21 Best Books on How to Make Friends (2021)

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These are the best books on how to make friends or improve your friendships ranked and reviewed for 2021.

Top picks on making friends

There are 21 books in this guide. Here are my top picks for an easy overview.


Best general books on making friends

Top pick starter book

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

This book has made a massive positive impact on my social life and it’s still the top-recommended book on social skills despite being written in the 1930s.

It does a good job of extracting social interaction down to a set of rules that make us more likable. However, It’s not the best book if low self-esteem or social anxiety keeps you from socializing.

It’s a set of (great) principles. It’s not a complete guide on how to be better socially.

Do get this book if…

  • You’re already OK off socially already but want to be more likable.

Do NOT get this book if…

4.7 stars on Amazon.


Top pick most comprehensive

2. The Social Skills Guidebook

The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations, and Make Friends, Without Giving Up Who You Are

Author: Chris MacLeod

Compared to How to Win Friends, this one isn’t directed to a mainstream audience. This book targets people who feel like their social life is on hold because they either are too shy or don’t really connect.

So, the first part of the book focuses on shyness, social anxiety, and low self-confidence. Then, it goes through how to improve your conversation skills. And third, how to be better at making friends and lead a social life.

I read this book 2-3 years ago and since then it’s my top recommendation for anyone who wants a comprehensive book on social skills together with Win Friends.

Do get this book if…

  • Socializing makes you uncomfortable and you want a book that covers all aspects of social life.

Do NOT get this book if…

4.4 stars on Amazon.

Also, check out our (free) complete guide on how to make friends.


Top pick for people with Aspergers

3. Improve your Social Skills

Improve Your Social Skills

Author: Dan Wendler

Improve your Social Skills has many similarities to The Social Skills Guidebook and it covers similar topics. However, this author has Aspergers and the book has become somewhat of a cult classic on the topic.

It feels unfair to say that it’s only relevant for people with Aspergers. It’s relevant for anyone who wants to learn social skills from the ground up.

Do get this book if…

  • You want to learn social skills from the ground up or have Aspergers.

Do NOT get this book if…

  • You want something that focuses more on feeling uncomfortable around new people. If so, get The Social Skills Guidebook.
  • You’re not looking for a cover-it-all for social life but instead to improve your social interaction. If so, get How to Win Friends.

4.3 stars on Amazon.


Making conversation and small talk

These are just 2 books I think are helpful. Go here for my full guide of books on how to make conversation.

Best book on small talk

4. The Fine Art of Small Talk

The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!

Author: Debra Fine

Considered the best book on small talk, both by me and many others. Read my review of it here.


Best book on how to make conversation

5. Conversationally Speaking

Conversationally Speaking: Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness

Author: Alan Garner

This book is for conversations what How to Win Friends is for social skills.

If you only want to be better at the conversation bit, this is THE book to read.

See my review of this book here.


Top pick for finding people like you

6. Belong

Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life

Author: Radha Agrawal

The premise of this book is that we feel less and less connected despite all the technology for connecting. It focuses on how to feel connected again by knowing how to find people like you or create a community of like-minded.

I have a feeling that it’ll work best for you if you’re in your 20s or 30s. If you’re older than that, check out The Relationship Cure. Except for that, GREAT book! Well researched and well written. A lot of good advice that is applicable.

Do get this book if…

You want to find people like you.

Do NOT get this book if…

You’re in your mid-age or above. If so, read The Relationship Cure.

4.6 stars on Amazon.


Top pick for improving existing relationships

7. The Relationship Cure

The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships

Author: John Gottman

The book focuses on relationships in mid-life: With friends, spouses, children, family, and colleagues. But the advice is still SUPER VALUABLE even if you’re younger!

What a great book! Very actionable. The central idea is to more emotionally available, and how to do that in practice.

I wish I had something negative to say about this book for the sake of a balanced review, but I don’t.

Do get this book if…

  • You want to improve your existing relationships.

Do NOT get this book if…

4.5 stars on Amazon.


Books specifically for adults

The following books suit someone who’s working and is having a family life (as opposed to being in school or single).

