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How To Make Friends: Part 7 – Planting Seeds


So yesterday, we talked about why, what and how to step back from empty and toxic relationships so you can start making room for the great ones.

We talked about how to pull weeds. 🌱

(If you missed that, or want to catch up with all or part of this ~10-part series on friendship, click here to revisit part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6)

Today, I want to get started on a simple framework ANYONE can use to meet and make new friends quickly and easily.

Let’s talk about planting new seeds. 🌷

The framework has 4 simple parts:

  1. Who – Who are they?
  2. Where – Where do they hang out?
  3. What – What’s the best way to make friends? and
  4. You – Would you choose to be friends with you?

Ready to get to it? Alright, awesome.

We’ve got a ton of content to get through (hopefully I can fit it all in this update) so let’s just roll up our sleeves and dive in…

1. Who are they?

The first step in making new friends is to work out what new friends you need.

The good news? If you followed parts 4, 5 and 6 of this series then you’ve already done most of the work. But there’s always room for improvement.

So here’s what you need to do next…

First, grab some paper (or open a new digital note) and set a timer for 15 minutes.

Second, take a look at your final table of current friends vs. ideal traits (see part 5) and copy any traits that aren’t well represented (plus any “must-have” core traits) to the top of your new page.

Finally, use those traits as a starting point to paint the portrait of an ideal friend.

The more detail the better:

  • What’s their name?
  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they?
  • What marital status?
  • How many kids do they have?
  • Where do they live?
  • How much do they earn?
  • How educated are they?
  • What are their goals right now?
  • What are their values?
  • What do they look like?
  • How do they dress?
  • etc…

Don’t stop just because I’ve run out of questions. Keep going until you run out of time. Paint as clear a portrait of your ideal buddy as possible. Repeat the process as many times as you need if you need more than one kind of new friend.

This might feel silly but it’s an incredibly valuable exercise. It’s kinda like holding a clue up to the nose of a bloodhound. Except the clue is the portrait your painting and the bloodhound is your brain.

Will you ever meet this exact person in real life? Possibly not.

But will you be much more likely to quickly spot someone who’s 80% of the way there once you know what you’re looking for? You betcha.

And it’s also going to help you work out…

2. Where do they hang out?

Making friends is a numbers game. And the best way to stack the odds in your favour isn’t just to play the game hundreds of times. It’s to use loaded dice.

What’s the best way to do that? The answer is to spend LOTS of time hanging out in places where you can meet LOTS of people who are just like your ideal friend.

To do so, take a look at the portrait you painted in the previous step and ask:

  • What kind of events does this person go to?
  • What communities do they participate in?
  • What charities do they volunteer for?
  • What clubs or societies are they part of?
  • What sports are they playing?
  • What training programmes are they joining?
  • What hobbies do they enjoy?
  • What schools do they (or their kids) go to?
  • What companies do they work for etc…?
  • Where is your ideal friend hanging out?

Got a clear picture? Alright, super.

Now go hang out in those places too.

Wanna know where my culture loving mama met her dashing, art-critic, sommelier partner? At a super niche classical music recital. Not a dating website or bar.

Wanna know where I met my travel-loving, digital nomad, fiancée and best friend? At a salsa class in Medellin in Colombia. Not London or Tinder.

Wanna know where I met all my other close friends? In places or doing activities, face-to-face, with built in icebreakers or some kind of need to use team work.

What’s the moral? If you want to meet interesting people, go and do interesting things. If you want to max out the odds of meeting your ideal friend, go hang out in the same places and do the same things as they do.

Don’t sit at home expecting friendship to fall in your lap. Don’t hang out in spots choked with weeds, where the only common denominator is loneliness.

Get the WHO right, then the WHERE

THEN start worrying about…

3. What’s the best way to make friends?

For the best guide I know on how to get people to like you, there’s no better primer than Dale Carnegie’s wonderful How To Win Friends And Influence People.

Along with Brian Tracy’s Goals!, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich and Erich Fromm’s Art of Loving, it’s one of a handful of books that unequivocally transformed my life.

Go read my summary. Hang out in the right kinds of places. Be excited to meet people. Remember names. Ask lots of questions. Make others feel great. Be a great conversationalist. Become a better listener.

And as you master those skills, have the courage to be slightly picky.

It took me a long time to realise that there’s nobody in my core, nor has anyone ever lasted there very long, who I didn’t feel some kind of instant connection with.

It’s a fact. The first 1 – 3 minutes of meeting a new person are everything. If it isn’t a “Hell, yes!” from both of you, right away, then you might have fun, grow your network or enjoy an interesting conversation, but you probably won’t make a new friend.

And you know what? That’s OK.

As you spend more and more time in the right places with the right people, you’ll realise that friendship isn’t as scarce as you think it is. You’ll recognise there’s a big difference between getting on with someone and being friends with them. You’ll understand that the number of people you could be friends is much bigger than the number you should be.

And the secret to meeting the latter? Be patient. Be picky. Trust your gut.

Don’t fight uphill battles. Don’t jam square folks into round expectations. Don’t waste effort trying to turn weeds into flowers.

Remember part 6 of this series. Hold space for roses instead.

Wait for that magic “Hell, yes!

Then use the time, space and energy you’ve just saved yourself to ask…

4. Would you choose to be friends with you?

If you’re looking for the right people, in the right places, in the right ways and you’re STILL struggling to make a connection, then there’s a good chance the problem isn’t with these steps… there’s a good chance the problem’s with you.

Because here’s the thing about the person you painted a portrait of in part 1 of this framework… that person wants to have great friends too.

They’re busy, they’re picky, they’re not suffering from low self-esteem…

Which is why the final secret to making new friends is to put yourself in the shoes of your imaginary, ideal friend and ask yourself, honestly:

“Would you choose to be friends with you?”

Don’t worry if the answer is no. Just repeat everything we’ve talked about in the last handful of updates, but do so from that person’s perspective. Ask:

  • Who is this person probably friends with already?
  • What kind of friends are they looking for?
  • Why aren’t I that kind of person already? and
  • How can I close out the gap?

Then start taking action.

Be unto others as you would have them be unto you.

Become the kind of person you’d be excited to be friends with.

Make becoming a great friend a priority and you’ll fly through the last part of this framework, you’ll be a happier, healthier, more inspiring kind of person and you’ll have mastered the final secret to the art of finding and making new friends…

Alright, that’s all for today! I am literally out of time.

Run through the 4 parts of this framework, share your insights, leave a comment and let me how those steps make you feel.

Then look out for my next update next Wednesday (we’re away until Tuesday next week) where I’ll show you how to help your new seeds become healthy shoots,

And until next time, be happy, be awesome and go well.

Keep Reading Part 8 →

Arthur Worsley
Arthur Worsley
Arthur is a thinker and writer who helps people who want more from their lives learn to be more productive, find more balance and live life more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →

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