How to Make Friends

The most common way to meet new people is through physical proximity. This means that people who are physically close to each other tend to become friends. Either because they do the same work, go to the same school or have shared hobbies. This makes sense right? You can’t make new friends if you do not actually see them.

Once you have achieved physical proximity the second stage is fine tuning your social skills. But how do you do that? The answer is again ridiculously simple. But it’s not a hack.

I recently asked my friend Karl, who is quite the social butterfly, what he thought was the most important principle to remember when socializing. He’s the type of person to make you feel like the most important person in the room.

At first he chuckled, because that’s an odd question.

But then he answered: “A positive attitude.”

Positive Attitude

It’s a great answer. It’s true. If you have a general positive disposition people will feel that, appreciate it and be drawn to you. It’s like food. If the food tastes good, you want more of it. If the food tastes bad, you do not. It’s conditioning. If people experience positive feelings with you, they are more likely to want to experience it again.

However, that advice would only work for people like him. What to you do if you’re not an outwardly positive person? What if you find it difficult to feel and display positive emotions? My own answer to the question is:

“It’s a numbers game”.

Numbers Game

Here’s why…

An Example: You want to become friends with a person named Sam. But Sam already has a full time job, a small family, a couple of friends and regularly goes bowling with their bowling club. He simply does not have more room in his life for more people.

But you are not aware of that. The only information you are aware of is that he does not want to be friends with you. So you decide that either he’s stuck up, rude or that there’s something wrong with you. Forgive Sam, and yourself. He only has 24h in his day.

It doesn’t matter if you are the greatest thing since sliced bread, because Sam is simply unavailable. Relationships are complex and trying to make sense of it, although useful, can also be misleading and frustrating.

Therefore, a good idea is to simply practice, and put yourself out there, a lot. Until you meet people, just like yourself, who in this moment of time are looking for someone to fill that friend shaped void in their life.

Increasing Self-Disclosure

In different stages of a relationship people share different types of information. In the beginning when you’re just meeting people you might share superficial facts – my name is x, the weather is y, how are you? As you become more comfortable with the person you increasingly self-disclose intimate information about yourself. You might tell about future hopes and childhood dreams. If the person reciprocates then you are off to the races, because a closer relationship is forming.

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