If you study the people who bond the easiest with others and have the richest social lives, it doesn’t take long to realize that much of their social success resides in the fact they are very friendly and gregarious, with both girls and guys. Luckily, you can learn how to be friendly as well, and join their ranks.
As a communication and confidence coach, one of my core activities is teaching others how to be friendly and confident socially, and helping them create the fulfilling interpersonal relationships they yearn for.
The thing is, friendliness is just a set of behaviors and a certain frame of mind. If you understand them, you know how to be friendly. And if you employ them effectively, you become more friendly and social.
With this in mind, here are the 4 essential behavioral and mental changes to make in order to be more friendly.
1. Use Social Initiative Exercises
The biggest component of friendliness is social initiative. Having social initiative means that you proactively generate social interactions or certain phases of social interactions. You don’t wait for others to be social with you before you’re social with them.
There are very specific actions that compose social initiative. You can take these actions, one or more at a time, and practice them deliberately, sort of like exercises. I’m talking about actions like:
- Attending events that are social in nature: parties, classes, networking events, etc.
- Walking up to new people or people you know and starting conversations.
- Introducing yourself to people you don’t know when they join your conversation.
- Asking the other person questions about themselves during a chat.
- Talking about yourself and sharing your own ideas and experiences.
- Asking another person for their contact details.
- Calling or emailing another person and inviting them to go out with you.
And the list could go on. Pick a couple of these activities today and start doing them more. There is no point in waiting.
2. Develop a Mindset of Likability
Something I’ve noticed early on at individuals that want to learn how to be friendly because they struggle with this is that, at some level, they see themselves as unlikeable.
They don’t think they’re good enough or interesting enough for others to want to interact with them or be friends with them. Thus, they are act cold and unfriendly with others. But this is just a facade, to protect themselves from the rejection they expect to happen.
If this is true for you too (and in almost surely is), then implement the 1st change I mentioned may prove to be quite challenging. You may have trouble even asking a few questions or making a bit of small talk with others, because you keep second-guessing yourself.
This is why it’s crucial to work on your mentality as well and develop a mindset according to which you are a likeable person; you are good enough. Which, trust me, you are. You just don’t fully realize it yet.
Since this is an extensive topic, I discuss it separately in this cutting-edge presentation. Make sure to watch it and you’ll learn the exact steps you have to take to change your mindset and become at ease in social interactions.
3. Choose the Right People for You
A genuinely friendly person can make conversation with just about anybody and enjoy the experience. Nevertheless, there will always be people they find it much easier to chat with, for longer periods of time, they’ll take more pleasure in it and they’ll be much more outspoken.
These are the people they are very compatible with: the people they have a lot in common with in terms of ideas, values, lifestyle, interests and so on.
It’s much easier to be friendly if you’re interacting with a person you match well with. If you usually hang out with people who only talk about marriage, kids and TV shows while you care about personal development, entrepreneurship and travelling, there is a definite mismatch there.
Think about the kinds of people you connect with the best, and then seek the types of activities, places and events where these kinds of people spend their time. Meet the right people for you and you’ll naturally find yourself being friendlier.
4. Socialize On a Regular Basis
It’s hard to become friendly and social if you only go out once every two weeks and you spend the rest of your time at home by yourself.
In order to eventually be friendly without effort, you mind needs to become acclimatized with social interactions. It needs to recognize them as a standard component of your life, which you go through regularly. And this requires regularity in your social interactions.
So, go out more, meet new people and interact with them periodically. Make going out the rule, not the exception. This is how to be friendly on a constant basis: by acclimatization with social contact.
Again, this presentation will provide you practical advice for achieving this and making the process of becoming more friendly as smooth as possible.
Your social life is under your control. Make the right adjustments in your behavior as well as your mindset, and you’ll surprisingly find yourself opening up more with all kinds of people and having lots of fun interacting with others.
That’s when you know that your life can be all that you want it to be.
Image courtesy of NicoleAbalde