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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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