The friendly have friends: How to make friends

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This may seem like a subject not worth writing about, but a surprisingly huge number of people have difficulty being social. Everyone needs friends even those who say they don’t. The desire to be loved and accepted is ingrained in us all. I used to have problems making friends, so I know the pain of not fitting in. my problem was that I was shy. When I say shy I don’t mean reserved or introspective.  My shyness was abnormal. It wasn’t part of my personality. For years I thought I was just a shy person. It’s only recently that I discovered it was actually fear, specifically the fear of being rejected. Some of my friends who struggled with shyness shared the same sentiment. I’m not saying that all shy and introspective people are full of fear. There is a difference between have quiet confidence, and having your mouth silenced by fear.  Over the years I’ve found that growing in confidence and actually being friendly will result in friends. Yep it’s that simple

 You need to be confident. Remind yourself of how unique you are. Make a list of all the good attributes you have. This may be tough if you have low-self-esteem, but it’s not impossible.  When you meet new people keep this list in mind. If you want to have confidence when meeting new people you have to stop the negative self-talk. Don’t go to gatherings thinking you’re a loser and no one will like you.  I’ve learned that if you think positive, you’ll act positive. My favorite encouraging thoughts are “God made me awesome” “yeah, I’m pretty neat” “I have an awesome personality and a lot to offer people” thoughts like these may seem egocentric, if you’re used to putting yourself down. The world within your head is what’s projected to those around you, so it’s important to be positive.

Smiling is the easiest way to attract people. A warm smile can say a lot. Smiles communicate joy, peace, acceptance, and contentment. It puts those around us at ease. A simple smile can brighten someone’s day. It relieves stress to those who see it.  If a smile attracts people, then a frown sure will repel them. It may sound harsh but a lot of people don’t have friends because they don’t appear friendly. I’ll give you a good example.

Say a girl walks into a gathering, she may be very nice, but she’s too nervous to start a conversation let alone smile at anyone.  She decides to sit and wait for someone to talk to her.  15 minutes go by and not a single person talks to her. She finally decides that everyone at the party is snobby and leaves. So what was the problem here?

I see scenarios like this play out all the time. I’ve listened to complaints about groups of people not being friendly. I always asked the complainer if they showed themselves to be friendly. The answer always is “well no one talked to me, they all ignored me”. My response is if you want friends you have to be friendly. Sitting in the corner aloofly always sends the message you don’t want to be bothered. You may not feel this way, but try to imagine yourself from someone else’s point of view. I’ve discovered over the years is that it’s not that hard to make friends if you really want them. You just have to get out there and meet people. It can be as easy as introducing yourself and shaking their hand. A good ice breaker is to compliment them.  I’m not talking about flattering them. People can tell when you’re making stuff up. Find something you like that they’re wearing and tell them you like it. Spend some time asking them about themselves. Talk about yourself. Find a common interest. Exchange numbers.

Also when you get friends be sure to cultivate your friendships. Call people or Facebook them. Invite them out to places with you.  Avoid one sided relationships. If you’re the one always reaching out and your friend seems indifferent, then talk to them about this. Good friendships are encouraging. If you feel used or like you’re being put, down don’t tolerate it for the sake of having friends. I’ve had some friends that I had to cut off for this reason. It may be tough to do if you don’t have a lot of friends, but trust me it will be good for you. I’ve felt so empowered when I finally confronted people who were not true friends.

But what if I can’t make friends at school or work? The world is a big big place. If you are rejected by a group of people move on. If you have a hobby or activity that you like doing, find clubs or groups in your community that share your interests.  If you’re a Christian, then Churches are great places for making friends.  And finally make friends with people who encourage you to be a better person. Know that you’re and awesome and unique person and deserve to have good friends.

 

 

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