School is almost back in session for all you scholars! Or, maybe you just landed an awesome job or internship for the fall! Whether you’re trying to network for career purposes or create memories with special people, here are 10 great ways to make new friends:
1. Introduce yourself!
That probably sounds like a no-brainer, but instead of waiting for others to approach you, it’s good to take the initiative and make yourself known. That might be scary for people who are afraid of rejection. But, like all beginnings, there’s always an element of risk at play. It might take a few tries before you grow more comfortable approaching others. However, forming friendships is all about stepping out of your comfort zone. Before I go up and introduce myself to others, I like to give myself a mental pep talk. It boosts my confidence and lowers down the walls.
2. Find commonalities and mutual interests.
Alright, so you just introduced yourself. Now, what? The next step is finding common interests to talk about. Studies have shown that people tend to trust others more if they have the same music taste. When we want to form connections with others, we are more inclined to find similarities instead of differences. This shortens gaps and distances that only creates more opportunities to understand one another. When I’m trying to network, I like to talk about common goals I can work to achieve with others. This shows that we have a mutual interest and a willingness in tackling projects together.
3. Start relevant and engaging conversations.
Don’t bore the other person with small talk. Creativity and thinking outside the box lead to interesting topics for discussion. Don’t be afraid to be different and engage others with meaningful conversations that are relevant to the both of you. This will make you more attractive to the other person and they’ll develop an interest to get to know you better. I’m not afraid to be a little silly with my conversations when I try to make new friends, because it gives me the opportunity to see if our humor is compatible. Making others laugh is a strong way to bond and break the ice.
4. Make time to hang out.
It’s important to have a schedule to hang out if you want to make memories with others. This can be especially difficult as you get older with more demands piled up on your plate, balancing school, work, and maintaining a social life. But making a window to hang out, even if it’s a small one, can go a long way. It’s not so much about the quantity of time spent, anyway, but rather the quality. I always try to reserve time to be with friends at least once a week in between my busy schedule. This also works in my favor, because it helps me step away from my workaholic tendencies and reminds me to relax and unwind once in a while.
5. Be persistent.
After you hang out, don’t be afraid to follow up with a text or email telling them that you had a great time, and ask to spend time with them again. Not only does this show that you are being forward, but it also shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile to build a friendship with that person. Persistence is an important trait to have when you’re networking, too. I like to keep in constant communication with people who I want to network with, because it shows that I have an interest in wanting to work with them.
6. Ask questions.
This helps the person know that you have an interest in who they are. People naturally like to know that they are wanted. I like to ask others about their passions, hobbies, dreams, and their favorite memories. This allows me to discover a whole new layer in them that forms a closer bond between us. It is also a form of reciprocation in which they’re showing me that they feel open and comfortable enough to let me in. Trust is developed this way.
7. Go with the flow.
It’s important to be flexible and adapt to changes. As people get older, they tend to move around a lot, whether it be for school, a job, or a new home after getting married. As a result, long distance friendships will be a thing. It’s good to keep an open mind and support your friend’s new lifestyle. Being in my 20’s right now, I have many friends and family members who are moving away from home to embark on their new careers or graduate school. We keep in touch through texts, phone calls, and making occasional visits to one another. Just because things are different doesn’t mean the bond isn’t still there.
8. Be reliable.
Show that you’re responsible and that you have a strong sense of morality. People like to know that you can be depended on, whether it means being able to follow through on plans or lending a listening ear. This also strongly applies when you’re networking. By showing that you have a good work ethic and are reliable with duties and tasks, more people will be drawn to you and it helps you stand out from the crowd.
9. Be approachable and genuine.
By showing that you’re friendly, honest, and easy to talk to, you will attract more people towards you. It also demonstrates a sense of maturity because you’re not inclined to pick arguments or create unnecessary emotional drama. In my experience of making new friends, people usually tell me that my friendliness is what got me to help them coax them out of their shells as shy, reserved individuals.
10. Be yourself.
Cliche, yes, I know. But, it’s important to show people the real you if you want to have authentic interactions with others. There’s no point in putting on facades and being someone else, and it’ll only stir up wild confusion when people finally do end up seeing the real you. In more serious cases, this will cause others to feel betrayed. By being yourself, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability and true friendships go hand in hand.
What are your experiences with making new friends? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
Lebowitz, S. (2015, August 3). How to Make New Friends (and Keep the Old) as a Young Adult. Retrieved October 29, 2017.