A Brit went to extreme lengths to make friends in New York – handing out friendship resumes and holding up a sign which said “Do You Want To Be My Friend?”
Lee Thompson, 41, is moving to New York from London in a few months time and is determined not to be lonely.
The married dad-of-one went on a 36 hour mission to make pals with strangers – and it worked.
Brave Lee approached people on three subway lines and stopped commuters in Grand Central Terminal, asking if they wanted to be mates.
The co-founder of solo travel company Flash Pack held up a cardboard sign in
the Washington Square Park which said “Do You Want To Be My Friend?”
He went for a run in Central Park and asked fellow joggers is they wanted to be mates, and even handed out ‘friendship resumes’ on the subway.
Finally he took to the stage at a comedy club to appeal to members of the audience to be his friend.
The new pals even ended the night with an early hours karaoke session – and Lee is still in regular contact with one of them.
He invited anyone he spoke to on a night out with him, and although he faced plenty of rejection, five new random strangers turned up to his bar crawl.
Lee, from London, said: “Asking people to be my friend was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever done. It was terrifying.
“Instagram was really handy because giving your number feels like a lot more of a personal commitment.
“I had so many deep conversations within minutes of meeting people – including someone opening up about trying for a second child.
“But the fact that anyone turned up to my drinks was a surprise.
“As one lovely couple told me: New Yorkers aren’t unfriendly, they’re just focused.
“But, when you put yourself out there, they respond to directness and vulnerability.
“It sounds like New York is no longer the city that never sleeps, and is now instead the city that never speaks, as loneliness spreads.
“But, through this experiment, I discovered plenty of open-minded and kind-hearted people.”
He said he approached a diverse group of people but found women were generally a lot more willing to stop and talk.
“Most people blanked me but the ones that didn’t were blown away by the question,” he said.
“I was careful to include a reference from my wife on my friend resume to not make people feel uncomfortable.
“I got no response on the subway but I think most people assumed I was asking for money.”
He said one woman reacted by asking him: “What the hell is wrong with you? I don’t want to be your friend.”
He was shocked to see five people accepted his invitation and turned up to his night out last month.
One was Kirstyn Pearl, 34, who became one of Lee’s new pals via the comedy club.
She said: “At 34, many people have established careers and or families, making their schedules extremely busy and leaving limited time for socializing.
“NYC can feel like the loneliest place if a Friday night comes along and you don’t have anyone hitting you up to do something, while the entire city is swarming with
people and fun things to do.
“With Lee’s vulnerable friendship request, it felt like I would be accepted either way and didn’t have to audition for a part.”
Lee’s travel company, Flash Pack, is on a mission to create one million
friendships through “shared adventure.”
He wants to help overcome loneliness by facilitating group adventures for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s.
Lee said he wanted to carry out his experiment because he fears he has neglected friends and focused on his family and growing his business.
“When I reached the age of 40 I started making a serious effort with my friends, and my business is based around making friends and connecting,” he said.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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