How To Make Friends And Keep Them

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Do you find it difficult to make new friends? Or keep friendships alive? Do you find yourself in a situation where you would love to have close friends but find no way to make that a reality?

While it is easy to make friends in childhood, more and more people find that once they leave college, new friends become a rarity. There are a lot of colleagues and co-workers and great people you gel well with. But somehow, nothing translates itself into friendship that stays alive.

While some are lucky enough to have their childhood friends last a lifetime, a vast majority of us find our stream of friendships thinning away. The old friends wander away and the new ones are difficult to find and make.

So here are some simple pointers on how to make friends and keep them –

To Make New Friends ….

  1. Expose yourself to new people
    You obviously won’t find people knocking at your door and asking you to be friends with them. To make new friends, you got to meet and interact with new people. And not only that, you need to meet the same group of people frequently enough to click and to know each other enough to carry the friendship forward.

A great way to do this is to find groups/activities of things you love doing or would love to learn. This will bring you together with people who already share your passions and interests – a great thing to build your friendship upon. So start thinking of groups you can join or even start for that matter.

  • Increase one on one interaction
    Joining a group is not enough. If you simply come, do your thing and go, the entire exercise will be futile. The more you interact with people one on one, the more you get to know people, the more chances you have of clicking right and bonding with them. The more you interact, the more chances you get to make friends. 

While making friends means being tolerant of shortcomings and celebrating the positives (since no one’s perfect), it does not mean that you make anyone your friend. Be choosy but not too choosy. Give people a chance but don’t force yourself if you feel uncomfortable. And most importantly, don’t forget to be yourself. A friendship formed when you are acting as someone else can’t and won’t last.

An excellent way to get opportunities to interact one on one with others is to be early at the meeting place. If you are first, you get alone time with others and hence get to know them better.

  • Send great vibes
    A great mindset to have when you meet new people is that they are already your friends. This not only makes you feel comfortable and friendly towards others, but people will often reciprocate in kind. People instantly like people who seem friendly and who like them. It’s natural to return whatever it is that you are getting. So send vibes of friendship and get the same back. 

To Keep Your Friends….

  1. Stay in touch
    It is rightly said that it is easy to make friends but difficult to keep them. In any relationship, it’s the maintenance part which requires work and effort on your end. To stay in touch means to call up when not required just to know what’s going on in other person’s life. To stay in touch means to let the other person know that you are interested in the little stuff that happens in their lives. To stay in touch means to convey that you care and that they are important to you.

Birthdays, anniversaries, New Years, etc., provide you with an excuse to call the other person. Although you simply can’t wait for such events to come. Meeting regularly by way of monthly get togethers or game night or lunch/dinners, are great ways to stay in touch. With SMS, email, and social platforms like Facebook, it’s become easier than before to stay in touch with each other.

  • Be there for friends
    People remember people who stand by them in their joys and sorrows. It’s important to be there for friends in their times of celebration and times when they need someone.No matter how busy you are or how inconvenient it is, doesn’t matter if you are late by a couple of days, be there for your folks. There is nothing that cements a bond of friendship as strong as being there for the other person on important days/times of their life. 
  • Share your life
    As much is being part of other person’s life important, that much important it is to open up and share your life with them. This is the beauty and simplicity of friendship. You care and share each other’s life. By allowing friends to be a part of your life, by sharing with them glimpses of your life, you provide them with a chance to know you better; you provide them with a chance to be your friend. 

In the end, don’t forget that your first friend is you. If you can comfortably be you, if you can accept and love yourself just the way you are, if you can be your very best friend, then you will find friends everywhere. This is because it is easy to make friends when there is no need to please the other, when you can be genuine and be yourself. It is easy to make friends when you are not focused on what impression you are making, whether you are looking good or what others are thinking about you. It is easy to make friends when you are simply you and you open space for the other person to be just who he/she is.

Written on 2/25/2012 by Avani Mehta. Avani writes on motivation, happiness and personal effectiveness on her personal development blog. Hop on to her site to grab a copy of her free e-book: The Fabulous Motivators. Photo Credit: mikebaird
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