How To Turn A Stranger Into A Friend

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Get-To-Know-SomeonePost written by Paul Sanders.

If you don’t know how friendship starts, and how two strangers become friends, it can be hard to build a good social life.

In this article, I would like to share with you the specific steps that you can take to turn a stranger into a friend.

The Right Environment

You almost never make friends on the bus, or at a bank. The context is not appropriate, and that’s part of how friendship starts; you need an appropriate context.

It’s much easier to make friends in yoga class, or a business community for example. These are environments where people go to meet others.

The common mistake people make is to think that you could make friends in “public” places like bars or coffee shops. That’s the hard way to make friends. Instead, it’s much better to focus on semi-private communities and clubs where people expect to meet new friends.

The Right Situation

In order for you to make friends with a person, you both need to have enough time and energy to be able to socialize.

When you meet new people, make sure you’re talking to someone who will have time for you. For example, if they’re moving, having a baby, getting married, changing jobs, or just hanging out with too many friends already, then they just won’t have time.

As you talk to them for the first few times, you’ll get a sense of whether or not they’re actively social, and whether or not they’re open to having new friends.

Good First Conversations

The first conversation you have with someone is critical to building a new friendship. However, don’t rush to think that you need to impress people, or have an amazingly interesting conversation.

All you need is a pleasant, relaxed conversation. Small talk is your best bet here.

It’s about going from subject to subject, knowing that all subjects are related. You also want to keep it light; no need to go into the details of subjects.

Use small talk to create a level of comfort, without being too serious, too soon.

Being Sociable & “Responsive”

People love those who are engaged in the conversation with them. If you seem aloof to someone, he or she will think you’re not interested in making friends.
You actually need to show some interest in what the other person is saying, even before they say it.

If you want to be friends with someone, you have to notice their emotional state and take that into account when you talk to them.

Having Things In Common

Friendship works in a way that you need to have things in common with someone to be friends with them. I could teach you how to find commonalities with people you meet, but if you don’t find any, you don’t have to spin your wheels.

Many people think that in order to be social, they “have to” get interested in subjects they don’t enjoy, like sports, or TV. Of course you don’t; there are people with the same interests that you have, also looking for new friends.

Again, small talk helps you here. If you talk to someone about many different subjects, stories, and share your opinions, you’ll start to see similarities you have with them. This is why it’s important to keep the conversation flowing, and not hang on to a single subject.

Building Trust From The Start

When you meet someone new, and want to build a friendship with him or her, there has to be some basic trust from the start. Friendship works in a way that you need to have a sense of “we get each other.”

The way you do this is to be a little more open about who you are, about your stories, and your silly secrets or pet peeves.

You don’t need to share your heavy secrets, but share a little more private information than you would share with someone you’re not interested in meeting again.

As a rule of thumb: be 5% more open than usual.

This will improve your chances of turning a stranger into a friend.

Paul Sanders is the creator of the Get The Friends You Want Book. His methodology helps you overcome shyness and loneliness, and develop the critical social skills you need to make friends, and build your social circle. Head to his website and sign up to his: Free Social Skills Newsletter.

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