Make Friends and Get a Social Life

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A fairly common social issue people have is that they're not sure how to make friends and put together a social life for themselves. There are quite a few ways someone can find themselves in this situation:

They've moved to a new city and don't know very many people yet. They've been in a long term relationship and have let their social life wither. Their old friends have slowly been dropping out of the picture (moving away, busy with work or a new family, etc.) and haven't been replaced by new ones. A large chunk of their social circle disappeared overnight, like everyone graduated from university and most of their friends moved out of the city. They feel like they've grown apart from their current friends and want to make entirely new ones. In the past they were happy being alone a lot of the time, but now they want to be around people more often. They never really knew how to make friends and have always wished their social lives were better. They've recently made a big lifestyle change such as deciding not to drink anymore, and need to develop a new social circle that's more suited to it.

Below are my thoughts on how to make friends. I'll cover a basic structure first, then go into some attitudes and principles towards the whole thing that I think are important. I've noticed people who are already good at making friends naturally tend to do most of the things I outline below without thinking about it. Bare bones guide on how to make friends

Here are the basic steps to making friends. It seems simplistic, but there can be a lot to each point. People who struggle with their social lives often stumble on one or more of them as well. 1. Find some potential friends

To make friends you first have to find some possible candidates. There are two main ways to do this: Draw on your current contacts

This won't apply to people who have just moved to a new area and don't know anyone, but often you'll already have the seeds of a social life around you. You don't necessarily have to go out and meet ten strangers to have one. It's often easier to turn existing contacts into full-fledged friends than it is to meet new ones.

There are probably a handful of people you already know who could end up becoming part of a new social circle. I'm talking about people like:

Acquaintances you're friendly with when you run into each other, but who you never see otherwise. People at work or in your classes who you get along with. Friends of people you know who you've gotten along with in the past. Someone who has shown an interest in being your friend but you never really took up the offer. People you very occasionally hang out with, who you could see more often. Friends you've gradually lost contact with who you could call up again. For some people, cousins who are close to your age.

Meet some new people

Getting more out of your current relationships can go a long way, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes you're at a point where you need to meet entirely new people. Not having easy access to potential new friends is a big barrier for many people in creating a social circle. I go into more detail here: How To Meet People.

Overall, I'd say the easiest things to do are:

Being in a situation where lots of potential friends are around, and you naturally have to get to know them through your day-to-day interactions. Work and school are the two big ones. Meeting one or two good people and then getting to know all their friends. If you hang out with fifteen people, you shouldn't have to have met them all individually. Being into hobbies or communities where you'll naturally meet a lot of people, ones you already have something common with and a built-in activity/conversation opportunity to do with them.

Overall, meeting new people may require making an effort to pull out of your day-to-day routine. If most of your hobbies are solitary you might also...
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