Do You Have The Friends And Social Life You Desire?
Have you ever asked yourself “How do I make friends?”
Many people who are shy feel as if they’re missing out on having the friends, connections, and experiences they truly desire. Often times, they might even have the feeling that the reason they do not have the friends they want is they’re somehow not quite good enough, cool enough, or worthwhile enough to enjoy this part of life.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
The truth is making friends is an active process we must engage in. Once we’re actively engaged in this process, it’s only a matter of time until we have the social life we seek.
Below are the three major steps of the process of making friends.
Step 1: Get Clear On What You Want
The first step of making friends is becoming clear on what you actually want.
- Do you want to go to parties, go to shows and bars, and have adventures?
- Do you want some friends to watch movies with on the weekends?
- Do you want a group of friends to meet up with once a week for lunch or dinner?
- Do you want that one close friend that you can tell anything?
Getting clear on what kind of friendships you want will help direct you towards what kinds of people and activities to pursue.
A second part of getting clear is determining who you want to be friends with.
This concept is foreign to many people who struggle with shyness or social anxiety: Wait a minute, I get to choose my friends? But who am I to think I can do that?
Yes, we absolutely have the right to choose the people we want to hang out with most.
Getting a bunch of friends that you only partly enjoy being around is not a true success. It might be a step in the right direction, but your ultimate destination is being around people you respect, love, and admire.
Think about the people in your life right now – coworkers, classmates, people in any group or community you belong to. Who do you like most? Who do you admire, appreciate, enjoy? That’s where to start.
We must get over this idea that we’re somehow not good enough or not worthy of someone’s friendship. If you find someone interesting and like them, then that’s a person to pursue for friendship.
Step 2: Go From Passive To Active
The primary obstacle to making friendships is not your looks, your net worth, or your level of coolness. It’s not because there’s something wrong with you or that people just don’t like you.
It actually comes down to one simple thing: You’re being too passive.
Most people who are shy will wait for someone to initiate with them – they’ll wait until someone starts a conversation with them, answer the questions the other person asks, and accept invitations to hang out when they are given.
This style of relating isn’t the most effective for creating friendships. The other person often isn’t able to tell you actually like them and would want to hang out with them. Believe it or not, most people are a little nervous or insecure about whether someone would like them and want to be their friend.
The most important shift towards making friends is to become active. This includes initiating conversations, being able to ask questions, and most importantly, asking people to join you in activities.
Step 3. Be Persistent
The final obstacle to making friends is a fear of rejection and a tendency to give up prematurely. So often I see someone muster up the courage to ask a potential friend to hang out and the other person declines, stating they are busy. At this point, the pursuer might feel rejected and conclude: See, no one wants to hang out with me. Why did I ever think they would. What’s the point?
This type of hasty conclusion leads to feelings of failure, inadequacy, and a reluctance to try again.
The truth is many people have busy, full lives, and if you want to hang out with them, you have to be persistent. You might have to pursue someone 2-4 times before they agree to hang out.
It can be incredible beneficial to let go of the “I’m not good enough” script and try a new one on for size. Perhaps something like this: I know I’m awesome, and most likely once this person decides to hang out with me, they’ll be hooked.
The path towards satisfying friendships is an active process that requires a willingness to try until we seek what we’re finding. If you’re on this path and or wanting to gain some support and guidance in creating the social life you desire, please contact me to discuss how you can accelerate your progress.