You may be deciding to develop friendships because you have moved or your life has shifted. You may be newly single and feeling awkward after a lifetime that has followed a predictable pattern.
By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.
Whatever the case, you can be successful at building new relationships if you remember that people don’t fall “in love” or “in like” with other people. Rather, they fall in love with how OTHER people make THEM feel. The secret of successful relationships is to pay attention to how you make others feel rather than to how they make you feel.
Companionship and sharing are two aspects that are key to a relationship. Doing things with someone and having conversations about how each of you perceives a wide variety of values, goals, and activities forms the basis of any relationship.
Think about it. It is impossible to have a relationship with someone if no time is spent together and no conversation of any meaning takes place. Regular contact and involvement in enjoyable activities allows the opportunity for meaningful conversation to occur.
Once we know what are needs are and what interests and preferences we have, we can go to where people are doing the things that we enjoy and get involved.
If you decide not to make the effort or take the risk of meeting new people and possibly getting turned down about something, there is no chance of building new relationships.
If you do get out and get involved, you raise your success chances to 50%.
When going into a new group, pay attention to how you can make others feel comfortable rather than how uncomfortable you may be. The chances are that everyone else is uncomfortable too. They may cover better than you.
Enter the group and pretend that this is a party in your honor. Assume that everyone is there to meet YOU. Start by joining a small group and after introducing yourself, listen to the conversation. Ask questions about what is being talked about and look interested even if you are not. Demonstate enthusiasm in the other people. They will like you for it.
First, you must decide that you want friends. Then, focus on your strong points. Think about what you like about yourself. Write those things down and read them at least twice daily.
Learn the art of listening with interest. Keep in mind how to make others more comfortable. Learn to say nice things to people without losing your sincerity.
Remember, others worry about being accepted just as you do. Words that are affirming and encouraging (IE I really like your sense of humor) relax others and make them feel accepted by you.
Take the initiative to get out. Call those you would like to get to know better. You make get some refusals. This is the nature of the risk. Go on to the next person.
Be a friend. Be sensitive to the needs of others. Be there to share good times and bad.
Did you know? You can kill a f riendship out of neglect. Criticizing, arguing, and avoiding are all the enemies of intimacy.