Wanting friends and seeking kinship is an inherent trait of us humans. We all try to find companionship in every stage of our lives, but some people seem better at it than others. Chances are, you are one of the latter. Then the question arises, “How to Make Friends?” I’m here to let you know that making friends is far easier than you would think.
If you keep an open mind, try to find common grounds, and occasionally help the people around you then you will be flooded with friends in no time.
It sounds simple enough, but there’s always an optimal way and not-so-optimal way of doing things. I hope after reading this article you will have a better insight about what to do and what not to do while trying to make friends, and how this whole dynamic works.
How Do You Meet New Friends?
Before we start making new friends left and right, we must first find these potential friends. Truth be told, everyone around you is a potential friend, but you probably don’t want to be friends with everyone. The thing about friendship is that it usually blooms with people you spend the most time with.
- School/College: If you’re in school or college, things are a lot easier. Every one of your classmates of people on campus is a potential friend. You spend a lot of time in these institutions, and chances are, you have a lot of interactions with these people. All you have to do is find the ones you are comfortable around and work from there.
- Workplace: Workplaces are also a great place to make friends as this is a place you would spend a lot of time. You probably should not try striking up a conversation when someone is working. But hanging out after work is a fair game.
- Events: Community events, parties, and concerts are also an excellent place to meet new people. If you click with someone in there, try to invite them to hang out later on.
- Parks: Parks are another excellent place to meet new people. If you come across a stranger regularly when you go out for a walk, try talking to them. You would be surprised at how friendly people can be. If you like skating, biking, or if you both have a pet, that is already a common interest you can use to make a friend.
There are a lot of places you can meet new friends besides these. These are just the most common ones. Try to keep your eyes open, and you will see new friends everywhere around you.
Keep in mind that you do not have to befriend everyone around you. Not everyone will have the same interest as you do. A lot of them will have very different opinions than you do. Do not try to forcibly form a friendship where neither of you shares any common interest.
Starting a Conversation
Chances are, you are like most of the people who don’t know what to do when they meet someone new. If you are extremely shy or introverted, you are not very likely to initiate a conversation. Initial conversations are significant in forming friendships.
But that’s not the reason why people avoid initiating conversations. It’s more about the fact that they don’t have enough experience to continue the conversation, or they run out of things to talk about mid-way. I had this problem up until high school.
First conversations do not have to be stale and awkward. Some people can do it subconsciously, but others need to have a framework set up first. This helps in keeping track of things and stops things from becoming awkward.
- Small talk: Many of us think small talk is superficial and shallow. This is true to some extent, but small talk is very important too because it acts as an invitation. It is very unlikely that people will bother you with a conversation if you are being silent and unamused. Try to ask people about their day. A lot of people will appreciate this.
- Sincerity: be sincere, don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking them. If you want to pursue a friendship with someone then be interested in their life. This way you won’t have to stick to “hello, how are you” every time you meet. They probably mentioned doing something the last time you talked, it may be some work, or maybe they said they weren’t feeling well. Try asking them about how that work went, or if they feel better today. Simple and basic conversations can go a long way towards making a friend if you are sincere enough.
- Mutual interest: Try to find out if you and the other person have anything in common. During a conversation, gently mention some things you like. If you’re talking about school, then mention a subject you enjoy and fish for a reaction. If it’s positive, then try to find what the other person likes. Don’t go off-topic while doing this.
How to Make Friends?
Now, that you know where and how to meet new people to make friends, let’s talk about how you can actually make them your friends. Here are some simple tips for making friends-
Engage in Conversation
Conversations are vital, not just for making friends, but for socializing in general. It is a way of expressing yourself. It is the tool that makes people know you. Looks and outfits only leave the initial impressions, while a conversation can help form deeper bonds.
If you cannot express yourself clearly, then people can never understand you. And few people like to be friends with someone whom they cannot understand. There are a ton of resources out there on how to be good at expressing oneself.
That aside, if you are bad at expressing yourself, it does not mean that you have to be lonely. I was a poor conversationalist. I was so bad that I would freeze-up while talking about something. Even so, I made quite a few very close friends during that part of my life who are still very dear to me.
So, don’t be discouraged if you aren’t a fabulous conversationalist. It will eventually come to you if you keep trying. It just takes practice.
Avoid talking about sensitive subjects, such as politics and religion. It is true that in some cases, these could develop a stronger bond. But it is likely to backfire most of the time.
Do Not Only Talk About Yourself
This is something a lot of people fail to notice. Even if they asked you about some part of your life, you should not keep talking about yourself. Let them have a say in it or share something about themselves too.
This advice is a bit overused. A lot of people will mention this point because this is very important. But you need to also keep in mind to not ask too many questions.
