Essential life skills: How to make friends

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Some of us are at a loss when it comes to interpersonal skills, finding the art of how to make friends a challenging and daunting proposition. If you’re the shy type, this only compounds your dilemma. Even if you’re the outgoing type of personality, how to make friends can be an intimidating prospect. Here are a few tips that will help you break the ice.

You’ve often heard “Be a good listener” in the context of how to make friends. Well, it’s really true, and works especially well for you timid types. Often, when two people are talking, they are not really listening to each other, instead trying to make their point understood with little regard for the other person’s input.

Next time you’re talking with someone, try this little experiment. Instead of you doing all the talking, try to draw out the other person. Ask questions that show you’re actually interested in their point of view. When people perceive your interest, and they will, you’ll find them opening up and warming up to you. Once they’ve made their point and feel they’ve been understood, it’s your turn to comment on different points of the discussion. You’ll soon have a lively conversation going and will have taken a giant step forward in the art of how to make friends.

Another important component in your quest is treating the people you meet politely and with the respect you expect for yourself. Showing respect to another person immediately elevates you in their eyes! Haughty or hostile attitudes and snide remarks only hurt people’s feelings and is demeaning to that person. Treat all new people you meet in an equally polite and respectful way. How to make friends involves being a good friend to humanity.

If you want to learn how to make friends, you must treat people fairly. Let’s say your job involves working with the public. If you have such a job, you know the public can sometimes be hostile, unfriendly or just plain mean. If you are working in a retail store, you may have regular customers who are like this. You have to deal with them. If you make it your practice to always deal fairly and equally with all of your customers, you’ll find the difficult ones will eventually come around. Astonishing but true. There will always be one or two grouches. It’s the same with making friends.
Another strategy that not only works, but is imperative, is to keep your promise. If someone tells you something and adds that they don’t want it spread around, take them at their word. You may be the only person they confided in and if they later hear it from someone else, you’ve just lost a friend. On the other hand, if you keep your lip zipped, people will come to know you keep your word. You’ll gain their trust and friendship.
If you practice these simple steps, you’ll find yourself with many good friends!

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