How to Make Friends
Lots of people have trouble making friends. Moving to a new town, starting a new job, or attending a new school are just some of the reasons why. No matter the reason, making friends is really simple.
Here are the basic steps to making friends.
1. Meet people
There’s no way around it. To make friends you have to meet people.
When you meet someone new, don’t be afraid to ask them to hang out. Sometimes I’ll even say “I’m new in town, don’t know any good restaurants or anything, you want to go grab lunch?” A sentence like this stays just this side of sounding pathetic, and can usually lead to some good conversation and a decent meal.
You can meet people all day long but without stepping up to the plate and suggesting you hang out, you won’t ever form any new friendships. Just like in dating, nothing will happen without someone taking the initiative to make the “first move”. Be willing to be that person.
You also need to start a new address book. Saving cell phone numbers on your phone isn’t enough — write down names, addresses, and numbers. Without the proper contact information you can’t ever nurture the budding friendship. If you don’t know an email address, you can’t invite them to your fantasy football league or send them a funny video you found on Youtube. Also, people will see that you’re entering their information into your address book, and they’ll realize you’re serious about friendship.
One way to meet lots of different people? Try accepting every social invitation for a month. If you decline an invitation, people will start to draw conclusions. Maybe they’ll think you don’t want to be friends, or that you’re generally aloof. Try accepting all comes — this means meeting up with a really diverse group of people.
2. Keep in touch
Now that you have an address book containing a few people’s contact details, it is time to put that information to use.
Think of the different ways we have of reaching out to people these days — cell phones, email, Facebook, instant messengers, Skype etc. You can continue the steps towards friendship without constantly hanging around or begging someone to go to the bar with you. The two of you can continue forming a friendship even when you’re not near one another — you don’t want to take up someone’s time or look like some kind of stalker.
Remember that there is an appropriate amount of time to spend with each of your friends. Some friendships are casual, and only require occasional contact. Still other relationships are more serious and you must speak with that friend twice a week or you lose your mind. Judge the right amount of time properly or else you’ll come off the wrong way to your new friend. The appropriate amount of time will make itself known naturally. Go with your gut feeling on this one.
Now that you’ve made a friend or two, you have a budding social support group. Ironically, you may find yourself suddenly deluged with people interested in meeting you — now that you don’t desperately need them, they’ve come out of the woodwork. Some people are perfectly happy with one or two good friends — figure out how many friends you need and shoot for that number of close friends.
3. Meet more people
You thought meeting a couple of friends was enough? Having a healthy social life means constantly trying out new things.
Consider joining a club or other social group. Doesn’t matter what — just do it in a group with other people. Play golf? Taking lessons or playing at a new course will get you to meet new people. Love to read? There are book clubs all over the place.
By meeting new people and keeping in touch with old friends, you’ll have a nice social group around you, a new group of friends.
Keeping friends is another thing altogether.
General Tips on Making Friends
- Making friends is just like dating or starting a new job. You only get out of it what you put in. Make an effort to make friends and you’ll have a full dance card before you know it.
- When people seem indifferent to you or don’t seem to want to be friends, move on to the next person. There’s no use taking on baggage and getting upset about a lost cause.
- Remember that most friendships start very simply — two people meet, they “click” for whatever reason, then they start hanging out. Friendships aren’t complex.
- Put away your notion of who you think you should be hanging out with. Don’t be picky when it comes to new friends.
- If you’re ever down and out on your luck meeting friends, try the old standbys. Head to a local bar and have a beer or two on your own, volunteer at the homeless shelter, take a long walk, go to a concert. You’re sure to meet people with similar dispositions at locations like this.
- When meeting new people, try to be patient. Sometimes it takes time for friendship to develop. Don’t put too much pressure or try to rush a friendship that isn’t there organically.
Meeting new people can be the difference between happiness and unhappiness. We all need a social group of some sort to keep ourselves upbeat. If you’ve had trouble meeting friends in the past, the tips above should help you when it is time to meet new people in the future.