How to Attract Friends and Be a People Magnet

There is only one way for people to get to know you better, and that is to know yourself first.

If you can be honest and accept who you are, embracing both your strengths and weaknesses, this makes it a lot easier for others to learn about you too.

Once you have gotten past the small talk and established some kind of connection with the other person, opening up about who you are is the next step to making friends.

You don’t need to be perfect (no one is) but by having self-awareness, you can admit your weaknesses, recognize your strengths, and enable others to appreciate you and like you. This is the crux of all good relationships but it applies more than anything else to friendships.

As we already mentioned, people choose who they want to be friends with. It is one of the few social bonds in life that is based on pure choice – if I like you and get on with you, and the feeling is reciprocated, we will most probably become friends.

That’s why it’s super important to make sure you feel comfortable in your own shoes first. When people get to know you, they will either warm to you or not, and that’s OK. It may be that when you meet someone new, they discover they have nothing in common with you, don’t like your views, or aren’t impressed by your personality.

When you stay true to yourself and aren’t trying to please others, you are more likely to make authentic, genuine friendships based on mutual respect and esteem.

Who am I?

This isn’t one of those profound existential questions that need some deep philosophical thought. It’s simply a question that I would like you to think about before you take a pen and paper to make an outline of yourself. 

Apart from your age, gender, and so on, it’s about knowing your likes, qualities, dreams, and passions. It should be easy for you to do as you know yourself better than anyone else, right?

Below, you’ll find an example that will help you to make your own personal profile. In this case, I’m going to introduce you to Jill, a good friend of mine who I met by chance when she backed into my car in a parking lot. (As I say, you never know when or how future friends will appear.)

NAME: Jill

AGE: 35

OCCUPATION: Nurse

STATUS: Single

HOBBIES: Tennis, horse riding

CHARACTER: Kind, caring, affectionate, trustworthy, shy, stubborn, worries too much

LIKES: Going to the cinema, making sushi, dogs, crosswords

DREAMS: Opening an animal rescue shelter, visiting Japan

It may be that although you find most of this exercise relatively easy, you have difficulty identifying your character traits. That’s because we find it hard, to be honest with ourselves and pinpoint our weaknesses, as well as our strengths. Give it a shot anyway and once you are done, you can always add to it if you think of anything else.

Once you have a more definitive picture of who you are, this can be the springboard for helping others to get to know you better. It is good to talk about yourself, as long as you don’t monopolize the whole conversation. For example, your occupation can be of great interest to others.

Whatever walk of life you are involved in, it can be used as a conversation starter and the more you talk about it, the more you are allowing the other person to get to know you. If you aren’t employed, you can talk about your ambitions and if you are studying, sharing your reasons for choosing a particular subject can be very insightful. Meeting people who have the same interests or hobbies as yourself can be a great way to connect.

You both have something to talk about and can instantly relate to one another. If you have little in common, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although it does make it harder to establish a common dialogue at first.

I got to know Jill back then because, although she had accidentally bumped my car, she told me she had been in a hurry as she was late for her tennis lesson. I used to play the sport myself and wondered where her lesson was and how much it cost.

We got chatting and before I knew it, we had arranged to meet up the following week for a friendly game. I also appreciated the fact that Jill hadn’t just driven off after smashing my tail light and had waited around to give me her insurance details. I liked her integrity and honesty.

It wasn’t long before we became very good friends, even though I know nothing about horse riding or making sushi!

Knowing me, knowing you

It is useful to ask open-ended questions in order to get to know the other person better. If you want them to get to know you too, you have to be prepared to open up. That may sound scary to many of you because you don’t like the idea of feeling exposed or vulnerable.

Your past experiences in life might have left you feeling let down, used, or even betrayed. That can be hurtful but here’s the thing: the longer you hold on to the pain, the longer it will stay with you. If you really want to make new friends, you must be prepared to reveal something of your inner self, although you don’t have to spill the beans from the first contact. You can do it gradually once you have established a greater level of trust.

At this stage in the game, all you need to do is talk a little more about the easy stuff, such as what you like to do in your spare time, any hobbies, and interests.

Finding common ground 

So, the person you are talking to mentions that they have just moved to town? Great! Ask them where they are originally from and how they are adjusting. Tell them that you have just gone through the same experience and you will be able to compare notes.

