How to Make Friends is an Art
Making friends is one of the most valuable activities in life, whether measured by happiness, helpfulness, or financial benefits. Making friends usually begins with finding compatible people.
In a previous post I wrote about How To Find Friends. Social networking websites have made it easy to find new friends online. Meetup.com even facilitates finding and meeting people with similar interests offline (“in real life”).
How to Find Friends Offline
Offline, there are ample clubs, organizations, churches, and networking “after hours” events where we can mingle, meet, and greet. Most of these can be found by a simple search online or by directories at the local library or chamber of commerce.
How to Find Friends Online
In fact, opportunities to meet potential friends online are so plentiful that the challenge becomes sorting among thousands of candidates. Dating sites offer a catalog of possible mates, Linkedin enables business and professional connections, and Facebook allows us to see the likes, interests, and activities of “Friends,” as well as their photos.
How to Win Friends After You Meet Them
Making friends, however, is a bit more challenging than finding prospects. The situation sort of reminds me of a dog chasing a car; one wonders what he would do with it if he caught it! Or the old Boy Scout motto (paraphrased here): “If you should meet a Girl Scout while marching through the woods, don’t be bashful, don’t be scared — be prepared.”
Seriously, the art of winning friends and influencing people is such an important topic that Dale Carnegie’s book is still a best seller after sixty years and about 50,000,000 copies sold. Although the opportunities mentioned above in this post are greater in the twenty-first century, humans have not changed much in thousands of years.
Hanging Out Together
An article on the blog, SucceedSocially.com, called How to Make Friends and Get a Social Life, has helpful advice for lonely people. Here is an excerpt from that article:
Once you’ve met some people you get along with, ask them to hang out. This is the most important step in my experience. You can meet all the people you want, and they can think you’re great, but if you don’t take any actions to do something with them in the future, then you won’t form many new relationships.
Google has an amazing new tool for FREE VIDEO CONFERENCING. Google Hangouts allows you to conference (on your web cam) with up to ten presenters in up to 10 different locations simultaneously. You can even broadcast the conference LIVE or RECORDED to an unlimited audience. You can learn more about this wonderful tool at: http://LearnGoogleHangouts.com
Engage and Interact to Make Real Friends
I think it is about the same online. To build a real relationship, you need to engage and interact somehow. It can begin by “Liking” their comments. It can be enhanced by sharing their content. Basically, people like to be liked, they like to be helped, and they like to be noticed, respected and appreciated.
A very valuable article called, “7 Ways To Make More Social Media Friends Who matter,” is on the AimClearBlog.com Here is an excerpt:
When it comes to social media friends, we believe that quality, influence, loyalty and relevance overall outweigh quantity.There are tons of ways to locate cool people and vet their levels of influence.
Invest Attention and Recognition
“Paying attention” is one of the best investments you could make. It cost you little, but it is worth a lot. People crave attention all their lives. It is just more obvious in children. Investors look for something that is in big demand and short supply — like a good listener! Research on employee motivation and retention have shown that attention and recognition are better than money.
Mary Kay built a billion dollar empire with recognition. Think pink Cadillac.
The “future value” of a good friend is incalculable but huge! Build your “social capital” by learning how to make friends.
Image credit to Bridget A. Barnes @ http://www.boystownpress.org/index.php/making-friends-is-an-art.html