I always found it difficult to make friends with people to the point of being anxious. People find this difficult to believe but I used to walk around school pretty much on my own. I wanted to meet people, I wanted to make friends and I wanted others to be interested in me, but it just didn’t happen. I was a nice guy. I was interesting. I was ready but I couldn’t get people to like me. I was going about it all the wrong way. I put all of my energy in trying to persuade other kids that I was interesting. But when I realized that trying to get others to be interested in me wasn’t working I changed the way I acted. Being interested in others was my key to unlocking the door to making friends. On the back of this I started to connect with people a lot faster. I made more quality friends in a few weeks than I had done in all my previous school years out together. But you need to know how to do this. Here is my guide to the 7 proven ways to make friends quickly in high school & below a Free poster on an additional 4 ways that can also help;
7 - Smile and the whole world smiles with you
It seems like such a simple thing to do. A smile can start a lot of friendships. If you are in the place where you are not making friends, no matter how hard you try, then it is difficult to walk around with a smile on your face. But all this does is make you even more of an outsider. Now I’m not talking about walking around with an inane grin on your face all day because people will think you’re just weird. But I’m talking about lightening up and being a part of the community. Laugh at your classmates jokes (if they aren't funny, jokes) and smile at people when you walk by. If your exterior cracks and you let people in a little then you have a much better chance of making friends.
6 - Names matter
I am great at remembering names. I have worked out a little story in my head that helps me pluck someone’s name out of that dark corner of my mind where I stored it. My friend at high school could not remember names. He was a smart guy and he could remember all the scrapes that he got into and the faces of all the people he hung around with. He could recall that time when we all went out to the mall together and chatted with that group of girls for hours on end. He can even remember what each of those girls was wearing even though it was years ago. But he can’t remember a name. He lost a lot of friends over the years because he would call people “you” or “hey.” A name is really important to someone – it forms a vital part of their identity. Find a way to remember people’s names if you want to make friends fast.
5 - Listen to others
Everybody wants to be heard. It can be easy to think that the best way to make friends is to show off how cool you are. This involves talking to others about you, doesn’t it? Well, no – it actually doesn’t. It involves being part of a group and a large part of that is listening to others. This is all a part of becoming more mature. When you were a three-year-old you could just walk into a room and start talking and everyone would instantly listen to you. But you don’t have that power any more. If you walk into room of your peers and start to tell them how great you are then they are guaranteed to switch off. Listening to others is great. It allows you to understand other people.
4 - Take what you have listened to and talk about it
Although it goes a long way, listening and taking it all in does not win you friends on its own. You will need to participate in conversations yourself at times. We all know someone that rarely talks. It might be someone in your family, someone you know from school or someone in your community. They might sit and listen all day to what is going on but they don’t participate. And it can be kind of hard to understand what they are thinking and involve this person in your conversation. Well you don’t want to become that person. Listening is great. It gives you access to all the interests of others (and this really helps you to make friends) but the others in the conversation want to know if you have the same interests. Once you have listened and you understand what is going on then join in – but remember that nobody likes a show-off.
3 - Make others feel important
We all want to feel as though we are the most important person in the room. It is a natural thing that happens to each of us. There is nothing wrong in feeling like that. When someone pays you attention then you feel ten feet tall and you walk around all day with a smile on your face (remember that) and a spring in your step. You need to be able to transfer this feeling to others. If this makes you feel great when you know that it will make
- It makes friendships that are built on solid foundations
- It enables others to spend time making you feel important too
2- Focus on the Few
Sometimes we all want to be the coolest kid in school. I used to dream about being so popular that I didn’t have the time to spend doing anything except saying “hi” to people as I walked by. Now just think about that for a moment. Where is the fun in that? Making friends is about spending quality time with people – not about saying “hi” in passing. You will have a much happier school life with a few quality friends than with a friendly connection to the whole school. Your friends reflect what you are interested in. You grow together and have those great experiences that you look back on months or years later. Having close friends actually means something to your life. The power of a few good friends is a thousand times the power of having 500 Facebook connections.
Throughout all of this the number one proven way to make friends is to be you. When you are smiling, listening to others and having conversations that develop lifelong friendships then you must be yourself. Being yourself and confident in yourself can really help. Be the person that you are and do not try to change just to get others to like you. Remember back to the start when I talked about listening to others? What you are listening to is them being themselves. You need to be authentic and genuine with others. The amount that you reveal and when you reveal it may be another matter, but never try to be someone that you are not. You might not walk up to someone and introduce yourself with the words, “hello my name is Jonny , I have insecurities” but you will gain friends by listening and then slowly giving some of yourself to others.
I promise if your try this things and make them a habit they will help you. For the best book I've ever read and what this article is based on check out the award winning free book and New York's best seller; How to Win Friends and Influence People
Some who find it hard to make friends often get bullied. Please see this article if you need help or advice regarding Australia's biggest issue; Bullying