veryone has that friend– that one friend that has absolutely no problem making many quick acquaintances at a party where they know absolutely no-one.  Everyone has that friend who, despite not having prepared whatsoever for their class presentation, absolutely nails it just on the basis of knowing everyone in their class.  Whatever it is this magic person has, the vast majority of us want it…The only problem is, how do you do it?  How does one become more social?  Well, I’ll show you….

First, Think about How you Made Friends Last Time

learning how to be more social starts in childhood with two young girls hugging
Try to remember how you came to know your “old” friends. 

Whether you’re social or not, chances are that you have– if not a friend group– good friends, close friends, even.  So, think back to how you made those friends.  Did you bond over a common interest?  Were you the only two who knew no-one in your History lecture?  Was there baking involved?  

Whatever the reason, think about how you can apply it to making friends now.  You know that the technique works, so just draft up ways in which you can use a similar method in order to branch out and meet new people.  Below are some examples. 

Ex 1:  

Met previous friend through a picnic —-->  Look at upcoming events and see where there might be an opportunity for socializing. 

Made previous friend after bonding over similar things—--> Look for VERY niche clubs at your school/ university, and see who’s in them.  Put out a lot of different opinions and see who bites.  

Made previous friend through your parents (yes, this is fine!  Plenty of people have childhood friends who remain in their lives for years)----> Ask one of your current friends to help you with a party for the next big holiday, etc.  Then allow them to introduce you to a few of their own friends/ acquaintances.  

Next, Dress the Part

confident adult woman with short red hair standing with her hands on her hips wearing a professional blue dress
Taking care of yourself can translate to better self confidence.  

I’m not being shallow when I say that looks do matter within the context of making friends.  It’s not that wearing something other than a five piece tux means that you’re undesirable, far from it. However, everyone likes a person who exhibits confidence and self-care through their looks and outfits.  Being dressed up can make you feel better about yourself, too, boosting your self esteem and making you a more appealing friend overall.  

A few tips: 

  • Don’t overdress.  It's a good idea to be: clean, presentable, well-put together.  Overdressing is only for special occasions, and might make you look like you are trying too hard.  
  • Dress to match your unique style.  Your outfits present a version of you into the world that (unfortunately) others will freely judge.  Just like with social media, you want to work on creating a version of you that is representative of who you are, just so that you are attracting the right kind of friends, who will accept you for who you are.  

Then, Showcase the Best of Yourself

Just like how, during a class presentation, you try to showcase the most confident, knowledgeable version of yourself, when you’re looking for friends, you must first present them with the best version of yourself, someone that you would want to be friends with.  

Everyone has bad days where they don’t act like the best versions of themselves, that’s just reality.  However, there are things that you can do that will have all of your prospective friends noticing you–in the best way.  

So, highlight the best parts of yourself when you are in a group.  You don’t have to be self-focused or self-centered, just remember to bring out your best qualities.  If you’re humorous, maybe crack a few jokes.  If you’re talented in one area or another, maybe steer the conversation that way, or incorporate it into whatever you’re all doing.  If you’re kind, be sure to show it!  Don’t let your fear of rejection make you appear closed off, tired, or uninterested.  Simply push through the awkwardness and into the conversation by highlighting what is great about YOU! 

(Note: Don’t Let those Friendships Go!)

group of five friends hanging out in a living room texting and talking
The way you relate to old friends might change, but they can still be a valuable part of your life.

I’ve talked a lot so far in this article about making new friendships, but not so much about maintaining old ones.  If you are constantly bringing new friends into your group but not taking care of the relationship, then you will find yourself on a carousel of friends, constantly, with friends coming into and going from your life just like that.  

No one wants to be in a situation in which they can only make new friends, and don’t know how to maintain the old ones.  So, here are a few simple tips to get you and your old friends back together again. 

  • Be a person who reaches out to schedule things.  You may be busy, but it only takes thirty seconds to text someone that you want to meet up somewhere.  
  • Don’t always do the convenient thing.  Maybe there’s a mall by your house where you like to hang out, and you always go with one friend because they live near there and it’s convenient for them.  Maybe this has caused you to ignore inviting other friends because you think they wouldn’t go out of their way, or because you just don't see it as convenient. Try inviting them anyway!  It’s hard to keep a friendship if you’re too low-maintenance about everything.  Friends want to feel like they matter to you, and if you NEVER go out of your way, chances are, they’ll start looking for friendship elsewhere.  
  • Know when to break things off.  As was mentioned above, friends can sense when you’re beginning to distance yourself– and while there’s nothing wrong with this, it can become a bit difficult when a person still thinks they have you on the hook, and you haven’t given them anything.  No one wants to act like a bad friend, and being a bad friend only cheapens your reputation and other friendships, as you get the reputation of being disingenuous.  For that reason, it is better to break friendships off when you have to, just to ensure that you are giving 100% to your friends, and not stringing anyone along.  

Finally, Address What’s Been Holding you Back

a young african american woman seated on the floor leaning on a sofa contemplating
There may be something other than just shyness keeping you from being a more social person. 

If none of the above tips worked for you, you might just be one of those people who is being affected by a different issue altogether.  It may not be that you aren’t a social or extroverted person at heart…Maybe you are just going through a tough time right now.  

Here are examples of some other things going on in your life that might make it a bit harder than usual to make new friends and be social:  

  • Depression or Anxiety:  Depression can make you feel down, and inclined to isolate yourself, whereas anxiety can make it so that you are afraid of addressing others, fearing judgment.  (Talk to a Therapist to potentially remedy either of these.)
  • A major life event:  If you have a lot on your mind– be it good or bad– that can cause you to distance yourself from your friends.  It’s not that you don’t like them… More like you can sense that you have a lot on your plate right now, and want to avoid taking on too many things at once.  This is fine, but if you think your friends are getting a bit confused, or if you’re having trouble making friends because of it, perhaps consider re-evaluating your schedule to find time for you to relax with friends so that they don’t think you’re bailing on them.  

…And that’s It! 

Being more social isn’t a simple solution for everyone.  Part of becoming a more social person is wrapped up in understanding who you are at present, and why you might tend to be more individualistic or introverted, and then addressing these things.  At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with being introverted! As long as you are connected to a great group of people, you’re good to go!

Dec 8, 2023