There’s nothing better than surrounding yourself with people who understand you. Whether that means listening to your innermost thoughts or knowing just what you want for Chinese takeout, it’s nice to be around those who get you. If you’re still looking for those people, don’t fret! Here are seven ways to find people who really, truly understand you.

1. Do what you want to do.

If you want to sit around and watch the ducks at the park, go do that. And hey, you never know—there might be someone there doing the same exact thing. You never know who shares you interests or hobbies, so by doing what you want, you’re sure to find others who are doing that same thing for the same reason. Common interests are also a great starting point for any kind of relationship, be that a friendship or something more. I met my best friend in college at a free cupcake table in our freshman dorm. We bonded over the fact that we were the only ones who seemed to be eating more than one cupcake. She gets me.

2. Join a club.

If you’re having trouble finding people who are interested in the same things you’re interested in, consider joining a club. You’d be surprised how many organizations there are for just about everything you could possibly imagine. Clubs also have the added benefit of structure. This means that you’re more likely to see the same people more than once since meetings or gatherings happen on a semi-regular basis.

3. Approach people.

You’re never going to get anywhere unless you become comfortable talking to people you don’t know very well (or at all)! In order for people to get you, they have to get to know you first. Be friendly, smile, make eye contact—you know the drill. People will appreciate the extra step you took to meet them, and they’ll remember you for it.

4. Be outgoing.

No, you don’t have to talk to everyone and be super peppy. But try to be as approachable as possible. That way, people are more likely to come talk to you. Showing your interest in others is a great first step to making long-lasting friendships.

5. Be honest.

If you’re not totally into Star Wars, don’t say that you are just to make a new friend. I actually did that once, even though it had been years since I had seen the movies. My friend found out pretty quickly, and my punishment was to watch all of the movies in twenty-four hours. Though that turned out well for me in the long run (though that 24 hour period is one giant blur of lightsabers and droid noises), it doesn’t always end up that way. Be honest and open about who you are. After all, people can’t get you if you’re not acting like yourself.

6. Participate.

I remember doing icebreakers exercises at camps when I was a kid. I hated them because I was worried I would say something stupid. Turns out, it was stupid to not participate, because I often ended up wondering who I could eat lunch with and was coming up blank. Remember that it’s important to engage with others and the group, even if it seems scary at the time. Putting yourself out there can reap some major benefits down the road.

7. Be optimistic.

It can be really frustrating to feel like you’re not getting anywhere with making friends. However, it’s not going to help if you’re pessimistic about the situation. Try to stay positive. If you’re down, other people will pick up on that and that might deter them from approaching you. On the other hand, staying positive will show others that you’re a confident, fun person (because you are!)

Featured photo credit: *vlad* via flickr.com

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