It is a safe tactic to ask the other person something and letting them take the lead. A lot of introverts prefer this sort of conversational dynamic as it relieves a lot of pressure off their shoulders.
One of the mistakes that people make is that they either ask too many superficial questions that lead nowhere, or they ask a too personal question that the other person is not comfortable sharing.
It is necessary to know the balance between the two. Do not ask too personal questions and do not ask dead-end questions.
Every once in a while, talk about yourself. I know that is the complete opposite of what the title of this point says, but people genuinely do not like to talk about themselves for too long, they are curious about you too. Unless the person you are talking to is a complete and utter narcissist, he/she will appreciate things you have to say about yourself.
It is also very important to share enough information with these people if you want a friendship to develop. No one can become your friend without at least knowing who you are and some things about you. Think of it this way, you try to know about someone to judge if they are friend material, right? Well, the other person more or less does the same thing.
Be A Good Friend
To have a friend, you also have to be a friend. If you constantly think about how to make someone your friend, or how you can have more friends, then the problem is with your mindset.
See, this whole friendship gig is not one-sided. You have to be active with the person in that person’s time of need or give them space when they need it.
You have to accept the fact that not everyone can be there for you when you need them. It’s not that they don’t want to, but everyone has their own lives and their problems to deal with.
Give Everyone A Chance
This is very important. When you first meet someone, all you have to work with is their first impressions. They may leave a bad first impression on you for many reasons. Maybe it wasn’t their day, or they were off their game.
Whatever the reason may be, you should try to be friendly with them the next few times when you meet. Don’t just subconsciously write them off as someone you don’t want to be friends with. It is also important to not generalize people, don’t decide you aren’t going to hang out with them because they are a jock or nerd.
Everyone has a lot of dimensions to them if you look hard enough. You should have at least some contact with them before passing down your judgment.
Show That You Want to Be Friends
I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with this notion and know at least to some extent about how this works. It’s the phenomenon of liking someone after you learn that they like you.
It could be someone you never even considered, but as soon as you know that they like you, you immediately start to see them differently.
That was simple, right? Now pull out an UNO reverse card and turn this thing around. Because this feeling goes both ways. Just like you, if they learn that you are interested in them, they will be a lot more interested in being your friend too.
Open up and let them know that you think they’re cool (that’s just my general way of saying it, compliment their particular talents if they have any).
I stress this point once again, learn to have a broader perspective. You are not the center of anyone else’s world, and that’s normal. You are likely to make more friends if you try to be their friends instead of trying to make them yours.
Don’t overdo the selflessness though, friendship is supposed to go both ways. If you are being drained or just aren’t comfortable with it that probably means the other person doesn’t want to be friends. Just move on and find someone better.
Put in the Effort
When you and your friend go to the same school and have a lot of classes together, then you are already spending a decent amount of time with each other. But when you don’t naturally spend a lot of time together then you start to lose track of each other.
This is something that cannot be helped. As you grow older, it takes dedication and active effort from both sides to sustain a friendship or go from being acquaintances to friends.
Everyone is busy with their lives, but there needs to be time for your friends too. Think parties and get-togethers, if no one in your friend circle is organizing such things, then it does not mean none of them cares about you. It simply means they are the same as you and are waiting for someone else to do something first.
In situations like these, try to be the organizer instead of just waiting for stuff to happen. But make sure to mention something like “How awesome it would be if you guys organized these things more often”. Most of them will get into the queue, and you won’t have to be the only host next time.
Keep in Touch with People
This is a bit different from putting in an effort. When you and someone else meet and click, a friendship won’t form right off the bat. You guys will be at best “acquaintances”. You might meet each other by chance at another event and catch up, but that won’t help you move out of the acquaintance zone.
To make a new friend, you should actively keep in touch with them. Give them a call once a while, actively reach out about ideas, or try to spend time together just for the sake of spending time together.
Keeping in touch with new acquaintances is a good way of developing friendship, although sometimes it may feel like a burden. I sometimes know it feels like a burden to stay connected, and that is completely fine. You don’t have to do it when you are not feeling up for it. But try to make it up by hanging out later.
Repeated interaction is what makes a friend. Always remember that. Friendships don’t form from taking part in events or going to the same parties. There’s a reason why two classmates can become very good friends even without doing any of these things.
It’s the repeated interactions. Continuously meeting and keeping in touch with someone eventually develops a sense of friendship between the two.
Do not Force it
We do not make friends only to be friends. Friendship is just a byproduct of having shared interests and having a good time together. It is a point I would very much like to emphasize. Do not try to keep making new friends all the time.
Just a single close friend is good enough for any point in your life. Yes, we indeed lose friends with time, and we should keep making more to counteract that. But never try to make friends just for the sake of making friends.
