Helpful tips on how to make friends and create bond with people you just met.
File photo: Making friends
I’ve realized quite often how easy it has been for me to create new friendships. If I’m in a new environment, before leaving that place, I’d have converted a stranger to a pal. And if I so decided to pursue the friendship further, I could easily do that. But I’m naturally not big on having a lot of friends, I’m the kind of person who has few but trusted strong friendships. As I got conscious of this ability, I’ve been able to break down what I do to make making friends effortless. I’ll be letting you in on it today.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE INTERESTING, A TALKER OR THE LIFE-OF-THE-PARTY TO MAKE FRIENDS
I decided that before listing out things to do (and not to do) to make new friends, I should point out a big misconception about making friends. A lot of people think that to make new friends you have to be interesting, a talker or the center of attention. This is false. The techniques I’ll be teaching you to make new friends does not require any of these.
Of course it’s good to dress well, and if you look presentable people would gravitate towards you like moth to a flame. But that’s not the interesting I’m talking about. When I say interesting I mean having cool things to say or being impressive with personal stories you share. You don’t need all of that. I’ll show you why.
One more thing I’d also like to point out: these techniques can be used by both sexes on same or opposite sex. Pardon my use of masculine pronouns, it’s hard to keep putting he or she and him or her multiple times throughout my writing. It makes it tiresome. English can be limiting atimes due to it’s lack of unisex verbiage.
Now that I’ve cleared the air on certain misconceptions, let’s go into what you need to do to make new friends and create strong connections with people you just met. I like to call them The 11 laws of making new friends and creating strong connections.
THE 11 LAWS OF MAKING NEW FRIENDS AND CREATING STRONG CONNECTIONS
These laws are very simple. Adhere to them and you’d be surprised at how easy it can be to form new connections and create friendships that can last for years with people you just met.
1. Talk less and allow the other party talk more
2. Create similarity
3. Use humour and learn to smile
4. Ask the other party about himself
5. Cut off bad or unhelpful topics
6. Be positive and give encouragement where necessary
7. Give compliments
8. Do not criticize or insult
9. Do not strongly disagree with the other party
10. Do not go into controversial topics except you both share the same views
11. Do not boast
1. TALK LESS AND ALLOW THE OTHER PARTY TALK MORE
It should be a known fact that every individual loves to talk about themselves. Everyone wants to be the centre of attention. If you allow the other party do more of the talking while you do less, the person would feel like you know him so much. They would feel connected to you. It’s surprising how it works. You can meet an individual, you both talk for 30minutes. You know almost everything about him (cause 90% of the discussion has been about him) while the only thing he knows about you is that your name is Michael and you like his shirt but yet he feels like you both have known each other forever.
This, perhaps, is the single most effective way of creating a strong connection with a stranger, thereby making you both friends. I know we naturally want to express ourselves, but for the sake of making new friends let’s shelf that for now. You can talk as much as you like, once you’ve known each other a bit longer. Anywhere from 65/35 to 80/20 in ratio of how much he talks vs how much you do, is good.
2. CREATE SIMILARITY
It is innate in us humans to gravitate towards people who we find are alike to us. This can range from physique and physical appearances to personalities and belief systems. This is why we have social circles, religions and tribes. They simply are a group of people that share a certain similarity.
How you use this when meeting a stranger is to first listen to whatever he’s saying and then once he mentions something you know about or love, throw in your support on that particular topic. If you’re following the first law which is letting him talk more, you’d easily find a couple of similarities you both share.
So for example, he’s talking about how he started raring dogs from childhood and grew up to love them and you also love dogs, you’d just weigh in on the conversion. Tell him it’s really cool and that you love dogs too. That’s how you create similarity. Another way is to compliment him on something he’s wearing that you also love. It shows you both share a similar taste. This would create instant similarity.
3. USE HUMOUR AND LEARN TO SMILE
Everyone loves a person with a good sense of humour. If you both can share a laugh because of what he or you says, it’ll help create a bond. When using humour, try not to say anything controversial or insultive in any way. Learn to smile at appropriate times. Smiling disarms the other party and makes him trust you more.
4. ASK THE OTHER PARTY ABOUT HIMSELF
When trying to create new friendships, small talk doesn’t cut it. You need to go deeper than that so you can build a strong connection with the person. You do this simply by asking him about himself. Ask him his name, where he’s from, what he does for a living, where he grew up, if he loves his job, why he has a foreign accent, etc. Anything that would make you know more about him brings you both closer.
