If you’re less than satisfied with your friendship and social life, then this advanced guide for making friends is for you.
I wrote this guide to help you go from a place where you don’t have the friends you want and deserve, to a place where you’re ready to meet them, stay in touch, and make friends with them. In the first parts of this guide we’ll cover some important principles, and then we’ll go into more detailed step-by-step techniques.
Here are the contents:
- Part 1: Why making friends turned out to be more important than we thought
- Part 2: What is friendship and can we think of it for maximum success
- Part 3: The “Friendship Formula” for turning a stranger into a friend
- Part 4: Where to meet new, interesting people
- Part 5: Avoid rejection by knowing if someone is ready to be friends with you
- Part 6: How to have great conversations and keep them going
- Part 7: How to be sociable and have pleasant interactions
- Part 8: Speed up the friendship process by looking for commonalities
- Part 9: Why sharing secrets is a “secret” to making friends
- Part 10: Staying in touch with people, the easy way
- Part 11: Making plans, meeting people, and going out
- Part 12: How to build and expand your social circle
Making Friends Is More Important Than We Thought
Most people know that having friends is important, but they have no idea how important it really is. Scientists are starting to discover that having friends who care about us is just VITAL. It’s a very good predictor of good health, success, and happiness…
“You are who you eat with:” a study by Gallup showed that if your best friend has a very healthy diet, you are more than five times as likely to have a very healthy diet yourself.
It turns out that loneliness is dangerous for your health. Scientists have found that being lonely is more dangerous than air pollution, obesity, or excessive drinking.
Source: Dr. John T. Cacioppo, leading expert on loneliness and cognitive and social neuroscience
The people you hang out with influence you so much that you become the average of the five closest friends you have.
Friends increase the level of will power: people who go through Alcoholics Anonymous or Weight Watchers say that they succeeded thanks to the friendships they’ve built in those groups. This means that if you are going through challenges, having friends with you will make them seem easier.
Friends also help you directly to get to the next level; for example, researchers have found that around 70% of people find their jobs through personal relationships.
On average, non-lonely people have as many problems as lonely people. But, if you’re lonely, your problems stress you more, and for a longer time. Non-lonely people are able to “flush out” the stress more quickly; their friends make their life seem easier.
In times of stress, friends remind you of your worth and value. They can also help with information or access to resources that you would otherwise miss on.
Having friends make you feel like you’ve doubled your income. Robert Putnam said that, “Being part of a group that meets even once a month produces the same level of happiness as doubling your income.”
Friendship is “Better Than Prozac; it’s the leading indicator of happiness.”
SCHOOL, PARENTS, AND MAKING FRIENDS
Schools don’t teach you how to make friends; people only learn it by accident. For us who didn’t, we need to take charge and learn it intentionally.
Most parents don’t teach friendship to their children; they themselves don’t know how it works.
Making friends as a kid was easy, unfortunately making friendship as an adult is not the same. As a kid, you could make friends with anyone that was your size. But, as you grow up and become more sophisticated, that’s no longer possible, making friends requires a little more pro-activity.
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What Is Friendship
Friendship is a type of relationship that is voluntary, flexible, dynamic, and unconstrained. It fulfills important personal needs, like inclusion, affection, and affirmation of your identity.
What you need to focus on here, is that there are levels of the depth of the friendship. It can go from “acquaintances”, all the way to “best friends.” From my experience, I’ve found that it is best to focus on casual friends, close friends, and best friends. Collecting acquaintances or business cards of people you barely know has little to no value.
WHAT IS FRIENDSHIP MADE OF
Here are nine characteristics of the friendship relationship, the lack of which a friendship can be broken. We can consider these as “rules of friendship”, they become more and more important as the friendship deepens.
- Devotion and Loyalty
- Constancy (through the good and bad)
- Trustworthiness and keeping secrets
- Acceptance and Affirmation
- Honesty (“telling it like it is”)
- Reciprocity (giving/getting)
- Mutuality (viewing the friendship the same way)
- No sexual relationships (even if sexual tension can be there)
- Voluntary commitment (you can’t put too much pressure on friends)
How Do People Go From Being “Acquaintances” To “Best Friends”?