Friendship is supposed to form because of the time you spend together. When you enjoy someone’s company and they yours, that is how friendship is formed. To keep recreating that feeling of mutual happiness.
Never force yourself to be friends with someone you don’t like because you feel obligated, this is emotionally draining for both of you.
What Are the Types of Friendships?
The ‘type of friends’ is a substantially large topic, and there are no definitive categories. In the end, it depends on your definition of “friend”. Some people categorize them as things like “utility friend, toxic friend, kindred friend” etc. but I don’t think that’s how it should be.
If you know someone is toxic and is emotionally draining you, then do not consider them “friends”. They are just toxic people that surround you.
If you feel that a “friend” is using you to get benefits then that is a freeloader, stop considering that person as a friend.
In a more generalized sense, people you know by name and are friendly towards when you meet and occasionally help each other out is an acquaintance. This is the majority of the people surrounding you.
Friends are those with whom you have personal involvement. People you can count on, people you trust, people who would help you in your time of need. They all have personal quirks and will help in different ways. But they will all cheer you on when you set your mind to doing something. These people are your friends, and they cannot be classified.
General ideas aside, we do have different friends who fall into a different category in a friend circle.
There’s the organizer, the outgoing social butterfly who can join in and out of any conversation with ease. They keep the group held together like glue by hosting activities. If you do have a friend like that, then try not to put too much pressure on them and help out with these events once a while. They would appreciate it
Some are extremely infatuated with their significant others. They are corny, and you’ll probably be a little jealous of what they have. And they might seem a little noncommittal towards your friend circle. But they do care about their friends and are worth having. They usually tend to make the mood more positive.
The introverts are very good at playing it cool most of the time, and they need a substantial amount of time before they are comfortable around you. But once they are, they would probably be one of the most trustworthy friends you could have. They might miss some events intentionally, it’s because they need time to recharge, not because they don’t like you.
How Many Friends is Normal?
About a hundred and a half is the average number of people involved with you at a certain point in time, there’s around three that are close enough for you to be emotionally involved. This is what average statistics tell us.
I don’t like keeping track of how many friends I have. That makes it so unsavory. Instead, I make friends and stay in touch with them as long as it does not start to drain me. You can have a hundred friends or just a single one. It does not matter as long as you are enjoying each other’s company.
A good philosophy to live by is that there can never be too many or too few friends. As long as you have some, any number is fine, just make sure it’s not taking you all your time to maintain all of these friends.
Forcing yourself to have and maintain a certain number of friends is very unhealthy. You should not do anything like this ever.
Why Do I Have No Friends?
Having the guts to admit you have no friends takes a lot of self-evaluation, and it needs you to be completely honest with yourself. You probably did not come to this realization on a sudden epiphany. It probably took a substantial amount of time before you reached this conclusion.
But do you not have friends or are you too afraid to reach out? If this is after a traumatic event in your life, then your evaluation is most likely wrong. No one is ever without at least some friends. Maybe you had a fight and then projected your thought process on that friend and came to the conclusion that that person doesn’t like you anymore.
It could be that you suffered an extended period of loneliness, but there are always people out there that you could reach out to.
If you still feel that you don’t have someone, then go and try making some new ones. Sometimes it is better to let dying friendships go. They can be emotionally draining for the person who tries to keep it alive.
New friends offer you a fresh start, and they provide a fresh perspective on life. There are people all around you. If you can learn to reach out, it is never too hard to find a friend.
Things That May Hold You Back
I’ll be honest with you; not everyone is the same when it comes to socializing. For some people, socializing is second nature. They can effortlessly talk to strangers and often have more friends than they know. And then there are people like us who need to learn things step by step.
But it is merely a bit harder, not impossible. People who identify as introverts are better at socializing after they learn about it step by step. Often much better than the naturally gifted social butterflies.
If you are shy and introverted, I encourage you to go out there and expose yourself to new scenarios slowly. This way, step by step, you will learn how to make friends and socialize.
So, what if you are not introverted or shy. What if you hate going out? Well, that is a bit tricky. You do not have a choice if you want to make some friends. You need to be there for them and at least attend some functions together. But it is a small price to pay to have some great people in your life
Who knows, after a while, you might even enjoy some of it.
Another thing that will stand between you and making friends is the inability to communicate. I know it is not easy, and some of us are just plain bad at expressing ourselves, but there is no workaround to this. Sooner or later, you will eventually get better at it with practice.
We are social beings, and we naturally seek companionship. Friends are people we can rely on and people we trust. These people help us fight the increasing feeling of isolation and solitude. It is essential to know how to find and integrate these people into our lives.
I hope after reading this article, you know more about friendship and how it should work. And have a better idea of how to make friends. I sincerely hope that you make tons of friends. Thanks for stopping by.