Want to know how to be friendly? Then you’re in the right place.
Some of us are born with the natural ability to get along with people. Others, are not. It’s alright. We are complex people, with varied pasts, and it’s important to understand that one’s current social condition is not permanent. The first step is wanting to make a change.
You, the reader, have clicked on this article with the purpose of making a change. Stick with me, and I can help you start your journey towards friendliness. I know these techniques work if you just put enough effort into them.
By following the easy ten steps outlined in this text, you can make friends and have meaningful relationships, and finally feel comfortable in social situations.
How To Be Friendly And Kind:
1. Understanding Perceptions
Perception is a tricky thing. We all want ourselves to be seen as something, whether it be beautiful, intelligent, kind, or whatever else. What happens most often is we spend too much time focussing on the perceptions of others instead of paying attention to the way we see ourselves. Nothing shines through someone’s personality like insecurity. It makes us withdraw and hide inside the walls built up to protect ourselves.
And it’s okay to feel insecure. Everyone does at some point, but eventually, it’s important to realize that people is different, and your weakness will always be another’s strength. Focussing on the fact that a person might be “superior” in some way only prevents you from working towards being a better person. Only once you begin to believe in yourself and your potential will others see the same.
Onto some practical applications for this new knowledge. It’s easy to read something and be like “oh yes, I’ll change,” but the reality is that altering one’s thinking patterns, especially as an adult, is something you really have to work at. Everytime you think something bad about yourself or someone else, you have to actively stop that thought and analyze why it is toxic. Over time, you can stop or lessen these intrusive thoughts, but only by being proactive.
Another thing I find useful when I’m feeling down is to look in the mirror. Stare yourself down, don’t just get a glance. Say to yourself “I love you.” Notice how hard it is. I can assure you, you’ll feel stupid doing it the first few times, even like you’re lying, but after a while, it really starts to mean something. And then, when you’re feeling especially sad, you can go to the mirror and truly feel the impact of those three words. Self love is the key to obtaining the love of others.
So while it’s important to care about the way people perceive you, as it allows you to reflect on your behavior, it’s also important not to value those perceptions over your view of yourself. Self improvement should focus on the future, and not the past.
Self-awareness is something that everyone can work on. It’s about analyzing yourself in relation to others, and recognizing when your behaviors impact others in a negative way. The ultimate goal here is becoming both friendly and approachable, which is hindered by a lack of self-awareness.
Let’s say, for example, you meet someone for the first time. This is a perfect opportunity to make a new connection, but you accidently say something rude. Out the window goes a chance to forge a friendship or business relationship. A person who is not self aware probably wouldn’t have even noticed that they were being impolite, and ignored the other person’s reaction, whereas a self aware person would reflect on their behavior during or after the fact, and either resolve to change it, or actually change it in the moment.
A self-aware person can recognize their rudeness in this situation, and actively emphasize politeness for the rest of the encounter, potentially saving the relationship. Now, how does one practice self-awareness? It’s all about being objective. Look closely at the traits you view as strengths and flaws, and try to see how those beliefs affect your behavior. Sit by yourself for a while and just spend some time reflecting on your behavior. What went well, what didn’t?
Make a journal for these self observations, and for everyone, write why it was good or bad, and what you can do to keep/stop behaving in that way. I find that journaling not only allows me to reflect on my behavior that day, but it brings be great peace and furthers my emotional stability. It allows me to express my thoughts however I choose, the feelings I held back in order to get along with others. Try to write every day if you can, and if not, as often as possible.
Another way to be self-aware is to be actively mindful all the time. Any instance when you are around people, watch yourself and categorize your impulses. You might instinctively do or say something that is awkward or harmful, and that’s okay. It happens. What’s important is that you catch yourself and resolve not to do it again. Mistakes happen, and self-improvement is all about moving forward.
Self-censorship is closely related to self-awareness in that it involves analyzing everything you say to another person. When in social situations, it is best to avoid being racist, misogynist, and homophobic, as you never know what the political views of other people are. If you encounter someone who is blatantly offensive towards other people, it is best to cut ties if you can, since it’s the 21st century and we ain’t got no time for that B.S.
Additionally, rude things can slip out when one doesn’t think before one speaks. That’s why it’s important to form sentences in your mind, make sure they aren’t harmful or rude, and then say them. Vetting what you say is an integral part of being friendly and sociable.
