We all know at least one person who makes you feel better just by being around them. It looks like they can just form some kind of friendship anywhere. While these people seem to emanate good vibes, it really comes down to a few simple psychological hacks they’re using, consciously or not.
And maybe you’re doing an internship this summer. Maybe you’re going to start a new job. Or maybe you just want more friends in your classes.
These friendship tips aren’t intended to help you find your new best friend, but they will help you connect with more people – whether that’s people your own age, your boss, or your professor.
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Tip #1: Remember Names
How often do we hear “I’m just really bad with names” as an excuse for forgetting someone’s name? All the time, right?
But that doesn’t make the forgotten party feel any better. Remembering someone’s name is an easy way to make someone feel like they matter, like they were someone that stood out to you and of course you remember them. Forgetting someone’s name is like saying, “I forgot that you exist” whether you mean it to or not.
Try and associate their name with a place, color, whatever. Write it down if you have to. But try to remember people’s names and you’ll be making people feel a little more special.
Tip #2: Ask Them Questions…And Then, Listen.
Asking questions is a tried-and-true way to start a conversation. If no one’s talking and it’s getting awkward, no matter how trivial your question is the other person will be relieved that SOMEONE said something.
But if you really want a conversation to flourish, ask the other person questions about themselves. It’s pretty commonly accepted that people love talking about themselves; this doesn’t make them self-centered, it’s just a subject most know better than, say, what’s going in the news. (There’s also less chance of potentially offending or disagreeing with someone).
After you ask someone to tell you about why he or she decided to take this class, or how he or she landed in this career, you have to listen. That means, eyes on them, facing them, absolutely no interrupting them. I cannot stress this enough. It’s not only rude to interrupt someone, you’re also unconsciously saying, “What I have to say is more important than what you’re saying.”
You can lose a lot of potential friends by talking over people. This extends even beyond basic friends tips and applies to everyone in your circle. Truly listening to others will make them feel at ease, and they’ll be even more open with you.
Tip #3: Be Yourself
Even though listening to people and remembering their names and all those formalities is important, the most important tip is to just be yourself. I don’t mean that you should over-share to people you barely know, but don’t be afraid to admit that you’re a little nervous for this job, or that this class is harder than you expected. You’ll have the best chance of a connection with someone else if you open up a little.
It’s also pretty obvious when someone is uncomfortable and trying very hard to hide it. This part should come naturally, but keep your body relaxed. Unclench your shoulders. Be free with your smiles. Now go out there and try it out!
What Do You Think?
Have you ever had to make friends on the fly? Do you know any great ways to make friends when you don’t know anyone? Would you try any of these tips? Let us know in the comments!