Why don’t you try? : Try these tips to help you make new friends
If you take a look at the people out there who seem to make friends easily, they were probably seclusive themselves at some point. Their social skills were likely all picked up over time. For this same reason, you can learn to become more sociable through time and practice.
Here are some tips to get new friends:
Realise your fear is in your head The first step is to develop a healthy mental image of meeting new people. Some of us see meeting new people as a scary event. We are concerned about making a good impression, whether the other person will like us, how to keep the conversation going, and so on. The more we think about it, the scarier it seems. This initial apprehension develops into a mental fear, which takes a life of its own and unknowingly blocks us from making new friends. Shyness toward others is actually a result of fear.
Actually, all these fears are just in our head. If you think about it, 99% of people are too busy being concerned about these very things themselves to pay attention to you. While you’re worried about the impression you make, they are worried about the impression they will make. Truth be told, they are just as scared as you are. The remaining 1% are people who recognize that a relationship is built on way stronger values than specific words or things said/done during just one encounter. Even if there are people who do judge you based on what you do/say, are these people you want to be friends with? I think not.
Start small with people you know
If you haven’t been socializing much, meeting a whole bunch of new people may seem intimidating. If so, start small first. Lower the difficulty of the task by starting off with your inner circle of friends, i.e. people you are more familiar with. Some ways to do that:
- Reach out to acquaintances. Have any hi-bye type friends from earlier years? Or friends you lost touch with over time? Drop a friendly SMS and say hi. Ask for a meetup when they are free. See if there are opportunities to reconnect.
- See if there are cliques you can join. Cliques are established groups of friends. The idea isn’t to break into the clique, but to practice being around new friends. With cliques, the existing members will probably take the lead in conversations, so you can just take the observatory role and watch the dynamics between other people.
- Get to know your friends’ friends. You can join them in their outings or just ask your friend to introduce you to them. If you are comfortable with your friends, there’s a good chance you will be comfortable with their friends too.
- Accept invitations to go out. I have friends who rarely go out. When asked out, they reject majority of the invites because they rather stay at home. As a result, their social circles are limited. If you want to have more friends, you have to step out of your comfort zone and go out more often. You can’t make more friends in real life if you stay at home!
Get yourself out there
Once you acquaint yourself more with your inner circle of friends, the next step will be to extend to people you don’t know.
- Join meetup groups
- Attend workshops/courses
- Go to parties
- Visit bars and clubs
- Online communities
Take the first step
Once you are out there with people around you, someone has to make the first move. If the other party doesn’t initiate a talk, take the first step to say hello. Get to know each other a little better! Share something about yourself, and then give the other party a chance to share about him/her. Something easy, like asking how the day is, or what they did today / in the past week is a great conversation starter. Once the ice is broken, it’ll be easier to connect.
Be open-minded. Don’t judge. Sometimes you may have a present notion of the kind of friend you want. Maybe someone who is understanding, listens, has the same hobbies, watches the same movies, has similar educational background, etc. And then when you meet the person and realize that they differ from your expectations, you then close yourself off.
Don’t do that. Give the friendship a chance to blossom. More importantly, give yourself a chance with this budding friendship.
Open your heart
On the same note, open your heart to the person. This connection between you and the other party can only begin when your heart is open. This means to be trusting, have faith, and believe in the goodness of others. You can’t form any new connection if you mistrust others or you are fearful that things won’t work out. It’ll send the wrong vibes and cause them to close off their hearts to you too.
Get to know the person
A friendship is about both you and the other person. Get to know the person as an individual. Here are some questions to consider:
- What do they do?
- What are their hobbies?
- What have they been up to recently?
- What are their upcoming priorities/goals?
- What do they value the most?
- What are their values?
- What motivates/drives them?
- What are their passions in life? Goals? Dreams?
Here’s a tip for you to try this week :
This week at work, try chatting to people over lunch, offer to do a tea run or see if anyone fancies heading to the local pub after work, Join a local friendship centre or group,
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