Many people find that they have fewer and fewer friends as they get older and old friends die or move away. Many others have discovered that there is more to making lasting friendships than simply being a great conversationalist. The following WikiHow article has been contributed to by over 2300 people and read by over three and a half million. Here is the result of their collective wisdom.from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
There's a certain beauty in being a lone wolf. You have more time to do the things you want to do, like take introspective walks, read books, write and other solitary endeavors. But it's also nice to have friends. Sometimes you need that one person to talk to. You can play games, hang out or even just talk on the phone. So consider these suggestions to meet people and form strong, lasting friendships. Take your time, and don't rush.
- Spend more time around people. If you want to make friends, you first need to put yourself out there somehow in order to meet people. If you're still in school, sit somewhere with other people, it doesn't have to be the 'popular' table, or a crowded one, but one with at least 2 other people. Remember, friends seldom come knocking on your door while you sit at home playing computer games.
- Join an organization or club with people who have common interests. You don't necessarily need 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 like a specific topic, try searching for just a location. It's a great way to meet new local people! Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, BlendAbout and Google+ are great way to meet new people and learn more about the people you meet. A church, Masjid (mosque), temple or other house of worship is a great place to start since you have at least have a religious faith in common.
- 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. But a sports team isn't the only way. If you play instruments or sing, try joining a band or choir.
- 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).
- Talk to people. You can join a club, go to school, or go to church but 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 be social, 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 in the lunch line. Don't be too picky. Most conversations will be a dead-end of sorts, when you may never talk to that person again, or you 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. by not squinting (get some glasses), looking bored, frowning or appearing blankly deadpan, folding your arms or hanging out in a corner; such habits may make you look troubled or disinterested.
- Start a conversation. There are many 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 this 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 a few words back and forth for a little bit. Many conversationalists say that it is good to follow a 30/70 (30% talking, 70% listening) pattern during small talk when possible.
- Introduce yourself at 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! If you show that you remembered things from your past conversation(s) with the person, not only will you look intelligent but he or she will see that you were paying attention and are willing to be a true friend.
- Initiate a get-together. You can chat your heart out but it won't get you a friend if you don't open up the opportunity for another conversation or 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 in return, 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 potentially a 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 repeatedly or stop by uninvited (unless you have established that stopping by unannounced is OK); and refrain from overstaying your welcome anywhere. In general, take friendship slowly, and don't try to force intimacy to grow quickly; the move from acquaintance to friend can take a long time. It's understandable to want more of a good thing, but try to err on the side of less. If you are not sure about the pace of your new friendship, check in with your friend and ask directly. Too much, too fast can be scary or intimidating, and not everybody is able to say "Slow down..." - instead, they may run the other way!
- Be loyal to a friend. 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. If your friends make a joke, laugh with them. Never complain about a friend.
- Be a good friend. Once you've started spending time with potential friends, remember to do your part (e.g. initiating some of the activities, remembering birthdays, asking how the other person is feeling) or else the friendship will become unbalanced and an uneasiness or distance is likely to arise.
- 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 unexpectedly; it's rude, and it is certainly not a good way to launch a potential 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--"one-ups-man-ship" is a put down.
- 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. Keep in mind that recent studies show that people rarely keep secrets. Before people even feel comfortable opening up to you, however, you need to build trust.
- Choose your friends wisely. As you befriend more people, you may find that some are easier to get along with than others. While you always give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes you realize that certain friendships are unhealthy, such as if a person is obsessively needy or controlling towards you, 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 their time for time with other friends; they may notice and become jealous, and more 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.
- Put emphasis on the good, unique qualities about yourself. Are you funny? If yes, then great, a little humor always keeps conversation light and happy, and people love to be around someone who makes them laugh. If you're like me and you have a quirky, different style of humor then make sure you let them know that the things you say are in fact a joke, so that you don't just come across as simply weird. This way they will understand a bit more about you too, which could potentially spark their interest. If you are a unique person, then show it!
