Making friends can be a very rewarding experience for you. During this journey, it is likely you’ll make some mistakes. Here are some mistakes that you can make that may prevent you from achieving the social success you want.
1. Striving to make friends through personal success
What this mindset entails is that you will only make friends if your life is a complete success. With this thought process, you may think things like if your job goes well or if I buy that car people will like me. This is a very damaging view for you to take.
For one, you place your value in others’ perceptions. What this means is you allow others to dictate your actions. For example, if you buy a sports car just to get people to like you, it means you are not buying the car for yourself. You are buying that car to impress others. Further, this misguided perception can affect those you are trying to please.
To others, your view of bettering yourself can come off as trying to top them. Typically, people don’t enjoy others that view everything as a competition. In some instances, people can even feel threatened or envious of those that are more successful.
Additionally, if you brag about your successes to others, this can be off-putting. They may interpret this as you thinking you are better than them, and this will create a rift between you and them.
Now it’s important to note that it isn’t a bad thing to better yourself. It’s the way you approach that task that matters. If you are doing it for someone else then it’s a losing proposition. Meanwhile, if are genuinely trying to improve your situation, then it shouldn’t matter what others say.
2. Pursuing friends with selfish intentions
It’s true, that when we want friends, we want to feel that connection to others. That isn’t necessarily selfish. What is selfish is when we try to approach others with a “my needs first” priority. Some of the examples of this behavior are:
- You only want to hang out with others when it’s beneficial to you. For example, you say no to their requests to hang out, but when you feel lonely, you anxiously ask them to spend time with you.
- You only want to do things that appeal to you and are not open to doing other activities with your friends. What you are saying to others with this approach is that you only want to do things you like and you don’t care about their interests.
- When you spend time with others, you always make it about you. If the topic of conversation during every gathering is centered on you and your problems, it makes you come off to others as needy, selfish or both. This is a sure fire way to make people think twice before spending more time with you.
- Another dicey pursuit is when you spend time with others of the opposite sex solely for the intention of dating them. If a connection occurs naturally it’s one thing, but if your main interest in spending time with them is romantic alone, then the friendship becomes about your romantic pursuit.
3. You keeping a reserved or “cool” attitude
While appearing to be aloof may work in attracting the opposite sex, it won’t work if you are trying to develop a friendship with others. Typically, people want to be around others that are engaging and express a genuine interest in that person. With this in mind, here are some behaviors you’ll want to stay away from in social situations:
- If you act cool to the point you think you are better than everyone else, then it will keep people away.
- By acting reserved around others, you give them the impression you don’t care about them. This will make conversation with others incredibly difficult.
- If you stay to yourself in social situations because you are trying to impress others, it won’t work. In many instances, it may have the opposite affect because people will see you as someone who doesn’t want to spend time with them.
4. Being judgmental
While it’s okay to express your opinion on topics, it’s important you be mindful of others. If you constantly talk about how these bands suck, or this movie was terrible, it makes others think you are a negative person. That is an unattractive quality to others. Further, you can offend people with your remarks. Just because you don’t like a specific band doesn’t mean others don’t. This negative attitude can drive a wedge between you and a potential friendship with someone else. Meanwhile, if you convey a positive mindset and don’t judge everything, it will make you that much more attractive to others.
When you look at these four items, what do they all have in common? All four of them have to do with a “me first” approach. When you approach friendships with selfish intentions, there is a good chance one of these four behaviors may pop up. There are also a few social success secrets you really should know about to help you achieve your goals.
If you have struggled with this in the past, there are ways to change your behaviors. I had this problem too, and I was able to make a change when I switched my focus off myself and placed it on others. The goal is to express genuine interest in others. Here are some ways to do this:
- Ask questions about their interests. Listen to their answers and ask follow-up questions. It’s important you engage others in conversation.
- Be open to spending time with others even if you don’t feel like it. As long as you are not sick, it’s important to make a time commitment to others.
- Be willing to be there for them in difficult situations. This may feel uncomfortable for you, but by showing that person you care either by listening to them as they work through a difficult time or by writing them a note telling them you are thinking about them, you have pure intentions.
Ultimately, when you remove “me” from the equation, that is when you have the right frame of mind to make friendships. Don’t worry about what others think or what you can gain from being friends with them. Instead, show others that you genuinely care about them. When you do so, you will find people will be more receptive to you. As a result, you can develop genuine friendships from this.