Keys to friendship – Making friends

Positive friendships are great for your mental health and overall wellbeing.

However, there is currently a rising epidemic of loneliness and many people struggle to develop quality connections with others. It can be hard to form friendships, but with enough effort and patience you can create a network of close friends.

Think about what your goals are your social life. What kind of friends do you want to have?

What would you like to do with them?

How do these friendships fit in your life?

Here are the basic steps to making friends:

1. Find potential friends

2. Do stuff with them

3. Grow the relationship

Step 1: find potential friends 

When it comes to cultivating friendships, you can either forge deeper friendships with people you already know (acquaintances) or create new friendships by meeting new people.

Acquaintances are often easier because you already know each other. For example, an acquaintance could just be a friend that you lost contact with.

Meeting new people is a great way to find potential friends as well. There are many ways to meet people. Most importantly, you must go where people are. Join hobby groups, clubs, or communities. This will help you find people with shared interests.

Alternatively, make friends through your work or school. You already spend a lot of time at these places, so it’s easy to have repeated contact with someone. Finally, a great way of meeting friends is asking your existing friends to introduce you to new people. On average, people whom you are friends with have more friends than you (the Friendship Paradox).

Step 2: Do stuff with potential friends 

The key to making friends is additional interaction. Once you’ve met potential friends, get their contact information. Then, do stuff with them again. Often, you will have to take the initiative to invite people to do things with you several times. This can be difficult and lead to a lot of rejection, but it’s a critical step to forming friendships.

If you invite someone and they say no, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on them immediately. They could have been busy with something else. Try to invite them a few more times before moving on. On the other hand, if you get invited to something, lean towards agreeing!

Step 3: Grow the relationship 

Once you’ve forged a connection with your friends, continue to keep in touch with them and invite them to more things.

Not all connections will develop into close friends, and that’s okay. Maybe they’re at a point in their life where they’re not interested in friends, or maybe you just don’t feel great around them.

Self-disclosure and support are often important components of a close friendship.

Be a good listener; strive to be the friend that you would like to have.

After you’ve completed step 3, repeat steps 1 through 3!