HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS Steps 1. Be yourself, or be true to yourself. Don't be another person just to make someone like you. A true friend will like you for who you are, not who you pretend to be. 2. Spend more time around people. If you want to make friends, you first need to put yourself out there somehow in order to meet people. Friends seldom come knocking on your door while you sit at home playing computer games. 3. Join an organization with people who have common interests. You don't necessarily have to have a lot of common interests with people in order to make friends with them. In fact, some of the most rewarding friendships are between two people who don't have much in common at all, but if you specific topic, try searching for just a location. It's a great way to meet new local people! Social networking sites such as Facebook, Frucle and MySpace are great way to meet new people and learn more about the people you meet. 4. Join a sports team. A common misconception about this isthat you have to be really good at playing a particular sport in order to make friends with others on the team, but not all teams are so competitive. As long as you enjoy the sport and support your teammates, joining a local team with a laid-back attitude could be a great way to make new friends. 5. Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way for people of all ages to meet others. By working together you build bonds with people, and you might meet others who have a passion for changing things the way you do—a common cause. 6. Talk to people. You can join a club, go to school, or go to church but you still won't make friends if you don't actually talk to people. By the same token, you don't have to be involved with an organization to be social, and any time you talk to someone, you have a chance at making a lasting friend. You can talk to anybody: the clerk at the video store, the person sitting next to you on the bus, or the person in front of you on the lunch line. Don't be too picky. Most conversations will be a dead-end of sorts--when you may never talk to that person again, or you just remain acquaintances--but once in a while you'll actually make a friend. 7. Make eye contact and smile. If you have an unfriendly countenance, people are less likely to be receptive to your friendship. Be approachable by not squinting (get some glasses), frowning or appearing blankly deadpan, such expressions may look troubled or disinterested. 8. Start a conversation. There are many ways to do this; a comment about your immediate environment (The weather is a classic: "At least it's not raining like last week!"), a request for help ("Can you help me carry a few boxes, if you have a minute?" or "Can you help me decide which one of these is a better gift for my mom?") or a compliment ("That's a nice car." or "I love your shoes."). Follow up immediately with a related question: Do you like this warm weather? What kinds of gifts do you normally buy for your mom? Where did you get shoes like that? 9. Make small talk. Keep the conversation light and cheery. Even if you're complaining about something, make sure it's something you're both dissatisfied with, and emphasize the positive—how such a situation can be avoided in the future, or alternatives. Bounce a few words back and forth for a little bit. Many conversationalists say that it is good to follow a 30/70 (30% talking, 70% listening) pattern during small talk when possible. 10. Introduce yourself at the end of the conversation. It can be as simple as saying "Oh, by the way, my name is...". Once you introduce yourself, the other person will typically do the same. Remember his or her name! If you show that you remembered things from your past conversation(s) with the person, not only will you look intelligent but he or she will see that you were paying attention and are willing to be a true friend. 11. Initiate a get-together. You can chat your heart out but it won't get you a friend if you don't open up the opportunity for another conversation or meeting. This is especially important if you meet someone who you aren't otherwise likely to meet again. Seize the day! 12. If you've discovered that the person you're talking to has a common interest, ask him or her more about it and, if appropriate, whether they get together with others (in a club, for example) to pursue this interest. If so, this is a perfect opportunity to ask about joining them. If you clearly express interest (when? where? can anyone come?) they'll probably invite you. If you have a club, band, church, etc. that you think they might enjoy, take the opportunity to give them your number or email address and invite them to join you. 13. Ask them out for lunch or coffee. That will give you a better opportunity to talk and get to know each other a little bit better. A good way to extend yourself is to say: "Hey, well, I've got to go, but if you ever want to talk over lunch or coffee or anything like that, let me give you my number/e-mail address." This gives the person the opportunity to contact you; they may or may not give you their information in return, but that's fine. Maybe they don't have time for new friends—don't take it personally! Just offer your contact info to whoever seems to be potentially a good friend, and eventually somebody will get in touch. 14. Don't do anything to pressure someone into being friends with you. Never chide acquaintances for failing to invite you to a party, for example; don't call someone repeatedly or stop by uninvited (unless you have established that stopping by unannounced is o.k.); and refrain from overstaying your welcome anywhere. In general, take friendship slowly, and don't try to force intimacy to grow quickly; the move from acquaintance to friend can take a long time. It's understandable to want more of a good thing, but try to err on the side of less. If you are not sure about the pace of your new friendship, check in with your friend and ask directly. Too much, too fast can be scary or intimidating, and not everybody is able to say "Slow down..." - instead, they may run the other way! 15. Be a good friend. Once you've started spending time with potential friends, remember to do your part (i.e. initiating some of the activities, remembering birthdays, asking how the other person is feeling) or else the friendship will become unbalanced and an uneasiness or distance is likely to arise. 16. Be reliable. If you and your friend agree to meet somewhere, don't be late, and do not stand them up. If you're not going to make it on time or make it at all, call them as soon as you realize it. Apologize and ask to reschedule. Don't make them wait for you unexpectedly; it's rude, and it is certainly not a good way to launch a potential friendship. When you say you'll do something, do it. Be someone that people know that they can count on. 17. Be a good listener. Many people think that in order to be seen as "friend material" they have to appear very interesting. Far more important than this, however, is the ability to show that you're interested in others. Listen carefully to what people say, remember important details about them (their names, their likes and dislikes), ask questions about their interests, and just take the time to learn more about them. You don't want to be the guy or girl that always has a better story than anyone else or that changes the subject abruptly instead of continuing the flow of conversation. These people appear too wrapped up in themselves to be good friends--"one-ups-man-ship" is a put down. 18. Be trustworthy. One of the best things about having a friend is that you have someone to whom you can talk about anything, even secrets that you hide from the rest of the world. The key to being a good confidante is the ability to keep secrets, so it's no secret that you shouldn't tell other people things that were told to you in confidence. Before people even feel comfortable opening up to you, however, you need to build trust. Be honest about yourself and your beliefs, and don't gossip about others or spread rumors or they will think you like stories better than friends. 19. Be there for the person. You've probably heard of fair-weather friends. They're the ones who are happy to be around you when things are going well, but are nowhere to be found when you really need them. Part of being a friend is being prepared to make sacrifices of your time and energy in order to help out your friends. If a friend needs help with an unpleasant chore, or if he or she just needs a shoulder to cry on, be there. 20. Choose your friends wisely. As you befriend more people, you may find that some are easier to get along with than others. While you always give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes you realize that certain friendships are unhealthy, such as if a person is obsessively needy or controlling towards you, constantly critical, or introducing dangers or threats into your life. If this is the case, ease your way out of the friendship as gracefully as possible. Preoccupy yourself with other things, such as a new volunteer opportunity, so that you can honestly say that you don't have enough time in your schedule to spend time with them (but don't substitute their time for time with other friends; they may notice and become jealous, and more drama will ensue). Cherish those friends you make who are a positive influence in your life, and do your best to be a positive influence in theirs. 21. "Friends of a Friend"If you have a friend who knows some good people that you aren't aquainted with, ask them to invite those people to hang out with the two of you. It is a great way to make some friends who have common interests.