|>>|| No. 26543
Establishing meaningful relationships in our lives is a challenge for everyone, and as cliche as the phrase has become, loneliness is an epidemic (in my opinion as a direct result of a number of political, economic, and cultural factors that I won't bother talking about here).
Don't worry about not finding social interaction intuitive. In fact a lot of it is incredibly counterintuitive, and everyone struggles with one aspect or another. Some people are effortless public speakers but dread being alone in a lift with someone, for example.
I'm not qualified to offer any in-depth advice, but I have come to these points:
1) Living your life on the basis of your sincere interests. This sounds wanky and vague, but what I mean is: meetup groups are great and all, but it's a bit of a pot luck whether you meet anyone you really have much in common with. People usually rely on making friends via work, simply because they have that starting point of having work in common, but there are many routes if you're really out there and chasing after particular goals. If you're really actively pursuing something you're passionate about, you're going to run into people who have developed that same passion. By default, I think this a better bet for a stronger friendship.
2) Once you've met those people, you'll keep sharing your mutual interests, and then with a few of those you'll strike on some other parts of your identity that you share. I've developed unexpected deeper friendships on the basis of academic subjects, politics, music, sexuality (not necessarily having sex with them, but being of the same orientation), and sometimes just being in the same life situation.
3) Becoming more open. I suspect .gs is full of some fiercely private people, and I include myself in that. But at some stage, the more you talk to people, the more you will invariably end up revealing about yourself, your habits, how you see yourself, how you really live both externally and in your head. Learning to share this with the right people is the central challenge of developing meaningful friendships. You can share a sense of humour with people, and have loads of acquiantences, but once you narrow it down there may only be a few you an get on with on this level.
4) Tolerating them as human beings. Even the sweetest and most well-meaning people on this earth will get on your tits eventually. I have friends who I consider close as brothers/sisters, and yet just to name the habits of a few of them, they're: late to events eight out of ten times, perpetually broke, prone to being a smartarse, always driving like a twat, committing to something regular for all of four weeks, always indecisive, on and on and on... It sounds silly, but a little tolerance in those early stages of getting to know someone can be the difference between making a lasting friendship or not. I'm not saying "be a doormat", but it's healthy to realise you will have flaws too, and a tiny bit of patience goes a long way. Even better if you manage to find the very few people able to talk about it, but that's quite rare.
I hope this helps, for what it's worth.