Life Support: How to make friends

Essential skills for the modern world

Be Friendly

It is a cruel irony that people who are lonely and desperate to make friends often come across as unfriendly. While some people attract new friends like a magnet, for others it is not so easy. It can be especially difficult for reserved or quiet individuals, who may take time to connect with others. Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to counteract this.

Make an effort

No-one's going to want to be friends with someone with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp, so be sure to smile. Striking up a conversation can be daunting, but do try. Start small and keep chat natural and allow things to develop from there.

Keep an open mind

Don't be too quick to dismiss the people you meet. While it is easy to assume that one doesn't have much in common with strangers, this can be a big mistake. A friend likes nothing better than regaling her buddies of several years' standing with tales of how she couldn't stand them on first meeting, for being everything from "too mouthy" to "too bland". Living proof that it's best not to set too much store on first impressions.

Say yes

To dinner, drinks, coffee, life-drawing... anything. No-one ever made friends sitting at home watching TV, so get out there. Even if you don't go on to become best mates with the person who invited you along, attending lots of social events gives you a good chance of meeting other people who you do click with.

Invest your time

Starting a new job or moving to a new area can leave even the most socially adept of us running low on friends. While it takes time and shared experiences to become true friends – why we often regard old friends from school as the closest – don't let this put you off making new friends. Put in the effort and you will get there!

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