Welcome back to Extreme Existence, where we focus on all of the activities that make life exciting.
I have a handful of friends who are very close to me. These close friends were not the same ones I had fifteen, ten, or even just a few years ago. We are constantly changing, and as we change our relationships with other people change, too. We lose friendships, and we gain others. However, there are times when we find ourselves suddenly in need of making new friendships.
Everyone has times when they have to make friends, and it starts with the first day of school. It progresses as we move to different places, begin new jobs, and start families. When this happens we must again find people who are like us and understand us. Some people must overcome their shy personalities. Others must overcome having little regular contact with people. While it is difficult to make friends sometimes, there are ways we can make meeting people and starting friendships a simpler process. If you find yourself at a point where you are trying to meet people or build relationships, here are some things you can try.
You have to have the right mindset when you meet people. These three things are essential to making a good friend.
1. Have a good attitude. I find that people often respond to me better when I want to talk to them. People notice when you don’t care about social interactions, and will often respond with disinterest or rejection. Have a good outlook; be excited to learn about other people and willing to share things about yourself.
2. Put in time and effort. Friendships do not occur overnight, nor do they occur without trying. People will respond positively to your effort, because it means you care.
3. Be yourself. People want to see the real you. It’s not worth trying to be a different sort of person in order to find friends. Let people know about your interests and ideas. They make you unique; if you don’t share them, you lose your uniqueness.
Perhaps the hardest part of making friends is actually meeting people. If you are having trouble, here are some things you can do.
1. Through work. You’ll be working every day, and every day you’ll spend time with the same people. You might as well get to know them a little.
2. Through existing friends and family. There’s nothing like having a mutual friend to help you get to know someone.
3. Getting involved. People love spending time in community. For you this may mean joining a book club, volunteering, joining a church group, or participating in a sport. Communities provide a nice background for friendships to evolve.
4. Don’t turn down invitations. If your neighbor invites you to a shindig he’s having, say yes. It’s worth going just for the social experience.
5. Get a dog. Dogs are great conversation starters. You may take Sparky for a walk in the park and meet all kinds of dog lovers along the way.
When it comes time to connect with people, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Smile. People often feel more comfortable around someone who looks and acts happy. It’s relaxing for them.
2. Listen to what others are saying. When you listen well in a conversation, you can ask better questions and keep the conversation going.
3. Look people in the eye. Looking someone in the eye when talking shows confidence and connection. You shouldn’t stare them down, but a little eye contact keeps both of you focused on your conversation.
4. Ask questions. This shows that you are engaged in what the other person has to say. Additionally, most people love to talk about themselves, so asking them about their lives can make for good conversation.
5. Remember his or her name. It’s embarrassing when you have a 15 minute conversation with someone and you walk away not remembering his name. It’s even more embarrassing when you come across him again a day later and still can’t remember. Early on, try repeating his name often throughout the conversation. This helps you to associate the name with the face as well as the discussion.
We have all had to make friends in the past, and we will have many more new relationships in the future. No matter what your life may bring you, make sure to be yourself. If you let people see the kind of person you are, you will develop many great friendships.