Female Fiasco: How to Make Friends

Aug 27, 2013 -- 7:10am

 

Since I’m new in town, I need to make some friends…if only this were like elementary school where I could walk up to a random kid and say do you want to be my friend?

I guess I could do that now, but that might be a little awkward. 

Once you’re out of school and in the “real world” its not as easy to get out there and make friends.  According to the HappinessProject.com, here are some ways to make friends in a new place: 

1. Show up. Just as Woody Allen said that “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” a big part of friendship is showing up. Whenever you have the chance to see other people, take it. Go to the party. Stop by someone’s desk. Make the effort.

Also, the mere exposure effect describes the fact that repeated exposure makes you like someone better – and makes that person like you better, too. You’re much more likely to become friends with someone if you see him or her often.

2. Join a group. Being part of a natural group, where you have common interests and are brought together automatically, is the easiest way to make friends: starting a new job, taking a class, having a baby, joining a congregation, or moving to a new neighborhood are great opportunities to join a group. If those situations aren’t an option, try to find a different group to join. Get a dog, for example. Or pursue a hobby more seriously. An added advantage to making friends through a group is that you can strengthen your friendships to several people at once — very helpful if you don’t have a lot of free time.

3. Form a group. If you can’t find an existing group to join, start a group based around something that interests you.  Studies show that each common interest between people boosts the chances of a lasting relationship, and also brings about a 2% increase in life satisfaction.  Movies, wine, cheese, pets, marathon-training, a language, a worthy cause…I know people in all these sorts of groups.

4. Say nice things about other people. It’s a kind way to behave; also, studies show that because of the psychological phenomenon of spontaneous trait transference, people unintentionally transfer to you the traits you ascribe to other people. So if you tell Jean that Pat is arrogant, unconsciously Jean associates that quality with you. On the other hand, if you say that Pat is hilarious, you’ll be linked to that quality.

5. Set a target. This strategy sounds very calculating, but it has really worked for me. When I enter a situation where I meet a new set of people, I set myself the goal of making three new friends. This seems artificial, but somehow, this shift makes me behave differently, it makes me more open to people, it prompts me to make the effort to say more than a perfunctory hello.

6.Make an effort to smile. Big surprise, studies show that the amount of time you smile during a conversation has a direct effect on how friendly you’re perceived to be. In fact, people who can’t smile due to facial paralysis have trouble with relationships.

7. Make friends with friends-of-friends. “Triadic closure” is the term for the fact that people tend to befriend the friends of their friends. So friends-of-friends is an excellent place to start if you’re trying to expand your circle.

What other things can I do to make friends in the tri-states?!

Email me at tory@1017thebull.com or tweet me @torythebull

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