Some people seem to have such an easy time making new friends. It just seems automatic. But for a lot of people, meeting new people and developing friendships can seem like an impossible task. Perhaps you are shy or quiet by nature, maybe you are self-conscious or worry a lot, or maybe you just don’t know where to start when it comes to making new friends. If you find yourself in one of these categories, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It may just mean that you need to learn some new tricks and techniques to help you in forming new relationships. Here are some tips to get you started:
The best way to make new friends is to be a good friend. Hold the door for people, smile at them, say hello, or share a snack with them. If you are a quiet person who keeps to yourself, other people might think you don’t want to be bothered or that you don’t like them. But if you go out of your way to be kind to other people, they will at least know that you are interested in interacting with them in a friendly way.
Watch body language
One of the most important ways that you can show someone that you are friendly is through body language. If you see a person who’s frowning or smirking or making a grumpy face, you’re probably not going to want to get involved with them. If you see a person who is smiling or who waves hello, however, you’re going to assume that they are safe to talk to. If you want people to want to spend time with you, then you also need to work on good body language. Look people in the eye. Give a smile or even a half smile. Stand up tall so you appear confident.
Find what’s in common
One of the easiest ways to connect with other people is to start with what the two of you have in common. Do you share a class? Are you on the same sports team? Do you both like art or writing or music? Begin talking to the other person about these things. If you’ve both shared a similar experience or have a similar interest, you’ll both be more likely to have something to say about it and conversation will come more easily. Maybe you’ll discover other things that you have in common too.
Start the conversation
Instead of waiting for someone else to start up a conversation with you, take the initiative yourself. You don’t have to have the perfect thing to talk about. Just start with basic things. Mention the weather, compliment their clothes, talk about the basketball game coming up, or ask their opinion about something. Once the conversation is started, the relationship can start to build.
Another good way to meet people is by getting involved in different activities. If you spend all of your time alone at home, then of course you’re not going to make many new friends! In order to form relationships with people, you need to actually interact with them. Join a club at school or a local community center or library. Pick up a new hobby or try something you’ve always been interested in. Volunteer at an event or help out a local organization. These are all great places to meet potential friends.
As with anything, the only way to get better at making friends is to practice. This means practicing on your own and with others. Some people find that running through a potential conversation in their head helps them to feel less nervous when it comes time to have that conversation in person. Then, challenge yourself to have actual conversations with people on a regular basis. Practice saying hello to the lunch lady or asking your bus driver how his morning is going. Greet people when you see them even if you don’t say more than a simple “hey.” The more you get used to speaking to other people, the easier it will be to strike up conversations and form friendships.
Don’t discount yourself
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to making new friends is when you believe that you’re not worth it, that nobody would want to be your friend. If you don’t believe you’ll be a good friend, how can you expect anyone else to believe it? It’s important for you to acknowledge your own strengths and good qualities. You have things to offer another person in exchange for the parts of themselves that they are willing to share with you. Be a good friend to yourself so you can be good friends with other people.
If you find yourself practicing some of the tips listed here but still having a hard time making friends, don’t get discouraged. Friendships don’t usually happen overnight. They take time to develop. Keep trying.