How to Become Sociable and Make Good Friends
Jun 25, 2019
“Friday evening, and again I am staying at home alone. It’s so sad and lonely, I really have no one to talk to. There are no friends from school or university. Everyone has their own activities, their own parties and companions, and I am alone. My colleagues called me to go to a pub, but I don’t like pubs, and I haven’t made any friendly relations for a year at work. In my childhood it was easy to approach any child on the street: “What is your name? Let’s be friends,” and then you play together. Now all I want is to make friends but it is absurd to bother people on the streets. Why does everyone have friends, except me?
– Anna, 23
Anna’s worries are understandable for friendship is really a very important thing in a person’s life. But whereas one person might easily communicate with everyone and quickly make friends, another will find this very much more difficult.
We are used to the fact that in childhood, friends appear on their own. We and our parents help this. But in adulthood no one “delivers” us friends. Is there any way to help those who do not communicate well to find friends? Of course there is. The ability to be friends, like any other skill, can be developed. Even introverts can do that. You just need to understand what friendship entails, what it is based on, and how to build friendships. We’ll talk about this today.
- What is friendship?
- Why do we need friendship?
- How true friends behave. Unspoken friendship rules
- What qualities are needed to make friends?
- “Why don’t I have friends?”
- How to make friends for an adult: a psychologist’s advice
- Take into account the territorial characteristic
- Learn to find similarities
- Learn to be friendlier
- Pay attention to those who treat you with sympathy
- Think about what you can give your friend in a relationship
- Friends for introverts
What is friendship?
Friendship is a close relationship between people based on trust, respect, common interests, mutual understanding, and mutual assistance. Sometimes people put a different meaning into the concept of “friend”, for example, “a person who I sometimes meet on Fridays”. “a person with whom I was in the army”, or “a person who studied at the same school”. True friendship, however, is not only the amount of time you spend together. Sometimes it happens that a person knows how to communicate and has many friends, but he/she still feels lonely. Why does this happen? Perhaps this is because the relationship is more ‘matey’ than friendly. And one desires real closeness and support.
Why do we need friendship?
Why is it necessary to make friends? Is it to observe conventions or to take care of the feelings of others? Isn’t it just money and fame that are needed to live happily ever after? There are people who really think so, but in fact, for a happy life, most people need other people. Or, more precisely, they need true friendship and strong attachments and the knowledge that there is someone you can rely on.
People who are isolated from other people more than they prefer often feel miserable. They are more likely to get sick and live shorter lives.  The point is not whether you have a family, a permanent partner or buddies but more important is the quality of your relationships. Therefore, it is so important not only to make superficial acquaintances, but also to develop deeper friendly relations. Yes, sometimes this can be difficult, but we can be sure that strong friendships now will lead to a happier life in the future.
And this is not to mention the value of having company in such obvious things, like “there is someone to eat pizza with and go to the movies”.
How true friends behave. Unspoken Friendship Rules
Of course, these rules may differ among different people, but researchers identified the following 4 categories that are important in developing friendship for most people: 
Relationships with other people
• to share with each other news about your successes;
• to protect your friends in their absence;
• to support each other voluntarily in difficult situations;
• to tolerate other friends of your friend;
• to try to make friends enjoy conversing with us;
• to be free from jealousy or criticizing relationships with other people;
• to repay debts and benefits
• not to criticize in public;
• to keep secrets
• to trust and be confident with each other
• not to preach, not to be annoying;
• to respect the beliefs and boundaries of a friend
Violation of some of these rules may serve as a reason for termination of friendly relations. For example, the disclosure of other people’s secrets or failure to return borrowed money can undermine trust and end friendships.
What qualities are needed to make friends?
The unwritten rules of friendship say lot about the qualities you need to be able to make friends. Let’s flesh them out.
1. You need to be ready to support your friend and share not only sadness, but also joy.
2. It is necessary to show interest in the life of your friend and his/her problems and concerns.
3. You need to be a person one can rely on and trust.
4. You need to respect the opinions and actions of your friend. Even if you disagree on some issues, this does not mean that one of you is a bad friend.
“Why don’t I have friends?”
“How is it possible to make friends if there are only stupid young people around? TV series, TV shows, social media all day – what can you to talk to them about? How can you respect them if they spend their lives without goals?”
– Anton, 29
Not always the reasons for the absence of friendships are in the people around us. What qualities prevent us from making friends?
- Selfishness. Some people strive to constantly receive things from others, but at the same time they are not ready to give anything themselves. For example, they complain about their problems, but are not ready to listen to another person’s. They demand that they should be helped with house renovation, but they are not ready to offer help themselves. They ask to borrow money, but do not pay it back. People who appear to be friends with such people have the feeling that they are simply being used.
- Intolerance towards the opinions of others and tactlessness. “It’s time for you to give birth to children, the clock is ticking”. “Well, you’re a moron! A normal person would never watch and read this”. “Are you crazy you are not drinking? Don’t you respect me? Are you my friend or not? I’m telling you to drink!” These and other similar remarks and interferences in another’s life can alienate anyone, even the most patient person.
- Carelessness. If a person does not know how to take responsibility for their own actions or can blunder someone else’s secret or can break a promise without warning, then he/she will be treated with caution and people will stay away from befriending them.
- Unfriendliness. If a person is closed, does not show friendliness, can suddenly flare up, snarl, misspeak, or make offensive jokes with others, it is likely that hardly anyone will desire a close relationship with him/her.
