How To Make New Friends!
It’s kind of a running joke on YouTube about just how much I move. I’ve been in five apartments in the last four years in four different cities and two different states. With that obviously came a lot of apartment tours- but what you didn’t see was me constantly starting over in the friendship department. So for today’s article I thought I would write about how to make new friends and how to cultivate real relationships!
I moved downtown Chicago in 2012 and spent the next year and a half creating real relationships in my new city. By 2014, I had developed a real group of friends that I went to church with, had dinner parties with- they became my city family that I basically did life with. So I was obviously sad that my decision to leave Chicago also meant leaving my group. It’s now been over a year since I moved, and I’m happy to tell you that I’ve made new friendships that also feel like my family in a city that is very far away from my real home. So whether you’re moving to a new city or starting a new school, I’m going to give you my top tips on starting new friendships!
1. Step out of your comfort zone
Everyone feels uncomfortable in new situations and is hoping that people will be nice to them. Introduce yourself first! I like to be the person to go right in and break the ice. I’ll be the one who initiates the hello or the hug and says their name first. When you realize that everyone is feeling how you are [nervous, uncomfortable, awkward] it makes the situation seem less scary. If you’re somewhere like college orientation or a first day of a new project, remember that everyone feels just as awkward as you. The look they’re making is probably because they’re stressing out about how they look, not some passive demonstration of how they think you look. Think of a time you were new in a place and a person reached out and said hi to you. I’m guessing you were never like ‘wow, who’s the weirdo who said hi to me?’ I bet you appreciated it and were probably even relieved that someone talked to you. Which brings me to my next point..
2. Be the friend that you want to have
Treat others how you want to be treated! You’re probably sitting here right now like ‘Wait.. you’re telling me your top tips on how to make friends are actually tips on how to BE a good friend?’ YEP! Plot twist! #PlotTwistsAreMyFavorite
A. Just as you would hope someone would talk to you on your first day, be the person who would reach out to someone when they’re the new person. Be the kind of friend that you would want to have. If you want to have real, quality friendships, you need to first be that person to attract like minded people. You can’t complain that you don’t have a solid group of friends but then be a super flaky person. Commit to people and to your plans if you want them to do the same for you!
B. Be interested in other people. When you meet new people, talk to them about them. Ask them about themselves and their life. Nothing makes people more comfortable, and more comfortable with you, then you asking them about them. Ask about their stories- and really listen. Find out where they’re from, what they do, what their hobbies are. You’ll feel so much less awkward when you stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on them.
C. Invest in other people: Show them you listened to their stories and remember them. Ask to get together with them. Actually follow through with those plans. You can’t ever make real relationships without putting yourself on the line a little bit!
Okay, so now you’re an awesome person! Cool. I already want to be your friend. But we have to find each other! That brings me to my last tip-
3. Go where the people you want to be with are
This tip seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t follow this. What’s important to you? What are the things you like to spend your time doing?
For example: My faith is incredibly important to me. I want to surround myself with like minded people whose advice will parallel my priorities and my morals. I found most of my friendships through my church, and through smaller groups within my church. My closest female friendships back in Chicago came from my small group, and I’m forever thankful for how they made such a big city feel like home.
The same concept applies to all areas of life. You’ll probably find the people that you will love by doing the activities that you already love. Do you want friends that push you to achieve your health goals? Sign up for an exercise class that you’ve always been wanting to try! Sign up for groups, volunteer at different organizations, show up at events. Say hi. Introduce yourself. You already have some common ground! And you’re an awesome person. Why wouldn’t they want to be your friend?!
I hope my advice could help inspire you to stress less about meeting new people! Do you have any tips on how you made a new friend? Or any funny situations about how you became friends with your current group? Let me know in the comments!