Social Question

cutiepi92's avatar

How to make friends?

Asked by cutiepi92 (2119 points ) January 3rd, 2013

So I’m awful at making friends in person. I know it sounds lame, but I feel I guess lonely sometimes because I don’t have many. I have my SO, who is my best friend, 2 female friends and one good male friend. That might sound like “enough”, but even the friends I have I’m not really super close to. I guess I’m just bad because I’m typically shy and don’t usually know what to say to people. It’s easy to talk about stuff to people I already know because I know their interests and stuff, but my mind is always blank with strangers. I guess I just want to be able to make really good life long friends you know? I’m horrible at talking to girls especially even though I am one; I find it easier to make friends with guys. In the long run though that can kinda become a problem because first it would be weird to do one on one stuff with them (my SO would hate it) and usually guys I’m friends with end up liking me as “more than a friend”. I want some girlfriends…..I just don’t know where to start. I’m in my senior year at university and literally have no good friends on campus aside from my SO. Anyone I know is just a random acquaintance that I might occasionally just say hi to. All the friends I have I always met through a common acquaintance, not on my own.

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24 Answers

Shippy's avatar

Just smile a lot and agree with everything they say.

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DrBill's avatar

The best way to make a friend, is to be one.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I don’t see how saying just smile a lot is a ridiculous answer to be honest as smiling makes you appear friendly and it then becomes easier to make friends if people think you are being friendly.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@cutiepi92 I was shy as a youngster and didn’t have a lot of friends. Around 14 or 15 I figured out I love to laugh and have a good time and live life to the fullest. I just went after life 100 percent. And most of the rest of the people love to have a good time. It wasn’t long before I was drawing friends from all kinds of places.I was open and honest with them and we became good friends. I still keep in touch with a bunch of them. I don’t know if that approach would work for you, it depends on what risks you want to take and your personality.

marinelife's avatar

Listening is the best skill for making friends. Ask people questions and then listen and respond to their answers.

Common interests also help. Join campus groups that are things that you’re interested in.

Yeahright's avatar

This is social.
Smiling is a great non-linguistic sign to express an open attitude to interact and make friends. I’m not sure about agreeing with everything they say is the best way; however, the opposite, disagreeing upon first meeting someone is definitely a no no.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Same here, most of my close friends are men and always have been, with a very few female exceptions. Men seem on a more even emotional keel, and women tend to be so emotional I get afraid of their ‘moods’. Even here on fluther one day I’ll get along with a woman really well then the next day she’ll be the exact opposite, it’s weird. Good luck!

Shippy's avatar

@Yeahright I never forgot that advice, it was during a Social Work lecture. I was quite nervous at meeting my fellow students and was told by a then Psychologist this was a great way to win people over!!

burntbonez's avatar

The best way to make friends is to engage in activities that are meaningful to you. Maybe you like politics. Join the local political party and volunteer. Maybe you play an instrument. Join a local ensemble. Maybe you like to dance. Take Salsa lessons or Tango or whatever. Better yet, take couples dancing and bring your SO, and make friends with a couple. That’s probably best, because then you can have a girlfriend and he can have a guy friend at the same time.

RandomGirl's avatar

I have the same problem. I’m 16 and have one guy friend and 2 or 3 girlfriends. The problem is that they all live 30–45 minutes away from me. We see each other once or twice a month. It certainly does get depressing at times.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s harder when you are not an adult, and don’t have as much access to transportation. But then, from what I understand, young people maintain more friendships through Facebook, these days. Though I’m not sure how that works. My daughter have hundreds of Facebook friends. She has about two friends she sees in person, and then, not very often.

Then again, when I was her age, I had about two friends, too. So maybe it’s just something that runs in the blood. We like to have serious connections with people. We are not good at the happy happy stuff. We’re good at the serious talk stuff. My daughter is pretty wise, already, and is a serious student.

After college, I had the most friends I ever had in my life. I met a lot of them at work, and some of them went to college with me. I was living in the big city. We had great parties. I had any number of lovers. Well, three or four, anyway. My best friend lived somewhere in the middle of the country. He was miserable, and after a few years found a way to come East again, where he was able to live with his lover.

I think friends are really hard. There are people who make a lot of shallow friends easily, and there are people at the other end of the spectrum who have a really hard time making very good and deep friends.

I agree with @burntbonez that it’s best to make friends doing things you love doing. All my current real life friends, including my wife, come from a dance activity I got involved in when I first came to Philadelphia. That’s why I believe in doing an activity you love, and doing it for years in order to build up a set of friends that way.

I also have a few people I know through online activities, of whom I’ve met two in real life. I maintain very important friendships with these people.

