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How to make friends?

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Key Points:

  1. Making good friends is related to many areas and topics. WikiHow has many articles talking about friendship, but each standalone article can't form a solid and comprehensive solution. Therefore, we have rewritten and integrated several articles together to create a better version.

Having good friends is very important for social health and could also for career development. Here we quote the best way to make friends provided by wikiHow, a wiki that is building the world's largest and highest quality how-to manual. Please edit the articles and find author credits at the original wikiHow articles on What to Do if You Don't Have Close Friends, How to Become Good Friends With Someone, How to Get Along with Friends. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

It takes time to become good friends with someone. There is a process of introducing yourself, getting to know a person, and building a friendship over time. Some people have a very easy time making friends, while others find it to be challenging. However, there are many tried-and-true tips to building a friendship that lasts.

Part 1: Becoming Familiar With Someone

1. Introduce yourself to the person with whom you want to be friends. All friendships start somewhere, and that is with introducing yourself. Find an opportunity to say hello and share your name without being overly pushy.

  • You could do this at school. It is especially helpful when you have mutual friends with this person, and you find yourself all in a group together.

  • If you find yourself at a party, you can introduce yourself so that both of you have someone to talk to.

  • Introduce yourself if you are assigned to work on a project together or to complete a task together.

2. Ask questions about them. When you have the opportunity, take time to ask your new acquaintance questions about themselves. This shows them that you have an interest in getting to know them.

  • "Do you have any brothers and sisters? How many?"

  • "What do you like to do in your free time?"

  • "What sports do you play?"

  • " Do you like cooking?"

  • "What are your hobbies?"

  • "Have you always lived in this area?"

  • "What is your favorite type of music/band/artist?"

  • "Do you like to read? What is your favorite book?"

3. Respond to their questions about you. It is almost expected that as you ask your new acquaintance questions, they will answer and then ask you the same question about yourself. Be sure to take the time to answer those questions and give them the opportunity to get to know you, too.

  • Friendship is a two-way street, so it is important for both of you to feel that you know each other well in order to build a good friendship.

  • Keep the talking balanced. When you do answer questions, try to take a similar amount of time as your acquaintance did so that you avoid talking more than them.

4. Avoid heavy topics. While you are in this first stage of getting to know someone, it is best to avoid controversial and personal topics of conversation.

  • Keep the chat light and upbeat, talking about things you have in common or things you want to know about each other.

  • Redirect the conversation if it gets too personal: "I'm not comfortable talking about that right now. Have you ever been to a concert?"

  • Excuse yourself from the conversation or redirect it if you begin discussing a controversial topic: "I understand that we both have our own beliefs about this, but let's talk about something more fun for now."

5. Take your time in getting to know your new acquaintance. Avoid bombarding them with a lot of questions all at once. You want to get to know this person, but you do not want him/her to feel like he/she is being interviewed.

  • As you cross paths with your acquaintance on different occasions, like in school or at the mall, take the the opportunity to get to know a little more about them.

  • You could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to get to know your new acquaintance. It does not need to happen immediately or in just a few short hours.

6. Exchange contact information when you feel ready. When you feel like you have gotten to know your acquaintance enough to pursue a friendship with them, ask if you can exchange contact information. You can share any of the following, based on how you like to keep in touch:

  • Phone number for calling and/or text messaging

  • Email address

  • Social media profiles, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Part 2: Laying the Foundation for a Friendship

1. Know how to be a friend. In order to start becoming a good friend with someone, and therefore expecting that person to become a good friend, you need to be a good friend yourself.

  • Reflect on your own personality and determine what your strengths and weaknesses are in being a friend. Create a goal to improve one of your friendship weaknesses to help you become a better friend. For example, maybe you sometimes forget to respond to your friends' text messages, so you could make a goal to respond within a few hours every time.

2. Be yourself with your friend. You would not like it if you found out that your friend's true personality is completely different from what you thought it was. Therefore, you should be yourself around your friend.

  • Show your quirky habits. Maybe they do the same things!

  • Share your sense of humor and tell jokes that you think are funny.

  • Share your hobbies and interests, even if others think they are "weird." Your friend might be interested in them, too!

3. Accept your friend for who he/she is. It is important to not try to force your friend to be someone that they are not. Your friend is a unique person, and just as you want to be accepted for who you are, so does your friend.

4. Invite your friend to spend time with you. There is a wide variety of things that you can do with friends. Invite your friend to hang out with you so that you can build up your friendship.[8]

  • Go to the movies

  • Go to an arcade

  • Go shopping

  • Invite your friend over for dinner

  • Invite your friend to play at your house

  • Invite your friend over to play board or video games

  • Join in a neighborhood game, like soccer or basketball

5. Remember special occasions for your friend and celebrate them. When it is your friend's birthday, be sure to give them a card or even a small gift. They will also appreciate if you acknowledge when they do really well at something, when they win something, and when they get accepted into a group or program.

  • Be sure to show genuine excitement for your friend. They will likely be able to tell if you are not sincerely happy for them, which will damage the friendship.

  • If you also made an attempt at the same thing (for example, you also applied to get into a certain program) but did not succeed, avoid being jealous of your friend. This is unhealthy and will not allow your friendship to grow.

