Whether you live in the city, small town or anywhere in between, it’s hard to make friends. Or so we keep telling ourselves. If you tell yourself it’s hard, it’s going to be hard.
The first step in finding your new besty is to view it as being easy. View it as a great adventure. View it as a cool scientific experiment. Your view of the experience is what will create the experience you have.
Your results have a direct correlation to the thoughts you have. This is true about everything in your life.
Here are a few key things to think about before you get started on your quest to start creating a tribe you will love.
First impressions can be a bitch. You just woke up and need to run to the store because you’re out of creamer. You think you’re safe to quickly shop for your creamer looking like a total schlep because no one else could possibly be at the store so early.
Jokes on you.
Everyone and their dog seems to have a sudden need to shop at the crack of dawn. You quickly skitter through the store not making eye contact. You think that if you don’t make eye contact, no one will see you.
You’re in denial.
Everyone sees you. It’s really hard not to notice someone practically running through the store, hair flipping out like a rockstar in their well worn Power Puff girl pajamas. It’s a total eye catcher.
The worst part is, if you live in a small town you know you’re going to run into half of these people later in the day.
Making a good first impression
The occasional emergency run to the store is fine. Just make sure this doesn’t become your usual go-to when presenting yourself to the world.
Make sure when you leave the house to go anywhere, that you put at least a modicum of effort into it. A good rule about going into public is to imagine running into someone you look up to. Would you feel comfortable if this happened looking like you do?
Yes you will be judged if you end up at the store looking like a crack whore. Don’t get bent out of shape about it. It’s human nature to judge others by their appearance. We all do it. Even you.
How are you presenting yourself to the people you come into contact with? How do you respond in these situations? Do they know by how you respond to them that you’re interested in them?
Someone says hi to you
- A. You say hi back and continue on.
- B. You stop and say hi back, followed by a how are you? Or, How are you today? Or, Hey I love your jacket.
Someone asks how you are or how have you been?
- A. You say fine, good, or great with a smile or a little wave and keep walking
- B. You stop walking, reply to the question and then ask them how they have been.
Someone makes eye contact in passing.
- A. You quickly look away.
- B. You make eye contact, smile, say hi or hello.
Someone is walking towards you .
- A. You look everywhere but at the person. You pretend you’re busy to avoid interacting with them or making eye contact.
- B. You make eye contact, smile and maybe say hello
Show you’re interested
These are all opportunities to open up a dialogue and to show the other person you are truly interested in them. That you’re open to getting to know them. One response shuts things down and the other response opens up the conversation. Try it out.
Always choose option B from the examples above. UNLESS THE PERSON IS SCARY OR CREEPY. In that case, JUST MOVE ON. Be smart about it. Remember at the beginning of this article when I said we all judge others we see? Be a good judge.
Be that person that introduces herself. Make eye contact with people in passing and say hello. Be the person who says “Hi there, how are you?” first. Don’t wait for others to make the first move.
Remember we are all uncertain. We are all in the same boat when it comes to making friends. We’ve forgotten how to do it. Everyone is unsure and afraid of rejection. Be the person who makes the first move. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
You don’t have to throw yourself at someone and beg them to be your friend. Just make the first move. Show your interest and see how they respond.
Look in new places
Going to the bar or a dance club is not a place I recommend you look for new friends. They can be found in these places but the atmosphere can make it rather difficult.
Not only that, but people generally congregate with who they show up with and seldom venture out from there. Try looking for friends in new places.
There are usually many local events, groups and clubs you can join in your area. Some places you can look for these:
- The library
- Flyers posted in businesses
- The local paper
- Facebook events
- Ask people you know
Try something different. Get yourself out there where you can meet new people who share your interests. Try something new. Join a sewing group or a book club.
Take matters into your own hands
Can’t find any groups that interest you? Create your own group. Figure out what your interested in and start a group in your area for that subject.
It could be something you’re already good at that you can share your knowledge on, or something you just want to learn. Find a place for your group to meet and put the word out. Make flyers, put an ad in the paper, post it on facebook, etc.
Yes, an actual group that meets in real life. Everyone today belongs to some sort of online group. It’s just not the same. Gather some like-minded people together.
Now get out there and have fun finding your people! They’re out there right now waiting for you.
For Further Reading: