Adults who embrace “aggressive friending” or radical responsibility for making friends are the ones who do. One myth about making friends is that we have to be fascinating, charismatic, or hilarious to charm others into liking us.
Inviting a coworker to get coffee, attending events, taking classes, introducing yourself to others at your gym class, and going to meetups. But being the type of person who others like is not about being particularly impressive, but rather about showing liking and affirmation towards others. Think about it, who would you rather be friends with: someone charismatic or someone who makes you feel comfortable and accepted? Here’s why making friends takes security: it’s awfully exposing to try to connect with another person. Secure people assume that others like them, and this helps them gain the courage to initiate interactions and persevere in building friendships.
Ultimately, secure people are assured that they are likable and have value to offer another person. Making friends is a process that many of us don’t feel like we have the time or energy for.
Not taking another person’s response to you personally, assuming others have positive intent (they probably got really busy and didn’t respond, rather than they hate me so they didn’t respond), assuming that others like you until they explicitly indicate otherwise, and having a kind internal dialogue. Even after we initiate, it may be easy to fall off and for our blossoming friendships to peter out.
Compliment others, tell someone a moment when you thought about them when they were not around, scan for traits to like in people you meet, share if someone made you see something in a new light, and show enthusiasm when greeting people. When someone does reject them, they know that it doesn’t mean anything about who they are.
Initiating and facing potential rejection is vulnerable, but initiating is also necessary for connection.
Or even if you’re crazy outgoing, you have other obligations—your career, partner, family, hobbies—sucking up time, so forming fresh bonds isn’t a priority.
It’s a shame, given that a slew of research shows that the quality of your social ties has a huge impact on your happiness and health.
You can join Meet-ups about gardening, board games, politics, cooking... But it's not like those super boring classes where you have these huge papers and you have to do all the work in your group projects. If you don't meet people, you'll still use your talents to do something good for the world.
And if, at the last minute, you decide you just don't have it in you, no one's night will be ruined if you don't go. You're not chasing a degree, so you can take something like pottery or bowling. Plus, nothing makes for a popular Instagram post like a clever protest sign. If so, here's a coffee and a hug, because, for reals, that seems amazingly difficult.