracles—you thought, “Philadelphians were nice people, good Samaritans, people with good hearts, but boy were you wrong,” this should be enough for you to make the attentive Philadelphia-dweller feel some pity toward you. Then explain that you need a friend to help you find your way to someone in power in the city to get you home.

Fake Gunshotsometimes is “just what the doctor ordered.” First, you buy a pack of firecrackers. Then pick the Philadelphian whom you want as a friend, then light the firecrackers and toss them at this back as you hurl yourself on top of him or her and act scared as you ask, “You didn’t get shot did you?” The stunned Philadelphian is a bit shocked, but grateful that the gang-banger you say just shot at him, missed him. Then the grateful big city dweller will ultimately ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Act like you are thinking, then tell them you need a friendly shoulder to lean on.

Wholesale Friendshipremember Tip No. 2 above that told you about giving a Philadelphian a $50-dollar bill to be your friend? Well if that tip failed, give any humble-looking Philadelphian you can stop every cent you have, plus your new watch, shoes, and even your car if he or she will only go with you to find some help.

Have fun in “Tne City of Brotherly Love,” and remember to say, “Ayeeee, Adr—iian,” a lot.

Coming soon . . .”How to Make Quick-Enemies of Rural People”

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word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Very well put and appreciated Ken. You've described unique ways to make friends in a big city. I should know :-)

Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

Kenneth, I enjoyed this hub. I found it very humorous. You are correct that some can be very rude and uninterested. I've been there and it is a city that can scare anyone coming from a small town. Voted up and across the board. Thanks for enlightening us :)

RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

Although I'm sure you meant this a tongue in cheek, at least I hope so, I feel it is in very bad taste and certainly puts a black mark on the great historical city that is the birth of our nation.

Its present day history of "certain sections" of the city does leave a lot to be desired when you read or watch the news but that is in almost any city of this size.

Tourists typically stay to tourist areas where Philadelphians are more than happy to help and assist visitors.

As for making new friends, it is the city of brotherly love, and the culture and demographics of this city accept people from all walks of life. It is a very eclectic city, something for every religion, nationality, worklife, church, friendship and fellowship.

This article is a disgrace. To disparage the great city of Philadelphia, especially since it is 4th of July week is un-American, especially since this is the week we will be celebrating 4th of July.

Philadelphia enjoys over 2Million visitors for 4th of July celebrations which are televised all over the nation. I hope anyone planning to visit there doesn't read this article first or else they will never visit there.

I've lived in or visited over 1300 cities in these United States in the last 30 years, most recently in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and I find this article to be mostly untrue.

It poisons anyone from even wanting to visit this great city.

My son and his family are there now for 4th of July celebration staying with his in-laws as they have done many times before. and this is certainly not representative of the city nor of its great history.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Excellent and in a style uniquely you. Call me a mongoose!

Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

Kenneth, I tried to vote a few times on this hub and found out that the votes are not being saved. I hope the votes will show up later.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

Funny! I've lived almost all of my life in PA and have never been to Philly. I know ... pitiful. Well, one of these days I'll get there. Thanks for the hilarious tips although I don't think I'll be needing them. I'll have my younger bro play tour guide since he lives about 1/2 hour away.

annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Lots of places seem inhospitable to a stranger but I guess we're all human and mostly kind and understanding. Suddenly finding ourselves alone somewhere certainly is nerve-wracking!

You've given us an amusing account of the extreme here; certainly hope I never have to go through all that!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, annart,

You won't have to. 98% of my pieces are based on humor and when I am serious about a topic, I always note it at the top.

But I myself would hate to be in this person's shoes with the fear of crowds and big cities as I have.

Thank you for your comment.

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kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear sheilamyers,

Good! And like annart, you will not endure any of what the person in this hub did. Wonder if I overdid it?

Thank you so much for your talent, friendship, following, and support.

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kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Faithful Daughter,

I want to personally thank you for the comment and votes. Both are very-appreciated.

I thank you for your friendship and following.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


Thanks so much for the comment. I do get a kick from your neat comments. Mongoose?

Eric Riki Dierker Tiki Tavi? I cannot speak foreign languages fluently.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


First of all, you are right. This WAS tongue-in-cheek, and not to be taken literally.

I have no way of knowing whom is from where and this is not trying to shirk my responsibility. I made a grave mistake and to you, "I apologize, for offending you and your family."

I mean that, Rachel.

It has never been my intent to hurt anyone and you can ask any of the followers that I have.

I know that right now, you find it hard to believe me, but I speak the truth. I am not about hurting anyone.

Please forgive me. And I will do whatever it takes to fix this mistake I made, with you.



kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Faithful Daughter,

You hit it on the head. The person in this hub was like me, from a small town and they found the big city very intimidating as well as I do.

Thanks for your comments and vote.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


So you can relate to the fictitious person in this story?

Well that is a good thing. Me personally, I cannot cope with crowds even in my little town, but put me in Atlanta or New York and I would need medical support.

Thanks, man, for your comment.

Have a great weekend.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

Kenneth: I don't think you overdid anything. You write comedy and some people will get easily offended by anything you say on a topic they hold dear to them. I'm sure the comedians who everyone sees on Comedy Central and in movies get the same kind of negative comments. People often find the humor in the jokes until it's aimed at them and then they don't think it's funny any more.

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

sheilamyers . . .thank you, dear friend, but late last night, I sent her via her Fan Mail, my lengthy apology that I meant from the heart. This hub, like most of my works, WAS not to be taken seriously.

I just hate for someone to get hurt feelings when there was no reason to get hurt to begin with.

Thanks for sticking up for me.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

Kenneth: I understand. I'd feel bad if I unintentionally hurt someone.

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

Hi, sheilamyers,

Thanks, dear friend. This is one tired soul. Been doing stuff in the house since 12 noon cdst.

And with my daughter in the hospital in Birmingham, Ala., UAB going on a month tomorrow, I am not fit to do things I like to do.

She had a blood clot in a lung and it set off all sorts of fluids that flooded her lungs which they are cleaning and cleaning her blood.

Please pray for her.

Love, K.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

Kenneth: I'll do that. I hope she's feeling better soon.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, sheilamyers,

Heard tonight that she is progressing, although "baby steps," she IS progressing and dear friend . . .



P.S. May God bless you richly.

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