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Steve is out exploring the city at the weekend, which offers him many options for meeting people.Whether he is asking directions, discovering something about local history, or checking out cool stores, being pleasant and chatty may lead to new acquaintances.Your routine will probably be completely different from Steve’s, but I am sure that you will have equal opportunity to make new friends.If you consider how many people you come into contact with on a daily basis, there is always the possibility of getting to know them better.You see, you don’t need to start signing up for expensive annual gym subscriptions or joining a pottery class to find new friends.Start by looking around you and be more open to the idea that you already have a number of chances to meet people.Even if you are currently working from home, or looking after young children, you still have a routine, right?Whether that is going to your local store, enjoying a walk, taking the kids to daycare, or having Zoom chats with clients and colleagues, there is an opportunity to meet people.All you need to do is find a way to begin a conversation and get to know someone better.As I mentioned above, there are countless ways for us to make new friends without having to go to any great length or expense.Just by stepping out of the house, you are going to meet people, even if they don’t seem particularly interested in you at first.Of course, there is a fine line between being friendly and being obtrusive or even creepy, but you can’t let that stop you from reaching out to new possibilities.If your intention is genuine, people will recognize that and if they don’t respond as you would wish them to, don’t take it to heart.Just like you, many people find it difficult to open up and prefer to bury their heads in their iPhones instead.Going back to Steve, there are many other things he can do to find new friends that go beyond his daily routine.I am going to list some of them below, plus others that you may be able to apply to your own circumstances.Your daily commuteI used to take the same metro every morning to go to the office and would see the same faces, sitting in the same seats.Would it have been weird for me to start chatting to one of them?Maybe, but one day I just decided to say ‘Good morning’ to the woman who had been sitting opposite me for the past ten months and that completely broke the ice.We ended up chatting all the way into the city center and I discovered that she lived very close to me and we both went to the same hair salon.From that day on, we became good friends and often meet up for coffee on weekends.If I had never said that simple ‘good morning’, we would still be strangers.You aren’t going to hit it off with everyone so don’t expect to.If the other person shows no interest in keeping the conversation going or is unresponsive, don’t take it as a personal failure.Simply let it go and change seats the day after there are plenty of other people to strike up a conversation with.Who knows you may find someone with the same interests as you, but you won’t know until you try.Take a walkApart from exploring by yourself, there are other ways to meet up with new people.In Steve’s case, he could join one of the guided tours of the city, which you will find organized in most places these days.He will definitely meet a new group of people who share his interest and will have plenty of opportunities to chat during the tour.Some of them may also be newcomers in town who are out to meet people, making it a very easy way to form new friendships.If you enjoy walking in nature, you’ll find many activities organized by local hiking groups.All you need to do is put your name down, turn up on the day, and be open to new possibilities.You may even find that people will approach you out of curiosity, wanting to learn more about you, which is great!Find out what’s going onAs you walk around your town or city, check out flyers for events near you.There is always something happening and if a particular event piques your interest, go for it.You might find out about a music concert, a talk, or an exhibition and, depending on what you are into, it could be a fantastic chance to mingle with others who share your passion.Many museums and local attractions offer free entrance on certain days of the week or month, so you don’t have to pull out large sums of money to attend.You will be amazed at how many people frequent museums, galleries, and similar venues alone because they don’t have any company.Strike up a conversation about the exhibits on display and you may just find a kindred soul who is more than happy to engage in conversation with you.Pursue your interestsWhat do you love doing?Whatever it is that fuels your passion, find out where and when it takes place and go.You may feel a bit awkward at first but it’s quite possible that you will find others who are also alone and have joined the activity for the very same reason as you to make friends.Whenever you join a group environment, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do anything other than be yourself.As with any activity, having the right mindset from the beginning will determine how successful you are.Turning up with the expectation that no one will be interested in you is not the way to go about things.Take the stress out of making that first step by simply telling yourself, I’m going to have a good time and just see what happens.Create your own networkWhy wait to be invited by others when you can organize social events yourself?This is where social media really comes into its own because you can form your own groups and invite people to join.For example, if you are keen on eating out, you can organize a ‘Dine & Meet’ event.Set a time and date at a local restaurant and encourage your contacts to attend.There are plenty of other groups out there that cater to individual interests but maybe nothing that appeals to you, so create your own.Most major towns and cities organize events for members, so all you need to do is sign up to receive details of upcoming events.Platforms like MeetUp.com use your location to tell you what’s going on near you.I just checked my feed and found out that there are so many interesting events coming up in my town.All of these seem like activities I would enjoy and I am absolutely certain that the majority of attendees won’t know each other, or may have only met once or twice in the past.This is an awesome way to create new social circles and to meet folk who enjoy the same things as you.There are similar groups wherever you are and I know some are