- Encourage your friend: A very good friend encourages his/her friend. He/she will remain with him/her in both good as well as bad times. Never ever make fun or laugh at your friend in front of others. If someone is making fun of him/her a good friend will come to save or support his/her friend.
- Get a job,meet many people and socialize that way.For example, when you are with your office colleague try to improve your conversations with him/her by talking about something that you both have in common and never boast or brag about yourself.
- Be confident. Many people are not very confident. They are reserved, timid and afraid to start a conversation. Make the effort and start talking no matter how uncomfortable it feels.
- Don't separate your friend from the rest of the group. Some people get jealous of their friends if they talk to other people or make other friends. Most people don't like it and would no longer want to hang out with you
- Use a friendship matchmaking website to make new friends! Sites like FriendMatch were made to help people make new friends instead of dates.
- 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 and appreciated when they're around you.
- Know that this is no exact science. There's no perfect method to getting a friend. It's a natural process, and if it happens, it happens.
- Friendships require a lot of tolerance and it boils down to how much you are willing to give and take.
- Let the friendship unfold naturally. Don't force the friendship because they won't be your true friend if you cannot be yourself around them.
- Make sure you keep yourself open to new possibilities. You never know what might be in store for you, if you have the eyes to see.
- Its very important to remind and counsel your friend he/she about the things they should avoid or refrain. This will help you convey how special that friend is to you.
- Learn to entertain. Create a reason why people would want to come over to your place. Offer something to people that they don't already have. While you don't want a pool or video game console to be the only reason people come over, it will give you an opportunity to socialize with people and for them to get to know you better. Go online and find people that like to go swimming and have cookouts. Invite new people over you feel you can trust and just be friendly. Make this a group event so that you're not the only person there. Be sure to have some friends there that you already know to help you break the ice.
- If you have a friend who knows some good people that you aren't acquainted with, ask them to invite those people to hang out with the two of you. It is a great way to make some friends who have common interests.
- Along with learning to entertain, try to be unique to attract attention. When you have something interesting that people can learn from you, they tend to stick around and ask you questions. This is usually the case when you know a lot about something popularly known yet complex, something controversial, or something that could just spark a big debate. Some of the most interesting people you meet may have a large knowledge base when it comes to things like politics, certain religions, or strange topics like astrology and divination.
- Get your friends to know your family as well so that there will be more chances to stay in touch with one another.
- 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 of as a friend, but then you never meet because of time and distance. Expect to have to sift through a lot of people online before you find the right one for you. Make yourself beautiful, get a makeover.
- 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.
- Be fun to be with.
- Give your friend space. You don't have to see your friend 24/7. If you don't leave your friend, he'll feel uncomfortable.
- Try not to be weird, be happy, smile and try to take interest in what they're interested in.
- Be kind and hang out with people who make you feel like your self.
- Don't be shy and be real. Many people just like the way you are.
- Don't take rejection personally, a person who doesn't want to be your friend would probably not ended up being a good friend anyway.
- Don't talk about yourself all the time; ask them questions about themselves. Show interest in your friends and what they like.
- Treat others how you want to be treated.
- Never leave old good friends because you may 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. Remember the saying, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold".
- You may reform or change yourself, but only for yourself. Don't try to change just in order to fit in to make new friends. A truly 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 give into pressure to do something you think is wrong.
- 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 asking for trouble. A person who will "be your friend" without responding with little things in turn, when you buy him or her things, probably just likes the things you gave them--not you. The long run. Also, don't ask too often for friends to buy you things like candy from a vending machine. You might come across as annoying or an advantage taker, maybe even greedy or ungrateful.
- Don't be untrue 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 better friends, and if you just "be yourself" you'll make friends who like you for who you are.
- Don't be too bossy. Don't order your friends around and tell them to do things your way all the time, even if they like it. Let them be who they are and let them know that you love them for who they are. Be nice, but not too nice because they will take you for granted.
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