Trouble Making Friends

Do you struggle to make friends? This isn’t something you simply have to accept – there are practical steps you can take to form friendships.

The 5-Point Friendship Plan
Some people make friends effortlessly. This isn’t because they’re any nicer or better than those who don’t – it’s because they know how to make conversation. If you feel like you never know what to say, this is for you.

1. Talk to everyone
Next time you buy something, make eye contact with the cashier and say, “Thanks, have a good day”. In the next shop, say something about what you’re buying, like “I’ve wanted this top for ages!” What you say doesn’t have to be original, it just has to be something! Practice really does make perfect, so try to say something to everyone you meet. This will build your confidence in social situations and allow people to see your personality.

2. Use body language
It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. If you seem approachable, friendly and relaxed, people will want to talk to you. How to do this? Make eye-contact and smile.

3. Choose your friends wisely
At school, there are cliques and tribes and everyone’s apparently supposed to know their place… but there will also be people who don’t fit in (or don’t want to fit in) who are friendly and won’t judge you. These are the people to turn to and often make the best friends anyway. It’s not that you need to make friends with people for the sake of it, but you don’t know what people are really like until you get to know them.

4. Be a good listener
You don’t have to be fascinating/beautiful/hilarious for people to want to talk to you. Listen to what people say, remember their names and their likes and dislikes and just take the time to learn more about them. Always having a better story than anyone else is a one-way ticket to seeming insecure and self-obsessed.

5. Have the courage of your convictions
Don’t say things you don’t believe to make people like you. It won’t work and you’ll seem desperate. Instead, believe in the value of your own opinions and don’t apologise for them. If someone says they hate a band you love, saying, “Really! I love their latest album” is better than, “I really like them, but then I’ve got bad taste”. When you like yourself, others will like you too and respect you for having an opinion.

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