You can be out at a party, a networking event, or stuck in the jury duty waiting room and you will likely find that one person who walks in and somehow becomes best friends with every person they talk to. It’s no secret that making friends as an adult can be tough. But for some people, making new friends just seems to come naturally. So what are they doing differently than everyone else?
As licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Melissa Robinson-Brown tells HelloGiggles, individuals who make friends easily likely engage in the following behaviors more often than most: they take risks, they engage in a variety of social activities, and they’re not afraid to be vulnerable.
“Women often state that trying to trust a new female friend can be very risky and scary, and they would rather not take that risk for fear of being hurt,” Dr. Robinson-Brown says. “However, women who make more friends take more risks. That means they put themselves out there more, expose themselves to more people, and are able to put their guard down.”
Being bold and putting yourself out there are easier to do if you’re more social and extroverted, but if you’re not, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of loneliness. According to experts, here are some habits of people who make friends easily — and how you can adopt them.
1 They keep their inner dialogue positive.
People who make friends easily are usually confident and communicative, licensed marriage and family therapist Kati Morton tells HelloGiggles. They know what they want, what’s important to them, and how to ask for it.
“In order to become a person like this, we really need to start noticing how we speak to ourselves first,” Morton says. For instance, is your self-talk positive? Are you nice to yourself on a daily basis, or do you tend to get critical? If it’s the latter, you may need to acknowledge it and make adjustments.
Because, as Morton says, in order to be a friend to someone else, you need to be a friend to yourself first. “When you notice yourself talking badly about who you are or what you are doing, argue back in a positive way,” she explained. “I know this may all sound a bit crazy, but we all have an inner dialogue and if we make sure it’s positive, it can change our lives!”
2 They stay in the moment.
“Instead of texting or Instagramming, people who make friends easily are present, no matter where they are,” entrepreneur Nicole Rosé tells HelloGiggles. “They listen to signs pointing them in the direction of new friends and relationships.”
When you’re out by yourself, the easy thing to do is to pull out your phone and text, play a game, or go on social media. It’s understandably a lot less awkward than watching the people who pass you by. But in doing so, you end up missing out on the possible friendship opportunities around you. That’s why people who make friends easily make it a point to minimize screen time and live in the present.
3 They talk to new people as if they were already good friends.
“Having friends is as much about being perceived as a friend than actually being one,” Julian Ilson, founder and CEO of friendship app We3, tells HelloGiggles. There’s no better way to be “perceived as a friend” than to speak and treat new people as if they were already your friend. People who make friends easily have the ability to make new people feel at ease through the way they talk to them.
4 They’re naturally curious about other people and aren’t afraid to ask questions.
The people who seem to make friends easily tend to be naturally curious, empowerment speaker and author Suzanne Brown tells us. It’s easy for them to ask questions, and they actively look for things they may have in common.
“The questions they ask seem to have a natural flow,” Brown says. “It’s not an inquisition, but it’s a genuine interest in the next piece of information or story. They can see how one area relates to another and can keep the conversation going, naturally digging deeper and keeping those around them engaged.”
5 They try new things by themselves.
People who make new friends easily are not afraid to step outside of their comfort zone, says Nicole Sbordone, author of Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. They’re open-minded, and they don’t mind going at it alone.
“To make new friends as an adult, it’s important to be willing to try new things,” Sbordone says. “If what you’re doing isn’t working, you have to figure out what else to try. For instance, if you like hiking, join a hiking group or club. You can even consider getting an app to help you find new friends.”
6 They smile first — and often.
People who smile a lot just seem more warm and inviting to others. That’s why Paige Arnof-Fenn, entrepreneur and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, says people who smile and say hello first often make friends much more easily than everyone else.
“It doesn’t take much to signal that you would be a good person to talk to,” she tells us. “Sometimes, all it takes is starting a simple conversation in order to get to know someone and begin a friendship.”
7 They practice self-care.
“As a self-care coach, I’ve noticed that people who tend to make friends easily are those who take care of their own personal needs first,” coach Carley Schweet tells HelloGiggles. “By making sure they’ve given themselves some attention and love, they have more love and compassion to spread around to everyone they meet.”
When you truly love yourself first, you’re better able to make genuine connections with people who will love and appreciate you for you.
8 They actually set the intention to make new friends.
“If someone puts intention into their day-to-day that they want to make friends and/or connections, then they will,” Kailee Place, licensed professional counselor, explains.
It may seem obvious, but people who make friends easily actually make it a point to do so. For example, signing up for a ceramics class is a great way to meet new people and possibly make friends. But if you want to take the class with no intention of meeting people, you may not make the effort to talk to people. You may be cordial and friendly enough, but the tendency is to shut yourself off and not actively participate in the conversations going on around you.
“It all comes down to being intentional,” Place says. “If you do want to make friends, then you will open that door to possible connections and friendships.”
You don’t have to be a certain “type” of person to make friends easily. Anyone can do it. If you can incorporate any of these habits into your daily routine, you might find that making new friends comes easily to you too.