Friends are one of the most beautiful things life can offer us. Not only is friendship crucial for our emotional wellbeing, but also for our physical health as well. Unfortunately, however, in some periods of our life, we can find ourselves alone and we are not sure of how to make friends with someone again. Making new friends is something that should come naturally to us, but we live in a fast-paced society and sometimes it’s not easy to socialize with others. Unless you know the right techniques.
It may seem strange, but many people share the same problem: they don’t know how to make friends and create a social life.
Having someone with whom to share the best moments and to support us in difficult moments is important, but there are times in life when, unfortunately, we find ourselves alone and abandoned and we need a hand to return to being happy.
You can find yourself in this situation if for example:
- You moved to a new city and you don’t know anyone
- You have been in a relationship for a long time and neglected your friendships
- Your old friends have slowly moved out of your life (they have moved, are very busy for work, have started a family, etc …) and have not been replaced by new friends
- You feel left out of your current friends and want to find new ones
- You were a lone wolf and you were fine alone, but now you want to hang out with people more often
- You never knew how to make friends and always wanted to have a better social life
- You have recently made a radical change in your life (such as deciding to stop drinking) and you want to find a new company that is compatible with your new habits
How to Make Friends: 10 Key Tips to Creating Connection
1. Start with who you know
To make new friends, you must first learn how to select a few possible candidates. There are two ways to do this:
Choose from the contacts you already have. Often all the conditions for building a social life are already around you. You don’t have to go out and talk to 10 strangers to find a friend. It is much easier to turn the contacts you already have into full-fledged friends than it is to make new ones.
There are probably a handful of people you already know and who can become part of your social circle:
- Acquaintances with whom you have friendly relations when you meet by chance, but with whom you never meet on purpose
- Colleagues or classmates
- Friends of friends you’ve met in the past
- People you rarely go out with, but you may see more often
- Friends you’ve lost sight of for a while and you want to go back to dating again
- Relatives of your own age
2. Meet new people
Growing your current relationships can be really helpful, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes it is necessary to socialize with strangers.
The simplest things to do are as follows:
- Finding yourself in situations where you are surrounded by tons of potential friends and are naturally drawn to know them through a series of interactions. Work and school are two examples.
- Get to know one or two people and then get to know some of their friends.
- Having interests and being part of groups where it is normal to know a lot of people who share the same interest and are willing to do business with you.
Meeting new friends can take some effort to get out of your daily routines. If many of your interests are individual, you could start doing other, more social types of activities. The best way to get to know people naturally is to simply live a full, interesting life and meet new people as a side effect.
Once you’ve surrounded yourself with potential friends, you could start a conversation and get to know them. You won’t be able to build a relationship with everyone you interact with, but if you talk to enough people, you’ll probably connect with some of them. At this point, you now have a “Friendly Connection”.
3. Make the first move
Once you have met these people and have created a friendly connection, it is time to ask them to do something together outside the context in which you met. This is the most important step. You can meet all the people you want and they may think you are great, but if you don’t make any effort to organize something together, you will never be able to create new relationships. People will only ever see you as the guy they chatted with in class or the girl from the coffee machine.
It sounds trivial, but a lot of people who suffer from loneliness get stuck at this point. Most likely, there are many people with whom they spend pleasant time in the office or class, but who never involve in external activities and therefore do not advance the relationship to the next level, beyond the simple acquaintance phase.
Depending on how you know the person in question, you can decide to invite them right away or wait a few weeks. For example, if a friend brings one of his friends with him for a night at the pub, and you spend four hours together, and you get along well right away, it’s definitely a good idea to make a plan for another get-together. On the other hand, if you have met with someone in the office, maybe you could have a chat here and there for a month before trying to get to know each other better.
4. Get their contact information
It’s a great idea to get used to gathering contact information from interesting people quickly. Let’s assume you know someone worth seeing, but you don’t know if they will actually meet you again. Ask for the phone number, e-mail address, or Facebook contact. If an opportunity arises to meet you again, it will be easy to communicate. Also if they have your contacts too, they can call you if they feel like inviting you somewhere.