The answer is in the type of interaction that you have with the other person. With a casual friend, you have one type of interaction; with a close friend, you have a set of both complex and simple interactions.
Here are four simple interaction types:
- Companionship / sharing work, school, church, hobby
- Exchange of information, communication, contacts
- Providing small favors
- Relaxing, having fun
And here are four complex interaction types:
- Providing bigger help (help when moving, lifts to the airports, emergencies)
- Emotional support
- Disclosure of personal information
- Sharing a similar outlook on life
Paying Attention To Other People’s Friendship Needs
Whether you want to have casual friends, close friends or both, you need to pay attention to what other people want as well. For example, if someone already has enough close friends, and is ready for new casual friendships; while you only want close friends, then that’s a mismatch.
It’s great when you try to figure what kind of friends the other person wants, and take that into account.
Avoid This Common Mistake
A common mistake is to think about friendship as either black or white; either we are best friends forever, or not at all. That mindset can only hurt your social life. Having casual friends is important if you want to have a broad and interesting social circle. With casual friends, your investment of time and energy is just smaller, and you share less information about yourself.
But casual friends are very important when it comes to building a social circle. You can’t only hang out with best friends; that’s not realistic. If you want to have groups of friends, you need to tolerate hanging out with people whom you’re not very close to.
The Friendship Formula: Turning A Stranger Into A Friend
If you don’t understand how friendship starts, you’re going to be gambling your way into having a good social life. Here, I want to share with you what I call the “Friendship Formula,” which is a series of steps or requirements that make a friendship start.
These steps take place in all friendships, but most people aren’t aware of them; they happen on an unconscious level. If you get conscious about them, and proactively use them, you can speed up the process of making friends. Here they are…
The Environment Must Bring You Together
It’s easy to make friends with people you meet in school, at work, or in a club of some kind. This is like a context that allows friendships to start. This is why you can’t make friends with people on the street; you need a context that brings you together in order to have the opportunity to be friends. (more on this in Part 4)
The Situation Must Be Right
This means that both you and the other person have the time and energy to invest in a new friendship. It also means that both of you will have the opportunity to meet again in the future. If one of you is planning to move to another city for example, then why bother with making friends? (You’ll know why this is important in Part 5)
You Need To Have Good First Conversations
The first conversations you have with a person are important as they establish a level of comfort and trust that each one of you can be a pleasant company to the other. It also serves other functions like relaxing, having fun, and building rapport. (We’ll see how you can do this in Part 6)
You need to be Sociable and “Responsive”
In order to make friends with someone new, both of you have to be engaged in the conversation and show interest in the topics discussed. If any of you is giving short answers and shows little interest to the other person’s opinions, reactions, and mood, then you don’t have a solid basis to go forward. (more on this in Part 7)
You need to find commonalities with the person
One of the most important predictors of making friends is finding common interests and similarities of opinions, hobbies, habits, or activities. This makes it easier to connect around that commonality, and the more commonalities you find with a new person, the easier it will be for you to be friends with them. (more in Part 8)
You need to have basic trust for each other
This means that both you and the person you meet engage in a process of revealing personal information to each other. You start with very light personal information, and then go deeper as you trust the other person more. It’s basically a “secret” for making friends that very few people know about. (we’ll tackle this in Part 9)
How do you do that?
The rest of this guide will show you how you achieve each of these conditions. I’ll share with you some of my best tips on how to get every condition met, quickly and easily even if you’re an absolute beginner.
After you get up to speed about how to create a new friendship, we can go further, and explore how you can stay in touch, make plans, meet people, and create a circle of friends. (You’ll learn it in Parts 10, 11, and 12)
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Where To Meet New People
If you want to meet great people, don’t wait for fate to bring them to you; it’s just doesn’t work. Instead, I recommend that you find “sources” of new friends; these are places where you’ll be meeting new people. If you do it right, you’ll be meeting people who are fun, interesting, and can understand you.
A mistake I used to make…
When I started learning how to make friends for myself, I thought that I’ll just go out to clubs and bars more often. I thought that that would make me just bump into people who could become my friends. I was way off.
That was kind of embarrassing because people don’t really go to these places to meet new folks. They bring their existing friends, and hang out in groups. When I attempted to join conversations, it often seemed as I was either hitting on the person, or just being a try-hard.
