How to Make Friends in The Big City
The famous Boston Harbor
Rocky Balboa statue
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?"
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 method – will 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 child – and 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 Threatening – might 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 Gunshot – sometimes 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 Friendship – remember 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.