Friendship Triangle – A social tool for sharing public seating

November 27, 2008

Friendship Triangle – A social tool for sharing public seating
~James Dunn

One of the problems with our society is we have few tools for allowing strangers to meet in public situations. One of those situations is when we go into a bar or restaurant and there isn’t enough seating available. There might be one person sitting at a table for four people. They might not mind someone else sitting there, but there is no current method of letting other people know.

The Friendship Triangle and how it works:

When you are in a restaurant, bar, or any situation where you feel altruistic or even desire another person to use unoccupied seating at your table:

  • Take a napkin and fold it into a triangle and place it near the edge of your table. A signal to strangers (people we haven’t met yet) that it is okay to come introduce themselves.
    • A plain napkin triangle invites either gender, a couple, or a group
    • Place a fork on the napkin if you only want a woman to stop by
    • Place a spoon on the napkin if you only want a man to stop by

The custom is not to automatically sit down because the triangle is also used to allow blind dates (friend of a friend, internet, office, whatever) to find each other for the first time, or even for friends you know to be better able to find you.

  • So the person seeing the triangle would come over to the table and say “Hi, I’m Sara. I saw the Friendship Triangle.” Stop talking for a moment to let the person sitting respond.
    • The customary response is either:
      • “Please, have a seat.” or
      • “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for someone.”

How easy is that!

Now whenever you are out and want to meet someone for the fun of it, go to a coffee shop or fast food place and place a napkin triangle near the edge of the table. Or if you want to share empty table space, same thing.

Another opportunity for sharing lunch with someone interesting, would be to incorporate the above into a cell phone program. So if you are in a common Cell phone GPS location, you can send an automated text message to others in the same immediate location. Your status could be set to “I’m over here”, and people looking for a seat, or a social opportunity, can go cruising for the napkin folded into a triangle. This way, a person can optionally choose to eat at one place versus another, because of a social opportunity.


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