Friends have a huge impact on your happiness. Good friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, prevent loneliness and isolation, and even strengthen your health. But close friendships don’t just happen. Many of us struggle to meet new people and develop quality connections. Whatever your age or circumstances, though, it’s never too late to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and improve your quality of life.
1. Spend More Time Around People.
If you want to make friends, you need to put yourself out there somehow in order to meet people. If you just sit alone, friends might come to you, but that’s not likely. If you’re still in school, sit somewhere with other people. It doesn’t have to be the cool table, or a crowded one, but one with at least two other people.
Volunteering is also a great way for people of all ages to meet others. By working together you build bonds with people, and you might meet others who have a passion for changing things the way you do (a common cause).
3. Talk To People.
You can join a club, go to school, or go to church but you still won’t make friends if you don’t actually talk to people. By the same token, you don’t have to be involved with an organization to be social, and any time you talk to someone, you have a chance at making a lasting friend.
4. Make Eye Contact And Smile.
If you have an unfriendly countenance, people are less likely to be receptive to your friendship. Try not squinting, looking bored, frowning or appearing blankly deadpan, folding your arms (this practically screams “don’t talk to me”) or hanging out in a corner; such habits may make you look troubled or disinterested.
5. Start A Conversation.
There are many ways to do this; a comment about your immediate environment.The weather is a classic: “At least it’s not raining like last week!”, a request for help “Can you help me carry a few boxes, if you have a minute?” or “Can you help me decide which one of these is a better gift for my mom?” or a compliment “That’s a nice car.” or “I love your shoes.”
6. Initiate A Get-Together.
You can chat your heart out but it won’t get you a friend if you don’t open up the opportunity for another conversation or meeting. This is especially important if you meet someone who you aren’t otherwise likely to meet again. Seize the day!
7. Be Loyal To A Friend.
Part of being a friend is being prepared to make sacrifices of your time and energy in order to help out your friends. If a friend needs help with an unpleasant chore, or if he or she just needs a shoulder to cry on, be there. If your friends make a joke, laugh with them. Never complain about a friend.
8. Be Reliable.
If you and your friend agree to meet somewhere, don’t be late, and do not stand them up. If you’re not going to make it on time or make it at all, call them as soon as you realize it. Apologize and ask to reschedule. Don’t make them wait for you unexpectedly; it’s rude, and it is certainly not a good way to launch a potential friendship.
9. Be A Good Listener.
Listen carefully to what people say, remember important details about them, their names, their likes and dislikes, ask questions about their interests, and just take the time to learn more about them. You don’t want to be the guy or girl that always has a better story than anyone else or that changes the subject abruptly instead of continuing the flow of conversation.
10. Choose Your Friends Wisely.
As you befriend more people, you may find that some are easier to get along with than others. While you always give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes you realize that certain friendships are unhealthy, such as if a person is obsessively needy or controlling towards you, constantly critical, or introducing dangers or threats into your life. If this is the case, ease your way out of the friendship as gracefully as possible.