I am a firm advocate of a rich social life, in terms of quantity and quality. I believe that knowing how to make friends is one of the most important people skills one can master.
Most of the people I know who are truly happy with their lives nourish it with meaningful relationships and social interactions. These have more contribution to their happiness than just about any other external factor, money, fame and power included.
The Why and What of Making Friends
Taking your understanding of how to make friends to the next level is something I believe will benefit you no matter who you are and in what life context. However, it will interest you particularly if:
- You have recently moved to a new town or country where you don’t know anybody and you’re starting your social life fresh;
- You don’t have a lot of friends, maybe you’re somewhat shy, and you want to meet new people and make more friends;
- You’ve realized that the friends you have right now are not the kind of people you really resonate with and want to shift your social circle;
- You already have great friends but you want to keep improving your social life and turn it into a gem.
In time, I have developed a 3-step system for making friends that I am proud to say, provides reliable results. As long as you apply it, you focus on constantly growing your people skills and you stick to it, you will see your social life thrive.
Step 1: Get Into Social Activities
Many persons ask me how they can meet new people in order to make friends. There is one way I always recommend for its elegance and effectiveness: social activities.
Basically, social activities are things you do along with other people or in the same group with other people. They get you interacting with others or they create a context where interacting with others can happen relatively easily and smoothly.
From martial arts to social dancing, from cooking classes to personal development trainings, these are all examples of social activities. Since in such activities you train with a partner, you share experience with others and so on, this means many social interactions will naturally happen.
When choosing social activities, keep in mind to pick the kind that you believe you may actually enjoy. It doesn’t make a lot of sense taking up team jogging when you can’t even stand breaking a sweat. Using your head in making social decisions and in learning how to make friends will get you a lot further than randomly filling your social calendar.
Step 2: Get Sociable
Social activities will certainly create the social context you need to successfully interact with others, but it will not get you friends on its own. Your next step is to take social initiative.
This means deliberately interacting with people in abundance during social activities and employing such activities for social bonding. You want to model the social behaviors of very sociable people, behaviors such as:
- Using almost any reason to talk with other people in a social activity;
- Talking about themselves and revealing themselves to others;
- Being authentically curious and asking others questions;
- Escalating from small talk and making conversations more meaningful;
- Having a fun, positive and social vibe;
- Not taking things too seriously.
If you’re not used to behaving like this it will be a stretch for you; and stretching socially is one of the probably the key things you need to do at this point to make friends and enrich your social life.
Being sociable is in fact both an attitude and a skill. So if you want to master it and learn how to make friends successfully, you will probably have to work at both ends: gain social confidence and initiative and at the same time improve your conversation skills.
By the way: I have a special video presentation for you in which I reveal the 3-step solution for gaining social confidence, which you’ll simply love. Go here to watch it right now.
Step 3: Generate Future Interactions
When two or more people interact frequently and they get along well, if they are socially confident, they no longer let the context give them occasions to interact, they generate such occasions on their own.
You can invite another person out for a coffee, to have lunch together, to go for a drink and so on. A recent coaching client of mine decided to throw small, daytime house parties at her place in order to further interact with people she had met at various hobbies. She found this kind of a social event to work incredibly well for her.
Where you invite other people is not the most important element; actually having this initiative is. As such interactions take place, provided they go well, this is when the bond gets stronger and friendships truly emerge.
This is the general blueprint you can use to learn how to make friends and improve your social life. As you put it into practice and focus on continuously improving your people skills, I can assure you that the outcomes in your social life will be very good.
Even more, as your social life will improve, you will also see many other areas of your life blossom. Rich meaningful relationships with others can have such an amazing effect.
Image courtesy of ohhector