The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend. ~Aristotle
Maybe you’re still wondering how to get invited to a party!
Friends sound like a great idea, but how can we make some friends when we’re feeling unsure, scared, and lonely?
Here are Some Tips To Make Some Friends
Understand Why It’s Difficult To Make Friends
This video explains why Aspie teens and young adults struggle with making friends.
Different mannerisms, sensory sensitives, adherence to rules, and neglecting hygiene can create barriers to friendship.
Identify Your Gaps and Form a Plan to Work on Them
What specific areas do you struggle with?
Starting a conversation? Maintaining a conversation? Ending a conversation?
Understanding the hidden rules of social situations?
Join a social skills groups for adults or young people. Seek locally for this kind of help here.
This is not an affiliate product. Brian King, LCSW, is an adult with Aspergers who’s put together a great product called 10 Most Effective Social Strategies. Let him teach you his best methods for building win win relationships. Listen to his podcasts as well.
Learn About the Different Levels of Friendship
Ms. Garcia Winner has written about the friendship pyramid.
At the most basic level, learn to give basic greeting to people. Smiling at someone, looking them in the eye, and saying hello communicates that you are friendly and open to friendship.
Read my article about the untold friendship code to better understand acquaintances, possible friendships, evolving friendships, off and on again friends, bonded friends, and very close friends.
Learn About Yourself and Learn About NTs
Some Aspies correctly point out that NTs (neurotypicals) have not learned to accept Aspie differences.
However, we all need to take personal responsibility for better results in our lives. We can’t wait for all NT’s to change.
If you’re willing to invest in personal growth, read about social thinking and the Hidden Curriculum, while honoring who you are as an Aspie.
Identify Your Acquaintances
Who are people you already know?
Take note of who you work with or go to school with.
Don’t feel pressure to make some friends immediately. Merely observe and notice whether these people seem friendly. Do they show behaviors that signal they’ll make a good friend in the future?
Do you love animals? Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
Do you love Pokémon? Research other Pokémon clubs in your area?
Whatever your special interest, you may find people who share your interests. Meetup.Com is one place to search for these groups.
Join Organizations On Campus
If you attend college, join organizations on campus that align with your interests.
When in a group or organization, don’t overtry to make friends. (Is overtry a word?:)
Relax, focus on tasks, and observe others in the group. Smile, and ask questions to get to know others.
Show Genuine Interest In Others
Sometimes we are so internally focused on our need for friends, our insecurities, and our loneliness, that we forget about the other person.
Most people have their own worries, weaknesses, and insecurities.
Here are some questions to keep in mind when meeting other people:
- What does he/she do?
- What are his/her hobbies?
- What has he/she been up to recently?
- What are his/her upcoming priorities/goals?
- What does he/she value the most?
- What are his/her values?
- What motivates/drives him/her?
- What are his/her passions in life? Goals? Dreams?
Here’s a Bonus
Dr. Jed E. Baker, in his Social Skills Training Workbook, shares an exercise called Getting To Know Someone New.
1. Start the question by asking a question about something you see in the present moment or about something you have in common with the person.
- Ask, “What are you [doing, reading, eating, playing]?”
- If you are in the same class or in the same place, ask, “So how do you like this [class, place]“?
2. Introduce yourself.
- Say, “By the way, my name is ___________, what’s your name?”
3. Ask questions to get to know the person.
Okay Topics and Questions:
- School: e.g., Where do you go to school? What grade are you in? Who are your teachers?
- Age (for kids only): How old are you? (Do not ask an adult)
- Neighborhood: Where do you live? What’s it like there?
- Interests: What do you like to do for fun? What games do you like? What TV shows do you watch? What kind of music do you like?
- Family: Do you have a big family? Do you have brothers and sisters?
4. Do not ask about “sensitive topics” unless the other person brings it up first. Sensitive topics are subjects that can make others upset. For example,
- Don’t ask about someone’s race or religion when you first meet them.
- Don’t ask about something that makes the person look different or sound different.
- Don’t ask the person about any problems s/he may have.
- Who will I try this with?
- What happened?
- How did I do?
I hope you enjoyed this short article on how to make some friends. I know it’s not easy. I definitely don’t pretend to have all the answers.
In fact, please share any positive friendship making strategies or any further questions you may have in the comments below.
10 Tips To Make New Friends
Communicating and Interacting: Social Skills for Adolescents and Adults
photo credit: William Christiansen