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Making friends

While being alone is kind of easy and comfortable, meeting new people in real life can be somewhat scary. However, it isn't as hard as it seems!

The importance of the group and the possibilities

You might think you live in a wasteland regarding your purposes, intentions, interests, and affinities. You're wrong. That's a weak mindset for you to live by, so start using these stepping stones. Stop thinking you already know everything and everyone around, you don't. You're not unique in that sense, when you start to focus, moving, putting in the time and the effort and flipping stones over-not the stepping ones-, more possibilities appear, more doors open up. Being afraid or, God forbid, being lazy, is doomed to fail. Motion creates emotion, it rhymes and it's just as true as the sun will rise again tomorrow.

The twisted mentality of the modern world “lone wolf”, some individualistic hero is just an unrealistic myth. Lone wolves are usually unadjusted losers who cannot make friends and, in order to cope with this, claim not to need them anyway. Do not fall for this mindset. It's time to meet your neighbor, your classmates, etc..

Observers believe we may be likely to face extreme situations, and few people will be prepared for them. We'll need all the help we can get. It is thus better to build up mutual trust relationships before-hand than facing anons dealing with people when everything has just turned chaotic. In the history of societal disasters, collapses and radical authoritarianism are commonplace. Those who stood alone were easy prey to people who had built gangs. Remember - apes alone strong, but apes together are invincible.

There are many easier ways to deal with people, which we will explore here.

Social excuses

The most important ally to make new friends is to understand the “Social Excuses” which are the moments in which people think it's absolutely normal to talk to strangers and won't judge you. The social excuse takes up the pressure of each social contact. Basically, you have the “Excuse” to talk at that moment about that topic. Besides that, be aware that some people are too busy thinking about themselves than to spend one moment thinking about you, so don't overthink this, they are just guidelines.

To whom to talk depends on the context. Usually, it's better to approach those who are alone. If you are still too nervous to talk with girls, approach the males first of those groups, or with girls who you aren't attracted to. This is how to make friends, not how to get a girlfriend, after you have gained enough social skills, you can try that.

Some examples:

Being the new guy or girl

In a new class, no one knows each other and everyone is eager to make friends. This is a great moment. If you are new to a Church, a sports club, or a hobby group, nobody there will find it strange that the new guy strikes up a conversation with another person or question about some basic stuff, for example, schedules, activities, etc.

Most people can relate to being the new person somewhere and will actively try to help you as long as you put in some effort. Other examples of situations may include (but are not limited to!):

Common questions

Even if you aren't new, there is always a lot of news or changes in every group which can be asked to people in those groups without any pressure, by the other hand, while sharing activities, it's easy to start a conversation with someone you have at your side, these things are natural, just asking their name is socially acceptable. (FIXME: clarify)

We can strategically use the first two “social excuses” to maximize our results. For example, when you are the new one, try to notice first who is the more social/the informal leader/the more open of the group, and ask them about something of the group and tell them that you are new, so they can help you to better introduce yourself to more people with less social pressure.

By the other hand you can always go to the official hierarchy. For example, a priest might add you to the WhatsApp group of the parish and introduce you to other people.

Note: although this guide is mainly for in real-life interactions, we recommend in moderation, meeting up with people you meet online is a clear moment where there is an ideal ‘social excuse’ moment as you will already share the same interest, However, safety first, only meet in public places, don't share too much personal info, know the other person for a reasonable length of time before meeting to ensure you do some sort of check on the person you are about to meet. (FIXME: move to group discovery)

Where you can find yourself in situations to be able to use those excuses? The first article we made on “How to make a Fren Moment” article answers that, we explain in which groups and activities you can be there and be a part of them while having the opportunity to meet people with something in common, even if it is little, it will be enough. (FIXME: clarify)

Keeping a favourable mindset

Another important ally in making new friends is a positive and friendly mindset. The average person on this planet will almost always be friendly to friendly people. They will also respond positively to people who are positive and open. A smile, a sincere compliment, and a positive attitude open a lot of doors that are usually closed. Be ready to accept invitations from people for their activities. Be aware of this while you try to engage with people. You reap what you sow.

Take note that you shouldn't force this, you should focus on the little steps so it can come out of naturally, don't force the situation, the more you practice and talk with people, the more naturally the conversation will end up, also the more people you know and be around them, the more you will be able to figure out what is or not okay to do, so be patient.

Being open means that you should be doing questions, but in a moderated way, and also to learn to tone down your more controversial opinions. Also, be aware that when you are asked a question there are things like open and closed answers. If you just answer “yes” to a question it doesn’t leave a lot of room for follow-up. If you however tell “yes, but I like this too, or sure but what’s your opinion on this topic”, you oil the engine of the conversation and keep it going.

