If you find that meeting people and connecting with them is really difficult, it's time to learn a few ways to make new friends that won't end in disaster. When meeting people, communication is pretty much everything. You can't connect with people when you don't communicate with them or you don't pick up on their ways of communication. Keep reading to get tips on meeting people and ways to make new friends.
1. Introduce Yourself
One of the most essential ways to make new friends is to introduce yourself or have someone else introduce you. How will you make new friends if you don't take the time out to meet people? It's important to approach those friendly faces, say 'Hello,' tell them who you are, then strike up a conversation. After that, then a friendship can develop, but the first step is the introduction. Depending on where you are and whom you're with, your introduction may be formal, casual, humorous, etc. Adapt to your surroundings and don't think your introduction is limited to 'Hello my name is Joy, what's yours?' Which brings me to my next point.
2. Pay Attention to Nonverbal Cues
You've got to pay attention to the nonverbal cues of your communication partners. If someone looks like they're in a rush or they're busy, you may want to strike up a conversation another time, or find a new person with whom to communicate. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people who were oblivious to their partner's nonverbal cues. When your communication partner is tapping her foot, looking at her watch, giving one word answers, sighing, and looking away, it's time to end the conversation. Some people will tell you when they can't talk, but many people are passive and they won't. Be mindful of nonverbal cues. I'm sure your communication partner will appreciate it and they're more likely to want to talk to you another time.
3. Avoid Closed Ended Questions
A great way to get to know people and make friends is by asking questions that require more than a simple 'yes' or 'no.' The conversation can reach its end very quickly when it only consists of closed ended questions, 'yes', and 'no,' not to mention that it can also be extremely boring. Try asking the person about their hobbies or what topics most interest them. Make them elaborate; you'll get to know them a lot better that way, and the conversation could be ten times more interesting.
4. Use Active Listening Techniques
When you're making new friends, be sure to actively listen. Make sure they know you're interested in what they're saying. Nod, smile, and ask for clarification when you need it. I learned in my communication class that most women like to get feedback from the listener such as "uh-huh" or "yeah, that's right." However, when the listener gives that same feedback to men, many times the men see it as interrupting rather than listening. Cool, huh? Ask your female and male friends and see what they think! That knowledge would be helpful when attempting to actively listen!
5. Talk about Something Interesting
A great way to make new friends is to talk about both of your interests. If you're into Biology and love talking about the lysozyme contained excretions in the lumen of the kidney, that doesn't mean your communication partners will. To be honest, they probably won't even care. If you want to build a relationship, a great way to start is with your similarities. Speaking of similarities...
6. Mention Things You Both Have in Common
There's value in mentioning things you both have in common. It connects you in a deeper way, beyond humanity, sex, and location. If you both have the same shoes, you can talk about how good they look with their outfit or how you had such a difficult time finding them, etc. Similarities open up a world of more things to talk about. Results to a psychological study showed that we tend to like people more when they have things in common with us. So don't forget to mention those similarities when making new friends.
7. Be Yourself
Yep! You knew this one was coming. When making new friends, the most important thing is to be yourself. Trying to be someone you're not will only make you uncomfortable in the end. Why start the friendship off under false pretenses? That's a recipe for disaster. If you meet someone and he or she doesn't like you for who you are, you don't need that person's friendship. There are plenty of people who'd love your companionship, so you don't have to waste your time on the ones who don't.
Now that you have a few tips on ways to make new friends, get out there and use them! Do you have any other tips on ways to make new friends? Share them!
Sources: Pruitt, B. E., Crumpler, K. S., & Stith, D. (2001). Prentice Hall health: skills for wellness (3rd. ed.). Glenview, Ill.: Prentice Hall.