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How To Start Conversations And Make Friends

If you’ve been reading a lot of articles on how to make friends that tell you to start conversations, be more outgoing, and be yourself, and you’re not getting the results you want, I’m writing this because I found myself in the same situation seven years ago, and I had no idea how to make friends, or how to build relationships and take things from the “acquaintances” stage, and I’d like to share with you what I learned in this article.

Most of the advice you read is very similar to telling someone with no knowledge of how to fix a car to “go fix a car”, then them out and expecting them to be able to do it.

They tell you “start conversations” and “be real” and “be yourself”, but they don’t give you action steps on how to do any of those things… and that’s the missing gap in understanding that you need to fill in if you want to be successful at making friends.

Since being able to start conversations is the starting point to making friends… and being able to keep a conversation going is the key to building relationships and making friends, I figure it’s as good a place as any to start talking about.

In this article, I’m going to give you two very simple techniques you can use in any social situation to IMMEDIATELY improve your conversational skills, help you start making friends, and getting people to like you and want to be friends with you.

1) Have Something Interesting To Say When You Speak

A lot of people throw around words like “interesting” or “boring”, but few people actually take time to understand what the words interesting and boring actually mean, and how that information can help them to be more interesting.

Here are the definitions according to Dictionary.com:

Interesting: engaging or exciting and holding attention or curiosity; arousing a FEELING of interest.

Boring: not interesting; tedious; so lacking in interest as to cause mental weariness.

Which one of these two things are you doing during your conversations?

Being interesting literally means arousing a FEELING of interest inside another person to hold their attention.

Being bored means not interesting (aka no feelings)… and if you think back to times when you were bored, it’s because of the way you were FEELING in that situation… and when you started to become interested in something your FEELINGS changed in that situation.

So the first thing you want to do is make sure you’re interesting by making sure you’re stimulating people’s EMOTIONS when you’re talking to them.

This leads us to our next question:

How do you make your conversations, or whatever you’re talking about, more interesting?

It’s actually ridiculously simple and easy to do.

2) Tell A Story During The Conversation

 

Building on using feelings, and how you can’t have an interesting conversation without them, I’d like to talk about the second piece of the puzzle, which is telling stories (which is the key to keeping someone’s attention and keeping them focused on YOU and interested in what you’re talking about).

Here’s the first rule about stories:

Our brains think in pictures.

For example, if I say the word beach, a picture of a beach forms in your mind, and you can build a story off that by putting people in it, and talking about how they were all swimming together as the waves came crashing down over their heads.

Did you notice how you’re imagining these images almost like you were watching them on television, how the thoughts of a beach create FEELINGS in your body, exactly the same way as when you’re watching something on television, and  that it’s holding your attention, making you FEEL things, passing the time, and keeping you focused on what I’m talking about?

But if I say an abstract word like productivity (a word that doesn’t have a physical equivalent), your brain can’t use its imagination to build pictures… and since your imagination and the pictures you form in your head are what cause the feelings you experience in your body, you can’t hold a person’s attention for very long.

If you can’t build a picture in a person’s head, you can’t make yourself or the other person FEEL anything… and you can’t, by definition, be INTERESTING.

For this reason, when you’re talking to people, you want to use vivid DESCRIPTIVE words that build a picture in the other person’s mind, and always be focused on telling a progressive story that has a theme and is always leading somewhere, creates curiosity, interest and keeps a person focused on what’s happening.

This is the difference between talking at a person, and communicating with them… when you’re communicating with them, you’re building a picture in their mind as you’re telling a story, so that there is a connection between the two of you, and their brain is being entertained (much like watching television) by the story in their head.

In fact, if you watch 99% of television you’ll quickly realized it’s focused on exactly what I just did:

Telling stories to hold attention for HOURS and stimulate emotions… and when you finish the first series of your favorite DVD series, even after 7+ hours, you could literally watch 5 more episodes because it is INTERESTING and holds your attention.

This use of storytelling and emotions is how a television show can hold your attention for HOURS without any hesitation, how it keeps your attention, and how it makes you feel focused and captivated on it (and tune out everything else)… that’s the effect you want to have on people socially with your words.

Another example is sports… all sports do is make people feel emotions to get them involved in the game and hold their attention, and if you can do this when you talk to people, you can make them instantly like you and want to be friends with you.

Using sports and television as examples, you can see the EXACT formula for making friends, and getting people to like you… because both (two of the most popular forms of entertainment ON EARTH) both follow this formula… people are literally ADDICTED to sports and television.

People like a story, drama, a plotline, tension, curiosity, they like something to wonder about, to debate about, argue about; something to focus on and think about that can get a genuine conversation going.

As an example of this social principle, think about Facebook, it’s another perfect example right in front of our eyes of how socializing works:

People post something that has debate or opinion value, and other people respond by posting their thoughts/opinions/feelings on the subject… that’s the core of what socializing, and two-way communication, is all about.

Or if you want a further example look at music; it has two things:

EMOTIONS and a STORYLINE that makes us FEEL a certain way… and it’s the most universally popular part of life throughout the world, and all throughout history.