- Low self-esteem, self-doubt. “I don’t know what to talk about. I’m afraid to say something wrong. I think it’s always boring being with me”. Such thoughts lead to excessive constriction and isolation. No one will insist a person be friends if he/she does not take the initiative or, in other words, does not demonstrate readiness for friendly relations.
These qualities are united by one thread. All these habits are examples of learned behavior, which can and should be corrected. If we are not used to taking care of others, or are not used to keeping our word, or are used to being silent and doubting ourselves, how can we change and learn to make friends?
We will teach the art of communication
How to make friends for an adult: a psychologist’s advice
To build friendships, it is important not only to change yourself, but also to consider external factors: 
1. Take into account the territorial characteristic
Friendships are often tied up at work or at university, but then, due to a job change or after graduation, they disappear. The point here is not that someone has changed, it is just that you became less likely to see each other and have fewer points of contact. If people constantly intersect, the likelihood that they will make friends increases. Therefore, in order to make friends, try more often to be where you will meet people. Go to the dining room for lunch, do not miss teamwork activities and meetings of your apartment block residents, etc. Opportunities should be taken to expand your circle of friends, and this, as a rule, is already the first step towards friendship.
2. Learn to find similarities
What is important is not external resemblance, but common habits, lifestyle choices, opinions, similar worldviews and passions. The more attitudes you have in common, the higher the likelihood of sympathy and friendship. Therefore, it is good to look for friends in thematic communities such as dancing, yoga, etc. That is, in those places where people already have something in common. Please note that this rule also has a flip side: the more we differ from others, the more severe hostility can arise.
3. Learn to be friendlier
To be able to start and maintain a conversation, it is important to master basic communication skills. For example, you have met a person who seems nice to you. Take the initiative, try to find out what he/she is fond of, ask how he/she spent the weekend, where he/she prefers to relax. People love it when others show a sincere interest in them, so try not to talk only about you but pay more attention to the words of your interlocutor. A smile and active listening will also help you make contact. Most importantly, communication skills can and should be developed. If you are currently having difficulty communicating, this does not mean that it will always be so. How do you become more friendly and sociable? To do this you need to change your habits, and changing a habit involves 3 main steps:
1. Identification of interfering behavior, for example, I cannot say hello with a smile, I hide my eyes.
2. Determining what behavior is desirable for you, for example, I want to look into the other person’s eyes.
3. Teaching new behavior, for example, every time I am greeted, I do not hide my eyes, but smile and greet in return.
Such retraining requires a careful approach and patience, but afterwards you will never again wonder how to become a friendly person. After all, you will already be one.
We cannot control people as puppets – but we can control our behavior. It is in our power. To change your habits and become more sociable and friendly, you can use the 7Spsy behavior modification technique. This is a patented method of behavior psychology, based on the scientific theories of I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A. Ukhtomsky and others. After 2-6 weeks, you will learn how to get to know other people, communicate with those around you and pick up successful phrases and topics for conversations. You will become more open and friendly and learn to build real friendships. Classes are held remotely and confidentially, and the psychologist will always be in touch – by phone, in online chat rooms or e-mail.
4. Pay attention to those who treat you with sympathy.
The obvious fact is that friendship requires mutual sympathy. At the same time, people tend to sympathize more with those who already treat them well and do not criticize them. Always respond positively. Someone likes us – that means this person has good taste! But jokes are jokes, and this rule really works. Therefore, look at those who already sympathize with you, perhaps you have a lot in common.
In order for superficial friendships to develop into real friendships, focus on what you can give, not what you can get. How does it work? We love those people with whom we get along well. In fact, in relationships we strive to receive various rewards such as attention, care, love, support, acceptance and reassurance. If the relationship is fun, we strive to continue it. Friendships can be enjoyable, but they usually take place in the “you – to me, I – to you” mode, that is, we do something good and wait for something in return. A man brought coffee for a colleague and expects that the colleague will also take a step forward, for example, share an apple. Friendship begins when we stop counting who did what and how much. We are doing something good for another just like that, casually, and we should not expect any response. And if your desire for friendship is reciprocal, then you will receive a similar attitude in return. The person seems to think: “Well, wow, he’s ready to make an effort for my sake, which means I can rely on him and trust him”. Of course, there may be situations when only one side begins to “make friends”, but such relationships usually end quickly.
Friends for Introverts
“Well, it’s clear with extroverts, everything is simple, but can one somehow make friends with an introvert? I’m so exhausted, I want to have friends, but long-term communication is terribly tiresome, after a couple of hours I want to go home, as I can’t stand noisy company”.
– Ilya, 34 [
Indeed, popular wisdom says that the problem with introverts is that they want to have friends, but do not want to communicate with them. It seems that real life is where there is noise and fun from morning to evening, but you don’t feel like going to this crowd at all. It is important to understand that people have different needs. The fact that you do not like noisy surroundings does not mean that something is wrong with you. There is no need to rack your brains on how to become more sociable and step over the features of your temperament. You just need to take for granted that, for example, “my need for communication is 3 hours a week”. And already on the basis of this you can start to look for friends. You don’t have to be super-sociable to be someone else’s friend. Make friends with those who also have rare meetings and who dislike a noisy environment. Why not share your love of going outdoors or reading? And to search for ways of making friends, you can use the methods given above, including the 7Spsy behavior modification technique – these universal methods are suitable for both extroverts and introverts. And remember, the main thing is not the quantity, but the quality of the relationship.
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