In my last post I said I was going to address a common negative thought: You know, the one where you tell yourself nobody at school or work (or anywhere) likes you? Maybe you walk into the office in the morning and nobody smiles. Maybe you don’t have anyone to sit by in the dining hall at school. It doesn’t have to stay that way.
The simplest–and most effective–trick that I’ve learned in making friends has been to act a little more confident. Smile. Pretend you feel good about yourself, even if you don’t right away. Once you start pretending, you start feeling it, too. When a negative thought goes through your head that people don’t want to talk to you, remind yourself that you’re a wonderful person with some pretty darn good things to say. If you don’t like the way you look and that’s what’s making you feel uncomfortable, go out and find some clothes you like for goodness sakes! I don’t care what you look like–there are clothes out there that will look amazing on you as long as you just try on a few things (Ask a fashion-savvy friend or family member to help you if you’re unsure). The biggest thing is to find things that make you feel comfortable, too.
Don’t be afraid to approach people and start up a conversation. Write up a list of conversation starters if you need to, like asking people what their thoughts are on the latest news headlines, what they’re looking most forward to doing next weekend, or what the best thing was that they ate for Thanksgiving dinner. The big thing is to UPCYCLE any of the negative thoughts that might start running through your mind. When you start to think something like, “They’re not smiling because they don’t like me,” upcycle your thoughts to something like, “They might have just had a bad morning” or “I don’t know them that well so I have no idea what they’re thinking.” Give yourself and the other person a chance to get to know one another other a little bit. People don’t often become best friends overnight.
If you find you’re still having trouble connecting with people, don’t sweat it. Some people just aren’t very nice or don’t have much in common with you. The big thing is to remember that you DESERVE to be treated well. No matter what anyone else says or does, you owe it to yourself to stay confident and try your best to have a positive attitude. If you really are having a tough time connecting with certain people at work or school, don’t give up because there are probably other people there that you haven’t had the chance to visit with very much yet. However, don’t limit your friend-finding to just work or school. The key is to get involved in things: Volunteer at your church, take some yoga classes at your local gym, or join a community organization. Find groups related to what you’re really interested in, and I bet it will only be a matter of time until you find some worthwhile people to spend your time with!
Now, my question for you: What are your tips for making new friends?
- Upcycle You: The New Life with Cheeseburgers! (upcycleyou.com)
- Upcycle Project: Make Over Your Thoughts (upcycleyou.com)
- How I’m applying “Upcycle” principles in my own life (upcycleyou.com)