How to Make Friends
All too often when people are confronted with a change of venue, like when moving to a new city or starting college, they struggle with knowing how to make friends . Making friends can be extremely difficult for many people. Generally people assume that only introverts will struggle with this issue, but almost everyone will face this problem at some point in their lives. Starting over again in a new job, new neighborhood, or new school can be a struggle. Many feel completely alone for weeks, and even months.
Many people are never able to connect with others around them and live lonely lives. But if you struggle with how to make friends , this is not your inevitable future. Learn to make friends in whatever situation you find yourself. It seems difficult at first, but the more you do it the more you will find that making friends is not as hard as you might think.
How to Make Friends in a New City
When you move to a new city, you may wonder how it is possible to feel so alone while surrounded by so many other people. You will begin to figure out that being surrounded by people is not the same as being friends with them. The great thing about cities, however, is that many opportunities exist for getting together with other people.
Many people think that they should follow their interests to find friends. This is a good strategy, but you have to keep in mind that you need to attend functions where you will be interacting with others with those interests. If you like sports, you will be more likely to find friends while playing on your employer’s softball team than you would by simply attending a ball game. If you like music, joining a chorale society or community orchestra would be a better way of finding friends than simply attending a concert.
Take advantage of situations where you continually run across the same people. If another person is always in the Laundromat at the same time you are, go over and say hello. Chat with the mother you consistently run into at the playground with her children. Ask to join the person at the restaurant who is always sitting alone. Thousands of people live in cities, so eventually if you keep reaching out, you will run across someone with similar interests.
How to Make Friends in College
College is a time of many welcome changes for young adults. For the first time, many people are living independently and stepping out to make their own friends. Yet, this can be a scary time too. It can be difficult to approach total strangers and try to befriend them.
Many people join sororities and fraternities to try to make friends. Sometimes this can work, depending on the other people in the group. But one can find plenty of friends doing other things in college. Playing intramural sports, joining a campus Bible study, or taking advantage of volunteering opportunities can be good ways to meet other people who have common interests.
If you are in college, do not make the mistake of assuming that all of your friends have to be in the same age group or demographic that you are. Many other students are older, married, or may look different from you. Yet these people may still be fabulous friends. Even the tattooed and pierced oddball from whom others shy away may have a great sense of humor, enjoy the same hobbies you do, or be extremely fascinating. If a student in class makes an interesting point to the professor, stick around and speak to that person.
When you do end up having a good conversation with someone, make a point to get that person’s contact information. Mention that you are on Facebook and would love to “friend” them. You can learn a lot about someone by looking at his or her Facebook profile. You can also remember things they have shared on Facebook to talk about later.
How to Make Friends in High School
High schools can be some of the most difficult places to make new friends. Teens desperately want friends but struggle with accepting people who are different from them. It can seem like if a person is not already a part of a group, they will never be accepted.
Yet making friends in high school is possible. If you have recently changed high schools, being approachable is crucial. Smile and engage with people, even if it is about something as small as homework. Even if you struggle with reaching out because of shyness, others may perceive this as being a snob. Making eye contact with others will help people know that you are interested in them.
In high school making weekend plans can be a good way to get to know people. If you meet a person you think you might enjoy spending time with, ask if they might be interested in taking in a movie over the weekend. If not, try again another time. But if you get several rejections, don’t take it personally. Many times, especially if others already have lots of friends, the high school years are a very busy time. Keep trying to find others with whom you can connect.
Participating in extra-curricular activities like clubs and sports can be a good way to find people with similar interests. Even if you are not athletic, most schools offer activities like music, drama, 4-H, or yearbook. Take advantage of these opportunities to meet people in smaller groups.
If you have tried consistently to make friends at school and still have had no luck, try to make friends outside of school. Attending church or participating in a community organization may be a source of wonderful friends from other high schools. Even adults may end up being wonderful friends. Although in high school the emphasis is on having friends your own age, don’t overlook people who are older or younger than you are as potential friends.
How to Make Friends – General Tips
In whatever situation you find yourself, the following suggestions are helpful when you are trying to figure out how to make friends :
- Smile and be cheerful. Even if you are scared to death, smile at others. Fake it. When learning how to make friends you want to look as approachable as possible. Why would someone want to be friends with someone who looks frightened, angry, shy, or distant? Put a smile on your face and make eye contact with people around you.
- Reach out to others. Don’t wait to have others approach you. Take the first step, say hello, and introduce yourself. Make an effort to speak to the other people who are sitting alone.
- Make plans with others. After you have talked to someone, make sure you follow up with another specific time to be in touch with them. If someone asks you to do something, make it a priority to accept the invitation. If you reject their invitations too often, they will think you are not interested in pursuing a friendship.
- Don’t drive others away. It can be tempting when you are so lonely to call people too often or constantly text them. Don’t be so desperate for friends that you end up driving them away.
- Keep in touch with them. If you have made a good friend in college or high school, don’t lose touch with them over the summer break. Give them a call now and then just to see how they are doing.
- Be interested in them. Listen to what they have to say and remember what they like. This is what a good friend does. When some people are nervous, they tend to talk too much about themselves. Don’t make that mistake. Ask others about themselves and come up with questions about what they say.
There are over eight billion people on this planet. Even if you feel lonely, there are many other people somewhere with your exact interests. Things are always so much more fun with other people. Learning how to make friends might be difficult at first, but in the long term it is definitely worth it.