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The Excuse Maker’s Guide: How to Make Friends

Updated on December 24, 2012

Why bother?

Friends are your hand-selected family. They make life exciting, fun, and worth living. If you don’t have any, you need to figure out why, what you want, and then use these tips to find pools of potential candidates.

How to Make Friends in the 21st Century

This hub is written for the people who know they need to have more people in their life, but who just can’t seem to stop making excuse after excuse. If you’re honest with yourself, you know how much it would mean to increase the population of friendly people in your life. You know you’re the one stopping this from happening, but you’re also not really sure how to make the transition from couch to outside world.

You know who you are. I do the same. I Google how to lose weight, make friends, and be happy. I’m not doing it so that I can get up and go and put the tips into use, but instead to see how much work there is so I can make more excuses about why I shouldn't bother.

We’re lazy and we’re frustrated. We’re probably a little sad and hurt about it all too. It’s easier to not act. You must remember that you, just like everyone else, need and deserve friends. Life is best with other people and that comes from someone with clinical depression and anxiety. I’m also a military brat, so I’ve got a lot of practice putting these tips to use. I know they work and I’ve acquired some amazing, lasting friends of my own using them.

Side Note: Don’t be too pushy or creepy about it. Be natural. Make yourself available to friendship and work to develop connections. Most importantly: be yourself. If you lie, any subsequent friendships will be built on lies and not a sincere, open connection.

People will accept you as you are if you give them the chance. Start out slow and think about it scientifically. If one approach doesn't work, make adjustments and try again elsewhere. The more times you try out your skills, the better they will be. You learn more from rejection than acceptance.

Even this girl has friends. Yes, that's me. I'm overweight, goofy, depressed yet medicated, and pretty confused about what it means to be alive. I'm making the best of it though and think it is easier to do that in a community.
Even this girl has friends. Yes, that's me. I'm overweight, goofy, depressed yet medicated, and pretty confused about what it means to be alive. I'm making the best of it though and think it is easier to do that in a community. | Source

Wait! Before you contine:

How many close friends do you have?

See results

Your excuses keep you from meeting new people.

These are harsh words, I know. I am a victim of apathy. I look for excuses and easy ways out. I weasel out of situations even when I don’t want to. I’m evasive and wishy washy and I like ending sentences with prepositions.

That’s also why I am extremely tough with myself. I’ve got to be the splash of freezing water, slap in the face, eye-opening motivator for my own existence. You are the only one who can create positive, meaningful experiences in your life.

If you really want to have friends, you have to get dressed, leave the house, and start trying.

Beginners: Start here.

Now, if you’re just starting, you don’t have to put your pants on right now. It takes time to work yourself up to go outside and say actual words to actual strangers. Start off easy. You’re already halfway there!

Pro Tip: Join

One great way to meet new people is They operate online interfaces for in-person groups in your local area. There are groups for absolutely everything, from pug lovers to Harley riders (and probably even pug-loving Harley riders).

You can start your friendships online and then move to in-person experiences. Many groups are so large that you can blend in quickly. If there are hundreds of people in a new-to-the-city group, you can usually attend their activities for free and meet lots of people all at once.

Personally, I prefer very small groups or large ones because I have a higher likelihood to find similar-minded people. The small groups that form within larger groups are a goldmine, too. Plus, then you have social buffers! No solo lunches at an empty table!

Google yourself silly.

Beginners should start online. Research is the first step. Next, you need to join Reddit, follow people on Twitter, Like fan pages on Facebook and start conversations. Find forums, subreddits, or pages on things you like and start chatting. Just don’t become a troll or we’ll shut you down.

If you’re looking to date, pay for a membership to a dating site or take advantage of the free ones. In the past, I balked at the idea of using a free site, but OKCupid in particular has become quite an awesome place! For more information on how to use OKCupid to your advantage, I highly recommend hanging out with my friend Simone Smith.

For me, I needed that initial spark to generate a deeper connection and I was sick of being disappointed. You’d talk to someone online, have deep conversations, and then the person wouldn’t look anything like their pictures. Things that seemed to be cute quirks soon became pet peeves and I’d head running for the hills. Be very discriminating.

One note: If you seem to have real issues with dating and relationships, you might want to consider going to therapy. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. Did anyone ever teach you how to process or react to things? Did anyone ever show you healthy ways to feel? Take the matters into your own hands and find out how to express yourself healthily. I've heard that Joni Mitchell's album Blue can teach you how to love, so that's an option too.

Let's just weep awhile.

Get paid.

Both work and school are environments where people with relatively similar interests (often more so in school) operate together in relatively close proximity.

At work, open up. Share appropriate stories about your life and if you aren’t too creepy about it, people will usually invite you to lunch, dinner, or a mutally-interesting event. After you’ve set up the groundwork and have started to feel comfortable with a few individuals, you too can invite them along.

