By Timothy Arends
Making friends is largely a numbers game. The more people you meet the greater your chance of making friends. But there are certain behaviors that will increase your chance of forming friendships with the people you meet. Here are ten tips to help you form fast friendships.
1) Follow the basic rules of “how to win friends and influence people.” These are the common sense rules that we all know deep down and instinctively, but we often tend to forget or overlook.
2) Be confident. If you enter into a situation, such as a new job where you want to make a good impression on your boss and co-workers, a party, or a networking event, and you are convinced that you will make a good impression on everybody, this will tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What’s more, researchers have shown that are inner states and attitudes can influence the feelings of others. If you seem nervous or lacking in self-confidence around other people, they may pick up on this and start to feel uncomfortable themselves.
3) Watch your body language, and this includes eye contact. Have an open relaxed posture. More importantly, maintain a steady gaze with the person you’re talking to. People make very strong judgments very quickly based on eye contact.
4) Don’t assume that somebody is going to reject you. This can cause you to act withdrawn, which can actually lead to rejection, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, project and enthusiastic, self confident attitude.
5) Don’t expect to agree with everything that is said in conversation, and don’t expect the other person to agree with everything you say. Hold your tongue if somebody reveals that they are a member of some cult or express some religious or political opinion that you strongly disagree with. This does not mean that you can never talk about politics, but you should avoid controversial subjects until you know a person well.
6) Make conversation immediately. At the first opportunity you have to make conversation, even if only for a minute, be sure to do so. First impressions are extremely important. Shy people tend to come up with a thousand reasons why “Now is not a good time to make conversation.” If you fail to make conversation right away, other people may peg you as being unfriendly. Negative first impressions like this are that much harder to overcome later.
7) Appear friendly at your earliest opportunity, but don’t come off as desperate to be liked. This is where self confidence comes in. If you seem desperate, people wonder why you have, in fact, reached the point of desperation!
8) Remember that the other person may also be shy. Have at the ready a repertoire of conversational topics that you can use at anytime. If the other person seems unresponsive, or fails to pick up on your conversational cues, don’t let it throw you. They may be shy or struggling to think of something to say themselves.
9) Resist the temptation to think that other people are constantly examining you and making judgments. Most people are far more concerned about their own problems, concerns, and insecurities.
10) After all this, if you’re rejected by someone–forget it. Learn to live with the fact that not all people are for you. Know that for every person who rejects you, there will be another who accepts you.