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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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