Being well-groomed is essential to being seen as friendly and approachable. Here I will outline several parts of being well-groomed. The first is having a non-disheveled appearance. Clothes should not be wrinkled or torn, and shoes should be clean. One’s hands and face should be washed twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed.
This practice is a good way to prevent dirt from collecting under the fingernails, as well as prevent spreading sickness. It is also vital that you brush your teeth. Foul breath is a sure way to dissuade anyone from socializing with you. Brush your teeth before leaving the house, and before bed to minimize bacterial growth. You may find that your breath begins to smell after meals, in which case you can chew minty fresh gum to make your breath smell great. People like people who smell good.
This leads to my next point: body odour should be non-existent. Wear perfume, deodorant, antiperspirant, body-spray, scented body lotion. Anything that masks or prevents body odor. However, this one is tricky because it’s also important not to overdo it. Strong cologne is a total turn-off, so make sure your scent isn’t so powerful that you give those around you headaches.
Having clean hands and fingernails is a must, because it allows people to feel more comfortable when shaking your hand. Proper hand hygiene is a good indication of character. Remember to always change your undergarments and socks to avoid odor. Another important thing is to brush your hair and get frequent haircuts to look clean and presentable.
By following these tips and taking a commonsense approach to hygiene, you can make people around you far more comfortable.
4. Body Language
When you interact with someone, you speak to them both orally and visually. Just through the way you hold yourself, a person can determine your confidence level. It is always best to be confident, though not overly so. Here I will outline several ways in which you can seem more confident through your body language.
Power posing is important in showing confidence, but also gaining confidence. By positioning yourself in a way which shows power, you become more powerful. One example is the way your legs are when you sit. If they are uncrossed and slightly apart, people around you will sense your confidence.
However, crossing or squeezing your legs together tightly is a sure sign of discomfort or anxiety. That’s why I always recommend sitting with your legs uncrossed, forming a slight “V” shape. It’s important not to overdo it here, though, as spreading your legs too much can give you an overconfident demeanor, which people will shy away from.
Upper body posture is also integral to ensuring people see you as a confident and approachable person. Hunching over with your neck sticking out is not only unattractive, but betrays much discomfort in social situations or apathy towards the people you are interacting with. Sitting up straight with your shoulders back makes people want to interact with you. Having good posture makes you seem more engaged, less withdrawn.
In a business setting, these tips are also very useful, because confidence is extremely important when interacting with coworkers, bosses, and employees. Having good posture is the first step to easily gaining people’s’ respect. And, if your goal in reading this is to just gain more friends, people don’t want to interact with withdrawn, unfriendly seeming people, so if you fix your posture, you will seem more approachable.
You don’t have to look like a model on a magazine cover to master this aspect of interpersonal interaction. In truth, it is easy to be fashionable as long as you follow a few simple rules.
1. Keep your clothes in good condition.
This means no stains, rips, or holes. When your clothes begin to pill, throw them out or donate. You don’t even have to buy clothes new, there are plenty of choices at you local thrift store that are like-new.
2. Wear clothes that fit.
Overly baggy or tight clothing is unflattering, so make sure to buy things in your size. They’ll be more comfortable too.
3. Keep your shoes clean and in good condition
It’s been said that one of the most important factors of a first impression is your footwear. If your shoes are falling apart or shabby, the more shallow humans of this earth are likely to associate you with those adjectives. Thus, when your shoes break, it’s important to buy new ones, either at a shoe store or a thrift store, which has much cheaper options that are often just as good. A good way to maintain shoe quality is to wash them frequently, using dish soap and a toothbrush.
4. Don’t wear conflicting patterns
Stripes and polka dots should not mix. Generally, it’s good to just have one pattern in a outfit, with the rest being solids.
5. Don’t dress too flashy
Your outfit doesn’t have to make you look like celebrity. As long as you dress according to the event, casual, semi-formal, formal, you’ll be fine.
6. Muted colors are always a yes
You wear the clothes, the clothes shouldn’t wear you. If you ever lack inspiration for an outfit, try Pinterest or Google Images. By having a decent fashion sense, people will see you as more engaged with your surroundings, and be more likely to want to interact with you.
