Is making new friends difficult?
If you’re an introvert or new to a place, making friends can be very difficult. But we all need it. We can not exist in this world alone. That makes us social animals – our connection with others.
You may be intimidated by the new environment and new faces that you might encounter every day. But making a few friends from strangers can be rewarding.
Friends are important as we go along our journey – either in work or in school. They are the people whom you would want to share your problems with. Without friends, life would be boring and to some extent, depressing.
However, friends can be of different types. Not all of your friends are close to you. You can’t trust your secrets to some people.
Here are the three common types of friends:
These are the people you regularly encounter in your daily activities in school or at work. Commonly, you have no emotional connection or whatsoever with these people. And when you leave the commonplace (school or workplace), your relationship with them will also cease.
2. Regular friends
These people are closer to you than the latter type of friends. You usually hang out with them, laugh and share your daily experiences. But you keep your secret from them. This means that there’s no apparent trust between your friendship.
3. Best friends
Your best friends are the people whom you feel safe being with and share your secrets with them. In this type of friendship, trust is present in both parties. Above all, best friends are the people who are ready to sacrifice and take responsibilities for the sake of your friendship.
Of course, you find many friends, but not all are the best ones. Because not all people are trustworthy and honest. In fact, according to some, the world is full of people who are ready to exploit one’s weakness.
This is the reason why many of us may find it hard to cope up with the new environment. Freshmen college students are included.
But making new friends must not scare you. All you need to do is learn how to handle and perceive social interaction in an adaptive manner.
Tips towards making new friends
1. Develop adaptive perception of people
Maybe, the first step you need to take is to change your mental image of people. It is normal that you feel intimidated when you meet someone for the first time. Your primary concern is your action. You are pressured to make an appropriate and good impression.
But thinking differently can help you find new friends. The truth is that fear is self-created. It only exists in the mind. The more you consider your fear the more you become scared. The truth is the world does not care you.
Having maladaptive perceptions about meeting people hinders you from having a good social connection. You’ll feel shame all the time. School and workplace are places that good interpersonal relationships are necessary.
2. Take it step by step
If you can’t take a whole bunch of strangers, then just start in your own little way. Maybe you can start with your seatmate. Share your daily experiences. Or if s/he starts talking about himself/herself, listen. Listening makes others feel that you’re interested. And when it is your turn to speak, they will also listen. Communication is a two-way process. So does friendship.
3. Be open-minded
What makes people scared of making new friends is the possibility of being ridiculed and having a conflict with others. This should not hinder you from gaining new acquaintances. Just open yourself to possibilities. Of course, you can’t avoid possible conflict of opinion. But that’s okay. In fact, it is healthy. You just need to remember that each one of us is unique.
Cultivate an open mind. Take criticisms positively and avoid treating them as a personal attack. Don’t be afraid to be criticized as long as you know you hurt no one. If you always wear respect, you’ll be okay.
We only live once so we need to cherish life. And spending your days with your friends can make your life meaningful. And most importantly, you’ll make your school life (work life) less stressed.
4. Know your friends more
Making new friends involves knowing them individually. Like you, they too have personal experiences, hobbies, etc. You may start asking the following:
What do they do during weekends?
What are their goals or ambitions in life?
What interests them the most?
If they respond to these questions, it would mean that they are interested in you too. Bit by bit, they develop trust in you.
5. Be yourself
Being yourself is important in making new friends. Show who you truly are. Don’t be afraid of showing your true personality. To make new friends does not require you to change yourself. Instead, it requires you to divulge the real you.
If you show who you truly are, others will consider you as authentic. And all people love truthfulness. As a result, more and more people may want to be your friend. Say what you want to say as long as you don’t curse anyone or put people in a ridiculous situation, you’re on your way to make more friends.
Making new friends is tedious for some. However, if you want to cultivate true friendship, you should give and take. Reciprocate, that is.
Sometimes your friends might need a favor. And responding to their request is showing your concern and sympathy. Through the spirit of reciprocity, they will most likely respond to your requests too.
But when reciprocity fades, your friendship will also cool down. Although reciprocity is not a rule, everyone expects it. So you better maintain it.
7. Connect with your friends
One of the most important components of a good friendship is communication. Again, this could sound more work than fun for some. But like any relationship, if communication is lost, it ends.
As long as it does not impair your daily activities, try to connect with your friends. Doing that does not require you to meet them in person. You can call or chat them online. It will not cost you a day to say “hi” to your friends.
In addition, talking to a friend detaches your mind from any stressful experience. Laugh and tell stories. It will ease your mind and heart.
In conclusion, making new friends should not scare you. Yes, the world is vast. And indeed, finding true friends can be difficult. But this should not hinder you from having more friends in school or at work. You need others. You can’t live alone.
It is my biggest hope that these steps can help you in your own journey to create your world. Free your mind. Connect with others.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.