Then I started going to what I call “Semi-private” environments. People often start these around an interest, a hobby, or an industry. If you go there, walk up to someone, and introduce yourself, they’ll see that as perfectly normal. It’s way harder to do that in a public place like a bar or coffee shop.
So, there you go, I started making friends way easier as I started experimenting with these communities. I think you can make it easy for yourself by learning from my mistake.
How to find great places for meeting great friends
A great place to make friends is a place that brings interesting and fun people to your life, quickly and easily. It’s that simple. Obviously, you need to try the communities that exist where you live, and see if they’re good.
Before you do that, here are some things to look for; if you find a community or a club that has these qualities, then stick with it, it will bring great people into your life…
Doesn’t Require A Lot Of Motivation: We all know that if you need amazing amounts of motivation to go out to meet people, you won’t be doing it often. The answer to this is to find a community where you can get involved; you commit to giving some help and that makes it almost impossible to miss an event. (I’ll explain this technique in Part 12)
Stranger Friendly: A great place to meet people is one where strangers feel natural about going to others and introducing themselves. This means that you’ll be looking for environments/communities who have “meeting new people” or “networking” as one of their objectives.
About Something You Like: It’s ideally a community of people who are interested in the same things as you. This might be a group of people who gather to talk about a hobby, a city, an art, culture, a sport, books, a science, or even video games. You can find these in Meetup.com, or just using a general Google search.
Let’s suppose you live in Columbus, Ohio, and you’re into philosophy…
Now, let’s try a Google search for book clubs in Nashville, Tennessee…
New People Source: Ideally, the environment where you want to meet people has always new members. Some places have the same people hanging out all the time; they’re not the best for making friends. I use the word “ideally” to remind you not to seek perfection; these are just rules of thumb.
Regular Get-Togethers: A great community is one where people gather at least once a month. If they only meet once a year, and spend the rest of the time chatting online, then it’s not going to help with your social life. Go with the ones that have regular meetings.
Open Minded: In some communities, people are only looking for friends who are exactly like them. Look for communities and groups where people are open minded.
Attention: Don’t wait until you find the perfect place to meet people, these are just rules of thumb. If you look for these characteristics in communities and clubs around where you live, you’ll have a much bigger chance of meeting new folks and making friends with them.
Size of your city, that is. If you live in a small city, then don’t be too picky! Go with what you find, join the communities around you and look for the people who are a best fit. Maybe 1 in every 10 people would be a good fit as a friend.
In a big city, you have more choice. You can narrow down to people have the same exact hobbies that you have. That’s a great opportunity, and you shouldn’t take it for granted. Get there and meet your fellow interesting people!
How To Know If Someone Is Ready To Be Friends With You
As you’re getting to know a potential friend, you need to know if they’re looking for new friends as well. This will make sure that you don’t invest yourself too much in a friendship that won’t happen; and thus avoid feeling rejected or disappointed.
Sometimes people can be nice to you and listen to you with enthusiasm, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready for a new friendship.
As we said in the friendship formula, the situation must be right; you need to know if they are a good fit for you. Here are some things to look for…
Do they have room for new friends?
Some people have too many friends already, and have no room for new ones. Others have only a few, but that’s all they can handle. You may not be able to know if they have time for you right away. But, as you start to get to know them and invite them to meet you, you’ll get a feel for it. If they never seem to be available to hang out, then they probably don’t have room for new friends; move on.
The key learning here is to not take it personally; if you do, you’ll lose all your energy before you make any new friends. If people are too busy for new friendships, that’s their tough luck.
Are they actively social?
Some people are just too lazy to take care of their social life. Others tend to put off socializing if there is a new problem in their life. If you want to meet them, you’ll feel like you need to drag them into hanging out; that’s no good.
You need to know beforehand, by asking about where they like to go out for example. If they’re not actively social, they won’t give quick answers, and maybe even say things like “I don’t go out that much these days, I don’t have much time.”
Is there a big project going on in their life?
When you meet new people, ask about what they’re doing with their lives. Look for big, time-consuming projects; if they have any then be careful not to expect that they’ll be available. Of course, some people can be super busy, and still be social. You just need to know that many people can’t handle a social life when they’re going through marriage, having kids, career change, moving… etc.
