How to make friends
I am lucky enough to know some very socially gifted people.
From observing them, I have learnt some key things about how to make friends, and also how to be a great friend.
Do you want to make new friends? Or have better relationships with your existing friends? Read on for 10 tips to ace your social life.
- Smile, make eye contact and use open body language
It doesn’t matter where you are. If you smile and make eye contact, people are way more likely to talk to you. It might feel awkward in certain settings but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Be aware of how you position your body. Avoid crossing your arms and legs and ‘mirror’ other people’s body language.
- Ask questions
One of the most charming people I know asks a million questions. In fact, it’s quite difficult to get him to speak about himself as he is generally so busy asking you about yourself. When you walk away from having lunch with him, you feel like the most interesting person in the world while still being profoundly in the dark about his life – his PR game is strong!
- Listen actively and remember important details
We all know what it’s like to be stuck in a conversation with someone who seems disinterested. It’s a massive turn-off. By nodding, saying ‘Mm hmm’, reflecting statements back and bringing up details from previous conversations (where applicable) you’re showing you are genuinely listening. People will love you for it.
- Follow up / reach out
So you’ve made a new friend? Ask for their number, friend them on Facebook, get their email address or connect with them on LinkedIn. Send a note or a message to say how much you enjoyed meeting them.
- Invite them into your world
Nothing breaks down barriers and builds trust quite like inviting someone into your world. Invite them over for coffee, go for a walk around your neighbourhood, introduce them to your friends or family, or share your interests with them by inviting them to an event, exhibition or public talk.
- Give gifts
I am surrounded by extremely generous people who always come bearing gifts. It could be a little thing like a bag of lemons from your tree, some herbs or a bunch of flowers. My friend recently bought me some vegan butter and Vege ‘Might’ because she’s really into it. Wine is always good. So are baked goods. Even loaning someone a book you think they might like is a great way of saying ‘I’ve thought about you’.
- Stay in touch
It doesn’t have to be anything major. Just a quick message or phone call from time-to-time. Try and see each other in person, even if it’s just for a quick cuppa. If you’re visiting their city (or country), reach out and see if they’re free to catch-up.
- Offer help
Many a true friendship has been forged in a moving truck. Is there some way you can offer assistance? Housesitting, dog walking, cooking and baking for someone who is sick or has just had a baby, providing professional advice for free or babysitting are all ways you can deepen your friendships.
- Be positive
There are ways of being positive without being fake. You don’t like your friend’s new partner? You can still be happy that they have found someone they like. Helping people celebrate life’s wins, encouraging them through their doubts with a pep talk, and lifting them up by reminding them of their best traits and blessings when life has kicked them in the a*s is the stuff of lasting friendship.
- Show up for the important stuff
Significant birthdays, weddings, christenings and funerals. Be there for the big stuff, wherever possible. Be in those photos. Share those big memories. These gatherings are lynchpins in lifelong friendships and a great excuse to get together.
Want to know more about who to be friends with? I’ve written about that here.
Have you got any tips for forging better friendships? Please share them in the comments section.