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If you find yourself in many friendly conversations, but can’t seem to get to the next step and create a friendship, then this article is for you.

A key to turning casual conversations into potential friendships is realizing how both you and the person have things in common. (interests, activities, opinions, similar past stories and experiences).

Another is to show that you like the person – slightly. And to make sure that the other person is also pleased to talk to you.

A third is to share some personal information – to build a thin veneer of initial trust. Make sure that the other person is also opening up. This is different from sharing remarks and information that are de-personalized. You don’t “keep your distance” or stay “cold” at this stage.

Beyond Commonalities

After finding things in common, you move on to what we call “hook points.” A hook point is something you have in common with the other person, but with a twist. Not like other things you have in common, this is something you both find interesting and relevant. And most importantly, you both could “see yourselves” sharing that activity.

It’s something easy to share. Like a restaurant both of you like a lot, because of their unique cuisine, or both of you are passionate about a subject that most people aren’t willing to listen to, or both of you have the same kind of outlook on life.

When you find a hook point like that, you can mention things like “hey, there is more to say about this, maybe we should talk about that again” or, if it’s a place both of you go to often: “hey, maybe we will meet there some day,” or “you know what, let’s stay in touch, I can send you more info on that” (if they’re interested in something you could help them with).

That’s why we call it a hook point; it’s an open possibility of meeting later on, in the future.

That’s just an idea, but everything starts that way – as an idea, a suggestion.

After you suggest the possibility of meeting in the future, listen to what they say. Are they open to that idea/suggestion? You’ll know instantly. Either they say “oh yeah, of course, let me get your number, etc…” or, hesitantly, “maybe.”

Here is the magic: either way, you’re not rejected, as you didn’t ask for anything, you just suggested a possibility.

But in most cases, when you know that you have a connection (something in common that is relevant, and that you can share or do together) the other person usually says yes, and is also excited to meet you again to share that activity, or discuss that subject.

That’s how you go from friendly conversation to a real shot at building the friendship. Next time you meet people, try it out.

– Paul Sanders

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