Making friends when I was a kid and a teenager was easy for me. When you’re in school and sports, there are an ample amount of people that you can play with. But when I hit my early 30’s, I realized I didn’t actually know how to make friends.
I was at a time in my life when I had two small kids. The friends I did have either had small kids or no kids. Trying to find a time to go out with the friends with small kids was getting more and more difficult. The friends with no kids were out partying and I didn’t want to stay up past 10 pm anymore because my tiny humans would be up at 6 am. I knew I needed to add to my friend list
That’s when I realized that I didn’t actually know how to make friends. The friends I had were from school and work and at that time, I wasn’t in either of those. I felt lost and lonely…
I started searching online for ‘How to make friends’ and to my surprise, there wasn’t anything in one place that told me. I like lists and bullet points to tell me the steps to take to do a task and I wasn’t finding it. I got frustrated…why was this such a mystery?!? As humans, we’re social beings and this should be a lesson that everyone has to take.
So after researching the topic for a few years and putting it into practice, these 5 Steps are my summary of everything I found. If you do these steps, you will be successful in finding a friend or group of friends. You will have to be vulnerable and you will have to be nice. You will have to put effort into making a connection by being fun and outgoing and taking the lead. But you will connect with others and you will get friends.
5 Steps to Making Friends
1. Present Yourself Positively & Be Open to New Friendships
First, I’m going to say that you need to be genuine with people. Be you and you will attract people similar to you. Plus, it’s easier to be you than to put on an act for the rest of your life.
That being said, you can do some simple things to present yourself more positively.
- Greet people with a smile. Smiles are contagious and people instantly feel better when they smile. They will remember feeling good around you.
- Talk loud enough to be heard.
- Eye contact is important. This helps the person to trust you.
- Say the person’s name. People like to hear their own name. Plus it will help you to remember their name.
- Provide small acts of kindness – save a seat, share a treat, help with a small task, compliment them, etc. Don’t go overboard – it looks too desperate.
- Know your online presence. People will look you up on Facebook, Instagram, etc. Know what you want to show the world and potential friends and edit your profiles accordingly.
2. Share Activities & Interests with People
You need to find a group of people that share similar interests to you. You may start a new hobby or activity. Here is also a list of 15 Top Places to Meet New Friends that includes different groups of people to find potential friends. And it touches on making your own groups – book clubs, recipe clubs, neighbour parties, mom/dad groups, etc.
This is where you’re going to start connecting with people. Move slow. Get to know people and don’t rush into friendship right away. If you move too fast, people will find you overbearing and shy away from you.
3. Arrange a “Playdate” & Make It Fun
As parents, we’re all about the playdates for our kids but why don’t we arrange them for ourselves. Arrange to meet the person or persons for an outing based on your common interest. Here are some examples:
- If you play sports together, you may want to meet them for a drink at the pub to watch the local sporting team.
- If you are involved in crafting, you may want to meet at a craft sale.
- If you are involved in a church, you may want to meet at a specific class one evening.
- If you are both into music, you may want to go to a concert together.
- If you are in dog classes together, you may want to meet at a dog park for a walk.
The emphasis should be on having fun at this activity! People want to be around fun people! This will make it memorable and they will want to meet up again.
4. Invite Them Into Your Home
This is the next level of the friendship! After a few times of going out on “playdates”, it’s time to invite them into your personal space. This could be for a coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks, crafting, etc. Having them in your home will help them to understand you more.
Make sure your home is clean and inviting. It doesn’t have to be spotless but should look relatively tidy and smell neutral or pleasant.
Be a good host – make sure they know where to put their jacket, provide some food and drinks, check in on them if they don’t know anyone at a party. You are responsible for them having a good time.
5. Maintain the Friendship
You and your new friend/friends should take turns planning events/outings and having each other over at your homes. This will help cement the friendship. Here are a few points to help you keep and grow the connection.
- Make an effort to know what’s going on in your friend’s life and reach out to them (sick kids, doctor’s appointment, work meeting, family event, etc). If your friend tells you about something on a specific date, put it in your calendar and check in on them by calling, sending a text/email. Your friend will appreciate the thoughtfulness. Also if you see something on social media, send them a direct message or text to connect.
- Know your friend’s goals & support them (career, family, health, etc). Be happy for your friend for moving towards their goals.
- Make time for your friend. It sounds simple but life goes by quickly and sometimes it’s been months since you’ve spent time with your friend. Make a reoccurring reminder on the first of the month in your calendar to make plans with friends. Making time for friends shows that you value their friendship.
- Set up a tradition – brunch with the girls every third Sunday of every month, Friday night drinks, lunch on Fridays with coworkers, etc. This way, no one has to plan and it’s a standing date. These work really well for our busy lives.
Here is a free printable. Print it out and put it in your bedroom or on your fridge. Just remove it from the fridge before you hit step number 4 or people may be creeped out!
Remember, you have to be vulnerable and ask someone out for an outing. This is difficult for some people but the 10 seconds of uncomfortableness could lead to a lifetime of friendship and support from someone.