5. Learn the art of planning
Organizing something with someone requires some planning skills. Sometimes this process is linear. Ask if they want to do something, they accept and decide together a place and time. At other times, trying to agree can become difficult, especially if there are more people involved. Accept the fact that this is one of those situations in which there is always a certain degree of uncertainty and you cannot control everything.
6. Say YES
Trying to organize something yourself is important, but if someone asks you to get together, it’s even easier. If someone asks you to do something together, you can accept their invitation. Why miss a chance to hang out with those people to see what the potential for connection might be? When you have many friends and numerous proposals at the same time, then you can choose to be more selective.
If you’re shy, it’s easy to turn down invitations by telling yourself that you wouldn’t have fun anyway. Ignore these thoughts and accept the proposal. You never know how much fun you’ll have until you show up and find out for yourself.
You will surely have to sacrifice yourself a little to improve your social life. Maybe you’ll be invited to see a movie you didn’t particularly want to see, or someone might call you to go out on a Friday night when you are ready to get into bed.
Another thing to consider is the fact that people may stop inviting you if you reject their invitations too often. They may have nothing against you, but the next time they organize something they might say “Marco never goes out when I invite him, I think he won’t come this time either so why bother him?”.
7. Deepen the connection
It’s one thing to hang out with someone once or twice, but to truly become friends, you have to hang out often, spend time together, and get to know each other on a deeper level. Stay authentic to who you are, be curious about them, treat them how you would want to be treated, and you will discover if you are a good match for one another in a deeper way.
Once you have established a couple of regular friendships, you already have an excellent foundation to start working on. You can choose to expand this circle or stay content to keep it small. If you were feeling lonely before, even just a couple of friendships can be enough to ease these feelings.
Sooner or later you will end up meeting your friends’ friends. If you feel comfortable, you might start building relationships with them as well. You can still keep making friends with strangers, but having friends already will make things easier for you as you are more likely to be invited to parties or other places where it is very easy to meet new people.
8. Don’t get discouraged too easily
Sometimes it happens that you are introduced to the friends of your friends and you hope to meet a new group of amazing people. But then the experience turns out to be extremely disappointing. It may feel like you are not connecting with anyone, or as if they are ignoring you on purpose. Give this group a few more chances, because sometimes you have very little chance the first time you meet. You may need to get together a few more times before you find a connection.
Don’t give up if someone turns down your invitation because they’re busy or isn’t sure they can come. Try again one more time. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that he doesn’t consider you an interesting person. Always assume the best. He may not be available at that time, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to have fun with you in the future.
When meeting potential friends, try to be realistic about your importance in their lives and how long it takes to become friends with them. Most likely they already have their own social circle and they aren’t seeking expansion. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t come knocking on your door to invite you out the day after you meet them.
Sometimes things just don’t go as you would have hoped. You spend time together and your new potential friend may be interested in hanging out with you in the future, but for some odd reason, it doesn’t happen. He may be too busy, has enough friends already, or doesn’t think you can be compatible. It happens to all of us and you can’t do anything about it.
9. Be patient
Under the right conditions, you can have a social life in no time, like when you move to a new city, join a team, and immediately make friends with anyone.
Other times this can take a long time. It may take some time before you have a chance to meet people you are compatible with. After that, it may take a few months before you start developing deeper relationships with some of them consistently. After a year or more, your friendship can be considered an authentic connection.
10. Go for it!
A fundamental concept when it comes to making friends is to take the initiative. It’s not effective to passively wait for other people to do all the work and become your friend. It’s great if it happens, but don’t count on it too much. If you want to create a core group of friends, assume that you will have to put in the effort. If you want to do something on the weekend, don’t wait around for others to call you. Talk to some people and organize something yourself, or find out if someone already has something in mind and ask them if you can join. Don’t worry too much about looking desperate or needy. Who cares if someone thinks you’re too forward sometimes. What you get depends a lot on how much effort you put in to get it! So go for it! You can do this!