Friendship while being married and having kids

8. Friendshifts

Author: Jan Yager

The book is focused on friendships in the mid-state of life: Having friends while having children, having friends while married. That’s why it’s called Friendshifts: It’s about how friendships change as our lives change.

There’s a lot of obvious stuff in this book. But since it’s the only book I’ve found for middle-aged and it has some great insights, I’d recommend it for someone who wants to make friends learn and how to relate to your friends.

3.9 stars on Amazon.


Top pick on betrayal by friends

9. When Friendship Hurts

When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You

Author: Jan Yager

This book is about both toxic relationships and failed ones. It’s a solid book, written by the same author who wrote Friendshift. She’s improved a lot since the Friendshift book and this book is better overall. However, while Friendshift was about friendship in general in adulthood, this one is focused on broken friendships in adulthood.

4.2 stars on Amazon.


Books for women on how to make friends

Top pick closer relationships for women

10. Frientimacy

Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness

Author: Shasta Nelson

A book on how to develop closer friendships, specifically for women. Very well-researched and well-written. Goes through how to connect and get closer, toxicity, self-doubt, jealousy and envy, and fear of rejection.

Stellar reviews. I couldn’t find anything bad about this book.

Do get this book if…

  • You’re an adult woman who wants to have closer friends.

Do NOT get this book if…

  • If you’re an adult woman who wants to have closer friends I think there’s no reason to not get this book. However, also check out The Relationship Cure.

4.5 stars on Amazon.


11. Stop Being Lonely

Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships

Author: Kira Asatryan

The focus of this book is to develop closeness. In other words, how to be able to develop close relationships rather than superficial. It covers closeness with family and partners, but primarily when it comes to friends.

To appreciate this book, you have to be open-minded. A lot of the stuff seems common sense, but even if it is, bringing it up again and reminding us to apply it can help.

The author is not a psychiatrist like in many of the other books. But to have wisdom on the topic of friendship, I don’t think you have to be a psychiatrist.

It’s a good book, but The Relationship Cure is a better read.

4.4 stars on Amazon.


12. Messy Beautiful Friendship

Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships

Author: Christine Hoover

Very liked book. I can’t relate to it as it’s written by a pastor’s wife and from her perspective. If you’re a married Christian woman, this would be the perfect book for you. If you want a broader book on mid-life friendships, I’d warmly recommend The Relationship Cure.

4.7 stars on Amazon.


For men on how to improve relationships

13. Relationships Are Everything

Relationships Are Everything: How to Not Suck at Relationships & Make a Dent in this World

Author: Ben Weaver

This book is also focused on how to improve your relationships. In other words, it’s not about how to seek out new friends, like for example in the Social Skills Guidebook.

It’s written by a youth pastor. (I’m confused, can someone explain to me why so many books on friendships are written by pastors?)

I would recommend The Friendship Cure over this one.

4.9 stars on Amazon.


Books for parents to help their children make friends

For parents to help their young children

14. The Unwritten Rules of Friendship

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends

Authors: Natalie Madorsky Elman, Eileen Kennedy-Moore

This has become “the book” for parents who want to help their children with social skills. It goes through several archetypes like “The vulnerable child”, “The different drummer” etc and gives specific advice for how to help each of these.

The book is more of a toolbox than a cover to cover read.

The book is very well-reviewed (one of the best-ranked books I’ve researched for this guide)

Do get this book if…

  • You have a young child who’s falling behind socially

Do NOT get this book if…

  • Your child is starting to reach their teens. Instead, read The Science of Making Friends below.

4.6 stars on Amazon.


For parents to help their teens and young adults

15. The Science of Making Friends

The Science of Making Friends: Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults

Author: Elizabeth Laugeson

If The Unwritten Rules of Friendship is my top pick for parents who want to help their young children, this book is the top pick for parents who want to help their teens and young adults.

This book focuses specifically on Aspergers and ADHD.

Do get this book if…

  • Your teen or young adult has Aspergers, ADHD, etc.

Do NOT get this book if…

4.3 stars on Amazon.


