It’s Friday. You hear your classmates or coworkers talking about what they’re going to do this weekend. You can’t help but eavesdrop. You hear about their exciting plans. And then you think about your own: you have none.

That night, you’re home alone. You’ve got no one to keep you company. No one to call. No one to text. Maybe you decide to call your parents to see how they’re doing. You grab a beer, turn on Netflix, and start a movie. You sigh as you realize that it’s another weekend… spent alone.

This is the reality for many people. Being socially isolated, we can grow accustomed to the lack of social interaction. It can become part of a routine — not seeing anyone. But don’t fool yourself — unless you’re a genuine hermit lacking any desire to socialize, you need social interaction to be part of your life. And any social interaction, from a simple conversation with a friend to a romantic date will always remind us of how important being social is, because it makes us feel good, like we’re connecting with the world. We cannot find fulfillment in our lives without people and meaningful relationships. So we should make a goal of making friends.

The beginning is always the hardest

I remember being 18. I had people I talked to at school. But I didn’t have any of their phone numbers or emails. I never saw them outside of school. I had spent my entire high school years without ever once having a weekend out with classmates at my school, on a date, or even attended a dance. I was the loneliest boy ever.

I resolved to do things differently as I was about to enter my first year of university. That summer, aside from my dreaded job working at a fast food chain, I spent most of my time at the state library, in the self improvement and psychology sections. I read everything I could about social skills, shyness, social anxiety, dating. All of it was like science fiction to me — these were things that I had no understanding or experience with. I was completely lost, but I kept reading the material, because I desperately wanted to make friends.

If you are reading this article, then let me tell you this: the beginning is always the hardest. You are starting from scratch. You are probably lacking core social skills. You have no idea about social interactions. You have no idea how to make a friend. You probably have googled “how to make friends” several times in your life. And when you are in social interactions, you are constantly analyzing what people say, what you should say in response,  and you have a million other thoughts going through your mind. And after the interaction, your mind is in constant replay of the scene, critiquing your performance.  You have so little social interaction that even a casual conversation seems like a big event like the Super Bowl to you. But this is only the start. Just have comfort knowing that the beginning is always the hardest.

A Word of Advice: be prepared to stumble

Before we begin even looking at making friends, we need perspective. In my opinion, perspective is the most important thing when we commit to bettering ourselves. Without it, we are constantly comparing ourselves to the coolest, happiest people with the most friends and we make ourselves feel like shit. Perspective is important.

This is the important part of self-improvement: you should never compare yourself to other people. You are not trying to become a different person. You are trying to be a better version of yourself. You need to compare yourself with the person you were yesterday. Always, and I mean, always, keep this in the back of your mind. You will one day look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come, I assure you. I myself have amazed myself in my early adulthood seeing what I could do if I simply tried something new and not let a cloud of doubt hang over me eternally.

The importance of meeting new people

Social connections act as a network. Much like how the internet is composed of many networks combined, a person’s personal network is composed of many networks. When you become friends with one person, you will socialize with them and they will invite their friends, who you will get to know as well. And maybe you really like your friend’s friend, so you begin to socialize with them, and they introduce you to some other friends.

So, why is meeting people important? Because as you meet more and more people, that increases your exposure and the likelihood that you will find a great friend, a romantic partner, a business partner. Essentially, making friends is a numbers game. And if you have zero friends, that means there is nothing to multiply… you remain at zero.

Where to Look

If making friends is your goal, then you will always have plenty of opportunities to find friends, at any age or stage in your life (as long as you aren’t living in a cabin in Antartica or somewhere remote).

Let’s start with the easy ideas:

  • family
  • school
  • workplace
  • church
  • neighborhood

These are people that you will see often, so wouldn’t it be great to make friends among them? I think many of you are raising your eyebrows at my inclusion of “family.” I understand why: family aren’t friends. We choose our friends, but not our family. However, if we choose to actively socialize with our cousins or siblings or aunts outside of family reunions, then actually, our family can be our friends. I know three brothers that live in my city. They also all love extreme sports, so guess what happens on the weekends? They all do crazy activities together and enjoy each others’ companies. That is the definition of a friend, wouldn’t you agree?