Tip: There are usually more low-pressure, outdoor events during the warmer months. Festivals and outdoor markets are great places to schedule initial outings for potential friend units.

College is a great way to learn who you are.
College is a great way to learn who you are. | Source

Get educated.

Just like work friends, you have a higher in with these people than total strangers. You’ve at least been screened by an admissions advisor and if you’re in a higher level program together, you probably have overlapping interests.

For college freshmen and sophomores, it may be harder to make friends with the same interests because the classes are so broad. If you moved to a new city to go to school, I highly recommend living in the dorms. Even if the dorms are gross, dirty, and loud, you will usually be accepted immediately and invited along. They’ll give you a chance! It’s up to you to keep it going. Even I was invited along with all of the other girls on my very first day of dorm life. I said yes and made friends quickly. These friends can help you find other friends. Just meet people!

For juniors and seniors: Speak more in class. If you are in a higher division course in your field of interest, you are with your scholastic cohorts. You should be able to find people to talk to, even if you’re stodgy and moody around others (like I am). Somehow, people find that stuff funny.

Study partners can be an asset to your college experience, especially if you struggle.

Sometimes, I made fewer friends in field-related classes simply because the divisions were more political. In the classes for my degree in English, the people with different academic interests were worlds away from my own. I liked modern and postmodern literature with an emphasis on magical realism, Cold War ideologies, and literary theory. When I met students of Victorian literature or Medieval studies, our glaring differences often got in the way. The people who think like you would be perfect friends, though. Keep an eye for similarities. People like to do things together, even schoolwork.

Find your peace where it may be. This is the Santuario de Chimayo, a frequent destination of mine when life seems a little too much.
Find your peace where it may be. This is the Santuario de Chimayo, a frequent destination of mine when life seems a little too much. | Source

Leave your house, even by yourself.

This is the next step including or beyond Eventually, you might find groups or events you enjoyed more than others.

If you’re religious, try church. If you’re not religious, try the Unitarian Universalists. They are openly accepting of atheists, agnostics, and everyone else. You might even get some free food. They are very accepting and peaceful. They’ve given me an outlet for my own spiritual quandaries and have many opportunities for you to make like-minded friends.

Join a club. Go to festivals. Do whatever it is you like to do and embrace the quirkier sides of yourself. If you’re trying to fit into some model of normalcy, people will notice the falseness. Figure out who you really are through introspection and reflection. Accept the embarrassing things and lower your boundaries when you find trustable, understanding people. The world is much more accepting and tolerant than you think it is. There are good people everywhere.

People are drawn to authentic, honest, and driven people. Share your passions and don't be ashamed of them. I've known furries, cosplayers, RPG fans, stormtroopers, My Little Bronies, and more. They have friends and often, even devoted significant others.

Even if you have to go alone, pursue your goals. I took this on an all-day hike by myself. Yes, I was nervous the whole time, but it was worth the experience.
Even if you have to go alone, pursue your goals. I took this on an all-day hike by myself. Yes, I was nervous the whole time, but it was worth the experience. | Source

Get active.

Beyond the potential social aspects of gym classes and running partners, exercise releases the same chemicals as heavy narcotics. Exercise will make you feel good, real good. People will notice how healthy and happy you feel, which will draw them in like flies to honey.

Do something good for someone else.

Volunteering is something everyone should do anyway. Friends will be incidental. For one, you get to add it to your resume. You gain valuable work experience, social connections, and a sense of purpose in the world. You get out of the house, practice your social skills, and try out new ways of being. I always meet amazing people when I volunteer and I see how much good each of us can do. We need to strive for a better world and offering your services for free is the first step to give back.

Look for love in all the right places.

The best friends I’ve met have occurred naturally. My roommates were coworkers first. My most recent significant other was the friend of a (work) friend. Find someone with your interests with whom you feel safe. Online dating isn’t for everyone and quit trying to be someone you’re not. The sooner you embrace your own identity, the sooner someone will come into your life. Waiting isn't living.

Final Note: Haters gonna hate

Don’t let judgy people stop you from finding your own happiness. Why let one person’s words and personal insecurities keep you from having a good day? You get one life; make it worth it.


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    • theluckywriter profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      I find it easy to make online friends. Real live flesh-and-blood friends are a bit tricker. I have a lot of acquaintances, several people I see now and then, but not a ton of close friends. I'm kind of shy, and we move every few years (husband in the military), so it takes me a while to feel comfortable with new people. Luckily, I have a husband and a dog no matter where we move! ;)

    • profile image

      Todd Garrigus 5 years ago from California

      Great hub- I love it!

