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Why It’s Hard to Make Friends, and What to Do About It

Why It’s Hard to Make Friends, and What to Do About It

Making friends can be hard because of one’s lack of social skills, because our society is generally making us more isolated, because of our modern busy lifestyles, or because we no longer have a context for meeting people like we did in college or high school.

There is no single cause that makes this crucial skill hard for us—it’s actually a group of causes. In this article, we’re going to tackle the main reasons you may find it hard to make friends, and how to overcome them so you can get the happy social life you want.

You Think that Everyone Else is Already in a Closed Group of Friends

Did you know that the lonelier the person is, the more they tend to only notice extroverted people who have a great time with friends? Somehow the mind gets blind to all others who are maybe even more lonely; it’s just a mental illusion.

At the same time, most friendships are superficial. People can hang out with others just to avoid being alone. Everyone is craving for more close and loyal friends, so don’t be fooled by appearances.

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You Learned That Friends Can be Disappointing

If you got hurt by friends in the past, you might think that friendship is risky. What you may have missed is that these scars are lessons. They are new tricks under your belt. Bad friendship experiences are signals and new skills that allow you to filter people better.

You get to become more safe as you gather friendship experience, and you’ll to see the warning signs before you get disappointed. It’s a wealth of knowledge that you shouldn’t throw away—you can learn from them.

Great Results Don’t Seem to Appear at First Attempt

If it’s been a long time since you made a new friend, then knowing where to start can be difficult. A big common mistake is for someone to psych themselves into going out to socialize, then quickly get discouraged when they see that other people aren’t very responsive to them.

Your social skills may be dormant or you may never developed them as you could have. If you want a great social life, you can’t count on one single action step. You need new habits that are easy to implement gradually, and a set of great social skills and techniques to use.

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The “What If They Don’t Like Me?” Factor

Fear of rejection is also a big block. If you try to make friends with someone and it doesn’t work out, you can rarely know why. It’s usually a lot of speculation. Whether you believe that think you’re not good enough, or they think that you’re too good for them, it’s usually just guesswork. You can never know what’s going on with someone you don’t know very well.

You don’t have to choose a thinking process that discourages you.

If someone isn’t ready to meet or hang out with you, let it go. It can be anything: they must be busy, they may not be ready for new friends, they may have been hurt lately, etc. It can be anything, so never take a guess that may only discourage you.

You’re Afraid to Reveal Who You Are

Revealing who you are (and your secrets) is a key part of making friends. If you’re not ready to open up, that hesitance can block you from making new connections. Please note that you don’t need to open up completely at once, and can do so in stages.

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People are used to having others talking about generalities at first. If you get good at that, you can wait and get to know people before revealing yourself gradually. At the same time, never think that people are that well-adjusted and perfect. Everyone has their own quirks; everyone has a side of themselves they’re not too proud of, or don’t have the courage to reveal. You’re not alone.

You Can’t Acknowledge That You Actually Need People

This is another common reason why people stay isolated. It’s okay to think of yourself as an independent person but, who said that independent people have to be lonely? If you feel that power means that you don’t need other people, it’s maybe time to rethink that. The ability to bring other people in your life and have them on your side is more powerful.

If you learn how to make friends, then you’ll never be obligated to be with anybody that doesn’t deserve you. That’s a more evolved way to see power. Power means that you choose who you hang out with.

Your Loner Habits Are Too Strong to Break?

Habits are like rivers: you can’t turn if you don’t have enough willpower. At the same time, you don’t need to be superman to get a social life. All you need is a set of strategic techniques that will allow you to new habits that automatically bring new people to your life.

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The new social habits work best if you subscribe to a club, or commit to helping out an organization that holds regular social get together.

Good luck.

More by this author

Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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