We relate to the story in the lyrics, and the FEELING that the melody gives us as we’re listening to the song (notice we listen to certain songs when we want to FEEL a certain way).

This is what creates laughter, pleasure, excitement, drama… and this is the key to arousing FEELINGS, and being INTERESTING, which is the key to starting and maintaining a conversation going that really grabs people’s attention and makes them want to be friends with you.

The reason just “starting conversations” alone isn’t enough, is because if you start a conversation, or you just start talking to people, but you’re BORING, and you’re not grabbing people’s emotions while you’re talking to them, you can get their contact information, or try to build relationships all you want, but people are just going to see you as an acquaintance and nothing more, and they’re going to have no real interest in being friends with you, or hanging out with you.

So next time you’re in a conversation, remember that you’ve got a prime opportunity to make a friend… but what you say and do is going to determined where the relationship goes, what happens, and whether the other person is even interested in talking to you at all.

So make sure you keep them interested in whatever you’re talking about by focusing on telling stories, generating feelings by using visuals to create the story when you talk, and letting people know that, like a TV show, you’re interesting and entertaining, can hold their attention for long periods of time, and you’re someone they would FEEL GOOD around by being friends with.

 

Chris Nosal is a social skills expert who learned everything about how to make friends through trial-and-error trying to make friends in the real world, as well as from a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, and used his unique experience of combining textbook education with real-world education to develop revolutionary social strategies that work in any situation and are incredibly simple and easy to learn and use.

If you want to learn more you can visit his website to download his free eBook, and read more free articles and advice, that will show you EVERYTHING you need to know about starting conversations, overcoming shyness and social anxiety, and cover every inch of how to make friends in step-by-step detail.

 

 

  • Guest

    A very interesting article that happens to be a relevant topic in my life right now. Thanks for  this!

  • Huirei

    Your article provides very refreshing insights on being interesting! Thanks! I could apply them to teaching my classes as well.

    • Chris Nosal

       That sounds awesome!

      That could really make a difference in a lot of lives.

      If you want to email me, I’d love to work with you on some ideas free of charge, I’d love it if we could develop a full program on this topic for parents and teachers to use with children or teens to benefit thousands of young lives.

      Let me know :)

  • http://hanofharmony.com/ The Vizier

    Hi Chris,

    Yeah I totally agree with you.  It is easy for someone to tell you to do something but neglect to mention how to do so.  What may seem natural for one might pose endless difficulties for another.  I am glad that you have shared your tips on how to start conversations and make friends.  Many people can benefit from this, myself included.  Here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I read through your tips.  

    Telling stories is indeed a great way to start a conversation.  The stories chosen and told reveal much about yourself and it gives the other person a chance to engage you on a topic.  From there, it is a matter of branching out and finding other common points of interests to share and discuss.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!  :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • Chris Nosal

       Thanks so much… and you’re welcome! :)

      What you said could have literally been my thoughts a couple of months ago

      I don’t like all the “therapy” ideas that success has to be a long,
      hard, difficult battle… and that you have no choice but to miss out on years of your life hoping to achieve a result that is normal and natural for everyone else.

      So I challenged myself to make something more
      powerful than anything else out there, but also effortlessly simple.

      So I decided I was going to take something innovative that had never been created before for other people could benefit and empower themselves with so no one else ever has to struggle like I did.

      But yeah social skills are easy… it’s just a matter of seeing the core mechanics of them that other people unconsciously recognize and learn, but some of use miss… so you learn these patterns, and from there you begin to notice them when you’re watching other people behave, and before you know it you’ve mastered your social skills naturally, and without any effort at all, just like everyone else does naturally.

  • http://www.theemotionmachine.com/ The Emotion Machine

    Showing genuine interest toward the other person is key. People can usually sense when you are bull-shitting them.

    • Chris Nosal

      While I do 1000% believe in being honest and genuine (I mentioned honesty and eithics at least a hundred times in my eBook), and that showing genuine intrest toward someone is key (almost every really popular person I’ve met does that very well), I just finished 4 years of high school and 4 years of college in 2010, and I could introduce you to a lot of men and women who were in relationships for a year or longer that would tell you otherwise, and you’ve not doubt hear this story of “I thought X loved me” countless times, so I’d have to disagree with that just as my personal opinion, which could easily be right or wrong.

    • Chris Nosal

      While I do 1000% believe in being honest and genuine (I mentioned honesty and eithics at least a hundred times in my eBook), and that showing genuine intrest toward someone is key (almost every really popular person I’ve met does that very well), I just finished 4 years of high school and 4 years of college in 2010, and I could introduce you to a lot of men and women who were in relationships for a year or longer that would tell you otherwise, and you’ve not doubt hear this story of “I thought X loved me” countless times, so I’d have to disagree with that just as my personal opinion, which could easily be right or wrong.

  • Clint Cora

    Most people like to talk about themselves, even the shy ones if you can encourage them to open up.  That’s why in initial conversations, I like to ask open ended questions about the person I’m speaking to.  By listening and continuing with further questions about perhaps some of the things that the person might be interested in, I would be demonstrating to the person that I’m genuinely interested in what he or she has to say.  This helps build the connection between people.

