1. Realize your fear is in your head
- Reach out to acquaintances. Have any hi-bye type friends from earlier years? Or friends you lost touch with over time? Drop a friendly sms and say hi. Ask for a meet-up when they are free. See if there are opportunities to reconnect.
- See if there are cliques where you can join in. Cliques are established groups of friends. The idea isn’t to break into the clique, but to practice being around new friends. With cliques, the existing members will probably take the lead in conversations, so you can just take the observatory role and watch the dynamics between other people.
- Get to know your friends’ friends. You can join them in their outings or just ask your friend to introduce you to them. If you are comfortable with your friends, there’s a good chance you will be comfortable with their friends too.
- Accept invitations to go out. I have friends who rarely go out. When they are asked out, they reject majority of the invites because they rather stay at home. As a result, their social circles are limited. If you want to have more friends, you have to step out of your comfort zone and go out more often. You can’t make more friends in real life if you stay at home!
3. Get yourself out there
- Join meet-up groups. Meetup.com is a great social networking site. There are many interest groups, such as groups for entrepreneurs, aspiring authors, vegetarian, boardgame lovers, cycling enthusiasts, etc. Pick out your interests and join those groups. Meet-ups are usually monthly, depending on the group itself. Great way to meet a lot of new people quickly.
- Attend workshops/courses. These serve as central avenues that gather like-minded people. I went to a personal development workshop last year, and there I met with many great individuals, some of whom I became good friends with.
- Volunteer. Great way to kill 2 birds with one stone – not only do you get to spread kindness and warmth, you meet compassionate people with a cause.
- Go to parties. Parties such as birthday parties, christmas/new year/celebration parties, housewarmings, function/events, etc. Probably a place where you’ll meet a high quantity of new friends but not necessarily quality. Good way to meet more people nonetheless.
- Visit bars and clubs. Many people visit them to meet more friends, but I don’t recommend them as the friends you make here are probably more hi-bye type, rather than the type #2 and type #3 friends. It’s good to just visit them a couple of times and see how they’re like before you make your judgment.
- Online communities. Internet is a great way to meet new people. Some of my best friendships started online. Just because we have not met (yet) does not mean we can’t be great friends.Nowadays, online forums are the central locations where communities gather. Check out online forums of your interest topics. Participate constructively and add value to the discussions. Soon, you’ll get to know them better as friends.
4. Take the first step
5. Be open
Be open-minded. Don’t judge.
Open your heart.
6. Get to know the person
- What is his/her background?
- How did he/she come to be where he/she is today?
- What are his/her hobbies?
- What is his/her values/motivators in life?
- What is important to him/her?
7. Connect with genuinity
8. Be yourself
- You continue being the vocal, brassy person your new friends knew you as. However, it’ll just be a facade. In the long-run, it’ll be a tiring facade to uphold. Not only that, the friendship will just be built on a hollow front. Or
- You change back to the introverted you. However, your friends will feel cheated because that isn’t the person they befriended. They’ll also gradually shift away if the personalities don’t match.