I had my regular weekly juggling club meeting tonight. Most of my normal club passing buddies showed up late, so for a while I just practiced on my own. Then I thought, "This sucks, I have to find someone to juggle with." So I plucked up my courage and introduced myself to someone whom I'd seen before but never met. It was amazingly hard to take that first step of just saying "Hello, do you want to pass clubs?"
Of course it didn't make things any easier that this particular person was female, in her mid-20's, and quite attractive. (In case you don't know, young attractive female jugglers are something of a rarity). But I'd always told myself that there was something about letting people throw stuff at your head that helped to break the ice and let down inhibitions. Not necessarily true.
Alice of course said yes (who brings clubs to a juggling club meeting and doesn't want to pass?). She was a bit out of practice and kept apologizing for bad passes. I thought that was funny. My philosophy is, (1) bad passes are a challenge to catch, and I like challenges. (2) If your pass is bad enough that I drop, then I get the challenge of picking up while keeping the pattern going, which I enjoy even more. (3) The way I learned to pass well was by throwing crappy throws at people who were much better than I was; now that I'm pretty good, it's only fair that I give people a chance to do the same with me.
Eventually Alice's hands got tired so we stopped. She thanked me quite profusely for passing clubs with her and I thought, "Fascinating. Could it be that before I asked her to pass, she was feeling just as inhibited as I was, and was just waiting for someone to want to pass clubs with her?"
Perhaps making new friends never gets easier, we just get better at doing it dispite how hard it is. Hmm.