    • Chris Nosal

       Hey Clint,

      Yeah! Asking questions is one of the best things to do if with someone who’s shy or not really sure what to talk about, it sort of gives them a “template” to have the conversation on and feel comfortable (I know this one from personal experience)

      I’m also very into learning everything I can about a person, understanding who I’m talking to, and learning about new things from others that I can take with me on my journey through life.

      That connection of “this person really gets me” and that feeling is the entire key to taking people past the acquaintance stage and making real friends.

      • http://www.peppervirtualassistant.com/ Agatha Tefora

        But how can you encourage a person who doesn’t like to talk to have a chat with you?

  • Anonymous

    Congrats on your first blog post with PTB, Chris. Big fan. – Erin

  • http://www.facebook.com/jelena.bozicsb Jelena Božić

    Thanks for the advice! Two years ago I moved to a new city and I was surprised how difficult it is to make new friends. I`ll try your technics this weekend :)

    • Chris Nosal

       email me and let me know how it went!

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    i find that people like to talk about themselves, but i get bored of asking people what work / job they do, as it shouldn’t define them … so i always ask “so, what keeps you busy these days” or “what projects are you working on” it always get them talking… 
    Noch Noch

  • http://getessay.com/ essay help

    interesting post!

  • Guest

    Fascinating article with great insight. 

    However, the power of humor must be remembered when making conversion and making friends. But humor is actually done through the same channels. Its about opinion (in the context of interesting discussion) that brings unexpected but often appropriate comment.

  • http://www.latexmattress.org/ John Talalay

    I used to be more of an introvert, but now find it much more fulfilling to get involved and get to know other people.  Love the pointer about “telling a story”.  Everybody has a story to tell.

  • guest

    Wow- lots of typos. Interesting article, but what does it mean to say that music is ”
     the most universally popular part of life throughout the world, and all throughout history.” I would love to hear what support there is for this strong claim…

    • Chris Nosal

      Find me something more universally common that you could show everyone from a baby to an 80 year old in any country, even an isolated one like North Korea, and find all throughout human history in practically every culture that can be universally enjoyed by all cultures regardless of race, education, language or any of the other physical or knowledge barriers that normally separate us.

      I’m fairly well-read on history, and I’ve never heard of a single culture throughout history that didn’t embrace music of one form or another, even if only in extremely simple forms, it’s a way of connection people around a common unity (their culture), and sharing that connection between themselves with the rest of the world.

  • http://pristineperception.com/ Suzanne

    Very accurate post and if we were to compare people in our lives, the storyteller vs the dry talker, one could easily see how this is much more engaging. The same story told by these 2 different people. People often think they need to change who they are but really it is just adding to who they are,by accepting these strategies. 

  • http://thatstwowords.blogspot.com/ VPZ

    That’s an very useful article that you’ve written Chris. And its gonna help a lot of people. I’ve also beens truggling with making friends and do have a tought time in holding up the conversation. However, when I’m blogging, I use the same tips you have provided, i.e to provide a mental picture to the readers so it engages their mind to the article and helps them visually see the picture im painting. However, when it comes to real life, that’s where I am more socially challenged. TBH im living a mundane life and I feel if you want to tella story you need to be having a life where its worth telling a story. For me, other than my job I got nothing else going on and that’s the most I can talk about myself. Even meeting women is hard cause of the fear of making them bored or being a boring person that they not gonna give you a second chance to make an impression for you. So all I got in my rabbit hat is to try and learn about the world but thats like looking for everything and finding nothing about yourself. Your articles deos give a start to making an effort to socializing but I still think that I need to find more answers to help me and others liek me the key to social bonding. Thanks again Chris. Cheers!!

  • http://thatstwowords.blogspot.com/ VPZ

    That’s an very useful article that you’ve written Chris. And its gonna help a lot of people. I’ve also beens truggling with making friends and do have a tought time in holding up the conversation. However, when I’m blogging, I use the same tips you have provided, i.e to provide a mental picture to the readers so it engages their mind to the article and helps them visually see the picture im painting. However, when it comes to real life, that’s where I am more socially challenged. TBH im living a mundane life and I feel if you want to tella story you need to be having a life where its worth telling a story. For me, other than my job I got nothing else going on and that’s the most I can talk about myself. Even meeting women is hard cause of the fear of making them bored or being a boring person that they not gonna give you a second chance to make an impression for you. So all I got in my rabbit hat is to try and learn about the world but thats like looking for everything and finding nothing about yourself. Your articles deos give a start to making an effort to socializing but I still think that I need to find more answers to help me and others liek me the key to social bonding. Thanks again Chris. Cheers!!

  • Diesel

    I guess it depends on what kind of friends you want to make…

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julia-Stella/100003607382435 Julia Stella

    It’s really important to be able to keep a conversation going… this is what helps me http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.ca/2012/02/how-to-keep-conversation-going.html

  • Pramiti Umigar

    I need this article to go from the least popular girl to most popular girl. Plz be more specific.

  • Erik Wagenaar

    Yo Chris, thanks for this insightful article and interesting ebooks :D It’s been a great help for me finding my true self back! I will do my part to spread the love :D Thanks again mate!