Thursday, August 07, 2008

Advice I Could Use

Recently, I printed a WikiHow article intended to help men get over being the nice guy who always finishes last. Today I found this article on making friends and thought there is no one else in the world that needs this article more than me. So I post it here in hopes that eventually I'll actually read it. Yeah, I'm posting it without reading it first. Wacky? Well maybe. I know it's info I need, but there's a bit of apprehension to actually reading it. Apprehensive about what? Two things: (1) that the advice will be to do things I can't or won't do and/or (2) that the advice will be to do things I've already tried and failed. Ick. Oh well, here it is. Let me know in the comments if it's any good, and maybe eventually I'll actually read it.

How to Make Friends

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

There's a certain beauty in being a lone wolf. You can relax more often and have time to yourself. You have more time to do things you want to do, like take introspective walks, read books, write poetry, and other solitary endeavors. If you want to diversify your options, though, there are literally billions of potential friends in the world. What's more, many of these people want to make friends just as much as you do. So follow these steps to meet new people and form strong, lasting friendships.


  1. Spend more time around people. If you want to make friends, you first need to put yourself out there somehow. Friends don't come knocking on your door while you sit at home watching TV. If the people you're already around (e.g. at work or school) aren't friend material for whatever reasons, it's not the end of the world.
    • Join a club 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 have something in common with people, it can make it a lot easier to start a conversation and plan activities together.
    • Join a sports team. A common misconception about this is that 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.
    • 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.
    • Get online. In general, the Internet is a great place to make friends, but... it's also easy to invest a lot of time online with someone you think is a friend, and then you never meet them because of time and distance. Expect to have to sift through a lot of people online before you find the one or two great friends, the kind who will be there for you when you really need them. The Internet can also help you find other people around the world who share your interests even if you live in an isolated place. And even though the internet is a great place in general you still have to be cautious because not every person you meet online are who they say they are.

  2. Talk to people. You can join a club, go to school, or go to church, and 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 talk to people, 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 picky. Most conversations will be a dead-end of sorts, in that you may never talk to that person again or you'll just remain acquaintances, but once in a while you'll actually make a friend.
    • Make eye contact and smile. If you have an unfriendly countenance, people are less likely to be receptive to your friendship. Look approachable.
    • Start a conversation. There are several 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 warm weather? What kinds of gifts do you normally buy for your mom? Where did you get shoes like that?
    • 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 back and forth for a little bit.
    • Introduce yourself towards 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.

  3. Initiate a get-together. You can chat your heart out but it won't get you far if you don't open up the opportunity for another meeting. This is especially important if you meet someone who you aren't otherwise likely to meet again. Seize the day!
    • 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.
    • 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, 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 a potentially good friend, and eventually somebody will get in touch.
    • 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 over and over or stop by uninvited; and never overstay your welcome anywhere. In general, take friendship slowly, and don't try to become close to somebody right away. The move from acquaintance to friend can take a long time, and if you appear too clingy, potential friends may think you're too much work.

  4. Be a good friend. Once you've started spending time with potential friends, remember to do your part or else the friendship will dissolve as quickly as it materializes.
    • 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; it's rude, and not a good way to launch a friendship. When you say you'll do something, do it. Be someone that people know that they can count on.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Be there. 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.

  5. Choose your friends wisely. As you befriend more people, you might find that some are easier to get along with than others. While you should always give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes you realize that certain friendships are unhealthy, such as if the person is obsessively needy towards you, or 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 that time for other friends; they may notice and become jealous, and 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.


  • You don't have to be a superstar to be fun. You don't even have to do cartwheels. You do need to be positive and friendly, however, so that people feel good when they're around you. From the very first conversation you have with someone, you should use body language to convey that you are affable, non-threatening, and approachable. Smile frequently, laugh often, and make eye contact. In your words, be confident, but don't be cocky, condescending, or mean-spirited.


  • Don't try to change yourself in order to fit in to make new friends. A good friend sometimes does things he or she doesn't want to do, such as helping a friend move or going to see a band that you don't really like, but you should never feel pressured to do something you think is wrong. Stay true to your convictions and beliefs, and if this causes you to lose some friends, you're better off without them. You'll also find that your integrity may help you win a lot of other friends, and if you just be yourself you'll make friends who like you for who you are.
  • Never leave old friends because you like someone else more. This is a big, bad mistake. It's great to have different groups of friends, but if you abandon one group for another, you may soon find yourself without any friends at all.
  • Be careful about getting together with people that you meet online. They might not be who they say they are.
  • Don't try to buy friends by giving people gifts or money. While it's nice to give a friend a gift sometimes, if you go overboard, it's creepy. A person who will "be your friend" because you buy him or her things probably just likes things, not you.

Related wikiHows

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Fusion said...

That's one reason I want to move to a bigger city, so I can have more interaction with others. I checked on a camera club, and found none in north idaho, the closest one is a 45 minute drive away...
I want to make some new friends IRL once I get back in Idaho, thanks for putting up this info too TS!

Trueself said...

Fuse - If a bigger city works for you then that's what you need to do. For me, I do better in smaller places -- less intimidating somehow.