Confession time: I’m not one of those people who makes new friends everywhere I go. Sure, I’m friendly enough and have no issues striking up a conversation with strangers. But whether you blame it on my introversion or the fact I grew up here and already have a close group of friends, I don’t feel the need to befriend everyone I meet. Plus, let’s be real —making new buds as an adult is hard. It’s not like when you’re in kindergarten and you can just run up to another kid in the playground and say “let’s be friends”. As grown-ups, we tend to let ego, preconceived ideas and fear of rejection get in the way of potential friendships.
However, on the odd occasion I do make a new friend (like, every few years), they tend to be friends for life. I’m talking about the type of friend you can rely on through thick and thin (vice versa). Personally, I’d much rather have a handful of these really solid pals than a fair weather friend who’s just going to go back to being an acquaintance in a few years. But of course, to get to that stage you first have to befriend your would-be bestie. So, if there’s someone from your work/gym class/uni tutorial that you reckon has BFF potential, here are 3 ways to upgrade them to friend status.
1. Listen up
Let’s be honest — we all feel a bit special when people remember things we’ve told them about our lives. It’s hardly surprising, considering research shows that we get a biochemical brain buzz when we talk about ourselves! If you meet someone you’d like to hang out with, make sure you ask plenty of questions and listen more than you talk. Make an effort to actually remember what they’ve said and bring it up next time you see them. For example, “How was that wedding you went to last weekend?” Don’t worry, they won’t be freaked out. Not only will it keep the conversation flowing, they’ll probably be chuffed you’re taking a genuine interest in them!
2. Get social
So, you’ve chatted with this person a few times and they seem pretty cool. It sounds lame, but one of the easiest ways to move your acquaintance into friend territory is to add them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram. We’re not saying you should ‘like’ their every update or send them private messages (probably don’t do that) but it does send the message that you feel like you’ve got a good rapport with them.
However, to avoid sending major creepy vibes, it pays to be smart about how you do this. Next time you’re hanging out, casually say something like “I should send you this funny video, are you on Facebook?” If you have mutual friends or they have a really unusual name, feel free to add them on social media while you’re not hanging out — but probably avoid this if they have a really common name because you don’t want to make it seem like you’re stalking them. Yep, it’s pretty much like dating!
3. Invite them out
It may sound obvious but if you want to make a new friend, you’re going to have to ask your acquaintance to hang out (outside of where you actually met) It’s always a good idea to keep it pretty casual and low key. For example, if you met them at your gym class, you could mention you’re going to try a nearby healthy cafe and ask if they’d like to join. Or, if you’ve got plans to go out with another group of friends (and if they’re a pretty welcoming bunch), you could invite her along with you. Chances are, she’ll be stoked at the chance to expand her social circle, too!