How to make friends
Much of cognitive therapy suggests that positive progress and a life of healthy mental health involves having and making friends and generally being a social human being.
But how do we make friends?
Many find it incredibly hard to gain new friends after leaving school and outside places that we frequent, such as work.
And even with the rise of social media, many people are feeling lonelier than ever.
Digital friendships can never replace day-to-day, in-the-flesh friendships.
So, take heart! You are not alone in your frustration.
Tips to make friends
Here are a few very basic interpersonal skills that you must have to make friends:
Though simple, a smile can be compelling and communicates several aspects about you:
- You’ll appear to be friendly, positive, fun, and personable, which are all attributes that you need to gain friends.
- A smile will make you feel happy. Studies show that your brain perceives happiness when you smile.
A compliment for many people, especially women, goes a long way.
Want to start a friendship? Compliment that person on their appearance, their ability, or the quality of one of their possessions.
Not only are you showing interest in that person, but a compliment can also make someone’s day.
One of the simplest ways to get to know someone and find out if they want to start a friendship is by asking them a question about themselves.
A question can be as simple as “How was your weekend?” or “What did you do this weekend?”
If you don’t know someone well, start with simple questions, and pay attention to clues about who they are. If the conversation and time allows, ask follow-up questions.
Invite a prospective friend out (or to have a phone call or virtual meeting)!
If you have an event or want to attend an event, invite someone to come with you.
Not only do you have the chance to get to know someone, but you also may have more fun at your event! Shared memories are one of the best ways to begin and continue a friendship.
One of the most calming and opening methods is to engage your curiosity about people you meet. Focus on them, not your fear of rejection.
Reframe your fear of rejection. You're looking for people who click with you, which really means you are similar. Being different isn't bad, just not what you're looking for, and vice-versa.
Relationships can be scary, especially if you’re trying to make friends and have had bad experiences in the past.
Don’t let people of your past and your failings keep you from living your life now and pursuing friendships with others.
You are not your past, and the people in your life now are not the people of the past.
Take a risk! If it works out, great!
If not, remember: In life, failure is a learning experience, and rejection lets you know to focus your energies on someone who will appreciate you for you.
Ready to learn more?