Man is a social animal. Having a close circle of friends and family keeps one happy, boosts confidence and creates a well-rounded person. Feeling lonely and not being able to make friends is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. If you are shy, an introvert or just not confident enough to make friends, here are a few simple tips that will help you overcome these hindrances and will help you be a well-liked person.
* Surround yourself with people – The first and most important step in making new friends is to accept the fact that you need to meet new people. Leave the comforts of your home and step out to run errands or pick up a quick coffee. You can surround yourself with people and still be by yourself – watch a movie alone, attend a seminar by yourself, read in the library or sign yourself up as a volunteer at a social organization.
* Engage in small talk – The only way to get to know people is to talk to them. If you’re a relatively shy person, you can start off with casual conversations about the weather, ask for help or give people compliments. Don’t force anyone to speak to you if it seems like they don’t want to. Engaging in light banter may either result in a negative reaction or a positive one, so don’t expect too much friendliness in the first few minutes. Don’t lose heart if the person doesn’t react the way you expected them to. Most importantly, never eavesdrop or step into someone’s personal space just to get involved in a conversation. Mind your own business and only engage a person if they seem up for it.
* Be a good friend – Be a good buddy to your existing friends before you go around looking for new ones. Express loyalty and reliability, be a good listener and be there for them when they need you. Allow yourself to be trusted and never break that trust. However, don’t allow yourself to be taken for granted. Cut down on conversations with parasitic friends that only get in touch when they need your help. Try to inculcate in yourself the qualities that you’d like to see in your friend.
* Join a club – Join a gym, a book club, a hobby class, a sports club or volunteer at a social organization. At such places, you’ll usually find people who share the same interests as you, making it easy to start conversations. If you don’t land up with a best friend, you’ll get to know more people and vice versa. What’s more, you could develop a new talent too!
* Cherish relationships – For your current and new relationships to grow, it is very important to nurture and care for them. Meet up often, try and accept every invitation to catch up, initiate plans and keep in touch over the phone or via mail if you’re busy. Do your best to ensure that you don’t lose contact with the happenings in your friends’ lives and make it a point to keep them up to date with yours.
* Choose wisely – Pick your friends wisely. Don’t forcefully talk to people you don’t like and don’t share anything in common with. If a particular group of people makes you uncomfortable or treats you badly, make an excuse to leave without making it too obvious. Be confident and stick to your opinion if you think it’s the right one. Don’t be fickle, a gossip or two-faced because people can see through that easily.
* Keep busy – Always keep yourself occupied if you’re the kind that feels lonely often. Keeping busy will keep your mind focused and free of negative thoughts. However, engagement in hobbies or social classes is better than drowning yourself in work. This way, you may meet new people, but if you don’t, you’ll have developed a new talent anyway.
* Get a pet – Pets, especially dogs, are known to be instant depression healers and are called ‘man’s best friend’ for a reason. Caring for a dog will keep you occupied and happy, considering they’re selfless animals. Also, visits to the vet, park or even dog shows will put you in touch with other pet owners that may have gotten a pet for the same reason as you!
* Let people judge – Some people aren’t okay with a stranger talking to them, some like to be left alone, and some are just plain judgmental. Don’t bother about what people think of you as long as you know you’re right. Not everyone will share the same mindset as you and that’s something you have to accept before you go around looking for new people to meet. Be respectful of other’s choices and opinions but don’t falter if they don’t do the same for you.
* Don’t be picky – When choosing friends, don’t be selective. Don’t dismiss a person just because of his/her popularity, background or the way he/she talks or looks. It takes time to get to know someone well, so always give people a chance to open up to you and take your time revealing yourself to them.
* Smile! – Show off those pearly whites. Smile at acquaintances at work, people you may meet regularly on the bus and even at people you meet for the first time.
* Work on yourself – Everyone likes being friends with a well-rounded person. Pay attention to yourself – your body and mind. Maintain good hygiene, wear good clothes and pamper yourself with a spa appointment or a beauty treatment once in a while. Keep yourself up to date with the latest news, trends and basic general knowledge. Intelligence and awareness are not things that everyone’s born with and can be developed over time.
* Be yourself!
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