You’ve heard it from everyone who’s ever gone to post-secondary school: you will make so many friends in your first week, and they will be such good friends. They will stay with you for so long.
That’s not a lot of pressure or anything.
Luckily, you don’t have to rely on forced icebreakers and “what’s your major?” - Though, I can’t promise those conversations won’t be in abundance. There are ways to naturally draw people toward you by making them feel good about themselves in your company. This isn’t about trying to look popular or be something you’re not. It’s about getting new friendships off to a good start, and feeling more confident in the presence of others. Here is what I learned by slipping in to my “wise psychologist” glasses and researching these mysterious tactics.
Enough About Me
I distinctly remember being twelve years old and having a friend casually mention to me my habit of talking about myself. When asked, another friend on the playground echoed “Oh yeah, you know, you talk about yourself.” Here I was, finding out that I’d been leading boring conversations and possibly coming off as self-centered. This was almost as bad as the time when a boy in the library had sat down nearby and said “hey, you do have a moustache.”
Talking about yourself is point-blank the easiest way to carry on a conversation. Oftentimes, it’s instinct. It’s too bad that conversations are between two people, and when was the last time you appreciated what you said being turned in to an unwarranted story from someone else’s life? Right. Do your best to keep genuine focus on the other person, even if it means asking a few too many questions or skipping that anecdote you’ve been trying to bring up. Attention feels good, and this way a new friend will associate you with good feelings about themselves. That said...
Make Those Stories Count
According to Peak Personal Development, it’s not necessary to hoard crazy tales you can bring up later on. Rather, what’s charming is the ability to talk about every day events with both fervor and a “positive spin”. I generally have a lot to say, and so my social media platforms and conversations are not free of complaints about the world’s issues (or quips about first-world problems like my Snapchat being down.) It’s true that we’re drawn to deep discussions and sarcasm even when they spell out some negativity; oftentimes they are necessary and important. However, when it comes to the basic glitches of life it pays to be the person lifting others’ spirits instead of always making it worse than it needs to be – imagine if we spoke about positive experiences as enthusiastically as we complained. Rant where a rant is due, but think about calling attention to the good things you see as well. When it comes to being good company, you really can’t go wrong with positivity and it will undoubtedly make you feel better in the meantime.
Look Out for #1
Renee Wade’s “8 Keys to Instant Charm” suggests that while focusing on others is a sure-fire way to invoke positive feelings, it is equally beneficial to come off as a confident individual with the ability to laugh at yourself. Although we are focusing on attracting people here, there is no reason to keep yourself worried over what others are thinking about you. “Sometimes, you may just happen to annoy people accidentally. It happens to everybody. No-one is immune to this! For some, no matter what you do, they’ll just choose to hate you anyway. And it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them” Wade writes. Never apologize for taking an interest in others. Likewise, if the people you’re befriending make you feel insecure then it’s only going to drag you down and separate you from the healthier friendships you’re trying to build.
To me, that last point is the most important (here I go “talking about myself”). I can’t say how many times in my young life I could have benefited from laughing at a situation or not caring. Yes, 10-year-old me, you have a bit of upper-lip shadow because your family has thick hair and soon you’re going to get the big curls you wanted. You’ll find if you believe you’re pretty cool, and make others feel like they’re pretty cool, then the rest will take care of itself.
Lead Image Credit: Gratisography