If they’re going through a demanding project, you can stay in touch with them, but don’t expect them to be available for friendship.
Do they actually want new friends, or something else?
When you go meet people, realize that some of them just don’t want new friends. Some people are just looking for the perfect date, the perfect job, or the perfect client. Others only want to meet people they can take advantage of.
This is a reminder for you not to expect everyone to be the same; not everyone is looking for interesting friends.
Avoid Feeling Rejected
If you want to have great friends, then you need to protect yourself from feeling rejected; because that would discourage you and make you want to give up.
I recommend that you don’t get your hopes up too high for a new friendship to work. Wait until you are sure that the person enjoys your company and likes you for who you are.
Give people a chance to be friends with you and let them decide for themselves. If they’re not available, don’t push further, quickly go meet new people; don’t waste your time and energy on people who don’t want new friends.
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Have Great Conversations, And Keep Them Going
When you meet new people, it’s important that you make pleasant conversations. You don’t have to be entertaining or super interesting; you just need to focus on having conversations that can build new friendships.
In this section, I want to share with you four principles that will get you started. These elements are the secret ingredients that make the difference between merely talking to a stranger, to building the potential for a friendship.
Find things in common, asap
Finding things in common with people is one of the main things you need to focus on during first conversations. You need to find interest, opinions, and experiences that you have in common. If you focus on that, you don’t have to worry about being entertaining. (more on this in Part 8)
Avoid being too serious, too soon
People unconsciously need to know if they’re going to be able to have fun, relax and shoot the breeze with you. The way you prove this is to avoid being too serious, too early. Try to find the humor in every situation and take things lightly in conversation. When you become friends with the person, you can show a more serious part of yourself.
Practice Small Talk Anywhere
The way to master of small talk is to practice wherever you go; you don’t need to wait until you’re meeting new people to do it. You can practice with people waiting in line next to you, waiting in line, for example. You can also practice with cab drivers, bartenders, people who cut your hair, etc.
Your outcome is to get comfortable talking more than usual. As a rule of thumb, talk 5% more than usual with anyone you meet. Try to add one or two sentences more than usual.
Avoid filtering Yourself
When you meet new people, it’s easy to think that you’re only allowed to talk about interesting things. What that does is STIFLE you and make you run out of things to say quickly. Instead, you need to lower the standard of what you allow yourself to talk about. Practice letting yourself say anything that comes to your mind; it doesn’t have to be interesting, cool, or impressive.
When you talk about whatever comes to your mind, people feel that you don’t have anything to hide; they trust you easier.
Use the power of linked topics
A great way to keep conversations going is to use the power of linked topics. Notice that every topic is linked directly or indirectly to any other subject. They’re linked like brain cells are linked.
If you’re in a conversation with someone, and you’re talking about a topic, you can go on to a lot of other subjects related directly or indirectly to that one. E.g.: Kitty > Pets > Police Dogs > Crime > New York City > Manhattan > Sex & The City > TV Shows and Movies > Science-Fiction > Space shuttle (These are all indirectly related topics, even if they don’t “seem” to be related.)
Topics of conversation are linked, like brain cells are linked.
You need to realize how much stuff you can talk about if you wanted to. There is no reason to run out of things to say; you can go on forever.
How To Be Sociable And Have Pleasant Interactions
As you’re getting to know someone, you need to be engaged and active in the conversation. If you stay in a static disengaged state, they’ll feel that what they’re saying is irrelevant, and that you’re not interested.
Being “responsive” is about showing the other person that you’re “there” with them, that you’re interested, and that you’re taking them into account. Here’s how…
Show interest in the conversation
When you talk to new people, show interest in the conversation and get engaged with it. Lean slightly forward when someone is talking to you. When someone asks you a question, answer with enthusiasm! Develop more if they seem interested, and avoid giving short disengaged answers.
Some people nod as you’re talking to them, others utter things like ‘uh-huh’, ‘hmm’, ‘interesting…’, ‘I didn’t know that’… etc. These utterances aren’t irrelevant; they show that the person is listening with interest. If you don’t do things like that already, start practicing them as soon as you can.
