How to develop close friendships

Here, you will learn:

  1. How to make anyone like you from the very first moment they see you.
  2. A dangerous mistake many do that makes others think they are annoying.
  3. An important principle when it comes to developing a close friendship.
  4. How to find a good girlfriend

The Friendship-Time Principle

Research has shown that an important ingredient for creating a deep friendship is a high level of exposure of each other.

Even if you may have many similarities with another person, you have to meet each other often for the friendship to deepen. There is no specific amount of hours that need to be met – instead, the more time you spend – the deeper the friendship will be.

Therefore: When you are in a social gathering, spend as much time as possible with the people you find similarities with. With two otherwise identical people, you will be a closer friend to someone you spend an hour with compared to someone you spend half an hour with. Find a way to hang out and participate in things that you both like.

This principle also helps you understand why you are closer friends with some than others – you maybe need to spend more time with them.

Important to know, there is, however, one factor that inverts the Friendship-Time Principle, that we will cover in the next part of this course.

Read more: How to find friends you have more in common with.

The one factor that inverts the friendship-time-principle

In the previous part, we talked about how friendship grows stronger over time. There is one factor that instead will make the relationship worse the more time two friends spend together. It will literally invert the entire Friendship-Time-Principle:

If a person in the relationship in any way is seen as annoying, spending time together will instead make the friendship weaker.

Article continues below.

Take this quiz and see how you can make new friends

Take this quiz and get a custom report based on your unique personality and goals. Learn how YOU can be better at connecting and turning people into close friends.

Start the quiz.

Here are the most common reasons for being seen as annoying:

  • Different social energy.
  • Too much focus on differences. For example, if someone repeatedly questions the other person’s beliefs such as faith, political view, likes, or interests.
  • Repetitive behaviors that are irritating, such as munching, interrupting others while they speak or having a bad temper.

If you want to have close friends, you do not want them to see you as annoying. Often, we do not notice our own behavior.

It turns out, we underestimate how much we criticize others or condemn what others do. We are also almost blind for our own annoying manners like when we munch or nervously fiddle with things. But we are very aware when others do it.

Ask yourself if you do something that others might think is annoying. People who are aware of what others find annoying with them tend to have more friends and closer relations.

It is rare that people talk about what they think is annoying because it is an unpleasant subject. When someone says something, it is often hidden in a joke or said in an unserious way, because that takes the tension away.

For example, if someone jokes about how you use to interrupt them, give it real afterthought and think about if it can be true. If it is, and if you value the friendship – act on the feedback and see it as an opportunity for you to improve yourself.

As a rule of thumb, a joke is not a joke.

Article continues below.

What type of social overthinker are you?

Take this quiz and get a custom report based on your unique personality and goals. Start improving your confidence, your conversation skills, or your ability to bond - in less than an hour.

Start the quiz.

There are, of course, some parts of your personality that you should probably not change in order to make friends. Opinions are one example. And you do not need to change those, either. You are about to learn something most do not know regarding dealing with different opinions:

How to not let different opinions hurt the friendship

Truth is, two individuals can have very different opinions about things and still be great friends. The only time different opinions can hurt a friendship is when someone has to defend his or her opinion.

Arguments do not start just because two people have different opinions, but when someone feels the need to defend his or her believes.

This means, if no one feels attacked, no one will have to start an argument.

An obvious example of attacking someone’s beliefs would be: “Why do you vote for the Republicans, that’s so stupid”.

You will get into an argument, and the friendship will be slightly weaker.

Here is a less obvious -and more dangerous- example. It takes place between person A and B:

Person A: “I can’t understand people going to the same place for vacation every year”. If person B happens to go to the same place for vacation every year, which person A maybe do not even know, B will have a feeling of being attacked in their choice of lifestyle. Maybe replying with a counter-argument, or worse, saying nothing at all, and just feeling a bit hurt.

This is dangerous because A probably do not even think about that B will – in an emotional way – feel attacked. An important part of social skills is knowing how others will feel about what you say. If person A continues to say a lot of things without seeing it from the perspective of others, he or she will have a harder time making close friends.

Sometimes you will still get into arguments. As you now know, the person who starts an argument does that because of feeling attacked. This means the only thing you need to do is to show that you accept the view of the other person. That takes away the feeling of being attacked.

Tell the other person that you understand where he or she comes from. You can even give some arguments for his or her part. Let the person know that if you would have had the same experiences and been in the same shoes as that person, you would probably have had the same opinion.

You will now notice that the arguments never were about you having different opinions, it was something that activated the defense of the other person.

To make close friends with people who have different opinions from you, show them that you accept that they are having their opinions.

These were some ideas on how to become closer friends.

Action steps for your next social interaction:

  1. Don’t ask yourself “how do I find a best friend”. Ask yourself “who can I become best friends with” instead.
  2. Listen carefully for hidden feedback on your behavior and see it as a chance to improve yourself.
  3. Do not condemn the other persons to view on life or interests.
  4. If an argument is about to start, show that you accept the opinions of the other person.
  5. When you talk to a person, try to think about what feelings can be caused by what you say. People with many friends are good at creating good feelings in others.
  6. Notice the social energy of the person you talk to. Then adapt your energy by adjusting your voice and body language. If someone is high energy or low energy because they are nervous, meet them with positive high or low energy. They will feel more similar to you, and you will make closer friends.
  7. Make sure to spend more time with people you notice that you like to progressively make them like you more.

Image credit

Join our free training and learn these 5 secrets to making friends

  1. Learn to get past shallow small talk.
  2. Know where to find people who are more like you
  3. Improve socially without doing weird out-of-your-comfort-zone stunts.
  4. Learn why people who "don't try" often are so socially successful.
  5. See how you can go from boring to bonding in less than 7 minutes.

Start my free training.

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

Leave a Comment