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.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.