It’s very hard to make new friends when you don’t know how to do it. Who wants to do something just to end up struggling and failing?
That’s why I’ve put together this list of 11 reasons why you’ve been struggling in this part of your life and what you can do about it. Once you see where you got stuck in one of these common patterns below, you can more easily change your approach and start building a fulfilling social life today.
Once we leave school, there aren’t many structures in place to help us make new friends.We need to be adults and create those opportunities and structures for ourselves.
Sarah Jenks, a health and wellness coach, suggests finding an effective strategy for finding and making new friends, including going to places where you think people who share your interests already hang out. By doing this,you’re not leaving things to chance, but taking steps to get what you want. In addition to making new friends, simply taking strategic steps is beneficial in itself.
2. You haven't yet realized that making friends is like dating.
Yesterday evening I was at a party thrown by my friend and charisma coach, Fel Spar, and I ended up bonding with one of the women there.
When I left the party, Fel said, “You both look like you had a great time. You should have a girls’ night out!“
As soon as I got home, I texted my new friend to plan a brunch next month.The process of making new friends is a lot like dating – you meet someone you like, and set a time to see them again. Fel is brilliant and has a lot more information on how to make new friends quickly and easily here.
For some reason, setting dates with new friends is rarer than expected. It’s normal to feel a little shy when taking the initiative to see each other again, but the important thing to remember is that when you feel a spark and really like each other, set a date!”
3. You are afraid to appear frightened by engaging in conversation.
Because of what I do for a living (teaching introverted men how to naturally attract women), this is a fear I hear often. In reality, if there is genuine mutual interest and it’s a gentle invitation, it’s not scary! In fact, my new friend and I were talking about this last night in the context of dating, and she said to men who have this fear, “If you think you’re scary, that means you’re not! Because the ones who are really scary have no idea that they are.“
That’s pretty funny, and there’s definitely some truth to it. Rather than worrying about whether or not you’re creepy, focus on knowing if there is genuine mutual interest and if the other person ENJOYS you. If so, she’ll probably want to see you again too, so it’s not creepy to help her get more of what she wants. This goes for both romantic AND friendly relationships.
4. You forget that your friends have other friends like them.
Another reference to last night’s fantastic meeting: my friend Fel gathered 10 of the brightest women she knows because she figured everyone should know each other. Since we are all friends of hers, we had a lot in common. It was a great success, and we’ve already made plans to have lunch or drinks together to continue getting to know each other.
If you don’t know where to find new friends, start with the people you love and respect the most.
Have a small get-together or, if your friend likes to do that sort of thing, offer to co-host. That way, even if you each only invite a few more people, you create a great opportunity to build new friendships.
As a bonus, you are now a connector in the eyes of your friends (and in reality), which makes you an even more interesting person to know. Everyone loves relationships, and it’s really not hard to do. It all starts with a small gathering or two, bringing people together.
5. You haven't sat down and really thought about what you want.
Until my mid-twenties, I would become friends with everyone who was there, just because they were there. This habit required a real effort to change, and my first big effort to do so was at a business development weekend I attended.
I had gone to the same workshop the year before and had made some poor connections. Throwing business cards around like confetti doesn’t get you anywhere.
So this time around, I was able to get a lot of business.
So this time, I said, “You know what? I’m going to look around this room and deliberately notice the people I like the most, the ones I feel most drawn to.”
I had to think about what I wanted in a relationship first, and I chose ambition, style and grace. That weekend I met three women, one of whom remained a dear friend a few years later. Boom!
6. You put pressure on yourself to love everyone.
If you’re a nice person, you like everyone, right? Certainly, you do NOT love people. At least that’s what I believed for most of my life.
When I realized that I couldrespect everyone and show kindness without doing pirouettes to spend time with them, I became much happier and more relaxed. It’s okay not to like everyone. It’s impossible, so don’t try to force things. If you see that you like someone, take advantage of it by setting up “dates” and getting to know them better. Soon, you’ll have a budding friendship.
In the meantime, don’t stress when someone doesn’t appeal to you. Stay kind and respectful, but you don’t have to spend time and energy getting to know them if you don’t want to. It wouldn’t be fair to them anyway. After all, do YOU want someone to befriend you just because they think they should? Yikes, I didn’t think so.
7. You don't want the chaos and mess that intimacy can bring.
Don’t think that simply becoming friends with someone is going to be dramatic. It’s only dramatic if one (or especially both) of the parties involved are dramatic. You can ensure that your relationships are full of facility and collaboration by being a great person yourself (which often takes work, friends), and by choosing your friends well.
Be the friend that naturally attracts the kind of friend you want. The same goes for dating, for that matter.Be the man or woman who naturally attracts the kind of date or partner you really want.
8. You are ashamed of your lack of friends, which keeps you in a bind.
When we see ourselves as “not social enough” or inherently undesirable, we don’t feel (or look) very sexy. Just because you don’t have as many dear friends as you’d like doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means that you haven’t identified exactly what you want from a friend, you haven’t sought out and become a natural and intuitive match for that type of person, and then you haven’t sought out those people and invited them on dates with friends.
9. You didn't realize that making friends is 95% SKILL and 5% talent.
Can a little talent help? A good appearance? Sure. Do you need that 5%? No, you don’t need it. Making yourself a more attractive potential friend is a skill.You can make yourself attractive to the kind of people you’re attracted to by taking care of your presentation, your emotional health and happiness, your ambition and everything else.
Skills are learned and built, and most aspects of life can be greatly enhanced by skills alone, regardless of any talent that may or may not be there to offer its small 5%. We don’t often think of talent as being so small, but it is compared to the monumental power of skill acquisition. It’s just that most of us don’t know very well how to develop skills, so we end up noticing and crediting things to talent much more than is warranted.
10. You are a private person and you don't want 55 best friends.
Perfect! You don’t have to go crazy and spend all your time with people just because you set up a friend date. Remember that making friends is a gradual process by nature. You decide what kind of social life you want. It’s a creative process that’s up to you, and with time and attention, you can make as many or as few friends as you want.
11. You have forgotten what you have to offer.
I bet you’re 100€ that you’re great at something.
Maybe it’s something purely social like making people laugh. Maybe it’s intellectual or something more strategic, like with your professional success. Or maybe it’s something warm and pleasant, like baking or household skills.
Whatever your area of focus, this can be a GREAT quality to bring to a friendship.
Laughter? It’s obvious. You put people at ease with their happy endorphins.
What about intelligence and success? You can bring reason and objectivity to the problems your friends are trying to solve.
What about intelligence and success?
What about warmth and comfort? When your friends come to your home, they feel happy, loved and fed.
What about intelligence and success?
Think about what skills and/or natural dispositions you have and how you can start sharing them with new friends.
Then set about developing your skills to fill in the gaps in your friendship-making process and enjoy what happens.