Making friends doesn’t have to be hard. With patience, a carefree approach, and a little bit of charm, you too can meet interesting people anywhere.
What is a Friend?
Friendship, if it is to be anything more than superficial, must rest on a solid foundation whose most crucial aspect is compatibility. This is overlooked in discussions of how to make friends. Simply surrounding yourself with cool people in an interesting setting is simple; anyone in a major city can do this on any given day with little preparation. Friendship is different than familiarity in that to actually call someone a friend, you must, in my view, actually want to be around them for no other reason than they make you happy.
Maybe you like their smile. Maybe they make you laugh. Maybe they’re the best listener you know, always there for you even in the middle of the night. Whatever the case, you think about them and would more often than not want them to share in your life, get more info. This is something that takes time and commitment, and something few people ever truly experience. Too often we call people friends before they actually are, which cheapens and places limitations on the potential growth we might have experienced had we let the relationship develop organically.
There is no excuse for your loneliness if you are a boring, predictable person whose entire range of interests can fit inside a fortune cookie. If you want to attract fascinating people, be one of them.
It’s important to get people’s phone numbers right away if you do not think you will reliably see them again. This is especially true in a major metropolitan area. However, this is entirely different from contacting them immediately. Wait it out. Sleep on it. Call up an old friend to tell them how happy you are to have made a potential new friend. Do anything but text some stupid rushed message that exposes the depths of your actual solitude. This is not attractive.
Charm is hard to define, but having a certain savoir-faire in situations is probably the single most important aspect of not only attracting, but keeping friends. You’ve seen people who can just charm and captivate an entire room full of strangers seemingly at will. What they have is not impossible to attain, but it takes a keen eye and patience. Charm is more than urbanity or politeness. Those are important, but not everything. It could be something as simple as knowing the difference between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned at the bar. It could be wearing an ascot instead of a conventional tie. Maybe it’s the way you never interrupt people, no matter how uncouth they appear.
Be Discriminating, not Rude
The problem with contemporary fast-paced cure-alls to loneliness is that they do not work. Friends take a very long time to become friends. I have known people for years, and not called them friends because I did not feel close to them. This is crucial. If you are to distinguish friend from acquaintance, you must cultivate an ability to cull those who do not do it for you. You don’t have to be rude, but you must be uncompromising. It’s a symptom of our consumer-is-always-right-culture that we hang onto people who are not good for us. If I don’t like someone, or if I just don’t really think about them, I don’t talk to them. It’s that simple. I am not rude. I am not malicious. I simply do not care and have important things to address, like spending time with real friends.