global, such as InterNations.org.Let’s say you have moved to a new country and want to connect with other expats.The platform organizes a wide range of social events, no matter where you are, and basic membership is free.Many of the people you meet at these organized gatherings will be in the same boat as you and are keen to establish a network of friends from back home.This kind of opportunity is the ideal scenario in which to form new bonds and all you have to do is show up with a smile and a willingness to mingle.Meet your communityThere may be a lot going on in your community and getting involved is a great way to meet the locals and form authentic relationships with those living close by.You may decide to do some voluntary work volunteers are always needed in all walks of life so think about your skills and offer them up.Network with your peersDepending on your profession, you may find events like trade fairs and conferences taking place that you can attend.You definitely have something to talk about, and linking up with fellow professionals is not only good for you careerwise, but may also bring new friendships.As a remote worker, you may often feel isolated, so look out for coworking spaces, where you will find people in a very similar situation to you who are also keen to interact.If you aren’t currently employed, there are still ways to connect with people in a similar situation to you.You can take advantage of any free events, festivals, or happenings going on in your area and socialize with people of the same age or background.If you have young children, you may discover parent groups that meet up regularly, which offer both support and a chance to talk about your problems in a welcoming space.Get a dogThis may sound weird, but if you are able to, having a dog is a fantastic way to meet others.Dog parks are the perfect place for both dogs and humans to get to know each other but even by walking down the street, dogs do attract attention.I wouldn’t suggest this if you really don’t have the time or resources to be a responsible owner but if it is possible, consider the advantages and check out your local dog shelter.Step out into the real worldA lot of the time, people who have no friends find themselves in that position because they don’t know how to socialize and this is increasingly true for the younger generation.Instead of getting out there, millennials have grown up behind a screen and learned how to connect very well with others in the virtual world.Technology can even bring solace to someone who feels lonely, which shouldn’t be knocked, but it’s not the only way to make friends.There are plenty of other places to socialize anyway, many of which I have mentioned above.A lot depends on how capable you are of walking into a situation where you know no one and if you lack that skill, it can actually be learned.We’ll delve into that topic later on.That’s the problem of how to get people to like you.Not everyone you meet is going to instantly warm to you but if you have the tools to allow them to get to know you better, you have a greater chance of success.After all, you are a likeable person, so now you need to let others see that too!By understanding why you have no friends, you can begin to change that.Your facial expressions and body language play a vital role.You can find friends everywhere if you know where to look.Your daily routine, interests, and passions can lead you to new friendships.Network with peers, use apps, or organize your own social events.Get out into the real world whenever you can.The best way to become good at small talk is not to talk small at all Keith FerrazziNow that you have some ideas of how and where to meet new people, the next step on your journey to making friends is to learn how to strike up a conversation with them.What should I say first?What if I sound stupid?What if I get a rude response?What if I get no response?What do I say after that?After an initial, ‘hello’, what else is there to say?Unfortunately, if your opening line is something like, Lovely day today, then you aren’t really opening up a conversation at all.All you are doing is making a statement and giving the other person little leeway to respond other than by saying, Yes, it’s lovely, or something to that effect.Not only are you making any further engagement extremely unlikely, but you are not showing a genuine interest in that person.Even if you approach them with a different opening line, such as, Looking forward to the weekend? you are most likely only going to get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.That’s the conversation falling flat on its face from the offset.It’s also the awkward moment when you feel like climbing under a rock!It feels so frustrating, doesn’t it?I’m not suggesting that it is completely useless if you know how to use it the right way.It can lead to a longer conversation where you develop a better relationship with someone or be the first and last words you will ever say to them.Although you are trying to get to know someone better, if you don’t go about it the right way, you aren’t likely to learn anything about them and maybe never will.How exactly can you learn to master the art of small talk and move forward to having a more meaningful connection with another person?There are two things that you need to consider here and I want to talk about each one in more detail.What is your body saying?Your tone, body language, rate of speech, emotional mood, and so on, are all analyzed instantaneously, giving the person you are talking to a lot of useful information.This determines whether or not they want to engage in conversation with you at all.If someone who is clearly intoxicated comes over to talk to you, for example, you aren’t going to want to give them the time of day.This is an extreme example of how important a person’s outward behavior is.Equally, if you invade someone else’s personal space, that can be a real put off too, and you need to pay attention to that.Breaching that can have serious consequences.The less you know someone, the more space you will need to give them in order for them to feel safe.It’s not a good idea to overstep the line in your efforts to appear friendly because that will have completely the opposite effect.The more intimate you are with a person, the less personal space you and they will be claiming but we still have some way to go before that.A good rule of thumb is to think of it in terms of keeping someone at arm’s length, which is an expression we use that literally works in this case.You should never touch anyone you don’t know.


Last edited by William Jones