Making new friends is not something you need to worry about when you already have a great social circle with close friends. But what happens when your environment changes and you find yourself without any friends, or even without knowing anyone at all?
You can find yourself in the situation of having no close friends when you move to another city or country. It can even happen when you change work environment or when you change schools or colleges.
How do you make new friends and ensure that you’ll have a fantastic social relationship with everyone in your group? How do you earn yourself a good position in the social circle? You’re about to find out…
How To Win Friends & Gain Social Respect
As soon as people are put in a group environment there is a secret social system at play whose rules are followed automatically. People divide themselves into smaller groups with seemingly similar people. Cool people associate with ‘cool’ people. Nerdy people with other nerds. Sporty people with other sporty people. Birds of a feather flock together.
I think this social concept comes from our early caveman days when you were weak on your own but stronger in a group. You’ll see this social system at work in any group environment: school, college, work, sports, parties etc.
There is also always the hierarchy of leaders and followers. Certain people or a certain smaller group within the larger group environment will always assert themselves as the leader of the pack, and unless they are met by resistance from others, they will keep that position of power and leadership over the group for a long time.
This whole positioning and dissection of a group into smaller groups and leaders and followers happens rather quickly (within the first few days). This is very important to understand, because once you are placed into a certain category or stereotyped by the group as ‘cool’ or ‘nerdy’ or ‘friendly’ then that label sticks and it’s very difficult to break free from it.
That is why you can go through years of school/college/work as a ‘loser’ without many friends and without much of a social network, simply because you got placed into that category by the group early on.
It doesn’t have to be that way though, here are 2 simple rules you can use to make new friends anywhere you go:
Rule 1 – Lay The Foundations Immediately
The first rule of making friends in a new environment is to lay the foundations for your social network immediately and create a positive image for yourself within the group.
As I mentioned recently, your ‘label’ of where you fit into the group gets determined very quickly. Once that ‘label’ is given to you it’s very hard for you to change the perception of where you fit into the group, so if you’re labeled as a nerd or of low-value, it’ll be very difficult to rise to a position where everyone wants to be your friend or invites you to events. Even if you are a nice person, if you’re labeled as low-value by the group, others don’t want to be very social with you because association to a low-value person automatically lowers their own social value.
Note: You don’t need to be friends with everyone or be the most popular person in the group, but it definitely helps to be on friendly terms with everyone and be able to have lots of people to talk to when you’re in the mood.
Within the first day of being in the new group you should try to be as friendly as possible and talk to as many people in the group as possible. Guys, girls, nerds and cool people. Just go over, introduce yourself and have a 5 or 10 minute chat where you talk about your backgrounds or current situation.
In general, the more personal stuff you talk about with a stranger, the stronger the connection you make with them. Try to find a common interest and just have fun talking. Remember to provide value, so share a cool story or talk about something interesting, but don’t brag or come across as arrogant.
By talking to everyone in the group you will do two things:
1 – You’ll give everyone a better insight to your personality and who you really are. If you don’t talk to someone they will make an assumption of you, and this assumption can be very wrong. By talking to someone, they’ll get a much better impression of what you’re really like and you’ll influence their opinion of you to be more accurate.
2 – By talking to everyone, not only will you influence their opinions of you one by one, you’ll also create social proof. Others in the group will see you talking to everyone and will see you chilling and chatting, even laughing with lots of people in the group. This will create the perception that you’re this really friendly, outgoing and social person and will automatically give you high value and will benefit others from being friends with you and talking to you. In a group environment it’s always beneficial to be friends with (socially, physically and mentally) powerful people.
Rule 2 – Always Give Value. Don’t Take.
If you want to get people to like to and to be friends with you then you first need to show them that you give value of some sort, and not leech from them.
By following rule #1 of being social and talking to everyone in the group, you are already presenting yourself as a high-value person that would be beneficial for other people’s social status to be around. But being friendly and social is not enough to build friendships. You need to give before you can receive.
The value that you give doesn’t have to be materialistic or monetary value. You can provide value in many different forms like status value, high energy, positivity, inspiration, motivation, companionship (i.e. offering to join someone in an activity) etc.
The rule of reciprocity is one that is deeply engrained into society. If someone does something for you then you feel obliged to return the favor. For example if you invite people over to a barbeque at your place as a get-to-know-each-other event, you’ll very likely be invited to parties and events by everyone who you invited.
(With the rule of reciprocity, the returned favor can be equal but also much greater. You could do something for someone that costs you very little effort, and that person might return the favor by doing something that costs them a lot more effort.)
Don’t give value with the expectation or intention of getting anything in return, just know that you probably will get something in return. Give because you want to have fun and be friendly, not because you want to gain something.
Face Your Fears
I know it’s really scary to have to talk to strangers and to be put in a new environment where you don’t have a single friend. But you have to face that fear. You have to follow these 2 simple rules immediately if you want to have a good social network and if you want to make the process of making new friends much easier.
Real friendship takes time to grow and cannot be forced. All you can do is create the conditions that allow real friendship to form, and those conditions are made by laying the foundations early (getting to know everyone in the group) and by giving value to your interactions (Positivity, energy, knowledge,lend a helping hand, organize an event etc.).
You can even use these two simple rules to make friends in your current social group you’re in. It will definitely be harder to establish yourself as a social and high-value person if you’re not labeled as such by your current group, but with time and effort you can definitely achieve it.
Go out there and be friendly, talk to everyone, give value. Try not to come across as needy and desperate for their approval or friendship, because that’s not going to help you at all.