Perhaps they tell you they love dogs. Excellent – you have been thinking of adopting one and can talk about the dog you had as a kid… anything dog-related will do.

Be passionate

When you talk about things you are genuinely interested in, you will find yourself opening up more. If the other person asks about your job, tell them about why you love it so much and if you hate it, talk instead about your dream job or your ambitions – your passion will give them a better idea of who you really are.

You don’t need to go into all of the in-depth details but by talking about something that inspires you, you are allowing them to form an emotional connection.

Be honest

You don’t need to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets at the outset, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest. When you weave a tangled web, it will eventually come out into the open, so it’s much better to be genuine from day one. If you do feel the impulse to lie or ‘embellish’ the truth, think about why that is. Do you not feel good enough?

Are you trying to prove something to someone? Honesty is always the best policy and you can simply avoid touching on subjects that make you feel uncomfortable, rather than lying about them. At the end of the day, if the other person doesn’t like the real you, how can you expect them to be your friend?

Getting people to like you

We all want to be liked, but friends need to like us even when they get to know our bad points. You may have had friends in the past who were unreliable, couldn’t keep a secret or were useless with money, yet you liked them regardless.

Being liked isn’t about portraying yourself as some kind of perfect being. We all have imperfections and are still worthy of friendship. My take on this is not to try too hard to be liked by everyone. You have a much better chance of forming genuine friendships if you concentrate on showing an interest in the other person rather than trying to impress them. Be liked for who you are, despite all of your flaws.

There’s a very famous book by Dale Carnegie that was first published way back in 1936. The title of it was ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. It became a huge best seller because it tapped into the reader’s desire to be liked.

His book’s message still rings true today, with one of its most famous quotes being: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” That begins with how you handle the conversation and the way that you engage with others, so here are the main pointers:

How to create an engaging conversation

Once the ball is rolling, there are several things you can do to keep up the momentum. As long as you are interested in the other person and get the impression they are interested in you too, the following strategies will help you to establish a natural flow in your conversation.

Use the person’s name

This may sound obvious, but when you keep mentioning someone’s name, it makes you appear even more focused on them, which is exactly what they want. It’s a tool that salespeople use a lot as they try to connect with potential buyers and is definitely an effective way to establish some kind of rapport.

Use verbal confirmation

This is also known as ‘active listening’, where you repeat what the other person is saying to show that you are paying full attention. For example:

Jill: I saw this amazing movie at the weekend. It really touched me, especially at the end when the couple got back together.

Me: It made you emotional, really?

Jill: Yes, it was so good, and Nicole Kidman played the part brilliantly.

Me: Oh, you like Nicole Kidman? I love her too.

Jill: Yeah, she is really great.

As you can see, it’s not difficult to maintain this kind of dialogue. All you are doing is showing the other person that you are paying attention to what they are saying. When you echo them, you are validating their opinion and feelings, as well as finding the opportunity to share your own.

Listen

It is much better to listen more and to talk less. Even if you are chatty by nature, take some time to let the other person speak and be responsive to what they say. By allowing them space in a dialogue, you are showing them interest, curiosity, and respect. What’s not to like about that?

Know it all

When responding to another person, don’t act as if you know everything about everything (even if you do). There’s nothing worse than a know-it-all because not only do they make us feel inferior, but they are also just downright annoying.

Stay humble and be prepared to say, “I don’t know,” every now and again, which can help to put the other person at ease. Instead of trying to impress, practice ‘being’ impressed by what you hear and stay curious to learn more.

Be funny

You may not be a natural comedian but injecting a little humor into the conversation will certainly win people over. Everyone likes to have a laugh and if you can manage to raise a smile, your company will be genuinely appreciated. 

Laughing at yourself first and foremost is a great way to endear the listener to you, so tell a funny story or make light of a problem and see how it changes the mood.

Admit your imperfections

It’s OK to tell someone that you aren’t good at this or that, or are unable to achieve something you desire. Human connection springs from being vulnerable, so don’t underestimate its power. At the same time, pointing out the flaws of the person you are talking to is not the way to go. 

Less judgment and more understanding are both crucial at this stage of your budding friendship.

Mirroring body language

By subtly mimicking another person’s body language while talking to them, you are encouraging them to like you more. If you copy their gestures, expressions, and posture, you are making them feel that you are following what they say and have empathy with them. 