6. Make your friend aware that you are there for support. Friends rely on each other for support through hard times, so let your friend know that you will be there if he/she ever needs you.

  • Follow through when those times arise. For example, if your friend gets into an argument with a sibling or another friend, make sure you help them through that.

  • Be reliable for your friend. A big aspect of a successful friendship is reliability, so if you tell your friend that they can rely on you to always be there, then you need to prove that.

7. Be open and honest with your friend. No relationship can withstand being built on secrets and lies, so it is extremely important to be open and honest.

  • When your friend asks your opinion on something, give it politely and honestly.

  • Share your perspective in a polite, friendly way.

  • Avoid keeping secrets from your friend whenever possible, especially if the secrets are about him/her.

8. Be positive. Focusing on the upside makes you a better friend. Complaints, drama, or regular talks about hopeless-sounding situations can wear your friends thin after a while. If you’re someone who likes discussing emotional subjects, that’s okay⁠, but remember to strike a balance and talk about more cheerful or lighthearted topics, too. Discussing something as simple as books or video games, or sharing funny or uplifting stories, is better for your friendships (and everyone’s moods).

9. Display interest in your friends. Your friends want to feel like you care about their lives. When you don’t know what to talk about, it can be tempting to talk about yourself⁠—but if you only talk about yourself, your friends might get annoyed. Making an effort to learn about your friends shows them that you want to know about who they are, and helps you build a better relationship with them. Ask them open-ended questions about their lives and interests⁠—it will go a long way!

Part 3: Strengthening a Good Friendship

1. Show your friend that you value the friendship. You can do this many different ways, and usually, lots of things you do will work together to prove to your friend that you consider them a good friend. The following are things you should always work to do:

  • Be reliable and dependable.

  • Be honest.

  • Be yourself.

  • Support your friend.

  • Include your friend.

  • Celebrate your friend's accomplishments.

  • Help your friend when they needs it.

2. Give a valid reason when you cannot spend time with your friend. If your friend asks you to hang out, but you already have other plans or an obligation, let them know. Then, suggest another day to hang out instead.

  • Suggesting another opportunity to hang out proves to your friend that you do want to spend time with them and that you like doing so.

3. Work to resolve any issues that arise. No matter how much you and your friend have in common, arguments and disagreements are bound to come up at some point. Work through these bumps in the road with your friend.

  • Apologize when you need to do so. If you are in the wrong, then it is important to take responsibility for your actions.

  • Offer ideas for how you and your friend can fix the problem instead of expecting them to fix it.

4. View things from your friend's point of view. Even if you and your friend are very similar, you are not the same person. Sometimes, you might need to try to understand an issue or an event from his/her perspective.

  • Try to understand why this issue bothers or upsets them. What about it is upsetting?

  • Do not brush it off if it is something that does not bother you. Instead, try to talk your friend through it and come up with strategies for dealing with the situation.

5. Respect your friend's boundaries. Sometimes, they might not want your help or want your involvement in every aspect of their life. It is important to respect that and to give your friend the space they needs.

  • Even if you or your friend moves away, it is possible to maintain a good friendship. Keep in contact when you can and show your friend that you respect their needs.

  • Let your friend know that you are still there for them, even while space is needed.

  • Understand that you and your friend do not need to spend time together every day. You both have your own lives, schedules, and obligations.

6. Trust your friend. Having a good friendship means trusting one another. You cannot expect your friend to trust you if you do not trust them.

  • Always be honest and open with your friend so that they have no reason not to trust you.

  • Talk through problems with your friend and come to a resolution so that you can continue to trust them.

  • Share your feelings and dreams with your friend. This is something that lets them know that you have trust, because you chose to confide in them.

  • Forgive your friend's mistakes. Holding grudges is emotionally unhealthy and will not allow your friendship to blossom into a good one.

Part 4: Make New Friends

1. Reach out to acquaintances. Make the first move to strengthen your connection with others. You probably have people in your life that you’d consider acquaintances, but maybe not close friends. Start with those people, and ask them to hang out one-on-one. The more you can talk to the people in your life, the better you’ll be able to build close connections with them.

2. Talk to old friends on social media. This is a great way to reconnect with people you lost touch with. It’s totally normal to stop keeping up with certain people, like friends from high school days. If you want to, you can look them up on Instagram, Facebook, or even Twitter and send them a message. Ask them what they’ve been up to and how they’re doing, then see if they want to hang out IRL (if they still live in the area).

3. Meet new people in a club or hobby group. You can build almost instant connections with someone if you have the same hobby. If there’s an activity you really like to do, look on your local neighborhood pages to see if other people like it, too. Then, you can hang out with like-minded people and chat about your hobby or favorite activity. From there, you’ll probably make a close connection or two.

4. Try volunteering to make new connections. You can meet tons of people in your community this way. Look online for local organizations that need volunteer help, then head over there on the weekends or after work. You can meet new people by asking them about why they’re volunteering, what they do for their day job, and how long they’ve lived in the area. Plus, you can bond over your love of the community and your willingness to volunteer for others.

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