Talk according to their perspective and state
A great way to show people that you’re with them instead of being “in your head”, is to take into account where they’re coming from…
Take into account what they know: For example, if you’re into Japanese art, you need to talk about it according to whom you’re talking to. If you’re talking to an art-illiterate, then don’t go into details; if you’re talking to an art lover, you can share more details. This is like talking to people using their language. If you’re an engineer, you’re not gonna explain your work to a mathematician the same way you explain it to an artist; you need to adapt.
Take into account their emotional state: If someone is being nostalgic and talking about past memories, then join them and mention something from your past. It’s just rude to ignore that subject altogether and talk about what you’re interested in; that sort of behavior shows lack of social skill.
Here is another example: suppose you’re having coffee with someone and they’re having problems at work. That’s a pretty bad moment to ignore that sadness and go on to talk about what is making you happy. Show some empathy and share with them similar stories from your life or from others’.
No One Wants An Indifferent Friend
When I was younger, I used to wonder why people found me so rude and insensitive. From my perspective, I thought I was being a good person, trying to be interesting and positive. Later on, I discovered that I wasn’t paying enough attention to others, and thus continually making mistakes.
This meant that if someone were sad, I couldn’t notice. If they were in a hurry, I would miss that too. It’s sad to realize how rude you’ve been to people who actually wanted to be friends with you.
Later on, I started paying attention and adapting my interactions to what other people’s moods and desires. That made a big difference and people started to respond better to me. This never meant that I ignore what I want to talk about or ignore my own emotions; it means that I take into account the other person too.
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Speed Up The Friendship Process By Looking For Similarities
This part is about finding things in common with people so you can make friends with them. Friendship works in a way that it’s much easier to make friends who are similar to you.
This happens naturally because people who are like us validate us by making us feel “we’re right.” That adds to our confidence. And because people who are similar to you will agree with you more, the interaction will be smooth and pleasant, rather than tense.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Similarities that can draw people closer to you are things like age, physical health, education, opinions, experiences, family background, neighborhood, origins, etc.
You don’t have to have everything in common with someone, but the more similarities you find, the better, especially at first. So, as you meet people, your job is to find things you agree with them on.
Even preference in movies, tv shows, music, and sports can play a role.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
A great place to start is to focus on finding similarities of opinion and information.
Example: Suppose that someone says, “I’m originally from Portland, Oregon…”
- If you wanted to relate on information, you can ask something like, “Oh really, I have a relative there… what part of Portland?” or “I didn’t grow up here either, I’m originally from [insert city]…” Here you’re exchanging information and data, and you can find similarities on that level.
- If you wanted to relate on opinion, you can say things like “What do you think of Oregon?” and when they give you their opinion, you can share what you think, and state where you agree with them. If they say “It’s a great place to live, but it’s kind of small, I wanted to live in a big city with more opportunities… etc.” you can say, “yeah, there is a lot of things to do here, you get to meet people from all over, it’s better than living in small town.”
Whether you talk about information, or share opinions on something, look for things that you agree on.
Tip: Ask “Why?” Asking why as in “why did you choose to live in Florida?” will get people to give you longer answers with more information and maybe an opinion. That will provide more opportunities for you to find commonalities with them. It’s harder to relate on anything when people are giving you short answers like “yes/no.”
Personality Differences Are OKAY
I want to clarify something here. Personality differences and temperaments won’t prevent you from making friends.
For example, an introvert can be friends with an extrovert, and an emotionally skilled person can be friends with a thinking person. These slight differences can be an advantage as you and the other person can learn from each other.
Why Sharing Secrets Is A “Secret” To Making Friends
If you want to make friends, understand that friendship is built on trust. As you meet a new person, you need to build a small amount of trust to get the friendship started.
You do that by revealing something slightly private, embarrassing, or secret. I really mean slightly, here. You can’t share heavy secrets right away; that’s creepy.
This sends a signal to the other person that you like them and trust them. What usually happens is that they too will share something that is a little private. As you continue to see this person, you can increase the level of trust accordingly.
YOU MAY NEED SOME PRACTICE
If you’re not familiar with this, it’s okay. Most people have this happen only unconsciously. The next time that you meet someone you like, practice by revealing tiny things about you that you’re not very proud of.
