I’m Paul Sanders, and I’ve spent the last several years figuring out how to be more successful in friendships and socially… and helping other people do the same.
In this article, I’ll share the 7 most dangerous mistakes when it comes to making new friends and improving your social life.
I recommend you really study these mistakes, because most people make them and don’t even realize it.
Let’s get started…
Have you ever noticed that people who are the most unhappy and lonely keep telling themselves that they don’t need friends, or that they are “better off” without them?
Of course you have.
Just like me, I’m sure you’ve been in a position where you thought that you don’t need more friends. And YET, you felt very lonely and unhappy.
What’s going on here? If we desperately want more friends, why do we keep telling ourselves that we don’t need them?
It’s actually very simple.
People often have bad experience with friends and family in the past and base everything on that. This leads them to believe that if they go out and try to meet new people, they’ll regret it in some way.
To avoid recognizing that we are afraid of being hurt, we come up with “reasons why” we don’t need more friends.
The first step is to be honest with yourself about how you NEED more friends in your life.
This frees you up from all tension and frustration.
Mistake #2: Not Understanding Loneliness and Shyness
What do most people do when they want to meet people but feel too shy and vulnerable to make it happen?
Right! They chicken out and HIDE at home.
Well, I gotta tell you something: loneliness and shyness make you FEEL certain feelings that are very EASY to misunderstand.
Loneliness makes you think (and feel) that it’s a bad idea to go hang out with people. And shyness makes you think that you’re going to be CRITICIZED and EMBARRASSED if you go meet people.
Wait, if that’s how you FEEL, maybe it’s the truth, right?
It’s actually a GOOD idea to be with people and have all kinds of fun experiences with them. And you’re more subject to criticism if you ISOLATE yourself from people. Here is why:
When people see that you always hang out by yourself, they don’t just assume that you’re shy. Instead, they think that YOU DON’T LIKE THEM.
They feel rejected and start to think of reasons why they don’t like YOU. And that’s why the isolated people get even more isolated, over time.
Just because you “feel” that you will be criticized, doesn’t make it true.
You ARE safe around people and you WON’T be criticized.
Mistake #3: Sabotaging Your Basic Conversation Skills
In order to look interesting and cool to the people we just meet, we try to only do and say things that are perfect.
Another HORRIBLE idea.
This mistake makes us put a pressure on ourselves that destroys our ability to talk freely and have fun when we interact with people.
Relax, I’m not saying that you should act stupidly with people you just meet.
But if you think that you need to be extremely careful about what you say and do around new people, think again.
It actually backfires. By putting that pressure on yourself, you start to “filter” everything you want to say. As if it has to be “perfect” before you say it.
The truth is, you will never be a perfect person. No one of us will ever be. So, let’s just relax and be real.
Not only is it FREEING for you, people will LOVE (not just like) it, they will love being around you if you are ready to say whatever comes up in your mind.
Just by stopping that pressure, you’ll have more THINGS TO TALK ABOUT than 90% of people who continue to try to sound “perfect”.
Mistake #4: Not Showing Interest In Other People
This is another way we RUIN any chances of meeting interesting people.
We often think that to impress people, we need to tell them good and cool things about ourselves.
And you know what? It DOESN’T work.
There are too many people doing that already. People are sick of guys and girls who are so OBSESSED with their own stuff that they never take the time to really listen to anyone.
In brief, people rarely meet anyone who can get interested in THEM. Everyone is always talking about himself or herself and trying to prove that they’re cool and smart.
The only way to make a person like you is to try and find what YOU can like about THEM.
When you meet a new person, put EVERYTHING aside, and find out what is GOOD about him or her.
If you do just that, again, you will make friends easier and better than 90% of people.
Mistake #5: Making Awkward Mistakes That Weird People Out
How many times have you said or did something in front of people that seemed completely okay to you… but people got silent and weirded out by it?
If you’re like me, then you’ve had it happen A LOT.
And that’s another reason why people GIVE UP on trying to make new friends.
After a horrible experience like that, they no longer want to show their face to these people. And they stop trying to make new friends.
If this happened to you, then IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
Not entirely, at least.
If you spent an extended period alone or isolated, if you have parents or friends that aren’t very social, then it’s completely NATURAL to pick those “socially awkward habits”.
In fact, in my book, I share a list of 44 socially awkward mistakes you need to avoid at all cost, when meeting new people. That way, you won’t fall into that situation and get discouraged.
Mistake #6: Having Absolutely No Idea How To Make Friends
One of the most common mistakes that people make is giving up before they’ve started, because they think that friendship is something that happens on its own or takes too much time or too much money and that they need to go out all the time; or that friendship is a skill that you can’t just “learn”.
These are valid points. It’s normal to think that way…
But it’s far from being true.
You don’t have to change your life upside-down to make new friends. You just need to take advantage of any opportunity that is ALREADY part of your life. Here are a few examples:
Think of the places you regularly go to, that HAVE people in them; that’s exactly WHERE you can start meeting friends.
Now, think of something you absolutely LOVE to do or talk about. Chances are, many people are interested in the same thing. These are the people that want to hang out with you the MOST.
Use what I told you about getting interested in other people. That’s the EASIEST way to have a conversation. People just love to talk about what’s going on in their lives.
Think of the friends that you can meet through the people you already know – that’s the FASTEST way to make new friends.
And so on.
Most importantly, learn from people who can make friends easily. Watch how they socialize, how they make friends. That’s the best education you can give to yourself.
If you do what the socially successful people do, you’ll get the same social success yourself.
Mistake #7: Not Getting Help
This is the biggest mistake of all.
This is what keeps people from ever having the friends with whom they can have the fun and the amazing experiences they truly want.
I know, it’s not an easy issue to face. Not having friends, or being too afraid to meet people is a bit embarrassing, even with yourself.
Hey, I’ve been there…
About seven years ago, I became fed up with the fact that I didn’t know how to overcome my shyness and hesitation, go out and meet people, make friends with them and keep them in my life.
I was completely frustrated and felt like a loser. I was just sick of the boring and lonely life I was living.
Then, it got to me. I’ve learned other things by reading books, why can’t I do the same and LEARN how to overcome shyness and make friends?
Well, after a lot of hard work and trying all kinds of weird techniques and principles, I finally figured it all out.
I can now move to any new city and make all the friends I have time for. I made friends with famous people, I spent time with incredibly interesting and cool people, and I’ve made friends with normal people like you and me.
If you want to learn from my mistakes, be sure to subscribe to my Free Social Skills Newsletter.