If you’re someone who is feeling lonely, or wishing you had closer friendships, then it can be easy to feel as though everyone around you has masses of friends and you’re the only one that doesn’t – especially when walking through the park on a hot Summer’s day and seeing flocks of people sat round in a circle laughing.
But the truth is, ‘how to make new friends’ is one of the most common questions I see asked on Facebook groups such as ‘Truly Twenties’ and ‘London New Girl’. Every day, new posts pop up expressing anxiety over the daunting concept of making friends and a feeling of ‘stuckness’ in having no idea how to even start! The crazy, yet hopefully comforting part, is that every single one of these posts has hundreds of likes and pages of comments from other individuals all feeling the same way, and many even reaching out to try to make friends with the person who wrote the post!
So, first things first… Know that you are not alone.
In a new age of technology and a post-Covid climate, many of us are experiencing reduced exposure to other people, and so friendships – not to mention romantic relationships – are trickier to find, and the prospect of awkward small talk is even more daunting!
Fortunately, there are ways around this and below I have created a list for you of remarkably effective ways to connect with new people without subjecting yourself (or them!) to uncomfortable conversations. Whether you’re an introvert, feeling lonely, or searching for meaningful connections, these strategies can help you forge genuine relationships that will stand the test of time.
1. Vulnerability is the Key to Connection
Instead of tip-toeing around superficial small talk, opt for a more authentic approach. When you open up about your experiences, goals, and even vulnerabilities, you create an atmosphere of trust and genuine connection. Sharing personal stories for instance, allows for a deeper understanding of each other and thankfully propels conversation beyond the realm of small talk!
Top Tip: This is also a great strategy for identifying friendships (and relationships) that line up with your personal values. When the topics you talk about are deep and meaningful, you’re thus able to identify what the other person finds meaningful!
2. Learn How to Rewire Your Mind for Confidence
There’s no way around it. Meeting new people is going to push you out of your comfort zone. Hopefully not so far that you find yourself in your panic zone, struggling to stay afloat in a sea of awkwardness, but into your stretch zone where you will need some confidence or courage to help you push through.
If you’re not naturally a confident person, then check out this FREE training that will teach you exactly how to rewire your mind for confidence with a super simple 4-step process that you can rinse and repeat until it becomes second nature! When you feel confident, conversations flow more naturally, bypassing the need for awkward small talk and creating a foundation for authentic connections.
Afterall… “Act confident, and no-one will question you!”
3. Embrace Your Inner Introvert
Introverts often excel in deeper, one-on-one conversations. So instead of forcing yourself into large social gatherings, focus on connecting with individuals in smaller settings.
Being an introvert doesn’t have to hold you back!
Leverage your natural ability to listen and engage in meaningful discussions, which will help you form bonds without the pressure of superficial small talk.
4. Meet the Right People in the Right Places!
This is such an obvious fact, but most of us completely forget to do it!
When I was at University, I really wanted a relationship. A relationship of love, connection and warmth. Yet I would go out multiple times a week to the University clubs, and secretly be hoping that I would meet someone there. In hindsight, it seems ridiculous – if you want a relationship, why would you go to a place optimized for one-night stands and minimal communication? It doesn’t make sense right!
So the same goes for you…
Instead of going to the place where lots of people hang out, go to the places where the RIGHT people hang out. Don’t want to engage in painstaking small talk? Then join a club or a group that interests you, then anyone you meet there will be easy to chat to because you can talk about your shared interest! And shared interests really are bridges to meaningful friendships. So consider immersing yourself in clubs or classes that resonate with your passions. Whether it’s a photography club, dance class, or cooking workshop, these settings provide a great space for conversations that stem from genuine enthusiasm, thus eliminating the need for awkward small talk.
5. Attend Social Events With a Purpose
Similar to the above, one of the most powerful ways to connect with people is by attending events that align with your interests. These purpose-driven spaces provide a natural context for conversation, ensuring that discussions are engaging and meaningful.
A great example of a place to do this, is on a retreat – a space where individuals who don’t know each other come together and spend a week focusing on a common goal. For instance, we have a Self-Empowerment Retreat coming up in October, aimed at individuals who aren’t as confident in themselves and in social/work situations as they’d like to be, and who need a bit of a mind reset. It’s a gathering of up to 14 like-minded individuals who all want to create new friendships, have a memorable holiday, and also leave feeling far more optimistic and excited bout life than they did previously.
If you want to check the retreat out or submit an application, please do so soon as spaces are almost gone!
6. Leverage Technology for Lasting Connections
In the digital age, technology doesn’t have to be something that just separates us, it can also a massive tool for bringing people together. Online forums like Reddit and Quora, Facebook groups for every town – big or small – in the world, and apps from Bumble to Meet Up, all allow you to engage in discussions and experiences that matter to you. These interactions – despite how unlikely it might seem – often translate into offline friendships, eliminating the need for stereotypical small talk or traditional ways to meet people.
7. Be YOU.
Meeting new people can be intimidating because there’s a part of your brain that’s screaming:
‘WHAT IF THEY THINK YOU’RE WEIRD!!!’
But it’s this very self-doubt and lack of unapologetic authenticity that can make you feel and be awkward in these interactions. So by developing a strong relationship with yourself, where you like the person that you are, and know that by being you, you’ll attract the friendships that are most suited to you… that’s exactly what you’ll do!
If this is something that you personally find challenging, then once again, our FREE training teaching you how to rewire your mind for positivity, confidence and self-love is going to be really effective for you. Or, if you’re truly fed up of feeling stuck, anxious and behind in life and want to dive right in and actually make a lasing change as well as some friends for life, then the upcoming Zakynthos Self-Empowerment Retreat is going to be your chance to do JUST THAT!
In conclusion, making new friends doesn’t have to be synonymous with awkward small talk. By embracing authenticity, learning to exude confidence, and engaging in purposeful interactions, you can forge relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling. Whether you’re an introvert seeking meaningful companionship, navigating your 20s, or simply seeking deeper connections, these strategies offer a fresh approach to building lasting friendships.
I appreciate you!