A topic that often comes up in the seminars I present on fulltiming at RV rallies and other events is making friends on the road. More than one new or wannabe RVer has told me that they wonder if they will have anybody to talk to when they are surrounded by strangers. I am always reminded of that old saying that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
I’m the kind of guy who seems to make friends easily. Miss Terry will tell you that it’s not uncommon for me to leave the RV to make a quick trip to the dumpster to throw trash away and start talking to somebody and come back two hours later. Or else she has to go hunt me down to see where I have wandered off to. But it’s really not my fault. I’m just so darned adorable that I figure everybody deserves a chance to meet me, right?
But I know everybody isn’t like that. While Terry is very warm and outgoing with people she knows, she is also a bit shy and she doesn’t often make the first move. Although, that has changed quite a bit in the years we’ve been together, since we are always meeting new people wherever we go.
So how do you make new friends if you’re not the gregarious, outgoing type by nature? In an RV park, it’s not hard to do, because RVers are friendly people The easiest way is just to sit outside under your awning, facing toward the road, and have a couple of extra chairs available. When someone walks by, say hello and ask them how their day is going or where they are from. Most RVers tend to be chatty folks, and before you know it you’ll be involved in the conversation. You can also do this in reverse – go for a walk and say hello to the people you see sitting outside. Ask them how they like their RV, or if they have a bumper sticker or something about the Alaska highway, or the Oregon coast, or whatever, ask them what the trip was like. Don’t be surprised if you get a mile by mile replay.
Pets, especially dogs, seem to bring out the best in a lot of people. I love dogs, and anybody who walks by my place with one on a leash is probably going to have to stop so I can meet it and scratch its ears a time or two. I knew somebody once who said the best way he had of making new friends in an RV park was to “troll the dog.” He had a beautiful golden retriever named George, and everybody loved meeting George. One word of caution here, not everybody is comfortable with dogs, and nobody likes an unruly dog. Make sure your pet is always on a leash, and don’t let it approach people uninvited. Leave it to them to make the first move.
A campground’s activity center or recreation hall is always a good place to meet people. Many times they have organized events like bingo or cards, or something else going on to bring people together. Other times you just might find someone playing pool or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Ask if you can join them.
Volunteering at RV rallies is another great way to make new friends. Every rally I’ve ever been to depends on volunteers for everything from getting the new arrivals parked to serving coffee and donuts, driving trams, and cleanup duties. The volunteers always seem to be having a lot of fun, and they can always use an extra hand.
And one of the easiest ways to meet new friends is to just open the hood of your dinghy or tow vehicle. Maybe it’s my reputation for my ineptness with tools, or maybe guys just can’t resist looking under somebody else’s hood. Whatever it is, even if all you’re doing is checking the oil and replenishing the windshield washer reservoir, don’t be surprised if somebody doesn’t stop and offer to help. Like I said, RVers are friendly people.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Plant a seed of friendship and reap a bouquet of happiness, – Lois L. Kaufman