Ah, friends. They hold us up when we’re feeling down. They stick up for us when others don’t. They wish death upon exes who’ve wronged us. Yes, friends are our lifeblood. But what happens if you don’t have a one? As May Canady’s (Angela Bettis) mother once taught her, “if you can’t find a friend, make one.” And today, October 19th, just so happens to be National New Friends Day.
Those of you familiar with Lucky McKee’s 2003 cult classic May, know that if anyone knows how to make a new friend, it’s May Canady. So all you friend-starved fiends out there take note, because the queen is going to show you how it’s done. The squeamish need not apply…
How to Make a New Friend
Step 1: Scope out the prospects
Next time you’re out and about, keep those eyes peeled. Anyone strike your fancy? Perhaps that curly-haired dude you always see around town? May certainly took note when she noticed Adam (Jeremy Sisto, Wrong Turn) in town one day. “This boy is perfect,” she tells her optometrist, but his hands are what really caught her attention. After following him to a local café one afternoon, Adam dozes off while reading. And far be it from May to pass up this opportunity to get a little closer to the object of her desire. Yes, she walks up to him and starts caressing her own face with his hand. If you haven’t guessed, May is weird. But as Adam later states, “I like weird. I like weird a lot.”
Step 2: Compliment them
Once you’ve set your sights on a potential new companion, it’s time to win them over with your charm. Or if you’re as painfully awkward as May, it might be best to rely on those compliments. “I like your hands, I think that they’re beautiful,” she eventually spits out after one of many awkward silences that punctuate her encounters. And don’t be stingy with those niceties, you can even toss them at your overly friendly coworker just in case. May‘s lesbian colleague Polly (a hilarious Anna Faris) certainly appreciates it when she hears that she has a nice neck.
Step 3: Explore similar interests
Any new friendship is nothing without some shared interests or hobbies between the two of you. So chat up your new mate! Find out what they do, what they’re into. During one of their first get-togethers, May and Adam share a sandwich in the park. He makes the mistake of telling her that he likes gross things, and so veterinary assistant May regales him with a gruesome workplace anecdote. Never mind the dumbfounded look on his face as she continues to shove that sandwich in her smiling face, they’re totally bonding. After all, the two find themselves back at her place later that night.
He shows her a student film he made, in which two lovers picnicking in a park gradually start to take literal bites out of each other. May crosses a bit of a line (again) when she bites Adam‘s lip as they’re kissing, and proceeds to smear his blood on her face and chest. “But you like weird,” she says. “Not that weird,” he utters, before showing himself out. So if you’re looking to make a new friend, maybe don’t make them bleed. Seems to be a dealbreaker. Who knew?
Step 4: Be persistent
Any relationship takes work, and that means being proactive and making plans with them. Assuming you haven’t drawn blood, it should be easy-peasy! But our cripplingly awkward heroine doesn’t seem to have any interest in giving up. After obviously avoiding her in the laundromat, and declining her requests for a second date, May shows up at his place again. The problem with showing up unannounced is it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s only a matter of time before you find out some unsavory facts about your subject. Like poor May, who discovers Adam‘s got a new lady-friend.
Step 5: Get creative
This final step is only for those of you who have followed May‘s lead a little too closely. Should you have that misfortune, you’ll likely be left with no friends at this point. In which case you gotta get creative, and in May‘s case, very literal. Mama said make a new friend, so girl goes out and she makes a new friend.
“So many pretty parts, and no pretty wholes,” the disillusioned young woman says as she sits on a bench and observes people walking by. Adam has strong hands, Polly has a slender neck, and unlucky mow-hawked stranger Blank (James Duval, Donnie Darko) sits next to her and happens to have perfect arms. At last, her dead-end job proves a blessing, as May swipes a few scalpels and cleavers, and starts brushing up on her amputation skills. Her penchant for sewing her own clothes out of random pieces of fabric has become her hidden superpower, as she patrols the town on Halloween night gathering the rest of the parts she needs to sew up the perfect new friend…
Well, you have to hand it to her (hah), she may be the most awkward person alive but she’s certainly resourceful. I sincerely hope you’re luckier than she is in your pursuit of a new companion this National New Friends Day. If you need to, might I suggest giving May a quick re-watch? ‘Tis the season, after all, and if you haven’t seen it you’re in for quite a treat. Come for Angela Bettis’ outstanding performance, and stay for one of the most eerily unsettling endings you’re likely to see.
Happy hunting 😉