You probably already know that having the right friends is a key to having more wellbeing, more possibilities, and more success. It turns out that making new friends, as an adult, is different than when you were a kid. As adults, we need to be more intentional and proactive about it.
If you find it hard to meet new people and make friends, then here are 7 tips that you can use:
1. Determine the type of friends you want.
To save yourself time, do a little planning. Start by activating your mind and focusing it on the right people you want in your life. This will make it easy for you to spot them. All you have to do is a make a general list of qualities, attributes, or hobbies that you want your future friends to have. This list doesn’t have to be definitive; it’s just a guide for your mind. You can start by listing attributes such as “healthy, ambitious, honest, productive, fun, interesting, etc.”
2. Go where it's easy to meet new people.
Don’t expect to make friends in public venues. Instead, go to places where it’s very easy and appropriate to walk up to anyone and introduce yourself. Some places even encourage it, like trade shows, conferences, cultural or charitable events, etc.
3. Find a local community.
This is probably the fastest way to make new friends: Find a local community that is about something interesting to you, and that holds regular social events for the members. Start attending their events and then offer to help the organizing team. They’ll be glad you asked and give you some minor tasks. This makes the people in the community gravitate toward you, because you'll be seen as a generous person.
4. Find commonalities with people.
When you meet a new person and find out that you have something in common with him or her, you’ll instantly feel closer to them. Things in common can be similar experiences, stories, habits or opinions. To speed up this process, look for similarities with the people you meet as you speak to them, tell them about your similar experiences. Make sure to find more than one significant commonality. Having two commonalities with someone is the basis of building a new friendship.
5. Show your vulnerable side, early on.
Politicians tend to abuse this technique, because it works. They’ll tell you about how their wife wears the pants in the house, or how they can’t resist French fries. But you, as an honest person, don’t have to make this up. All you have to do is disclose something quirky or funny about you; any imperfection will do. This is a way to show to the people you meet that you’re human like them.
6. Reach out to people regularly.
The most common way people lose friendships is because they forget to stay in touch, especially with new friends. If you stop reaching out, you just won’t be on their radar anymore. Some of them will keep reaching out to you as well, but it’s better to take charge. I recommend that you take one hour, every week, and do nothing but reach out to people via email, text, or calls. Your instinct will tell you who you should call, and who can wait. The key here is to do it every week, which will keep your social life going and growing for the long run.
7. Make connections between the people you know.
It’s very hard to start a social circle from scratch if you don’t focus on groups of friends, as opposed to individual friends. I recommend that you start introducing friends to each other, even if you only have a couple, and even if you’re just getting to know them. This group-effect will make them want to call and make plans way more often. This means that you’ll have more time to focus on other areas of your life.
Introducing people to each other becomes your primary way of adding value to other people’s lives, and just makes your plans more fun and interesting.
These techniques will get you started. If you want to have a great social life, I recommend that you learn about friendship and how it works, as it’s not really taught at school