How to make friends
Learn friendship making skills for adults
Perhaps you moved to a new city, took a job in an isolated location, sustained
damage to your reputation, or just lack the social skills needed to build and
as an adult.
In today’s world, not everyone has a best friend for life. Even if they do,
often times that best friend moves away, gets married, or otherwise becomes
For adults with zero friends or not much of an existing social life, breaking
into the social world and making real life friends may seem extremely difficult.
A loner sees the social world as being already established without them.
Constantly bombarded through Facebook with pictures
of other people's friends,
social circles, and party pictures, it seems that everyone else is already
socially connected. This can be both depressing and discouraging for socially
isolated adults looking to make new friends.
Loners are not necessarily all that "weird"
Having taught adult social skills to thousands of men and women, one interesting
observation about many of our users is that they don’t fit the stereotypical
profile of “loners”. They don't
break social norms or
lack personal hygiene. They're regular, reasonably attractive employed adults or
students who by most accounts seem normal.
They aren't necessarily all that socially awkward either. Many are able to
converse fairly well in one on one conversations with people. In some ways,
their social skills appear to be within the realm of normal, but for one thing:
aren't necessarily ugly, poor, or uneducated.
Many loners also have some people and acquaintances in their lives.
The problem is that they are unable
to turn these acquaintances into friends.
How do I make friends?
Making friends requires more than just “joining a club”
The standard advice given to adults looking to make new friends is to simply
“join a club”. This will get you around other people, but without giving off the
correct impression, these individuals will remain mere acquaintances. It takes
more than just appearing normal and being present for things to develop. You
also must actively demonstrate through to comments, questions, and behavior that
you are a social person who is available
Unlike in childhood, friendships develop differently for adults. As a kid you
may have formally asked someone “do you want to be my friend?”. For adults, this
question more so resembles “what are you up to this weekend?”
Building friendships requires you to reduce other people's fear of social
It is normal for people to fear rejection. In fact, loners tend to fear
rejection the most (though use dening that they care as a defence mechanism). If
you want people to invite you places and hang around with you, it is imperative
that you proactively signal to them that you will not reject them.
Acquaintances want to invite people who they believe will accept
their invitations and react positively to
social invitations and interaction. If you show an interest in their social
lives, it signals to them that you will not reject their invitations.
Specifically, you need to be consistently:
Understand that the purpose of these comments and questions is not necessarily
to secure a direct invitation. It is to indirectly signal that you are a social
person who is interested and available
Note that #3 does not require you to actually invite someone to do anything
specific. It is merely a tentative suggestion "get together sometime". By making
these simple comments you are planting
the seeds of a future relationship.
Friendship lacking adults tend to make the mistake of going about these things
far too passively. You need to actively
show a social interest so
that other people feel comfortable inviting you places. When you do this, you
reduce their fear or rejection and increase the chances of them seeing you as
someone to befriend tremendously.
Give off the impression that you already have a social life
- Asking about what people's upcoming plans are on weekends, weeknights,
- Inquiring about what other people did on past weekends (i.e. What were
you up to Saturday?)
- Suggesting that you "get together sometime" with the person for a social
engagement (no specific event or date is required - only mentioning it in a
If you're just starting out, you may not have much of a social life to begin
with. This doesn't mean you should broadcast this information to the world.
People like to be around other people they perceive
to be social.
It will thus work to your benefit to present yourself as someone who is not a
complete loner. The best strategy is to proactively structure your comments in
ways that give off the impression that you have
people in your life (even
if you don't at the moment).
When people inquire about your lifestyle and background, always answer in a way
that shows you as socially connected. Instead of saying "I went to the mall",
tell them say "we went to the mall". Don't volunteer that you did nothing on the
weekend, say you "hung out with some friends" instead. These little lies go a
long way in changing
how people perceive you.
You may be thinking "what if I get caught lying?". For the most part this will
be a non-issue because you'll discover that it is extremely rare for people to
question you specifically about exactly who your friends are or what you did.
These types of "what were you up to" type conversations are mostly
but they do leave an important impression as to whether you are a social person
Similar to demonstrating an interest in other people's social lives, here you
are intentionally giving off an impression of being well liked and social. As a
result, people are more apt to invite and
form relationships with you because it they view you as being available and
accepting of social interaction.
Show similar interests, values, and lifestyle
People feel most comfortable around those who they perceive to hold similar
values, interests, and beliefs. They also tend to choose these individuals as
their friends. If you want people to like and befriend you, it is to your
benefit to listen very carefully to what people tell you about their interests,
values, and lifestyles and then go out of your way to present
It is commonly suggested that you should avoid talking about religion or
politics because people will form a dislike for you if you're values/views are
inconsistent with theirs. This is absolutely true, but understand that it also
applies to more trivial things as well (such as an interest in sports, arts,
culture, food, etc.). With more trivial topics, it's not that other's will
dislike you for having different interests, but the problem is they won't
necessarily want to hang around with you either.
Loners often make the mistake of presenting themselves too honestly in everyday
social interactions. They needlessly point out differences of opinion and
interests. Not only should you never point out or admit to differences, you
should proactively promote yourself as being similar.
Example of how this all plays out in an actual conversation:
You're at work and someone tells you they went to a baseball game last weekend.
While before you may have foolishly admitted that you never saw a game in your
life, thinking proactively you reply with:
on. I wanted to go to that game but my buddy was having a barbeque I had to go
By responding this way, you are:
Feeling a sense of camaraderie and similar interests, the other person replies
missed a good game man".
You've built some rapport now take the conversation further by suggesting you
hang out with him sometime in a non-committal fashion:
have to catch a game sometime".
Now you've signalled to the individual that you're available
for friendship and
that you are unlikely
to reject any future invitations.
Such non-committal/tentative plans are the seeds of adult friendships. Ideally,
this is an individual you see on a somewhat regular basis (at work, school,
events, etc.). You have completely the first
successfully structuring his impression of the relationship as having the
potential for friendship
in the future.
- Expressing a mutual interest in sports and baseball
- Signalling that you are a social person
- Indirectly indicating that you have friends and people in your life
When it comes to social interaction, little things such as this can make a huge
Social Skills Guide
©2013. All Rights Reserved.