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How to Make Friends Seems So Natural, So Easy and Yet Inexplicably Good Friends Can at Times Be Difficult to Find.
I wish when I was younger someone had sat down with me and told me about how to go about drawing to myself good friends, close friends. Though that didn’t happen, I use Project Fellowship to sit down with others so to speak and share with them what I wished someone had of said to me.
What would I say to those people who have found the path of friendship a difficult, lonely and frustrating one?
The Basics of Making Friends
I think we all instinctively know the basics like you’ve got to be a friend to make friends. Extend your friendship to others showing them your initiative, enthusiasm and warmth. Let them know in subtle ways that you’re interested in them and that you care. That you appreciate and value their friendship. Invite them out to do things. Show them golden hospitality in your home. Host awesome parties. Offer to help them in some way. Endeavor to make your friendship a memorable one.
It is, however, possible to do all these things and still come away disappointed. Finding someone who will shake your hand with the same enthusiasm, warmth and desire for friendship that you have is not so easy. More so for some than others.
The vast majority of people are just passing through our lives and will part ways with us without even a second thought. So what can be done?
The truth is much can be done on many fronts.
You are a Steward
It will help a lot if you start thinking of yourself as a steward of the social slots in your life. One of the problems that we can encounter in life is that too many of these slots can become filled with indifferent, passive and apathetic friends. This is one of the reasons why good friends are in such short supply. These other friendships that take up all your time and effort are inhibiting good friends from entering your life.
Just before I started Project Fellowship a friend of mine knowing how distraught I felt about my friendships said to me that maybe I should just make the most of it. While she wasn’t aware I had already tried that she was almost right. She should have said, “Draw to yourself the best friends possible THEN make the most of the situation.” That distinction makes a huge difference.
Gauging friendships and learning to let go of undesirable ones is one of the most important and necessary things I learned.
Have a think for a moment about the friends in your life in terms of chemistry, warmth, enthusiasm, initiative, the interest they show in you and other qualities that are important to you. Are there any you should let go of in order to make room for new friends?
This is critical for people who have the gauge switch turned off. They hang around the same people bemoaning their fate but never take positive and constructive steps to deal with the situation.
Keep in mind that being sentimental, clingy and nostalgic towards underwhelming friendships has the potential to lead you down paths of regret and light depression.
If you often find yourself feeling like you don’t fit in, feel light depression and despair and are getting the ugly duckling complex consider it as a ‘move on’ indicator provided you have made a genuine effort at befriending the people that you like.
Ascend to a Whole New Level
Beware of feeble efforts as they are almost guaranteed to lead you down a depressing alley. If finding good friends has been a struggle then you will probably need to take things up a whole new level and by that I mean several viseral notches. Bringing good friendships into your life may require a new mindset, expanding the limits of your social capacity and a period of social growth.
Reach Out to Others
A trap to be aware of is befriending too few people. If you think writing down a list of two dozen people you already know is going to be enough think again. That is, however, a good start.
Another trap is limited social boundaries. People who only befriend others from work or from limited socializing in their free time. If you have sounded out the people around you by making genuine attempts to befriend them and know decent friendships don’t look forthcoming it’s probably time to reach out well beyond the normal boundaries of your life.
Keep a Friendship Journal if You Desire a Breakthrough
Keep a Friendship Journal and write down on the front page these three critical questions.
1. “How can I live on a higher strata of satisfying and rewarding friendships?”
2. “How can I draw good friends into my life?”
3. “How am I responsible for my friendship situation?”
Dwell on these three burning questions. Continually look for distinctions till you have the group of friends you desire.
For the third question, ponder your lifestyle, habits, attitudes and beliefs. Deal with the liabilities in your life. In hindsight, my friendship situation changed because I changed.
Some common problems that may become apparent are socialising with too few people. Dead end socialising. Low self-esteem. Things like odd speech and behavior, being overly uptight, opinionated and critical can cause people to make a negative mental note concerning you.
Keep a Treasure Book to Track Your Friendship Endeavors
If you really desire a breakthrough in your life I suggest you keep a treasure book for a while.
Basically, it’s a sketchpad that has a list of friends in it. Next to their names are a number of columns where you write the name and date of an event at the very top. If you invite them to an event you check the box associated to the event and the person’s name. If they attend the event highlight their name. There is also a comment box for each name.
Keeping a treasure book will help you focus on this critical inch of your life and has several benefits. These include helping you to remain focused on your friendship endeavor. Spurring you on to greater heights and reassuring you you’re on the right track and that it’s only a matter of time before your friendship situation improves.
Now and then think about your friends and how the friendship is going. Write down in the comment box your feelings. This will help you learn to gauge friendships.
Have a Game Plan for Drawing Better Friendships into Your Life
Be clear on what you what to achieve friendship-wise and how you are going to achieve it. Your game plan mainly consists of an activities model and a friendship model.
For the activities model, consider what social settings and activities you enjoy the most. Keep in mind what your friends like to do, too.
Take the time to discover new social groups and activites and add these to your options. In so doing, you may discover a treasure trove of new friends or even a new sweet spot of activity in your life.
If you have little experience hosting social events it’s a good idea to do so. It will help you increase your social capacity, social confidence and put yourself in the forefront of other people’s minds. This gives your efforts of befriending people the best possible chance.
The second level of the game plan is the friendship model. If you want the best results possible you need to place yourself smack dab center in the stream of humanity. How will you determine which friends stay in your life and those who don’t? How will you go about socializing and befriending people?
Become crystal clear on the most important qualities you are looking for in friendship as well as those things you will no longer accept.
I had to rethink my friendship model as the one that had naturally formed in my life had proved to be inadequate over a period of many years. My new friendship model was similar to a gold sluice. I befriended new people showing them warmth, hospitality and initiative. I sent a clear signal that I was interested in their friendship and company. I held many events as well as attending other people’s events. I simply drew the best friendships I could muster close to me.
Naturally, not all friendships should be on a Project Fellowship path. For example, if you just started senior high school and are going to be with the same classmates for the next two years you may want to cultivate the best possible friendships regardless of how people respond to you. That track in your friendship model will be treated differently.
If I could only say one thing to someone who asked me for advice on this subject I would say this. “Continually befriend people till you have the group of friends you desire.”
Do you have any other ideas you could share with us on how to make friends?
Connelly Cayman Waterskl W/ Slide ADJ (2014)
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