If you have a smaller circle of friends than you realized and you want to expand it, or if you have acquaintances that don’t really seem to want to hang out with you, or if you’ve pretty much isolated yourself for so long that one day you looked around and realized that nobody is there.
We’re going to take a hard look under the hood of the most common reasons we have collected on the subject. No offense is intended, eject now if you are not really interested in learning.
Your first thought may be, its them, not me. Oh that’s just so much easier to say right? Well, if you are looking for an exact clone of yourself than congrats to you on your success! Sitting there alone – you win!
Lets expand on your prize. Lets assume it is possible to simply clone yourself. How much fun would it really be to sit in a room with of a bunch of exact duplicates of yourself? Everyone saying the exact same thing at the exact same time. Sounds pretty lonely to be honest with you.
For those interested in actually participating in real life relationships, here are some tips to help you become better friends with people.
- Be interested in others
- Remember names
- Be a good listener
- Find things you can relate to
- Make people feel they are important to you
Showing genuine interest in someone is a way of demonstrating that you care. It shows that things are not just a one way street with you. It also gives you a chance to learn about others and find common interests.
You might ask, what do you stand to learn by showing real interest? If that’s what you are saying, lets take this chance to issue a wake up call. My friend, you have turned into a pretty lonely person. It’s ok though, we can fix it!
You know those hobbies you have but haven’t done them in a while? How about the industry you work in/retired from? How about experiences you have had in your life that you have the most memories from? Well, are these things listed on a giant sign that you wear every day? No, I don’t think so.
Nobody has a sign like this. Would you even want to talk to someone that has a sign like this?
These are just a few of the things that you can learn by simply showing a bit of interest in others.
Still reading? Great, you are now taking your first steps to making new friends!
Just to clarify, we are not discussing how to find your next sexy fun time friend. Although a lot of this applies to romantic relationships, the purpose of our message is to help you make friends. To help you make meaningful intimate relationships with people that can evolve into something long term. We want to help show you how to genuinely care about someone and how to demonstrate interest in what is happening in their lives. In other words, we want you to get back – what you give.
While we are not medical professionals nor therapist, we are Veterans, PTSD survivors and the like that had to learn all of this stuff ourselves too.
If you are struggling with depression, anxiety or suspect you have a mental illness, please seek help from a trained medical professional.
Cool. Lets get to it!
For this to work, we need a little imagination real quick. Lets say you are at the post office, maybe the grocery store, maybe a gathering that you were invited to. Even better, put your mind in a place that often makes you the most uncomfortable. See that, its all the same really. Whether you are doing a mundane task (that you are comfortable with) or attending a large dance party (that you are not comfortable with) where tons of people are – all of this is applicable.
What? Duh right? However, this doesn’t mean just say “Hello” followed by telling your life story.
Think of this step as needing only small thimble sized amounts of information.
Just a little bit here and there. If you come out swinging with the amount of words equivalent to the volume of water from a fire hose, all you are going to do is knock them on the floor or send them running.
If you want people to take interest in your life, you have to let them know that you are interested in their lives, you need to talk, but you also need to listen.
You need to learn to speak to someone in a way that makes sense to them and in small amounts.
Ask about hobbies and the things they enjoy followed by listening and asking questions. Even if you don’t like the activities they are talking about, what can you lose by learning more?
Example 1: You just met John. John says he likes to play basketball. Normally you might say, ahhh, I dont play basketball, NEXT topic please. In your mind, you’re done listening to John playing basketball. And guess what, John is now done being “interviewed” by you.
Here’s what that same conversation looks like when you become “interestED”.
Example 2: You just met John. John says he likes to play basketball. You could say, oh, that’s cool man. How long have you been playing? What got you into basketball in the first place? John now finds you “interestING”.
What you may end up finding out is the John plays basketball because it helps his PTSD and thats where you can relate. But, you would have never found this out if you were not “interestED”. Next thing you know, John is asking you what you like to do.
Through out this process you will discover similarities in people. If someone likes the same things that you do – relax. Yes, its exciting to meet someone that does the same things, but the thimble rule still applies! Making lifelong friends is a marathon, not a sprint.
Ask them about their jobs and more. Listen and ask questions.
Do you know what you just did? You had an actual real life in-depth genuine conversation! Wow, that was easy right?
You know what they are saying about you right now? Do you see that person over there (you), they are really cool! I really should figure out a way to chat with them (you) more.
You demonstrated real interest in their life. Your turn may be coming soon.
Some things to be aware of.
If they say things that you do not like, its OK, it’s nothing personal. You have to be prepared in advance to consider the things that are going to “trigger” you. You also have to learn how you are going to deal with those triggers.
Do your homework. Ask yourself, what are the topics and things that are absolutely going to trigger you? With that same list in hand, ask yourself how you are going to deal with the situation when those topics come up?
Remember, the innocent by-stander is not bringing these things up just to torture you, they have no idea. Our triggers are our own things and therefore, our triggers are our responsibility as well.
You might be surprised that the triggers on your list, don’t even come up. If these triggers come up too often, you are in the wrong place, venue, event, etc and you need to change the environment.
