Early this year, I ran a post called “Make New Friends Monday”. I explained that when my kids were home from college for winter break, the subject of Instagram came up. My daughter Cara said, “You have an Instagram? What’s your name? I want to follow you.” I told her that I only used it to play around with pictures and effects to use as the images for my blog posts, but that didn’t deter her.
Her eagerness to connect with me turned into a fun experience. I follow Cara and my daughter Julie, and instead of e-mailing or texting funny (and other) photos to them, as I used to do, I post them on Instagram. I’ve also gotten into the habit of digging up old photos to post on Thursdays, as my daughters and their friends do, for Throwback Thursday #tbt.
I also love the way they create their own hashtags to go along with their photos, for example, they might put #AwkwardTweenStage with a goofy photo from their middle school years. And I’ve occasionally created my own hashtags.
One Monday, I took a photo of myself with a guy who had spent the day in the subway posing as a gold-colored statue, a performance artist spray-painted gold from head to toe. I posted it on Instagram with the hashtag #mnfm. That night, Cara asked me what “mnfm” meant. I told her it was “MakeNewFriendsMonday” and she said she hadn’t heard of that. I explained that was because I had made it up. 🙂
I liked that she had assumed it was a “thing” that other people were doing, and it got me thinking how awesome it would be if every Monday people introduced themselves to someone they didn’t know and posed for a photo for Instagram or Facebook.
I officially kicked off #MakeNewFriendsMonday (and the short version, #mnfm) with that blog post and have posted pics with a new friend nearly every Monday since (on Instagram and on the Six Simple Rules Facebook page) and it’s been a great experience for me and for others.
In my case, meeting new people comes easily. It helps that I meet new people all the time as part of my job. What isn’t as easy, even in this era of near-universal social media use, is asking someone to pose for a #MakeNewFriendsMonday photo, especially because I work in a pretty formal business environment. But, I’ve managed to do it—a nice growth experience for me.
Early on, I realized that it’s a bit much to ask for people to make new friends specifically on Mondays. The point wasn’t to limit making new friends once a week. So I posted on the Six Simple Rules Facebook page, “Make New Friends Every Day. Celebrate it on #MakeNewFriendsMonday #mnfm.”
Cara started making friends on many different days of the week. She sent me a bunch of messages as she went out of her way to introduce herself to people, which she began to do on a frequent basis—in classes, in the cafeteria, at parties, and elsewhere.
I also got a note from a friend of mine who told me she had forwarded my post to a young woman who became inspired to become more outgoing and friendly around her college campus—not necessarily introducing herself, but smiling at everyone she saw, instead of her prior M.O. of looking down or away as she passed people.
I’m going to keep taking photos as I make new friends and am going to try to keep posting every Monday. I hope you’ll join me.
p.s. What do you think? Join the conversation with your comments…