Tips on actually connecting with someone to make them a close friend - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2021, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Tips on actually connecting with someone to make them a close friend

As I have gotten older, my social anxiety has not left me and it has gotten harder and harder to maintain and make new friends. Therefore, does anyone have any tips on actually connecting with someone to make them a close friend? I know people say to find a topic that you and the other person are passionate about, and that is great advice, but what other tips do you have? I always kinda do small talk and it never takes off from there. IDK how others have SO many good close friends. I'm really struggling here.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2021, 08:50 AM
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There are no shortcuts. You have to be willing to hang out with that person on a shallow level for a long time before they open up to you. Find out what their hobbies are and try to get into them and always be proactive.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2021, 09:01 AM
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Sorry to hear about you having a hard time getting close friendship. personally, I don't even think much about what I talk about, it often just comes to mind and then you say it, if you don't feel you connect then you should move forward
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2021, 10:21 AM
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I don't really have close friends except on the internet, but my strategy (to be re-implemented once it's legal again) is to try to do things with them. It's easier to bond or even learn about someone by collaborating or competing than by trying to pick their brain with direct conversation.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2021, 11:08 AM
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My tip would be, relax, and keep it light and friendly, and let it build gradually.. This does require building a thicker skin and ignoring your inner negative thoughts about how hopeless it all is. Also, if its a friendship on here, then doubly relax! We have the same or similar issues. Good luck! 🙂
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2021, 11:36 AM
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Shared environment or purpose makes it way easier. Also the mere exposure effect (you like that which you are familiar with), so the obvious example would be to do something where you both have the same purpose and goal, and see each other regularly. (such as a class or event that happens weekly). That should also enable conversation to flow more smoothly. Also taking the leap, initiate the conversation, do it badly if you must, but do it.

I struggle with people myself, and this is how I found my best friend who has been amazing. I say this to myself now partly because its true, but partly because i just was super anxious about sending a lady a voicenote on bumble and did it. It was a mess lol, but it is what it is. Gotta put yourself out there, like I did with my friend.

Also, I would suggest that you don't believe there is anything unusual about you that you struggle to connect with people and make friends. It's a ****ing nightmare in our society because, for the most part, people aren't engaging in mutual goals or activities! There is a reason why (for example) most middle aged men (using my own demographic as example) have a very small social network.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2021, 01:44 PM
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Hm. I think I prefer to talk to people only about stuff they find interesting. Not sure how much I manage to do that, but that's ideally what I try to do.
I also don't like talking about things I don't personally find interesting.

But I don't really think of people as potential friends unless there's already a lot of common interests and personality traits. Otherwise, I just don't see it as a possibility (not my fault or theirs, and nothing really I can do about it or want to really).

When I do small talk with people I know I'm just forming minor acquaintances and not really making friends if I don't see an overlap between our interests/personalities. I don't think I've ever been friends with anyone who I didn't consider initially as very interesting and similar to me in some way.

I'm not sure how to make "close" friends. I try holding to the few friends I have by having a tit-for-2-tats policy when it comes to emotional favors (and I basically expect people to treat me the same way). I have to make them feel good in some way in order for them to reciprocate. The only difference between friends and non-friends is probably that I have to be more mindful of the transactions with non-friends, but with friends, it flows more naturally.

Also, I don't really care at all what people say to me about me or my relationship to them. I feel like something's subconsciously wrong when I start wanting to tell someone they're my friend, or someone just tells me I'm theirs (that's always really embarrassing because it's really hard for me to consider someone a friend and don't like people just assuming the label since I don't want it to be an empty one).

I have very few friends though (only online), so I'm probably doing something wrong

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2021, 05:45 AM
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I find the more comfortable I am with myself and the more present I am with the other person the more comfortable they are around me and they open up quicker. Of course that's not easy for someone with social anxiety. Takes practice. Finding places you can be around people where it's normal to talk to people you may not know and even better if it's a place the same people tend to go to on a regular basis. For me there's a place called The Wellness Center near me where I started going as the first step to expose myself to opportunities for me to open up. I'm lucky I live nearby one of their centers because it's a very accepting and open minded place that focuses around mental health and allows me to come and go freely. Of course that changed when Covid hit but they're opening again soon. Anyway. Yeah try to find something, an easy class that you're interested in at a community college or a community center.

Also I had to accept that I'm not a social butterfly and never will be, Ive actually grown to like it. I speak up and say what's on my mind and I find those who talk a lot really aren't saying much and those who speak less sometimes say more in fewer words. I also find that people listen more when I speak cause I don't speak as often and they're interested in what I have to say.

I still don't like small talk and I generally don't bother faking it much. I'm polite but if I don't want to carry on with what this or that celebrity did or said yesterday as an example off the top of my head, I won't pretend I'm interested either. If the conversation get deeper though I find it intriguing.

I believe everyone has people like this. Where you just sort of naturally open up to them and you just click. Friendship or romantic doesn't matter but it's like you get each other without having to say it. Where they say what you were just thinking or the other way around. When there's that kind of natural effortless connection small talk becomes much less of an issue and even fun sometimes.
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