Friendships are vital for humans. They’re a way to share our lives with someone else and to get emotional support from people who know us best. Friendships can also be a great source of fun, whether it’s going for a walk, playing sports, or just sharing inside jokes. Meeting new people might feel hard sometimes though. Whether you have social anxiety or just don’t know how to approach someone new, there are likely some mistakes that you’ve made when trying to make friends in the past. Here, are 8 mistakes people make when trying to make friends and how you can avoid them!
Mistakes you might be making
1. Thinking that it’s okay to just be friends with anyone
Wanting to make friends can make you jump at any opportunity to meet someone new. People who don’t have social anxiety might try and go up to everyone they meet and introduce themselves to them, however this could be a bad idea. Especially if you’re nervous about meeting people, a lot of people get the wrong idea and might think that you’re looking for a romantic relationship. You also run the risk of making false assumptions about someone and hurting their feelings.
2. Thinking you have to be friends with them right away
If you meet someone new and they seem like they might be interested in being friends with you, you may want to meet up with them right away. However, you shouldn’t be forcing a friendship.
The importance of friends
In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, people reported that having only one or two close friends can actually be better than having many friends. This was true even for people who experience high levels of loneliness. One of the researchers explained:
“In these people, friendships offer more consistency and a more stable environment than they might be able to find within their more fluid social networks. Our research suggests that people with more limited social networks would benefit from focusing more on maintaining and strengthening their relationships with the closest friends.”
The study was looking at friendship quality in the context of loneliness.
How to get out of your comfort zone
It’s easy to get trapped into a daily routine, especially when you’re starting to get to know new people. People who are trying to make friends might feel like they’re doing something wrong by not initiating more or by not having more conversations. Here are a few tips to help you stop getting into a routine and start making more new friends.
Try to approach people while in groups
When we think about a group of people in conversation, it often feels like an intimidating and intimidating situation. However, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people. Instead of waiting around to be approached, try to get involved in the conversation by joining in on a topic or saying something unique.
Getting people’s attention
Everyone gets nervous at first. But the key is to just go for it, and don’t worry about what other people are thinking.
Not telling them what they can bring
In this situation, people just don’t know what to bring or say because they’re nervous too. For example, if they’re buying a birthday gift for someone, they might say something like, “I’m looking for something that won’t cost a lot of money,” and they end up saying no to a great gift because they forgot that it would cost money. Also, don’t leave them hanging when you don’t know how you’re going to respond when someone asks you what you’re planning on doing for a long-term relationship.
Just because someone has a bad attitude, it doesn’t mean they can’t make friends. It just means you have to give people a chance.
Communication and body language
It’s hard to open up to someone new when you don’t know how they will react to you or your words. When you’re nervous about starting a conversation, you tend to use your body language to deflect. You hold your body differently and your facial expressions are a little more tense. This might be why it’s hard to start conversations and feel comfortable enough to let your guard down. To avoid this, become comfortable talking to someone you’ve never talked to before and loosen up about things you normally wouldn’t talk about in casual settings.
Don’t ask too many questions when you first meet a new person, unless you know that they’ll be able to answer them. When you’re unsure of how to talk to someone, it’s better to ask fewer questions rather than more.
How to find the right people
You might think that all you need to do is find people to date or have a good time with, but that isn’t true. A person you meet in college or on a dating app might not be someone you connect with on a deeper level. The same goes for people you meet in a workplace or during a networking event. You have to be very careful about the people you invite to join you for the day.
The kind of people you choose to associate with can determine your quality of life for years to come. If you choose the wrong friends or people, your life will be a shambles. When you can put this into perspective, it’s easier to be picky when it comes to people you choose to associate with.
What type of people are you attracted to?
Who we are attracted to has a lot to do with our personalities.
I don’t know what to say
It’s hard to make a new friend when you don’t know what to say to someone. When you approach someone, try to focus on what they’re saying rather than what they’re wearing or what they look like. This isn’t to say that you should ignore how they look, but rather you should focus on them. The most important thing is that you make an impression on this person that they remember you and get a sense of who you are as a person.
I’m too shy or socially anxious
Remember that when you think of a friend, you are thinking of someone who is usually happy and positive. Do yourself a favor and meet a few new people every once in a while. When you meet someone who’s more reserved or anxious, don’t let them bring you down or make you feel like you’re not good enough. Challenge them to a game, invite them to something, or offer them some help! You might just be surprised who you meet.
Too picky or paranoid about going out with someone
If you’re always worried about whether or not you’ll like a new friend, then you probably won’t like them that much! When you only like people who fit certain stereotypes about you, then you’re missing out on some great people.
I’m not sure where to start
Some people just don’t know how to get involved in the small talk. When you’re in a social setting, you want to start chatting with people, but for some people, small talk isn’t their strong point. It might take a while before they’re comfortable enough to start talking to someone new. Don’t worry though, small talk can also be fun, especially if you’re at a party. This way you can meet new people and make friends that you know in person.
I’m not sure if I have enough in common with this person
You might feel like you know a lot about someone, but that doesn’t mean that you have enough things in common to be friends. People get too caught up in their own backgrounds and experiences to actually care about the same things that you do.