The result is that they will find you more likable and relatable, no matter what you are talking about.

Personal hygiene

I don’t want to have to be the one to tell you this, but if you have bad breath or neglect your personal hygiene, that can be a real put-off. Do take care of yourself by showering regularly, keeping your hair and/or facial hair well-groomed, and make sure your overall appearance is clean and tidy.

Chew on a mint to overcome bad breath if you have to, and feel free to use antiperspirant or deodorant as and when. If you look good on the outside, you will feel good on the inside, which will add to your confidence and make you even more approachable.

Getting closer to someone isn’t just about the conversations you share but also requires doing things together. Shared experiences are definitely going to help you bond more so it’s a good idea to initiate future plans.

Whenever you meet up with someone as your friendship progresses, make suggestions about engaging in activities that you can both enjoy together, depending on your interests. It can be as simple as grabbing a coffee next week to going to see a basketball game together at the weekend.

My Friend Jill invited me to a tennis tournament, which is something we both enjoyed. In turn, I asked her if she wanted to go to the theater with me, and she happily agreed. Whatever activity you decide to do together, you will give the other person a chance to get to know you more without having to try too hard.

Opening up

It’s only by opening up to people that you can strengthen bonds and maintain a relationship. This takes time and doesn’t come easy to all of us. When you do feel that the other person will listen to you without judgment, perhaps you can begin to share some more intimate thoughts with them.

As a friend quote says, “Friendship begins with small talks; then grows into a long and deep conversation, the next thing you know…you care so much.”

You will be surprised to see that by doing so, you will gain a different perspective. You may even receive advice or counsel that can help you to overcome any personal issues you have been dealing with. By sharing your experiences, you will feel less alone and this is a true gift of friendship.

If you still find this difficult to do, it may be a serious stumbling block to you making friends.

How to overcome the fear of socializing

There are some things you can consider to help you to overcome your fears in the company of the right person, enabling you to be more open and less inhibited.

1. Identify what you are afraid of

Are you holding back for a specific reason? Did something happen to you in the past that has left you feeling overly self-protective? Were you subjected to rejection or shame? Any one of these is enough to make you reticent about revealing yourself so take it one small step at a time and don’t force yourself to negate your feelings.

Once you pinpoint what past experiences are causing you pain, you can allow yourself to let them go as they serve no purpose now.

2. Learn to express how you feel

When you have thought about where your lack of trust is coming from, try to express that by saying, “I feel anxious because…, I find it hard to open up due to….” You will be surprised to hear how many other people not only understand you on hearing that, but will also tell you that they feel the same way.

Remove the idea in your mind that no one will understand you, or will think you are being silly. Being true to yourself and expressing how you feel can actually help you to gain wonderful friends in the long run.

3. Be personal, not vulnerable

You can talk about many personal aspects of your life without the fear of feeling vulnerable. It could be about your favorite music, what you like to do in your free time, what motivates you in life, what you like about your neighborhood – all personal subjects that don’t leave you feeling emotionally exposed. 

If you aren’t up to it, avoid talking about anything in your life that creates a sense of vulnerability. This may include topics related to your health, medical conditions, family dramas, relationship worries, fears, or hardships.

4. Take your time

Don’t rush into overpowering the other person with your life story. Give the relationship time to grow and develop but be mindful that if you only engage in small talk, you aren’t allowing him or her to get to know you better.

In general, a first meeting should be kept light while on your second get-together, you can begin to broach more personal subjects. In subsequent meetings, it’s OK to talk about what’s on your mind, what challenges you are facing, or how you feel.

You can go from a casual conversation to a deeper dialogue after establishing that this person is someone you feel able to share things with. Once you do so, you will develop a much closer bond. After that, the onus is on you to maintain that friendship.

No matter what age you are or your personal circumstances, it’s never too late (or too early, for that matter) to form a lifelong friendship, beginning today.

The more someone gets to know you, the easier it will be for them to like you so don’t hold back. Trust your instinct and be open to new possibilities!

Key Points:

  • Knowing yourself is the secret to allowing others to know you better.
  • Willingness to learn more about the other person is crucial.
  • Be honest, passionate, and find common ground.
  • Engaging conversation will encourage others to like you.
  • When you are able to open up, you can create greater intimacy and trust.

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