General principles of making friends

Basic structure of Meet People > Hang Out With Them > Keep Hanging Out > Repeat. Now I'll go into some broader concepts that apply to making friends as a whole. I think the points below are just as important as the stuff I've covered already, if not more so.

If you want a social life, you've got to make it happen for yourself

A huge, core principle when it comes to building a social life is: Take Initiative. It's a big mistake to passively wait for other people to do the work of befriending you. It's great if it happens, but don't count on it. If you want to get a group of friends, assume you'll have to put in all the effort. If you want to do something on the weekend, don't sit around and hope someone texts you. Get in touch with various people and put something together yourself, or find out what they're doing and see if you can come along.

Don't worry too much about seeming desperate or needy. Take the attitude that it's about you and you'll do what needs to be done to make some friends. Who cares if a handful of people think you're a bit too eager along the way if it all eventually works out? It's a lot like dating or trying to find a new job. What you get out of these things depends a lot on how much you put into them.

Don't take it personally if people seem indifferent to you

Other people are often harmlessly thoughtless and preoccupied in the sense that they'd be happy if they hung out with you, but they wouldn't think to ask you themselves. Sometimes you have to take an interest in them before you appear on their radar.
Similarly, some people are more lax and laid back than you'd like about returning your emails or calls. They're not consciously trying to reject you. They're just a little more loosey-goosey about that stuff than most.

Don't feel making friends is super tricky

If you're inexperienced with making friends, you may see the process as being more drawn-out and complex than it really is. Often all you have to do to make a friend is meet someone you naturally click with and hang around with them enough. You also don't have to know them for months before applying the 'friend' label to them. One characteristic of more social people is that they'll throw the word friend around pretty loosely when describing their relationships. But it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way. Sure, if you've just met someone it may not be a deep, intimate relationship, but you can still hang out with them and have a good time.

Don't be overly picky about who you hang out with at first

If you're lonely your initial goal should just be to get some sort of social life going. So hang out with whoever you get along with and who seems interested in doing things with you. The first people you meet may not be your 100% ideal friends. The benefits of just being out there as opposed to moping around at home outweigh this. At the very least, it's easier to make further friends when you've already got a few. Also, if you're forming your first-ever group of friends, you probably don't totally know what you like or want in other people. You have to see what different types of people are like in a friend capacity firsthand.
As a general rule, if you more-or-less get along with someone, actually become friends with them first, and then decide if you want to be friends. If you're picky, you can come up with reasons not to befriend just about anyone ahead of time. But when you're already hanging out with someone, and you've skipped over your pickiness, you often find you like their company, even if they wouldn't have been good 'on paper' in your mind beforehand.
I also give this advice because studies show lonely people tend to be more negative about others in general. Less naturally outgoing types can also be more picky about who they choose to spend their time with. If you naturally tend to be down on everyone you meet, you need to make an effort to consciously override these feelings. Plus, don't have an unrealistic self-image that demands you can only hang out with a certain caliber of people. Be realistic about yourself and your circumstances.
If you don't totally like yourself you may also be averse to hanging around people who you see as too similar to you, as it can act as a mirror that reflects your shortcomings back at you. This may be justified if you have some irksome traits and understandably want to avoid others who have them, but often you may be turning away legitimately good people who just happen to have some characteristics that hurt your pride a little.

Be persistent and try not to get discouraged by setbacks too easily

Sometimes you'll join a club or be introduced to your friend's friends and hope to meet a bunch of great new people. Then you get there and the experience is disappointing. You may feel like you don't click with anyone, or like they're ignoring you in favor of making in-jokes with each other. Give these groups a few more tries. Often you're limited in how much you'll connect with others on the first meeting. You may warm up to each other before long.
If someone refuses your invitation because they're busy or not sure if they can make it out then don't give up. Try again another time. Don't automatically jump to the conclusion that they hate you and you're fundamentally unlikable. Assume the best. Also, even the act of making an invitation sends the message that you like someone and want to hang out with them. They may be unable to meet that one time, but now see you as someone they could possibly have fun with in the future.
When you meet potential friends be realistic about your importance in their lives and how long it may take to become buddies with them. They probably already have a social circle and their world won't end if it doesn't work out with you. As such, don't get too discouraged if they're not knocking down the door to hang out with you a day after you met them. They may be busy and your plans may not pan out for another few weeks.
Sometimes it just won't work out with someone. You'll get along at the time, and they may express an interest in hanging out in the future, but for whatever reason things don't materialize. They may be too busy, already have enough friends, or they don't think you're a good enough match for them. It happens to everyone and is nothing to get too down about. Keep the bigger picture in mind and continue meeting people.
The whole 'taking initiative and don't give up too easily' thing can be a missing piece of the puzzle for people, but sometimes it still seems that no one is interested in you. You may want to check this out:

Be patient

In the right situations you can build a new social life really quickly, like if you've just moved to a new city to go to college, or if you join the right club or team and instantly click with everyone there.
At other times it takes longer for things to develop, but stick with it. It may take a while before you get a chance to meet some people you're compatible with. After that, it may be a few months before you're consistently hanging around with each other. It may be a year or more before you feel like you're really, really friends with them. It often takes time to go from having no plans, to having plans with the same person every third weekend, to having plans with a variety of people three times a week.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...