I believe that online is a good way to search through a much larger potential friend pool. You can find people more quickly who like the same narrow set of things you like. I like arts and travel and people who have a very particular kind of humor. My online friends actually get me in a way that pretty much only a couple of other people do in real life.

You meet more people online and have more people to sort through, and you can use places like fluther to find those people. Of course, usually they aren’t in your part of the country, so that can be a problem, but every once in a while they might be local. So they might become real life friends, too.

I think you have to be patient. You have to keep putting yourself out there. You have to say things you think and believe and trust that, over time, you will attract the people who can be your friends.

The male thing is an issue, of course. You’re young and beautiful and so of course guys will be attracted to you and they will want you. Your bf is probably right to be reluctant to trust you will be able to withstand their efforts to seduce you. I mean, how much can you stand up to if it’s a guy you really like, anyway? So you may have to not go down that road. I feel bad saying that. I’d like it to be possible for men and women to be friends without having to worry about other things happening, but being a guy and knowing guys, I know the desire to deepen a relationship is often there. So it would be dangerous, unless you guys are ok with open relationships.

So that’s my real advice and experience. Like I said, this isn’t easy. So you need to patient and to put a lot of work into it for the rest of your life, unless you get really lucky. You just have to keep at it, but always remember what your priorities are.

cutiepi92's avatar

@wundayatta well as far as the guy thing is concerned, he problem isn’t with me cheating; he knows I would never think to do so. The bigger issue is him feeling disrespected by the other guy and not trusting them, which I can understand to a degree as a similar situation has happened with him. Long story short, I just don’t feel like dealing with the feeling like a have a real friend only to find out later that he wants me. It’s irritating when you’re already in a happy relationship you know?

As far as everything else, it seems like I don’t have a problem with talking to people online. Even in the incredibly short amount of time I’ve been here on Fluther I haven’t really had problems engaging in interesting conversations or responding to funny remarks. I guess because on the web you have time to think out your responses and there isn’t that face to face pressure. I never know what to talk about with people in person. I want some real life friends lol. My SO does say though that he has met the most people through work, so I’m hoping that when I graduate I’ll have better luck. I suppose I was just disappoint because I came into college thinking that “hey, here is a place where people are going to be like me” and it turned out that I didn’t like most people lol. I actually had better luck making friends in high school (and to this day I have no idea how I did). I think it was a situation in which people came up to me and almost forced the friendship, and I know I suck at taking that kind of initiative. I’m slowly trying to learn though and I appreciate everyone’s advice

CWOTUS's avatar

I think that just like a lot of other things, popular culture, television and movies have modified expectations of “what a friend should be”, how friends should act with one another, and the types of relationships we should have (and may expect to have) with others.

We’re none of us perfect, and neither are our friends. Since there’s no perfection on either end, the relationships themselves are not perfect. They are what they are, friends and friendships both.

Also like most other things of any value in our lives, they take time, they take effort, and they take some sacrifice. So if you’re not prepared to take the time, do the work and make the hard choices that “being a friend” and “having a friend” often entails, then it’s likely that you won’t have many good friendships.

For a lot of people, that seems to be okay. That also means that even if you are prepared to put in the time, the work and the sacrifice to make deep, lasting friendships, the people you want to befriend may not be. So it’s not just a failing on your part to “make friends”; it’s hard to find people who are worth befriending, and it’s hard to recognize them sometimes even when they’re standing right in front of you.

All I can say is, know what it’s going to cost you sometimes (in failed friendships if nothing else), and keep trying.

If all you want is ‘acquaintances’, well, those are a dime a dozen. You just need to develop some ‘patter’ to break the ice, feed folks a joke or two, ‘like’ them on your Facebook page… and move on. Unfortunately, that’s what often passes for friendship these days.

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Bellatrix's avatar

You asked about how to make ‘friends’ rather than to just connect with people when you meet them so I think @marinelife‘s answer and those that have suggested you get out and about doing things you love to do is the best option. If you are focused on doing something you enjoy, you have a common interest to talk about. This then gives you an opportunity to swap contact info and to ask if they might like to go to another lecture, or go for a walk, visit an exhibition or take a class. If you have a shared interest it will be easier to sustain the connection.

Also, I want to say it’s really quite common for people, young or old, to find it difficult to make friends. Many people who are much older than you only have a handful of people they would call ‘friends’. We might have many acquaintances but building a friendship can take longer. Sometimes we are lucky and meet someone and instantly connect. Even then though, to sustain the friendship, one or both of you have to put in some effort to keep meeting.

Good luck. I hope it works out.

CWOTUS's avatar

Here’s another suggestion: Watch the interplay between @zensky and @Shippy and don’t do that.

zensky's avatar

That was funny.

Only138's avatar

I’m writing all this shit down…... :)

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