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Step-By-Step Plan To Get More Friends

Step-By-Step Plan To Get More Friends
    "Friends" from L Lemos on flickr

    One of the biggest fears about relocating to another town or city is having to start your social life again, especially if you don’t know anyone in your new destination. Even without the relocation factor, some people are just not natural social butterflies and as a result, find it tough to have many friends no matter where they live.

    Since I’ve relocated to several different cities without knowing a single soul in each of my new destinations and have made lifelong friends in each place, I know a little bit about how to start over again. I came up with a step-by-step plan to get more friends even though I’m not really a social butterfly either.

    I’ll illustrate these steps with an actual real life example of what I did after one of my relocations.

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    Identify A Passion That Other People Will Be Interested In

    Everyone should think about what passions or interests they have. Very likely, most people will be able to come up with a few of these. Then it’s a matter of identifying a key activity from this list which other people will also be interested in. In this example, I came up with snow skiing.

    Locate Groups Or Clubs Which Are Centered Around This Activity

    So my next step was to find some type of group that involved snow skiing. I ended up finding an adult traveling ski club that had a large membership of almost 3,000 at that time. I visited one of their club meetings before the ski season started and liked what they had to offer. The members were quite friendly and welcoming so I soon signed up as a new member.

    Participate In Group Activities

    When the ski season started, I went on many of their weekend day trips to local ski resorts. The club had their own ski school with qualified instructors to teach the club members so I took as many classes as I could. The group classes and bus trips were quite conducive to meeting new people.

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    Conversation among new people was quite natural and easy since everyone had a common interest, which was skiing. Also, this was the furthest thing from a high pressure, meat-market bar situation. Some club members and ski instructors who have been around for some time even facilitated new members to get to know one another by introducing each other.

    Volunteer For Various Roles

    Participating in club events as suggested in the last step is great but the next step really takes it up a notch. This step involves actively volunteering for various roles within a club or group. Since the majority of special interest and social groups require volunteer members to help out, this is one of the best ways to start an active social life.

    After getting comfortable enough with how the various things in the ski club works, I volunteered to lead bus trips and special committees like the club’s fitness division. I also made sure I attended as many of the general club meetings as possible.

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    I even volunteered to help organize special social and theme events throughout the year. Pretty soon, I was also chosen to lead groups on week long ski vacations to the Rocky Mountains.

    Clubs can never get enough volunteers so the longer standing members welcomed my participation enthusiastically. The more I volunteered and the more active I became with the club, the more people I met.

    Develop Friendships Within And Outside Of Club Events

    Some members who were real social butterflies had private parties and other events outside the club. Because I became a visible member through my volunteering, I was soon invited to these outside events. These outside events featured both club members I already knew as well as other people who were not club members.

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    My social network grew even larger as a result of attending these outside functions and it was only natural that certain key people would develop as good friends. Even though some of these people, including myself, eventually left the ski club, several of the friendships I developed during my time there continue to this day.

    So the actual step-by-step plan I used again was;

    1) Identify a passion that others will also be interested in
    2) Locate groups centered around this passion
    3) Participate in group activities
    4) Actively volunteer for various roles to help the group
    5) Develop friendships over time with people you interact with

    I used the same plan each time I relocated to a new city and with different interests as well. The steps are the same no matter what interest you use as long as it is one that can involve other people. Hopefully these steps will help you enrich your social life with new friends.

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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