So, start with your immediate vicinity and see if there is anyone who meets the following requirements for a friend:

  • you think they are interesting
  • they think you are interesting
  • they have room for another friend

If they meet that requirement, then ask them if they want to hang out sometime. Or more likely, because you’re not a social butterfly yet, they may ask you to hangout or invite you to something, in which case, POUNCE on the opportunity. Whether they are extremely friendly or they just think you’re cool, at this stage, you should say  “yes” to almost any social invitations that come to you.

Other ideas for finding people to socialize with include:

  • volunteer organizations
  • or other interest-based clubs
  • old friends
  • nightclubs (this is an advanced social situation though)
  • sports leagues
  • professional organizations
  • classes at the gym (martial arts, Zumba, etc)

The idea again is this: you want to maximize your social exposure. Even if you’re shy, inevitably, more extroverted or friendly people will start conversations with you. However, meeting new people is always easier if you’re more proactive or take on extroverted qualities.

The Friend Process

I have been talking a lot this entire about considerations and concepts about making new friends. This is because making friends when you have none or have no social skills is a big task and requires a lot of foundational knowledge. Now that you have this, you can start looking at The Friend Process:

meet new people  >>  socialize with those people  >>  socialize with those people repeatedly  >>  become friends  >>  they introduce you to their friends  >>  you’ve got friends

That is the process of making friends, in a nutshell. Now, you probably have lots of questions like “how do I have a conversation with them” or “how do I ask them to hang out.” All of those are basic social skills you will have to practice and develop to better help you find, maintain, and develop friendships and relationships in general. How do you practice? By going out and socializing of course!

Common Interests Are Important

The reason why interests groups are great places to meet people is because you already share a common interest. The old saying goes:

Birds of a similar feather, flock together

As seen in the section above, repeated socializing is how friendships are developed. And the greatest reason for people to socialize repeatedly is with common interests. My friends and I play video games, discuss the economy, play basketball, exercise, and barbecue together. We all enjoy those activities and that’s also how we’ve gotten to know each other better. Because during these activities, that’s when a lot of conversation is had. For you, it can be anything, but having common interests will always allow you opportunities to enjoy activities together or talk about what happened on a television show. If you don’t share common interests however, you’ll find conversation hard at times… unless you two often drink alcohol, in which case, socializing becomes much easier (that is another article for another time).

Not Everyone Wants Friends Right Now

I mentioned earlier that you can make friends at any age. However, bear in mind that as people grow older, their social circles decrease. They become less interested in casual relationships and focus more on their core relationships of 1 – good friends 2 – spouse 3 – kids. Those alone fills up most of their time and needs for socialization. And guess what — this is the goal! The goal of life isn’t to have the most friends on Facebook — the goal is to have friends that you will stay in-touch with as you grow old and with whom you have deep trust and whose name would pop up immediately as you write invitations to your wedding. This also means that many people aren’t looking to meet new people. So, who do you want to meet?

The #1 best place to meet people would be the first day of your first year at a university. Everyone else is essentially away from home, away from their high friends, away from their family… and they are incredibly receptive to new people. If you are not in school or past that phase, don’t worry, there are other situations where you can meet people who want to meet new people. is definitely a great website for this as you constantly are introduced to people who are new to the city and are open to making new friends.

Final Tip: Don’t Be Picky!


The last thing I have to mention is that you should not be picky. I hate to use this quote, but…

beggars can’t be choosers

Of course we want cool, good-looking, wealthy, generous, emotionally-stable, successful friends, but that’s what everyone wants. You, however, need to understand that you have no friends, so just getting a handful of friends who you reasonably enjoy should be your initial goal. They might be nerdy, they might be socially awkward, they might be missing an eye, they might be a horrible dresser, they might have little in common with you, but you have to start somewhere.

If someone invites you something, just say “yes” (as long as they’re not an axe murderer). It will be an opportunity for you to gain social experience. Also, it pre-qualifies you, because this person likely thought you were a nice/cool/interesting/good-looking enough person to invite to their event.

As you get more and more friends, you will develop what’s called an “abundance mentality.” This is when you have so much of something, that you can become picky. Imagine that — one day you might be having to turn down invitations to events because you’re too busy! This is the stage where you want to be. This is when you will find and nurture the relationships that add the most value to their lives, and hopefully vice versa: you add value to their lives too.