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The Secret to Growing Your Social Circle

The Secret to Growing Your Social Circle

Building your social circle can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve recently moved. If you truly want to do it, following these seven rules will greatly benefit your pursuit.

1. Be open to new experiences and new people.

This is critical. Say “yes” to any new experiences that you can, especially in the beginning. Even if you don’t think you will like the event or situation, if it is something new and gives you a chance to interact with others, go for it — particularly if you are going with somebody else or meeting them there.

On the same note, interact and hang out with anyone you can. You may be thinking, “I know what kind of people I want to hang out with, and these are not them,” but don’t worry about that now. You will eventually meet the “right” people. However, early on you really just want to meet as many people as you can and make as many “allies” as possible.

Not only that, but through these people you can meet more people. Later, once your options grow, you can be more selective with who you hang with and what you do.

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To get started, become more spontaneous and learn how to start conversation with a stranger.

2. Be yourself, unapologetically.

One of the biggest turn-offs is when someone is “faking” who they are. So speak passionately about the things you care about. Tell others what you love about it and why. Don’t be afraid to say what pisses you off. You aren’t trying to be negative, you are just being you.

If you swear, feel free to swear in front of other people (unless you’re in an interview or somewhere this would be deemed inappropriate). Usually when a group of people are talking and no one knows the whole group, nobody is cursing at all. In most cases, once one person does, it opens the floodgates and you will hear way more cursing.

One big secret to growing your social circle is to make people feel comfortable with you. By being yourself, people will be much more comfortable.

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3. Be excited to meet people.

When you first start talking to someone, show some enthusiasm. Let them know that you have energy and that you’re actually interested in talking to them. Don’t act like you’re on your tenth cup of coffee or anything, but even more importantly, don’t just say the words — actually show your interest. If you aren’t interested in talking to someone, they will know immediately and that will greatly impact the way they respond to you.

4. Bring people up.

Give people compliments and make them feel good. When someone tells you what they do for work and fun, respond emphatically with something like “that’s awesome!” It’s even better if you can give them a convincing reason why you think it’s awesome. Also, let them know that they’re a smart person and that you find them really intriguing.

5. Brag about people to others, even if you just met.

Not only should you bring someone up while talking to them, but you should brag about them to other people. This is huge. Let’s say you just met someone and they showed you a photo of a piece of furniture they built. You already complimented them about it. Then your friend, their friend, or even a stranger walks up. Say to that person, “Have you seen the table he built?! It’s insane! You gotta see it.” People absolutely love being bragged about by other people to other people.

6. Be interested in them.

You want to be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. When they talk about something, ask them questions and try to learn more about it. Take pleasure in learning what it’s like to be this person and show it. Don’t just mutter the words, truly engage and be interested.

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7. Relate to what they are saying.

They need to get to know you too. You can relate to the things they say by telling stories, providing knowledge and feedback, showing your curiosity, giving your thoughts and beliefs, or explaining your feelings.

This will help develop your connection with them. If you can relate to the things they are interested in, they will see the shared commonalities and start to see how hanging out with you makes sense.

Conclusion

By meeting more people and building quality relationships, you are slowly building your army behind you. As it grows, you will get to fine tune which people you choose to spend the majority of you time with. But before you get there, you really want to focus on creating a good bond with anyone you can. It will pay dividends later when you have the social circle of your dreams.

If you want make more friends, regardless of where you live, get your free cheatsheet, packed with 30 tips to help you meet and make the friends of your dreams.

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Need more? Here’s another article with 10 useful tips for making friends.

Featured photo credit: nazka2002 via morguefile.com

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Rob Riker

Social Skills Coach

Social Circle The Secret to Growing Your Social Circle

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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