"I had two shift partners, one of whom ended up being my future wife. At the time, she had a boyfriend and I had a girlfriend, so while I thought she was cute, there was never any weird flirty tension. We shared one four-hour shift a week for about two years. Without really intending to, we became good friends because of the experiences we shared assisting clients and talking about our lives outside the hotline in between calls. Around the time she left the hotline, we both coincidentally went through breakups. We went from commiserating about our hotline work to commiserating about being single. Then one night she came over, we hooked up, and about a year and a half later we were married. I think what worked about meeting that way was that things developed really organically, because neither of us were there to meet people. We bonded over the work we were doing and the stuff we discovered we had in common over the years."
Then, make a point of 'greeting' each person who comes in the door, whether with a smile, comment or friendly hello. There is no need to make your introduction rote or sound like you're working at Walmart though, just try and be yourself doing something that may not come naturally. By opening yourself up and making eye contact with all of the other patrons, you are also making yourself available to anything that comes your way, which could be a recommendation for a new book to read, a compliment about something you're wearing, or maybe even a date. Worst case scenario? Someone doesn't say hi back, and another person walks through the door ten seconds later. You've lost nothing in the process, and potentially get to socialize in a lighthearted manner.
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When I worked downtown, I made it a habit to eat at all the local hipster places for lunch. Sure, it wasn’t always cheap however, I noticed an upside to it (aside from the often great food). A lot of women were doing the exact same thing as I was. They’d sit down next to me and we’d strike up a conversation. Yes, women eat alone too! Although, these weren’t always just women that worked nearby. The truth is, a fair number were from out of town, and quite lonely while looking for companionship in the city.