- “I’m kind of a bookworm…”
- “I spend my whole day working on my laptop… it’s not good for my health”
- “I always try to commit to going to the gym, and fail!”
- “I hate going to nightclubs, I prefer quitter environments”
As you can see, these aren’t heavy secrets; they’re kind of silly. But when you mention things like that, people assume that you’re someone who is confident, isn’t afraid to show who you really are, you don’t yourself too seriously, you don’t think you’re perfect, and that you’re probably not hiding anything.
Most importantly, it’ll make them want to open up to you as well. They’ll figure “if he/she’s this tolerant with himself/herself, odds are that they’ll be tolerant with me as well.”
Rule Of Thumb: As a rule of thumb, each time you’re out to meet new people, try to be 5% more open than usual. Reveal more of who you are, be 5% more open, and see what happens. I think you’ll see that people will open up to you more than they usually do.
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Going Forward: Staying in Touch
If you find that it’s easier to get to know people, that it is to stay in touch with them, then maybe you’re not following up properly.
Most people don’t make new friends because they don’t follow up. Some are just afraid to pick up the phone and call. Staying in touch with the people you meet can be easy when done right.
Staying in touch is actually the backbone that keeps your social life standing. For existing friends, staying in touch helps you stay in their radar, and keeps the relationship alive. For the new friends, staying in touch is even more important. If you don’t do it early, you don’t even get to create the friendship; the whole thing is just a waste.
If you go out and meet a bunch of folks, I suggest you follow-up with them within a couple of days, or a week at max. Most people aren’t pro-active enough to contact you. So if you want to have control over your social life then make sure that you do your following up.
THE GOLDEN RULE: MAKE IT INTO A RITUAL
If you count on your mind to remind you to do your following up, you won’t be consistent at it. Any problem or stress that comes in your life will distract you from contacting people. It’s much harder to keep a social life going when you always have to remember to do it.
I recommend that you set a weekly reminder in your calendar. That will remind you to do it, week-in, and week-out. Every week, take an hour and call, text, and contact the important people in your social life.
I recommend that you set it up early in the week on Tuesday or Wednesday, and at a time when you usually don’t have much to do. If you receive calendar notifications on your phone, that’s even better. You’ll be reminded to do it wherever you are.
Here are some brief things you can say or write…
- To new people, you can say simple things like “It was nice to meet you last Friday… hope to see you soon enough.”
- If you found out that both of you like to do something (e.g. a comedy club), and that you could do it together some time, you can say things like “we should definitely go to that comedy club some time…”
- When catching up with people you already know, mention something important to them, e.g.: “how’s your project going?”
- Invite them to do something with you (more on this in Part 11)
Online and mobile tools can help you here
I prefer using Facebook messages, texts, and mobile apps like Whatsapp and Line. The advantage is that you can write at any time you want, if it’s late or if it’s a work hour, you can still contact them. These tools are also great for contacting more than one person at the same time via group messaging.
Remember, the purpose of this is to meet people and not to keep a virtual relationship.
Making Plans, Meeting Friends, And Going Out…
If you want to have friends in your life, then I suggest that you never complain about how people make plans and don’t invite you. Instead, be more pro-active about it, make your own plans, and invite people to join. Let’s get real here, if you don’t do it, no one will. But this doesn’t have to be hard at all; here are some pointers to get you started…
Make It Part Of Your Habits
Make a commitment with yourself that you’re going to become the kind of person that goes out and does something social every week (or every two weeks, you choose). Take a moment and imagine yourself being that person, and implementing that habit.
When you contact new and existing friends, invite them to meet you. The important thing here is to stick to this habit. If in some weeks, no one is available to go out, that’s okay! You can still take yourself book shopping or do something you enjoy. Maybe they’ll be available next week; maybe you don’t have enough people you can call and you should go meet new people.
Soon enough, there will be more friends around that you can meet in one week; you just need to develop the habit.
Get To Know Your City
When it comes to making plans, the easiest way to add value to people is to know the fun and interesting things to do in your city. Subscribe to all newsletters, Facebook groups, and city guides that will help you with that.
Let’s suppose we’re looking for events in Indianapolis, IN; let’s try Google…
That’s a good start; let’s try Eventbrite.com, this time…
Get The Weekend Edge
To make it easier for you to meet people over the weekend, don’t wait until Thursday/Friday to suggest plans. Think of great things you can do and suggest to people early in the week. That way, they won’t have planned anything yet, and will be more likely to go with you.