Where you are 6 months from now is the result of the books you read and the company you keep. So it’s very important that you proceed and stay focused on your goal.
While the goal is to have an adult two-way conversation, we are certainly not telling you to subject yourself to random strangers tales of madness. But, we are saying to be open and give peace a chance. Do not assume every single person on the planet is going to immediately spin tales of madness and in a fire hose volume.
The growth part of our point is that we are often too quiet due to the concern for conflict. We really don’t want to fight, argue, nor debate with anyone that we just met. In addition, for some of us, there are some self-doubt and/or confidence issues. For some, we simply get annoyed easily. Assume success and be confident that you can at least be interestED.
Yep, were back to listening. You want to heard right? So what makes someone else any different?
Nothing says that you are not even remotely interestED in someone by not listening. The effect of not listening also makes you not interestING. That’s correct, when you don’t listen, you are the one that looks not interesting at all!
Another big mistake in today’s world is people messing with phones and devices while trying to have a conversation. We get it, you clearly work for NASA and are essential to the current spaceship launch. There’s lots of critical correspondence coming in from the Mission Control Center that must be addressed immediately.
Oh wait, if this was true, you wouldn’t be at this party in the first place… Yep, you just made yourself super not interestING.
If you are having a one on one conversation with someone you shouldn’t be texting, checking messages or playing games. You certainly should not be talking on the phone at the same time you are talking to someone in front of you!
Now, lets say the person you are talking to finds you interestING. Awesome!
Move to location that is more conducive to continuing your discussion. Get away from the television screen, get away from excess noise. Background music can be nice, but it too can be too much of a distraction. Remember, you’re not a pro at this just yet so stack the odds in your favor by subtly eliminating distractions.
Try to look people in the eye when they are talking to you. You don’t have to be one of those people that acts like their eyes are connected to their ears and they can not hear you if they cant see you. Just demonstrate to that person that they have your full attention. If someone you’re talking to is one of those people with their eyes all over you while talking to you – its ok, its their thing and its nothing personal. Just chalk it up as annoying, but also as a chance to learn! Yes, when the opportunity presents itself to learn how to deal with uncomfortable situations – take it!
While this person is more than likely not going to be a friend, you can utilize this chance to learn for future reference. Its like job interviews. What? Yes, do practice job interviews at a job that you do not want, to get real practice for the job you really do want.
3. Do not take advantage of the situation
If you have someone that is listening to you, this is a great thing that must be cherished. You’ve done a great job with the process of being more interestING by being more interestED.
Since we have already discussed the importance of “Listening”, you should already know that this relationship must be a two-way street in order to grow.
So while you have someone that is working hard to be interestING to you – is it reciprocal? Are you being interestED?
What if your friend is calling you because they need someone to talk to?
You’re never going to be that ear that they desperately need (to help them) if you cant shut the heck up and just listen.
When the person that is usually the listener for you needs someone to talk to – be that person for them! If you are not capable of doing so they could simply feel that they are all alone in this world.
Listening has to be a two-way street.
If you are saying “I am the one who listens” but the problem is that these same people aren’t listening to me at all.
Are you sure about that? If you are at this stage, have you really been interestED or are you just full of solutions to problems that they do not have? Maybe they actually have been listening and for their own sanity they can only take so much. There is a real chance that your loneliness has turned into a bit a selfishness. Yes, its hard to read that, its even harder for us to write it. But, I tell you what – we have seen it more times than we want to admit.
No, its not a great feeling to question your relationships at this stage. I’ts certainly not a good feeling when you hear (versus listen) everyone’s problems, but they don’t even bother to simply ask how your day was.
If you have someone who takes the time to listen to you, make sure you return the favor. Your relationship will be a lot stronger for it.
In addition, if right this minute you are realizing that you really were not being fair to a former good friend. An apology can go a long way. “I’m just calling to say that I’ve been learning to communicate. I now see how I may have been very selfish and I apologize.” If they want to proceed, start back at step one above.
4. Do not do all the talking, all the time.
If you are doing all the talking and making every conversation about you, the other person is feeling neglected and maybe questioning how much you really mean to them. They might be saying “do I really need this sh*t”. “Every time I talk to him/her my problems just get worse”.
Let people have their turn as well. Don’t be the one talking all the time.
In summary, no really, it is not all about you. Its very easy to make your own life all about you and you only. Its hard to determine when, why and how this happened. But being selfish has to stop if you want to grow.
5. Don’t dismiss the other persons words/thoughts
Have you ever expressed something important to you to someone and they just completely dismissed it?
They might have said something like “That’s nothing, I’ve had that for years”, “Oh that’s nothing compared this one time that I…” or “That’s not really that important.”
These examples can be said in many different ways but the message remains; you are dismissing something of value to the other person.
In addition, the tone in which you speak is equally important, so be sure to be conscious of that.
When someone tells you something that they think is important, they might actually be trying to connect with you.
Practice being more aware of when you might be dismissing something. Practice while watching the TV or listening to the radio. You may be surprised how easy it is to dismiss something of value to the other person. For example, did you just dismiss this idea for a way to practice? If so, case in point my friend.
“To be more interesting, be more interested”- All1Team.org