5. CUT OFF BAD OR UNHELPFUL TOPICS
When you meet an individual and you both speak, you want to leave that person happy not sad. This is how you create friendships. You cannot achieve this when the other party keeps talking about personal sorrowful experiences or negative topics. Unfortunately, you’d encounter this alot if you’re following the talk less law.
How you handle this is to allow him express himself, then sympathize with him (if It’s a personal experience) or acknowledge what he said (if it’s impersonal to him) and then change the subject to something more positive.
I must point out however, there are people who love to dwell on negative topics. They always seem to see life from the bad side. They see themselves as victims of other people’s evil doing. If you encounter this kind of person, no matter how much you try to change the subject, you won’t succeed. I’d advise you to avoid these kinda people. They don’t make good friends. You need positive people around you.
6. BE POSITIVE AND GIVE ENCOURAGEMENT WHERE NECESSARY
In the previous law, I pointed out that you avoid negative people. This also means that you shouldn’t be negative yourself. People gravitate towards those that are positive because it’s contagious, and most people love to be happy.
For instance, say you’re sad and I come into your house happy and beaming with positve energy. Somehow, you’d start feeling better. It’s how it works. Be positive and look at things from the bright side.
You just met the person, don’t begin to him how your life sucks, or that your boss is evil. Do not complain or rant. It doesn’t give a good impression.
Also, learn to say some words of encouragement if the other party talks about a nad experience. Learn to sympathize with people where necessary, and tell them there are better days ahead.
7. GIVE COMPLIMENTS
The act of giving compliments can be very rewarding. Some people use this to flatter, and even when the recipient suspects it’s not genuine, it still disarms the person –making the individual like the giver of the compliment more. Learn to give compliments, genuine ones.
I like your hat.
You look sharp!
Compliments make the individual feel good. And if you make a person feel good, it’ll be easy to create a strong connection.
Another way to compliment someone is when they tell you more about themselves. If he tells you how he volunteered in a charity foundation tell him that’s cool and that he has a good heart. Or if he mentions his favorite musician, tell him he has good taste. You can even compliment him on how smart he is for guessing right where you come from.
8. DO NOT CRITICISE OR INSULT
No one loves criticism, not even those close to you. How much more someone you just met. It can be hard sometimes, but try not to find faults in the person. Even if you do, just ignore. No one is perfect, even yourself. Criticism isn’t a bad thing, coming from a friend. In fact, a good friend criticizes you when necessary. However, coming from someone you just met, it’s upsetting.
Same applies to insults, don’t do it! This should be obvious right? Don’t insult a person you just met if you wanna be friends. But you’d be surprised how many people do this. Wether it is sarcasm, teasing, a joke or argument. Don’t do it.
9. DO NOT STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH THE OTHER PARTY
This is in relation to the law on creating similarity and not criticising. If you don’t disagree with a person it means you’re both similar. And strongly disagreeing with a person is an indirect way of criticising that individual. You’re saying he is wrong. It’s normal to disagree with some views an individual holds, but you don’t have to be critical about it. If you can ignore and move to another topic, then do just that.
Sometimes however, you just have to state your opinion. Do this by first acknowledging what the other party has said and letting the person know you understand why he chooses such a stance. Then tell him what you personally feel about it. And let him know it’s just your personal opinion. That’s how you make new friends.
10. DO NOT GO INTO CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS EXCEPT YOU BOTH SHARE THE SAME VIEWS
This is very simple: controversial topics stirs up arguments which can create dissimilarity. And to create a strong connection with an individual, if similarity is the gas that stirs up the flame, dissimilarity is the fire-extinguisher that kills it. Controversial topics can be politics, religion, feminism, etc.
However, if you can tell an individual shares same views with you on a controversial subject, then talk away! You both will create a strong bond.
11. DO NOT BOAST
If a person sees you as being proud, that individual would rather avoid you. Boasting about your great accomplishments, wealth or status doesn’t help you get closer to your listener. He might feel you’re worlds apart. You might even end up creating rivalry or jealousy, both being the direct opposite of what you want to achieve.
My advise to you is to avoid looking proud in anyway. Humility on the other hand is an admirable trait that makes it easy for people to relate with you. It creates friendships and helps build strong alliances.
So there you have it, a highly effective guide to making new friends and creating strong connections. Heed to them and you’ll find out how amazing it feels to meet a stranger and after an hour you’re both feeling like long lost brothers (or perhaps he feels that way and you’re just glad you formed a new alliance).