MEETING NEW FRIENDS
When meeting people you’re just getting to know, it’s easier to do it early in the week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are low key/low pressure. You can go to low-key environments that tend to allow you to talk.
People usually keep the weekend for people they already know, so don’t waste the first days of the week; meet the new folks.
Been A While?
If it’s been a while you didn’t go out and do something social, and all this feels like a big jump, then relax, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I’d suggest that you go get as much experience as possible, and make mistakes as quickly as possible. Go discover the places in your city, and figure out what you like best.
If you have to go alone, then go for it. Do what you’re comfortable with and get your momentum going.
How To Build And Expand Your Social Circle
When you build a social circle, things get easier. You find yourself part of a group of interesting friends who care about you and make your life more fun. You start to make fewer efforts in your social life, because others will be socially active and bring even more people you can meet.
Here are some principles and techniques to help you build and grow a great circle of friends…
STOP MAKING ONE-ON-ONE FRIENDSHIPS, AND BUILD GROUPS
If you only have individual friends who don’t know each other, here is what happens…
- You always have to call, make plans, and catch up,
- You need to “remind” them that you exist,
- And you wonder why you’re never invited anywhere.
When you build groups of friends, here is what happens…
- When they want to go out, they turn to the group, which means that they will be calling and making plans as well,
- People figure that groups are more fun, so they gravitate to you,
- And your friends will bring their friends, so you meet new people with no effort.
This doesn’t mean that one-on-one friendships are worthless; this just means that having groups of friends makes your social life easier to manage.
Here is how you do it…
Now that you learned to make friends with strangers and invite them to go out with you… all you have to do is introduce them to each other. This is a key piece of making friends.
When you link people up, they unconsciously feel some gratitude toward you. It shows that you’re a giving-person, and that you’re not afraid that they’ll run away and leave you. Most people are afraid of that, and that fear is exactly what keeps them trapped in only having friends who don’t know each other… and having a social life that sucks. : )
When you know you’re meeting someone, contact another person and say something like “Hey, Stephanie, I’m having a drink with a friend tomorrow after work… why don’t you join us, if you can : )”
Quick Tip: When meeting people, you can use this line: “feel free to bring anyone if you want”. It makes people think that it’s an open-minded group, chill-out group. They usually bring a friend or girlfriend/boyfriend and make your plan even more fun.
Boost Your Social Life With This Technique
This is what I call the “Join-The-Team” technique. In part 4, we talked about how communities and interest groups are great for meeting people. With this technique, you can leverage these communities and make friends very very fast.
- Step 1: Find a one or two communities or clubs near you.
- Step 2: Attend one of their events to see if they have people you could be friends with.
- Step 3: Go to the person or team who organizes their meetings, introduce yourself, tell them that you like what they’re doing, and that you would love to volunteer with some help.
- Step 4: They’ll probably be glad you asked and give you something cool to do.
- Step 5: Congratulations! You’re now part of team! Here is what will happen…
From then on, you’ll get to know all the people who organize the events, usually two to three people. You can be friends with them if they’re a fit. You’ll also easily get to know anyone in that community because you’re one of the people who run the whole thing.
Even before they get to know you, people will assume that you’re a generous and good person, because you’re contributing to something they like.
After that, you can kick-in with the friendship formula (explained in part 3) and create friendships in that community. This is probably the fastest way to make new friends and build your social circle from scratch. You can do it in a new city and be set with a new social circle in a matter of weeks.
Your First Circle Of Friends
I recommend that you start by building a basic group of three friends (you included). This will make sure that you at least have people to go out with. These can become the friends whom you can call at any time and do something; without too much planning.
What you do is invite both of them to see you two to three times. If they keep showing up, then you know they like each other! Some people don’t blend, and you might want to try another combination of friends. But if they keep showing up, it means that they too see the group as their “basic friend group.”
After having that basic group, you can bring more people to your social circle; it’ll be easier to start that way.
Note: Congratulations if you have finished reading the whole guide. If you want to download the pdf version, please click here.
– Paul Sanders
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