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6 Techniques for Making Interesting Friends

6 Techniques for Making Interesting Friends

People regularly ask me how I end up crossing paths with so many interesting people, and for a long time I didn’t really know why the gods have seen fit to bless me in this way. I’m a pretty shy guy and I usually keep too myself. And yet I can say that I have close friends on four continents who I can always count and and who can always count on me. Here are six of the techniques that have allowed me to have struck up friendships all over the globe.

1. Have a Passion

One thing that has proved to be invaluable to me in making friends across all demographics has been my love for heavy metal and radical leftist politics. The point is not that being into loud guitars and anarchism makes you more likely to make friends but that I have a passion and this allows me to reach across any boundaries and speak to people. Through these passions, I’ve been able to become close friends with conservative Catholics as well as Neo-Buddhist yoga instructors.

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The reason this works is that passions allow people to get a grasp on who you are. My interests are pretty out there. But at least they are readily apparent and people can latch on to them and talk to you about it. Being able to talk about them with a fire in your eyes makes you seem approachable and interesting – the kind of person who will attract other interesting individuals. This ties into our next point nicely.

2. Be a Person of Depth

The people who seem to make the most lasting friends while traveling or at parties tend to have a degree of introspection and self-awareness that allows their interests to come to the forefront. These people look for others like them – people who don’t want to get lost in daily superficiality but instead talk about what they love. Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t watch TV or play video games or whatever – but simply that you need to be careful in how you spend your time.

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One of my mentors, once said to me “The older you get, in my experience, the less time you have for the friends that you’ve got and the less friends you end up having. The friends that I’ve kept are the most interesting people they love broadening their horizons and learning things.” I think this is a solid maxim for maintaining friendships simply because it shows that maturity and growth are key aspects you’re going to want to have if you want interesting friends. And after all – if you’re not contributing anything to the friendship then why would they want to hang out with you?

3. Start the Conversation

This one is a little bit hard because like I said in the intro – I’m a shy guy and I’m sure some of you reading this are shy too. You need to be ready to chat with people about their interests, their lives, and their passions at any given time. It’s only by picking people apart that you can find out if they’re the kind of people you want to hang out with. If you don’t bother to start a conversation then you’ve lost before you’ve even started.

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One way I’ve found that an reliably kick off a conversation is a compliment or a question about someones appearance or behavior. I’ve started great chats by asking someone about the book they’re reading or asking what beard oil they use (I’m a metal dude – beard oil chit chat is a thing).

4. Ask Others About Their Lives

In his incredibly influential text How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie talks about how people respond well not just to genuine enthusiasm but also to questions and smiles. If you continue to guide people along and ask them about their lives they will almost always respond positively and have interesting things to share.

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See – other peoples interests are interesting to them for a reason – and in most cases they will probably end up interesting you too. By inquiring about interests I’ve gotten to learn all sorts of cool things – like with my friend Jeff who is a birder – the night I met him he spoke to me for two straight hours about the magic of birding. By the end of our conversation I too had a passion for birding and was excited for my first chance to go birding. The beauty of passion and interest is that it is easy to share and is never diminished by being spread around.

5. Realize We are All the Same

One thing that I’ve realized in my excursions with Playboy Bunnies, militant vegans, and acid eating high schoolers is that at the end of the day – we’re all pretty much the same. We might have diverse interests tastes and ideas, but we also have certain threads in common that make us all human. It’s understanding this that allows us to carry forward and live our fragile lives. The fact of the matter is that we need to work together to move forward and by understanding that our individual trials are reflected in the collective we are able to build towards something greater.

6. Be “Up for Whatever Happens!”

The second you get an invitation to engage in something be ready for whatever happens. Being open to new experiences and breaking your comfort zone is a key way to help make good friends throughout the world.

As hard as you try though some people you just won’t be able to crack and you won’t find what makes them interesting and that’s okay – they have other friends and you probably do too. Remember, the most interesting people are the ones who help to bring out the interesting bits of you – meaning that to be interesting is not just a personal trait but rather one that require some sort of intrapersonal interaction. Just remember that no matter what – this is how we guide each other forward and become better as humans.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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