There is a very accurate aphorism which says that our friends are the family that we get to choose ourselves. All of us are at our truest selves with our friends. While some of us are blessed with a natural flair to make friends easily wherever we go, there are also those for whom breaking the ice can be a Herculean task. There can be any number of reasons for this reticence on their part. It can be because of their shy or introverted nature, lack of self confidence or even the inability to think of anything to start off a conversation. Well, whatever be the reason for the inability, do not be worried for it is easily correctible.
Well, the first thing that you can start with is by being more around people. Though it might seem like an obvious thing, there are many people who prefer to be alone and yet wonder why they don’t make friends! If you are a student, sit somewhere where there are other people around, be it during the recess time or even in the library. Choose a table with at least two or more occupants. You do not have to pick the busiest table but at least avoid sitting on an empty table at the far corner. Sometimes just being around people can help break the ice.
You can even join an organization or club dedicated to your interests. Having a common interest is a great way to kick off conversations and who knows you might be in for a surprise! If you are the religious kind, visiting a place of worship can also help as you get to mingle with people with same religious beliefs! In the present day where internet has made this world a global village and with so many social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you can easily interact with people all across the globe who share common interests with you. But you must beware not to overdo it; there is a theory that suggests that those who enjoy virtual interaction too much may tend to avoid real life ones.
Another fun way to make friends is by pursuing a hobby. Learn to play a sport of your choice. You don’t have to be a professional athlete but as long as you enjoy a sport and support your teammates you can bond together in the race to win. If you are not the athletic kind, you can try your hand playing a musical instrument or even learning how to dance. Volunteering for social causes is another way to meet new people of different ages who share the same zeal to change things around them like you! Whatever be your choice of interest, such learning classes are a fun way to make some real good friends.
But no matter where you meet like-minded people, the most important thing is enjoying communication. The most important thing in making friends is to talk. Going to different places will be of very little use if you don’t talk to people there. Having said that, it is not necessary that you have to go to a particular club to talk to someone, you can talk to just about anyone anywhere. Be it the person sitting next to you in a library or the person who brings your order in a café or may be the person over the counter in a medical shop. Most often these conversations will be cul-de-sacs or you might just be mere acquaintances – but somewhere down the line you will definitely make a friend.
Being a conversation starter definitely helps in making lots of friends, and there are thousands of ways to do this. It can be a simple statement about the weather (whether it’s good or bad; way too hot or it’s pleasant) or a request for help or even a simple honest appreciation of something you liked about the person. But most often it is people who get tongue-tied in company, or have more mental conversations than real ones who end up being loners. Keep in mind that it is not the inability to talk that hinders friendship; if you are looking to make friends, then all you need to do is be approachable. People tend to misinterpret loneliness, and take it as a preference rather than shyness. The biggest tip to having a great conversation – learn to talk less and listen more. Everyone wants a person who is willing to listen to what they have to say. Empathizing can help people connect with each other. If you offer a shoulder to cry on, your shirt will never remain dry!
All of us have heard about ‘fair weather friends’ who, like the name suggests, are willing to share only the good times and vanish in times of distress. Being a friend means that you are willing to take efforts or give time to your pal when they are going through a rough patch. Listen to them when they share a bad experience, support them when they need to vent out, and make some space for them when they need your presence. These days, even those who can make lots of friends do not know how to keep them. The challenge is not in making friends. The real challenge is maintaining relationships in such a manner that they become priceless with age.
Everyone wants a friend they can count on. If you are a man of your words, then chances are that you will be viewed as reliable and dependable. This means that your friends can count on you to watch their back. Trust and reliability are very important traits in a friendship. Since friends are the people we choose to keep in our lives, the discussions between friends can be of personal nature. Never disclose your friends’ secrets or use it against them. Remember the famous lines by Julius Caesar “et tu, Brute?” Needless to say that Brutus is not the best example of friendship.
Like in any other relationship, friendship is one of give and take. You give a lot of your time, emotions and self and in return you get companionship, memories and a lifelong comrade. Choose your friends judiciously, for you will be known by the company you keep. Also, since the people you interact with closely influence your thinking, choose those who motivate you to progress and develop in life rather than those who look for opportunities to pull you down.
Visual Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cleomorgause