How to make friends

Knowing how to be a good friend is the first step in making friends, followed by thinking about the places you can go to meet new people. If you're having difficulty, there are also certain skills you can work on and people you can speak to for a bit of help.

This might help if:

  • You’re looking to make new friends
  • You want to build your social network
  • You’d like to learn some skills for socialising

Friend ready

Just because you're finding it hard to make friends, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. But there are a couple of things you can do to come across as a great potential friend and improve your chances of finding some new mates:

  • Work on your self-awareness. When you're looking to have any relationship with another person, it's really important that you’re aware of who you are, your values and beliefs.
  • Be patient instead of pushy. Don’t be too disappointed if your decision to make some new friends doesn’t result in heaps of friends straight away. Making a network of friends is quite a slow process, but if you’re patient, you’ll end up with a whole crew of people who are lucky to be your friend.
  • Try not to bitch. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, it can sometimes be hard to resist building friendships based on a shared dislike of someone else. But be aware that this can make you seem like an untrustworthy friend, so it can backfire if you’re not careful.
  • Don’t forget who you are. Sometimes the urge to make friends can make us want to change who we are. But you shouldn’t feel that you have to give up a part of yourself to make friends with others. Not only will this mean that your friendships aren’t genuine, you’ll be missing out on meeting people who think the real you is awesome.

Places to go

Beyond the usual places like school or uni, there are some other alternative places to find friends that you might not have thought of:

  • Hobby and special interest groups. Chances are there will be people there who you’ll get on with, because after all, you definitely have at least one thing in common!
  • Volunteering. There are so many good things that can come out of volunteering. Not only are you helping others, but there’s also a chance you’ll make friends while doing it.
  • Parties. Try not to turn down invitations to parties and social events. Because the more people you see, the more people you meet, and the more likely you are to make new friends!
  • Online. Don't knock building relationships online before you try it. Joining groups on MeetUp, Facebook and other social platforms can help connect you with people who share similar interest. Try taking a look at the ReachOut forums to connect with other young Australians about everyday issues and tough times. But before you do any of that, be sure to read up on how to be safe on the internet.

Learn some skills

Making friends can be difficult if you’re not too confident about your social skills. A lot of people have difficulty knowing what to talk about and what the best approach is. So here are some extra tips on how to develop the confidence to become a real friend-making machine:

  • Watch and learn from sociable people
  • Practice socialising
  • Listen, and don't always feel like you have to talk
  • Ask people about themselves 

It’s bigger than this

If these strategies don’t help, or you feel like a fear of socialising is affecting your life, you might be suffering from something called social anxiety. This is when it might be worth talking to someone who can help. By talking to someone you trust, or an experienced expert such as a counsellor or psychologist, you’ll be able to get some unique strategies that will be tailored to the particular challenges you are facing when it comes to making friends.

What can I do now?

  • Work on your listening skills.
  • Remember to ask people about themselves.
  • Join clubs or groups in your local area that interest you.
Last reviewed: 03 June, 2016
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