Honorary mentions

These books aren’t as good as my top picks above, but still can be worth checking out or be additional reading when you’re done with the top picks.

16. How To Start A Conversation And Make Friends

How To Start A Conversation And Make Friends: Revised And Updated

Author: Don Gabor

The focus of this book is to make conversation with the goal of making friends.

This is more of a mainstream book that doesn’t go in-depth into the issues. It mainly covers the more obvious stuff and not the aha-experiences.

Instead, I would recommend Conversationally Speaking.

4.4 stars on Amazon.


Mediocre book on likability

17. The Science of Likability

The Science of Likability: 27 Studies to Master Charisma, Attract Friends, Captivate People, and Take Advantage of Human Psychology

Author: Patrick King

This book covers how to be charismatic and attract friends. It’s not a bad book, but there are better ones on the topic.

Instead of reading this book, read How to Win Friends and The Charisma Myth. They cover the same topics but do it better.

A lot of the material in this one feels manipulative and some examples are a bit off. If you read it, you’ll likely still be satisfied, but you’ll be better off with the top picks.

4.1 stars on Amazon.


18. The Friendship Crisis

The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You're Not a Kid Anymore

Author: Marla Paul

General book and little applicable advice. Nothing new. More “friendly advice” to try to pick up someone who feels down.

I’d recommend any other book higher up in this guide.

3.7 stars on Amazon.


Non-actionable book on women’s lost friendships

19. The Friend Who Got Away

The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away

Authors: Jenny Offill, Elissa Schappell

I’ve been skimming this book and reading all the reviews there is to read about it. The picture I get is this: It’s an OK book, but it isn’t actionable.

People feel like the stories don’t apply to them, or that some are even depressing and hurtful.

If you want a better read on the topic, go for When Friendships Hurt.

4.0 stars on Amazon.


20. How To Connect With The People In Your Life

How To Connect With The People In Your Life: A guide for overcoming personal barriers, breaking misconceptions, and establishing better relationships

Author: Caleb J. Kruse

This book covers the entire process from breaking the ice, making small talk, connecting with people, dealing with rejection, etc.

The book is OK but I’d recommend the books by the beginning of this guide over it as they are more comprehensive, more actionable, and better researched.

4.4 stars on Amazon.


21. How to Make Friends as an Introvert

How to Make Friends as an Introvert: Discover Introvert-Friendly Ways to Meet New People, Improve Your Social Skills, and Make New Friends

Author: Nate Nicholson

The book focuses on how to make friends as an introvert. It’s very basic and not in-depth enough. There are better books for introverts, like for example The Social Skills Guidebook.

3.5 stars on Amazon.


Warning: Books that are likely to have fake reviews

Researching these books, I’ve come across reviews that seem automatically generated, do not match the quality of the book, and do not match the ratings of other sites, like Goodreads.

These are books that I’m fairly certain to have fake reviews.

  • Social Intelligence Guide: Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to learn the Simple and Effective Methods of Social Intelligence
  • Improve Your Social Skills: How To Increase and Positively Influence Your Conversation Skills in 30 Days With Parents & Friends To Win Fear and Dominate People (NOT to be confused with Improve your social skills by Dan Wendler, a great book.)

Did I miss any book? Let me know in the comments below!

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

Go to Comments (2)

Comments

  1. Interesting! I enjoy your blog, writing and insights!

    I see there are no books specifically for Making Friends when Traveling, or Making Friends for Older Singles (those who suffer most from social isolation). I’m a 60-year-old, single, newly retired woman who loves to travel.

    I’ve been actively exploring making friends while traveling and I’ll probably create a workshop about it. I’m also a blogger and exploring podcasting, so may contact you for an interview.

    Even though I’m an introvert by nature, I have learned a lot in the past few years, and feel much more comfortable making friends, thanks, at least in part, by your teachings. Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
  2. Hi, can you share with me why you prefer “Relationship cure” (number 7) rather than “Stop Being Lonely” (number 11). For my superficial relationship, i think it’s better and i’m best on it. But for a close relationship i think i should do more practice for that. Now i’m searching for any references for it. Thanks for your sharing by the way 🙂 very helpful

    Reply

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