With the different personality types that exist, how does one connect with friends and keep relationships strong? Sanguine’s make friends easily, but what about the other temperaments, like the melancholics who love their space and privacy? How do they make friends, and keep keep them?
Even though I am convinced within myself that I am not a friendly person, more than half of those who know actually think I am friendly, or easy to befriend. So while I’m no expert in temperaments (I don’t even know what temperament I am), I do know a thing or two about making and keeping friends. And as a shy guy and introvert who is coming out of his shell, I can give some practical tips on how to make friends and maintain friendships.
1. Change Your Perspective
First, you need a new perspective. When it comes to making friends, I want you to think of friendship as the ultimate goal! I know this sounds like common sense, but stick with me on this. And although this may apply mostly to women, the guys also have a lesson to learn here.
Women often have this assumption that every “random” guy (yes, like 100%) that approaches them, wants to “woo” them or ask them out or something along those lines. Now with such a mindset, you can already imagine what the conversation with a stranger would be like.
But why does sex or a romantic relationship always have to be the goal? I don’t know how to explain this, but why is “friendship” always looked at, as a means to an end (the end being a relationship or just sex, as the case may be)? Why people seldom just see friendship as the ultimate goal?
So I believe that if people (both male and female) receive every stranger neutrally, expecting friendship as the end goal, it already makes you 30% friendlier. You will be more approachable than the person who has their guard up because they assume that a simple “hello” might just another opening line.
But then again, this is my opinion based on almost every stranger (female) that I approached for the first time. Some have their guard game so strong, that I give up after a few moments into the conversations lol.
Some others when they realize that I really actually just wanna be friends, turn off their guards and become actual friendly human beings and not defensive, routine-reply outputting machines.
But because of the guard they put up, I find myself almost constantly trying to prove that I’m not another jackass. That’s just work that some people (myself included) are just ready to go through. Please don’t make people jump hurdles just to be friends with you.
There are some women I try to converse with, and they barely respond because my “wooing game” ain’t strong enough, whereas I’m not even wooing them. But you get what I’m blabbing about, right?
So what I’m saying here is… Take everyone who approaches you first as a friend, until they prove otherwise.
And before you ladies use your past experiences with guys as an excuse to act that way, ask yourself… If you really want to make friends with that attitude, who’s loss will it be? Your or theirs?
And even if 99% of then men who approach you “just want something”… it is still you who loses when you assume that ALL guys are the same as those from your past experiences.
If he shows himself to be the “same”, then you already knows how to handle him. If not, you wouldn’t have lost someone who actually could have been a good friend for.
Next, let friendship be the ultimate goal! Yes, I’m saying it again, but for a different reason.
Forget about how many friends you have on Facebook! Research proves that you can only really have about 150 friends. And by “friends” I do not mean acquaintances, not people you know, not people you say “Hello” and “Hi” to once in a while, but actual friends with personal (and possibly meaningful) connections.
In addition to that, research has shown time and time again that having deep and meaningful relationships (or friendships) is good for a long a healthy and happy life. Go do your own research and learn for yourself whether this is true or not. Go! No seriously, go… I’ll wait 🙂
So we should invest more in genuine friendships… Let friendship be the ultimate goal. Have it in mind that building meaningful relationships is a healthy habit that will pay of in a longer and healthier life span.
3. Open Up
Knowing how important it is to maintain good friendships, I decided to make myself an open book. I know that not everyone can be as open as I am, but the level of closeness between two people can is in proportion to how much of themselves they share with each other.
Think of your best and closest friends for a moment. The both of you know some personal (and even secret) things about each another. And you would agree that you could have gotten closer much faster if you shared, sooner than you actually did… No? Knowing who they are know, it probably wouldn’t have taken years to get that close, don’t you think?
I have a friend who used to call me nosy when we first met. No, the word she used was “aproko”. But today she tells me things that she can’t even tell her boyfriend lol. I know it’s not right, but that’s how it is. That is how close we are and her boyfriend knows. The funny thing is that one or more times in the past, she actually said that we could have gotten closer much faster than we did, if she had known I was this kinda guy.
I speak with some people who are so closed off that I get headaches (literally) from talking with them. And I’m not talking about introverts or shy people. I am talking about people who deliberately choose not to open up for whatever reason.
A lady once insulted me because I asked what she did for a living. She had told me once before, but then I forgot and wanted to be sure I was remembering right. Then she exploded! That was the end of that, as you can guess.
I know that secrecy is like a culture thing in my part of the world (Nigeria), but some people are just unnecessarily secretive about too many things. Little do they know that this hinders friendships too. I’m talking about unnecessary secrecy.
I’m an open book and I don’t expect everyone to be like me. But its probable on of the things that make people consider me a friendly guy, even though I’m convinced within myself that I’m not lol. Being open and not extraordinarily secretive works… I’m example #2,742
4. Be Interested
Lastly, in addition to being open, you should have a genuine interest in the other person.
One doesn’t go to the market to purchase a device that they’re interested in, with asking questions. You ask a bunch of questions, because you wanna know. And you wanna know, because you’re interested in the device or product.
Likewise in friendship, when there is a genuine interest, the conversation will flow naturally. This in combination to being open, rather than being closed off, will bring you closer to the other person sooner than you expect.
You will not have to “ask” questions in order to learn about the other person because conversation will start to spread into as many areas of your lives as you are open to and interested in. This is how you start a conversation about the increasingly hot weather, and end up talking about choice ice cream toppings, or a productivity hack you discovered the previous week.
So maybe it is for a selfish reason, but I take my friendships seriously, even as a shy guy. I do not think it is something that is expected of me. I do it because I have much to benefit from it.
Human beings are social beings. Even as much as I love my own space, I do love to interact with people, be it on my own terms sometimes. But knowing how much fun it can be, having the right friends, and the fact that having the right friends benefits me on the long run.
It’s your turn… what do you think about these tips? Do you have some tips of yours to add? Please share in the comments section below.