Making friends seems to come easily to men, but for women, it’s different. Women tend to categorize their friendships. For example, you have your “mom friends,” or “high school friends,” and so on. This mindset, especially with people you’ve known for a long time, can make it hard to practice the skills you need to make new friends.
Everyone wants to be liked and appreciated, yes, but that kind of appreciation doesn’t always come easily or happen naturally. You have to be the person worthy of that kind of admiration, and being the kind of person others are attracted to (not even in a romantic or physical sense) needs its own time and attention. Self-help speaker Wayne W. Dyer says, “You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.” If you want to make other people addicted to your presence, here’s how.
Change Your Greeting
Whether you’ve met an individual just once or hundreds of times, it’s time to change your greeting, especially if you want to get a conversation going. Asking the other person “How are you?” is basic politeness and good manners, but after they’ve asked how you are, your conversation is more or less at a standstill. Where do you go from there? Standing awkwardly together with no conversation will motivate both of you to move away from the other, not closer together.
Instead, ask what they’ve been doing or what they’ve been up to as your opener. People love talking about themselves – science says, on average, we spend 60% of a conversation talking about ourselves – and having another person ask about your day-to-day life or giving you an opportunity to brag about yourself is flattering. You’ll also mark yourself as a master communicator and someone who can hold a conversation long after initial awkward niceties, a trait that keeps people coming back to you.
Know What’s Interesting About You
All of us inwardly groan during classes or work functions when we’re asked to give a fun fact about ourselves. But unfortunately, you’ll probably be asked more than you think, and having these facts on hand can be something useful to integrate into meeting new people. Are you a published poet, or do you do triathlons in your spare time? Share why.
We tend to think that there’s absolutely nothing interesting about ourselves, but the truth is, even the most boring person has something they’ve experienced or done that their new friend hasn’t. In the future, have at least two or three things in the back of your mind that you can share with coworkers at your new job or with your college orientation group. Whether you’ve traveled to far-flung, exotic locations or have extensive knowledge on a niche subject or learned how to crochet from your grandmother, don’t be scared to share what’s intriguing about you.
Disagree with Them
Our culture now associates disagreement with being “divisive,” but the truth is, disagreement in relationships is good and even healthy. Consistently agreeing with people doesn’t automatically make you a yes man, but people might remember a disagreement more than they remember those who agree with them, especially in professional circles.
If someone you want to like you says something you disagree with, you might feel that you’re obligated to affirm their viewpoint for them to like you. But if you feel strongly about something, be it social issues or contentious topics like gender dynamics and you have the research and conviction to support your perspective, then share it with them. Even if you don’t have “experts” or facts to back up your opinion, share that too. It’s an opinion! Not enough people today are comfortable sharing that they don’t have all the answers, even though most of us don’t.
Your colleagues or acquaintances might respect you more for having the pluck to go against the grain in a group of people who all think the same way. It’s good for people to hear other opinions outside their usual way of thinking, and if your opinion in some way leads them to think negatively of you, that’s their conclusion, not yours.
In order to have the power to comfortably disagree with people, share information about yourself, or even exist without constantly agonizing about what others think of you, you have to be confident. It’s not really enough to tell yourself this; you have to practice it and express it in nearly every aspect of your life, especially when it comes to meeting new people or making new friends.
People are attracted to confidence. Being around confident people helps make us feel more confident by being with them, and that’s certainly an addicting quality most of us don’t get enough of in our own lives. Whether it comes to your appearance, attitude, or values, be self-assured, assertive, and calm, cool, and collected. Confidence doesn’t come easily to all of us, but it’s something that can definitely be learned.
Practice Active Listening
We might have heard of active listening before but have trouble defining it. Simply put, it’s the opposite of listening passively. When someone confides in you or you’re having a conversation, do you look at your phone or stare off into the distance, only nodding or affirming when they ask you to? That’s passive listening.
Active listening means being invested in the conversation. That means phone away, eye contact, and expressing open, comforting body language. This person, for whatever reason, feels that they can confide in you, and that says a lot about what they think of you. Basic human decency means we owe it to them to pay attention.
Active listening also means not interjecting yourself into the conversation, and asking clarifying questions to show you have an interest in what they’re expressing. Let them speak for as long as they need to, offer words of advice or comfort when asked, and make this practice a habit. When you integrate active listening into your personality, it’s something others not only pick up on, but want to mirror as well.
Laugh at Yourself
Do people constantly want to be around the person who takes themselves (and everything else, for that matter) way too seriously? Not at all. There’s a time for solemnity and thoughtfulness, but bringing those qualities into every social interaction can label you as the Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy, when you’re neither.
We’ve all done something embarrassing we wish we could take back or something that makes us want to move to the center of the earth just thinking about it. But laughing at ourselves takes all the negative power away from that. Let’s say that someone brings up something embarrassing or awkward that you did to play on your insecurity. Laughing about it or looking at it with humor not only reshapes how you think about that memory, but takes away their ability to needle at your self-esteem. Besides, you can’t change the past anyway, so why not laugh about it?
Make Sure They Know They Can Count on You
Dependability is one of the best qualities a true friend can have. When we feel like there’s nowhere else to go, having that one person we know we can count on makes the difference between someone we wave to in passing and a ride-or-die kindred spirit.
It may be easy to be there during the good times, but being a support system during the bad times is what sets you apart and shows the mettle of your relationship. Do you run from the hard times because you’ve got things going on in your own life, or do you embrace them? We all hope someone would do that for us, and therefore it’s crucial to be the kind of friend we’d want to have.
There are some people we can’t get enough of, and there are others we wish would leave as soon as they walk in! What’s the distinction? Anyone can attract people by the qualities they display, but we keep them coming back to us by the qualities we possess. That’s the difference between an addicting personality and one we can’t help but avoid.
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