I’ve realized recently that I’m not a very friendly person, which is why people don’t exactly gravitate toward me seeking my friendship. But everyone wants friends, even unfriendly people like me! Luckily, I’ve learned how to make friends without really trying! No need to change yourself or force on a friendly personality, just follow these tips and you’ll have more friends than you can count in no time!
The key to making friends is being a good listener. It sounds easy, right? After all, that’s what your teachers have told you since kindergarten. But there’s a difference between listening and listening . The first type is really more like hearing; information goes in one ear and your opinion falls right out of your mouth. The second type requires taking in the information, soaking it up, then responding with a sympathetic, thoughtful reply. Try it and see how much people love to talk to you!
2 Remain Calm
Remaining calm is not only great for your mental health, but also for making new friends! I personally have trouble with this one. I get angry and anxious easily, which can be a huge turn off to people who usually prefer chill friends. In order to avoid mini meltdowns throughout the day, I have a few mantras I remind myself of daily that I recommend you try, too: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry”, and “Everything works out in the end, if it doesn’t you just haven’t reached the end yet.” These help change my mindset by putting everything into perspective.
3 Be Optimistic
This is another way to kill two birds with one stone; optimism helps you get friends and improve your mental health. If you can put a positive spin on the negative things people say, they’ll gravitate toward your positive energy. You’ll start to feel better about yourself and your life, too.
Many of us have the ability to remain calm and optimistic inside of us already, so it’s relatively easy to just flip that switch. But if you battle anxiety or depression, it’s a lot harder to make friends by adjusting those aspects of your personality. Don’t worry though; that’s not the only way you can make friends! You can also make friends by adding fun activities into your schedule such as volunteering. As a volunteer, you’ll be doing great things for your community and/or the world, as well as be exposed to kind people. Bonding with people over a mutual cause is a great way to build friendships.
5 No Pressure
If you have a tendency to get jealous, pushy, or possessive, make sure you keep that in mind when you are making new friends. Don’t get upset if they go out with other friends and don’t invite you. Try not to be too needy or insistent on hanging out with them. As the friendship grows over time, you’ll get a chance to spend more and more time with them, so just be patient!
6 Keep in Touch
That being said, it’s important to keep in touch. Your new friend might be just as shy or uncomfortable as you at making friends; (s)he might be waiting for you to “make the first move” so to speak. So make sure you stay in touch by texting them regularly. There’s no shame in setting reminders to text people if that’s something you struggle with.
Believe it or not, smiling is extremely effective in making friends! Even if you aren’t a friendly person, this is an easy way you can “fake it till you make it”. Smile at strangers when you’re at the gym, in the grocery store, a coffee shop, etc. This makes you feel more warm and welcoming to conversation. When you’re trying to turn an acquaintance into a friend, smile as you talk to them so that you seem engaged in conversation, happy to be in their company, and like a positive energy.
8 Surpise Them
Its always nice to get a reminder that someone is thinking about you, isn't it? Getting a gift for your friend every now and then can express to someone how much they mean to you. It doesn't even have to be expensive (or cost money at all). You can write them a little note saying hi and that you are thinking about them, pick up a trinket that made you smile, or pay for their coffee the next time you're out. Every now and then it's fun to treat people.
9 Ask Questions
Just like listening is crucial when it comes to maintaining friendships, remaining curious and showing interest in someones life can really make them feel important and validated! Keep track of what is going on in their life and ask them questions about their goals, dreams, and what they talk to you about. It can be easy to talk about yourself a lot, but by paying attention to detail, you can show that it goes both ways.
10 Show Gratitude
A genuine thank you feels good, doesn't it? I think sometimes we get used to having friends around that we assume they know how much they mean to us. But take the time to call your friends out for how awesome they are. Saying something like how much you love spending time with them is enough to brighten their day and bring you closer.
Humans are social animals, but just because friendship is hardwired into us doesn’t mean it’s easy! People who are a bit socially awkward, unfriendly, or shy don’t have anything wrong with them, and there’s no need to change. But a few tweaks here and there won’t hurt! What’s your secret for making friends without really trying?