Living in a modern technological society, human relation interaction has changed forever: from families who can now connect through Skype to Facebook friends who we really don’t know much about.
But, we have to wonder every once in a while “How is it possible that I have 500+ friends on Facebook, but none to hang out with?” If we think about it, we can see that having good friends is a hard enterprise that requires some depth, and much more than some likes and emojis.
All profound thinkers have talked about friendship. From Aristotle to C.S. Lewis, all men and women have privileged this kind of relation between human beings.
If we asked ourselves why, we would immediately see that good friends make life better, just like C.S. Lewis would say, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves). And even though good friends are usually a very rare thing, and also very hard to find, they are not impossible to obtain.
So, if you don’t feel like you have any good friend already, don’t worry. Even though getting close to someone takes time, there are many ways to build solid friendships.
How to Meet Friends
Meeting your future close friend could happen unexpectedly anywhere, but you can narrow it down to the places where you could effectively make a good friend.
Joining a club, academic course, or some activity that you really love will be a perfect way to meet friends that share common interest with you.
With doing this, you will be exploring a topic of your own interest so there will be no wasted time. It really has to be something that you love because you are not just going to make random friend with anybody; you are going for the full good friend experience, right?
When you approach someone already participating in the same activity, you already have a starting point to a conversation without feeling (or being) weird about it.
Being a specialized course in one of your interests, it’s easier to go into deep conversations with another person, and thus propitiate a close bond between you.
STEP 1: The first thing to do is sign up for the club or course. If you decided to join a club, go to the location and sign up. If you are going to a Meetup.com event, simply find the event you’re interested in and say you will attend it.
STEP 2: Arrive at the even early (at least on the first day) so you’ll be there when others arrive. Being there first is a way to meet people because you will be the first face that they see.
STEP 3: Be friendly and accessible. You are allowed to say “Hi.” Nothing is going to happen to you if you greet someone and say your name. Then, you could ask why he or she is there. This will give you additional opportunity to discover more shared similar interests. Regardless, since you are one of the first to arrive, there is a chance that someone will say “Hi” to you. All you need to do is be polite and answer; it’s basic social etiquettes.
STEP 4: When you are about to leave, take a few seconds to find someone you’ve said “Hello” to or have interacted with. You can ask if they’ve enjoyed the class/event and bring up possible reconnection revolving around that shared interest through the exchange of contact info.
How to Ask Someone to Hang Out
Maybe you already have met a few people, but right now you are just in that hello-goodbye acquaintance mode: a neighbor, colleague, or old classmate who you know by sight but aren’t close.
Great friendships are built on trust and shared time, thus will require you to make an effort to stay in touch with these people who you already know. It doesn’t mean that you have to talk to them in person every single day but at least show effort for invitation to a new movie, a short lunch, or any light plan for a simple get-together will certainly be a nice approach to get closer someone.
How to Connect with Someone
Great friendships based on confidence seems obvious but it actually is not. Some people think that a good friend is just one who is simply there only to benefit you. But that’s not right.
Trust and respect are key! But no worries: you don’t have to reveal every little secret you have. What you need is to be a translucent version of yourself (hard enough, right?)
STEP 1: If you already have a “hello-goodbye” relation with someone, you might want to start by asking their name (that is, if you don’t know it yet). If you do know their name, then you just need to start with some conversation starters like: “Are you doing something this afternoon?” “What’s your favorite coffee shop nearby?” “What are you doing on __________ (insert the day of the week)?”
STEP 2: According to the answer you get, invite that person to grab something quick with you like a small lunch, a cup of coffee, or to pick up something at the store. If you ask what they do on Sunday (for example) and the other person starts talking about some activity, you can at least continue a conversation and (if you’re interested in that kind of activities) ask if you could join. If you are not interested, then you can still be polite about it, and you’ll still have worked on some conversation skills with them.
STEP 3: Know when to leave. Because you’ve met this person before but in a safe distance, things might get awkward between the two of you. It’s smart to eject when a conversation is starting to faint, but you could always text your new soon-friend-to-be and say “Hey, I had a nice chat, we should hang out sometimes.” to keep it light and cool. Don’t be like “OMG! You’re my new best friend, nobody drinks orange mocha frappuccino! 🙂 🙂 “ because that probably will scare anyone away.
How to Choose the Right Friends
Trust your instinct.
Nothing weird here, this doesn’t mean you have to develop a sixth sense or anything of that matter. It usually becomes obvious of who those folks are who you are interested in hanging out with because they’re fun, but can drive you crazy and aren’t necessarily the type you want to consider good friends.
Thus, you need to see how you feel around your friend-to-be from the start. See if you are comfortable around that person, and if he or she is interested in hearing from you. Don’t be pushy, just let things flow.
Lastly, getting a good friend is like riding a wonderful big wave in the ocean: it seems easy, but it’s not. You have to take the time to know yourself and the ocean, and that calls for a mixture of coolness and excitement.