6. Facial Expressions
When people talk to you, they look at your face, which is why it’s important to consider what expression your face is making. Your expressions should match the person your talking to, as that is a form of bonding. If they are smiling, smile too. Speaking of smiling, smile more often.
Smiling shows people that you are friendly and approachable, which is the goal here, right. When people first come up to you, smile at them. Ensure that the smile extends to your eyes, and is not just your mouth, because that is more of a smirk, which is more indicative of you being a jerk.
However, make sure you’re smiling at the appropriate time. When someone makes a joke, smile. When someone shares a deeply personal anecdote, do not. Show your concern on your face. Facial sympathy is key in gaining the trust and affection of those around you. When not speaking to someone, never frown. At least allow your face to remain in a neutral smiling position, which has your muscles slightly engaged. This is a great position for most occasions.
Mirroring people’s facial expressions and reacting with the appropriate facial expression will show people that you empathize and sympathize with them, which will open the doors to new friendships.
7. Being Open
A huge part of social interaction is sharing personal anecdotes, stories that show others who you truly are. They can be witty, funny, sad, tragic, anything. But they must be true. Lying is a huge mistake when trying to meet friends, because people hold on to your personal anecdotes for future reference, and if you’ve entirely forgotten the story you told, it can be rather awkward.
Be in tune with the conversation. If the mood is happy, tell a happy anecdote. Listen to the anecdotes of others and respond accordingly. Never budge in to talk about yourself, as you will seem self-absorbed. Wait your turn, then tell other something about yourself. If you are open with others about your life experiences and feelings, in most cases they will respond with the same. Humans love to share, and by initiating that sharing, you can look forward to learning and connecting with those around you.
Good anecdotes fit with the mood of the conversation. A light, funny conversation should not be met with a tale about the deaths of your grandparents. A mistake like that is sure to upset your chances of connecting with the people you are conversing with. If you’re uncomfortable with speaking about yourself on the fly, perhaps rehearse a few anecdotes with different moods before you go to the event with social interaction.
Personal anecdotes allow others to learn about and connect with you, so, when making friends, being open about your life will only help you.
8. Be more charitable
Volunteering is a life changing experience. It not only improves your interpersonal interaction skills, but it shows others that you’re an empathetic individual who cares deeply about certain issues, whether it be animals, the environment, or humanity. Finding volunteer work is fairly straightforward.
Many animal shelters, churches, hospitals, and soup kitchens have volunteer departments which are always looking for more people. Most times they will ask you to interview. During this interview it is important to show them how much you care about their cause. It’s a sure way to get a position. However, volunteering shouldn’t be about how people see you, it should be about improving yourself. Charity forces you to become a better person, which will make you a more desirable candidate for interpersonal relationships.
Volunteering allows you to meet like-minded individuals who are also passionate about helping a cause. It’s a great way to meet people and build a community.
9. Seek Social Interaction
Of all the tips I’ve written out, this is the most important. You’ll never become more friendly or approachable if you actively avoid human interaction. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and the more you talk to people, the better and more confident you will become. It might be rocky at first, and you may not succeed, but if you keep trying you’re sure to make a positive change in your life.
Many communities have events where you can go and socialize with others, so a good place to look is online. Volunteering, as mentioned above, is also a great place to be social. If you’re in university, there are endless opportunities, whether it be joining a sport or club, or just hanging out in the dining hall.
Humans are made for change. Our brains are in constant flux, and if you try hard enough, the way your brain is wired can change. If you feel as though you will never be a social person, I implore you to try. Try, try, try again. That’s all it takes.
This section isn’t so much a tip as a statement of commiseration. There are so many different kinds of people in this world, and many of them are kind, fair, and interested in talking to you. Some just aren’t nd you have to accept that. Some people will never want to interact with you, no matter how hard you try or change. That’s okay. There are so many people in this world that the ones who aren’t interested are a small percentage, and should be forgotten about.
You are a person deserving of respect, and if people refuse to give you what you deserve, then you need to forget them, because they will only bring you down. Part of being friendly and approachable is about being yourself, and if the people you try to interact with won’t accept you then you have to find new people. Some of our fellow humans are assholes, and there’s nothing we can do about them except forget them.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to be friendly. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.