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      howlermunkey, are you telling me you're friendless and lonely?? No! Your HubPages pals are here for you. :)

    • howlermunkey profile image

      Jeff Boettner 5 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Really Really nice hub, and at the right time of year (for me). I will re-read this later, but want to share this with my fellow hubbers now.

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Aw, thank you, billybuc! I think we'd be good pals in real life. Battle buddies, in a sense. This was one of my first hubs, and I'm still proud of how openly I shared my vulnerabilities! I'm glad you saw that, too. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I had to read this again. I love your candor. You are a person I'd love to meet in person and chat with. Depressed? Confused about life? Been there my friend.....and I ain't going back. Love this hub; well done!

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      I definitely get that, buckleupdorothy. I'm one of those people who likes to have a small group of really close friends, only 2-3. Pick 'em well and keep them around.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • buckleupdorothy profile image

      buckleupdorothy 5 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      Heh. I totally married an enabler on this score - but we've made a pact to only hang out with people we really enjoy being with, and like my father said at our wedding, "the group is small but choice." Life's too short, you know?

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      WannaB Writer, I appreciate your response! It is another example of how dorm life offers pretty immediate acceptance of anyone. You made lifelong friends and probably had a better experience in school than others!

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      You have provided some great tips here. I don't think there's anything I could add. My closest friends I have today I made while living in the dorm at UCLA. I even married one of them. Because of common interests, we were a smaller, but open, circle of about 50 within the larger framework of the 800 people in the dorm. Through mutual friends we expanded that circle to those outside the dorm. What a difference it was that year after leaving a dorm where it was much harder to make friends. Simply a change in a dorm meant the difference between being lonely, with only my roommate as a close friend, to being a social butterfly.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great useful advice within this well written hub on how to get and meet new friends . Very entertaining and fun enjoyed reading it ! Great job !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Thanks for the comments, everyone! I love sharing my ideas with writers I love to read. I sincerely appreciate how everyone has shared their own experiences making friends because many people are unaware of what it means to work on yourself or your relationships. Positive, honest examples help us all learn from our communal histories.

      Friendships can and do go sour at times, but that is not a good enough reason to ward off all potential applicants to our friend pool. I've worked hard to develop relationship maintenance skills and I will be writing about those in the future. As a military brat, I had no reason to keep people around and I've developed some pretty intense boundaries as a result. I sought out healthy models of romantic and platonic relationships and have been mining those examples my entire life to develop these skills.

      Each experience you share with others give them another lens through which to process their own emotional health and well-being. Always strive for your best and never hesitate to share with others. There is always someone looking for the answer you have.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Great Hub. Thank you for writing it.. I love people.. I am very blessed I have great friends.. every once in a while some one hurts me but I just move on

      God bless you


    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      This is a great insight on the subject of friendships. It is true, that if we are honest and authentic it opens the door for some valuable, rewarding and long-term relationships. I agree with your ideas, especially the ones that encourage you to be active and and to get out of the house, can't find anyone without doing this. Also, I have found that joining a volunteer group or club, as you mentioned, can lead to some really great frienships. Voted up!

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Excellent suggestions! I particularly like the Volunteering idea because it combines the social interaction aspect with something that can really create a sense of self-satisfaction and Joy.

      Giving without expectation of anything in return is one of the most rewarding ways to contribute to this world.

      Looks like we each have a new friend here on Hubpages, I promise not to act too creepy or become a troll LOL :)

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      Oh yea, the grocery store can be exhausting at times. The community here for the most part is nice.

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Jenubouka, thank you for the sweet comment! People keep telling me such lovely things about this post and I don't even know how to handle it!

      I'm so glad to hear that you've had a close friend for such a longtime. As a military brat, the idea of long-lasting friends is pretty new to me and the thought of maintaining that relationship for so long is inspiring.

      Oh yeah, and I definitely hear you about public places. I like being out and about, but then I need to be at home for a while to get my bearings back. Is it like that for you too?

      Hubpages has been very welcoming to me and it sounds like you've had a similar experience. It took me a while to decide to use the site, but I'm very pleased with it so far!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      Oh now rmcleve, I just see an incredibly beautiful and talented lady in that photo; she has got style indeed. I am a loner, hate public places, have one friend I have keep in contact for over 16 years, and that's it, per say, I do count some of the people I have met here to have become great friends. Awesome hub!

    • glockr profile image

      glockr 5 years ago

      I like this Hub, lots of good advice for people who want to know how to make friends.

    • Horatio Plot profile image

      Horatio Plot 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, England.

      Very entertaining. I enjoyed this. You have a talent. Voted up and shared.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Entertaining, funny and actually quite useful for those who have a hard time socializing. Great job!

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Thank you, FAK. I'm glad you liked it! I hope it's funny, honest, and not too mean.

    • profile image

      Karen Gramenz 5 years ago

      God, I love this girl--she's my niece!