I like to think I'm good at becoming friends with people. I can do it without thinking too much about it. It helps that I like people and know that to be interesting, you should be interested. I've got experience in spades at that. But trying to become potential snugglebunny with someone: I start to overthink it. Over-analyze it. And then, surprisingly often, I've found that whomever I'm interested in isn't available. Oh, she has a boyfriend, or We are so very likely to drive each other NUTS if we dated, or Oh, she has a girlfriend have been among the reasons. So that nips it in the bud, as it should, because to go after the unavailable leads to drama that can hurt other people. (Though sometimes I wonder if I subconsciously notice and get interested in the unavailable, so that I will have that reaction.)
Back in college, a campus dorm-mate of mine told me Get into Melrose Place. Lots of hot girls are watching that in the TV room Wednesday night! I didn't act on that. Seemed like I'd be trolling for potential dates, in a way that was too calculated. (I am not knocking soap operas. I've liked soap operas. Some Guiding Light in the mid-Eighties, some All My Children in the early Nineties, and prime-time soaps like L.A. Law. There's soap opera to the Battlestar reboot, too. I willingly show my soap-fan bonafides.) Also I'm enough of an entertainment snob to want to get into a show for its own entertainment value, not because someone potentially interesting and date-able is watching it.
That said, later I met Alicia by going to her dorm's movie night. We met when we and her dormmates watched Mad Love and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. We ran into each other a couple of times the next week; we met again at the next movie night, Clueless and Apollo 13; and things progressed from there. We dated for a year-and-a-half, then broke up, then rebuilt things a year-and-a-half after that as friends.
I know I'm lucky that Alicia noticed me, because I doubt I would've had the werewithal/cojones at the time to approach her, or do anything beyond notice Hey, she's pretty cute. Sometimes that connection just happens. It happens a lot, in fact. A couple of friends of mine just had their first anniversary as a couple, and it just happened: running into each other a couple of times, having a chat that went on and on in always-interesting ways, and connecting. ("It was an honest-to-God Meet-Cute," one person in this relationship once told me about their very first run-in. "You'd buy it if it were in a John Cusack movie.") But it takes noticing. And it takes NOT TAKING THAT "NOTICING" TO A PUSHY OR CREEPY PLACE, which at some level I worry about doing. It's as if I know I can be friends with someone, but think that doing anything more than that is inflicting me on someone. (Seen That Thing You Do!? Remember the "I'm single" guy? I don't want to be That Guy.)
Relax about this, Chris. Imagine if you were this un-relaxed about becoming friends with people. See the problem with that thinking? People are meant to connect. You do that. It means you can connect at a potentially-more-than-friends level. Relax. And even if it's not a snugglebunny connection, it'll still likely be a friendly connection.
I'm glad I have experience becoming friends with people. I can use those skills for connecting with any potential more-than-friend. See, Chris? Not that exotic.