Ancient philosophers and scientists acknowledge the fact that strong social ties are the KEY to being happy. You need intimate, long-term relationships, be able to confide in others, to belong and to get and give support. Researches depict that if you have five or more friends with whom you discuss important matters, you’re likely to describe yourself as being "very happy."
Not only does beating firm relationships make it more likely that you take are happier and take joy in life, but studies show that it also lengthens your lifespan, even more than quitting smoking, boosts immunity, and negates the risk of depression.
"Okay, okay," you think, "I get it." However, it’s not that easy making new friends. Here are some tips to try, if you’re eager to make friends but are finding it tough:
1. Show up - A big part of friendship lies in just showing up. Whenever you have the chance to meet different people, grab it. Go to a party. Stop by somebody’s desk. Make and take the effort. Also, the mere exposure effect states that repeated exposure enables you to like someone better. It also makes that person increasingly fond of you too. You’re far more likely to become buddies with someone you’ve seen before. I’ve observed this phenomenon repeatedly in my life. I’ve become close to people I didn’t expect to be even friends with, just because circumstances put us in frequent situations where we both met.
2. Join a group - Another easy way to make friends lies in being part of a natural group, where you share common interests, and are brought closer together automatically. Taking a class, starting a new job, joining a congregation, or even moving to a brand new neighborhood are few of the ideal opportunities in order to join a group. If you aren’t comfortable with those situations, try and find a different group to join. For instance, get a dog. Or pursue a hobby you’re passionate about, more seriously. An added advantage when making friends via a group is that you can strengthen your bonds to several people at once, very helpful if you don’t have enough free time to spare
3. Forming a group - Can’t find an existing group to join? Why not start a group of your own? Based on something that interests you. For example, you can create a children’s literature group, where lots of different children get to interact with each other. And you get the opportunity to interact with their parents as well. Studies depict that each common interest shared between people boosts the chances of a lasting relationship. It also brings about an approximate 2% increase in life satisfaction. My selection of groups range from marathon-training, a language, a worthy cause to movies, wine, cheese, pets, etc.
4. Say nice things about other people - Saying nice things is a kind way to behave. Studies prove that, because of the psychological phenomenon wherein spontaneous trait transference occurs, people unintentionally transfer to you the same traits you ascribe to others. So if you tell say person A that person B is arrogant, person A unconsciously associates that quality with you as well. On the contrary, if you say that person B is hilarious, you’ll be linked to that quality. Thus the more you say nice things about people, the more you will be linked to nice things in other people’s minds.
5. Set a target - This strategy sounds very calculating I agree, but it has really worked for me. When I enter a situation where I meet an entirely new set of people, I set myself the goal of making say, three new friends. This seems artificial on the front, but somehow, this strategy makes me behave differently, it enables me to be more open to people, and it prompts me to make the effort to say more than just a perfunctory hello. It also prevents you from seeming outwardly friendly and weird.
6. Make an effort to smile - Here’s a big surprise, studies prove that the amount of time you smile during a conversation has an adverse effect on how friendly you’re perceived to be in someone else’s eyes. In fact, people who can’t smile at all, due to facial paralysis, have trouble with relationships. The more you smile, the more cheerful you seem and people are able to be comfortable around you. Smiling expresses a lot of things too, which can’t be said, only felt.
7. Make friends with friends-of-friends - "Triadic closure" is the term to depict the fact that people tend to get acquainted with the friends of their friends. So making friends with those of your friends is an excellent place to start if you’re trying to expand your circle.
8. Choose your friends wisely - As you befriend people, you may come across some who are easier to get along with than others. While we always tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes we realize that certain friendships are unfruitful. For instance, if a person is excessively needy or controlling towards you or constantly critical or introducing dangers or threats into your life. In this case, ease your way out of the friendship in a dignified manner. Preoccupy your mind with other things, such as a new acquaintance opportunity, so that you can honestly say that you don't have a lot of time in your routine to spend time with them. However, you must never substitute their time for time spent with other friends. They may take notice and become jealous, and more drama will ensue as a result. Cherish those friends you have who have a positive influence in your life, and do your best to yourself be a positive influence in other’s lives.
Bear in mind that this is no exact science. There's no perfect method in making a friend. It's very much a natural process.
Be yourself around people you need to be friends with. No need to lie to them so that they will like you and don't try to act cool in front of people. You’ll end up being corny if you do so. Let your personality speak for you.
From the very basic conversation you have with someone you want to befriend, you should use body language to portray that you are non-threatening, approachable and affable. Smile frequently, laugh often, and be sure to make eye contact. Always be confident, but not cocky, mean spirited or condescending.
Be fun to hang around with.
Don't flaunt about yourself all the time. Try and ask them questions about themselves and their lives. Show interest in your friends and what they like or dislike.
Give your friend some space. You don't have to see your friend 24/7. If you don't leave your friend to their lives, he or she is sure to feel uncomfortable.
Get your friends to get acquainted with your family as well so that there will be more opportunities to stay in touch with one another.
Let the friendship unfold on its own way, naturally. Non need to force the friendship.
Don't spend all day indoors on the computer. Going out and making friends is key to increasing your circle. They won’t just come to you whenever you feel like.