If you follow these articles, yeah maybe you don't fit perfectly with these groups, but you are earning experience and social skills, that's the important thing, even if you don't find people exactly like you, you can find worthy allies and stepping stones to meet better people, if anything, just plant seeds.

Conversing 101

Once you “break the ice” with your social excuse, it's time for some small talk. Small talk is key to striking up friendships. Almost nobody wants to instantly talk about deep topics. While some people might find small talk worthless and boring, they underestimate the value of small talk.

It's pretty hard to be good at small talk but here are some things to guide you into finding topics for small talk:

Common interests and activities

When you are both at a church or sports club, you can strike up a conversation about your joint experience here. (Wow, really liked this mass, or wow this was a great football game don’t you think) These are easily accessible topics on which everyone can have an opinion.

Things that happen in your environment

If there is a strange painting, a nice car, a cat in a tree, or a guy with a funny hat, you could comment on those. Look at things around you, usually, people will have noticed them too and formed an opinion on it. These are the types of things that lend themselves to small talk.

Dynamics of groups

It might be hard when you are in a small group where everybody knows each other, especially when they talk about stuff you don't know anything about it, in this case, just ask about it or comment on something related to it. Another way is just to open another conversation with the person at your side who is not too involved in the general topic.

Pre-thought out topics

When you meet strangers, there is always the thought of “what are we going to talk about”. Especially for us who aren't very quick, observe those who you share the same groups and think about topics to talk about, pre-think some questions on that topic, or something related to their interests, etc. This call helps to get off yourself a pressure as you know topics you want to use or not use with them.

Personal questions

This can be kind of tricky if you don't have social skills (with the danger of asking too much or improper questions), essentially the personal questions besides the typical ones “where are you from, what you study”, it should be related in some way to the context you both are in that situation, so it fits and better to jump onto other topics related to their answers, in this case, better to ask complex questions, not just “yes or no” questions than doing more simple questions which can look like that you are doing an interview. (FIXME: link that art of manliness article)

Pre thought stories

You might know some funny story that happened to you or a strange story or an interesting fact about something, you can try to recycle it and tell it to the strangers you meet, if the story works with one person, usually it will work with more people. That helps to bring pre-thought small stories that you can use frequently when you're out of topics.

Other notes

Patience and Activities

Don't obsess on this topic either if you are incapable. Be patient, be involved in activities with people, and slowly, and naturally the small talk will be easier as you have more shared more time and activities with people.

How to keep in contact with people

After some talk with people, you might not meet them again, a good tip to maintain the contact is to already know some events, activities, etc. in your area that they might be interested in. If you can think about information, videos that you can send to them, commenting on that to them, it's a great way to get the phone or whatever to keep in contact with that person after it. However, don't be clingy. here.

Take charge, take initiative!

Let’s say you have followed all the tips and have become successful. You struck up conversations, it went well and you actually made a fren. They even gave you their number. A great success, but don’t forget to maintain a friendship with someone requires energy and commitment. To ensure a friendship doesn’t stay superficial but actually deepens, you need to take initiative.

Examples of things you can do with a new fren to strengthen the friendship:

  • Do a joint shared activity you both enjoy, Hiking, golf, gym, church, bible study, etc; take a drink in a bar after any activity it’s great.
  • Invite someone over for dinner or lunch, breaking bread together is always a good activity. (TODO: link that AOM article about dinner parties - new wiki article)

Some friendships are special, with some people you don’t need an activity because you talk for hours with each other without the need to really do anything. In that case, that can also be an activity. But if it's not that kind of special friendship, then I would advise something that qualifies as an activity!

Don’t be scared, don't fear rejection

Meeting new people can be scary. Thoughts might pop up like “what if they don’t like me?”, “what if I make it awkward?”, and so on. These are normal thoughts to feel like a human being. You shouldn’t be discouraged by them, even the most social people feel this. They just push through it and if you do too, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It's never the end of the world if you weren’t able to make a friend in every conversation, plenty of days left, and plenty of people on the planet to retry. Sometimes, it just wasn’t meant to be. The person who you chose to talk to just isn’t your type. That’s not bad, it can happen. It's all about trying! all those failed attempts will train you to manage difficult people in the future.

Sometimes, a super awkward silence may fall into the conversation. You start panicking thinking it is going horrible. YOU ARE WRONG. Silence is for absolute chads, if you try to cover up every moment of silence that falls in a conversation you are going to look like an insecure person. Confident people don’t mind a silence dropping now and then, take the moment to reflect, think about what you're going to say. Don’t panic.

You occasionally will meet people who reject you very bluntly. or say nasty things while you just try to be friendly. Don’t let them drag you down, it's their loss that they missed an opportunity to make a friend. Not you, you tried your best.

making_friends.txt · Last modified: 2021/10/24 04:04 by krs