Today I had an interesting conversation with a friend, and we talked about a few things that I have really been thinking about. Specifically, the issue of friends. I am blessed to have many friends, from many walks of life, and he had mentioned to me how difficult it is to make friends. I took a moment to think about the many friends I have accumulated throughout my life, and realized that honestly, it’s quite easy, at least below the surface it is. Read on for my thoughts.
First, on the subject of friends. Movies and TV paint a picture of a small group of friends as the ideal, always hanging out, and always doing things together. In reality, while having a small group of friends is wonderful, you simply cannot put a strain on the group by expecting them to hang out or do things together all the time. We are all busy, we all have different lives, and we all have different tastes. That is what makes a good group to begin with, diversity. But what makes a good group, can also break it as well. Like any relationship, spending too much time with someone can be detrimental to the relationship. You begin to feel smothered, and need room to breathe. That is where having circles of friends is essential.
The diagram above is not perfect, but it gives you an idea of a good setup for success. Having good best friends, within a core of good friends, with other friends on the fringe lets you get a good mix of people to enjoy life with. And that is the point of having friends in the first place. Life is all about experiences, and sharing them with people you care about. Not about getting laid, or even getting in a relationship, it’s about sharing life with friends, family, and loved ones. It’s about finding your passions in life, and pushing life to the maximum.
You might say, “Well, that is all well and dandy, but what do I do if I don’t already have a group of friends?” Well, start by leaving your house! Find a passion, a hobby, a shared interest (video games do not count, sorry) where you can interact with others face to face. Go dancing, take up hiking, snorkeling, motorcycles, the possibilities are endless. Go find out what makes your soul sing.
When you are out and about, there are a few things that you need to remember, when interacting with others. These things are simple, and easy to forget, so make sure you catch yourself:
- A. Dont try to compete or rank yourself around people. People are people, and you are no better or worse than any other. You can’t think to yourself, “Oh, this person is irresponsible, I am better than them, or they are beneath me.” You need to be accepting of people and accept them for who they are, just as you need to accept that you will never be perfect
- B. Don’t try to impress people with your accomplishments. No one cares. Instead ask people about themselves. Always be asking questions, because damnit, people love to talk about themselves. When shit gets awkward, ask people about their day, about their job, about their life, about their interests, about WHATEVER. just ask questions.
- C. Don’t be afraid to be laughed at or to be a fool. Only people that are uptight are too good to have fun. Be silly, be stupid, have fun and get out of your comfort zone. Stop caring what people think about you. Its your life, so stop existing, and start living it. How do you know you wont enjoy something unless you try it? And if people laugh at you, laugh at yourself, and move on. I promise you, no one will remember, unless you make a big deal about it
That’s it. In my experience, doing the above will go a long way towards helping you make friends, as well as keeping them. But, what do I know?