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This is how you can make friends instantly—wherever you may be

The article is written by Pamela Choo

Making friends can be a hard task for some, especially when you’re in a foreign country. You’re focused on settling in and getting used to the new environment that socialising may not be your first priority. However, making good friends in a new place that you’ll be living in for a while can be pretty vital. It can make your experience living abroad a more positive and memorable one. So here are some tips on how to instantly make friends.

Study Anywhere_Benice

Be nice

Yes, just be nice. I’m not saying go ahead and be a pushover, but simply be a nice person when you encounter a new human being. Say hi, or compliment them on something you noticed. When you set the intention to be a nice person, you’ll naturally be a magnet to other people.

Study Anywhere_Smile

Smile. And do it often.

This, I find, is simple yet really effective. If you’re not the smiling type, I suggest trying to practice smiling more often. When you’re at a social event and you meet new people, start with a smile. You’ll find that most times people will smile back and feel more at ease around you. This could also lead to an engaging conversation—you never know! But a smile can be all it takes to make a new friend.

Study Anywhere_Be genuine

Be genuine

All these tips won’t really make a difference if you don’t appear genuine. In anything that you do, let your words and actions come from a real place. If you’re going to compliment someone, mean it. If you’re asking someone, ‘how are you?’ genuinely take the time to be interested. Make eye contact with the other person. If you’re looking to make new friends, it’s important to be open to random encounters and to be truly present in them.

Study Anywhere_Be helpful

Be helpful

If you see someone who is lost around campus or if someone appears to be ill, take the initiative to help him or her out. It doesn’t have to be a big move. The first step can be asking if he or she needs help with anything. It can be difficult for a person to ask for help, especially if it’s with someone he or she doesn’t know too well. So let them know it’s no trouble and that you’re willing to help!

Study Anywhere_Be lighthearted

Be lighthearted—don’t take yourself too seriously

In the initial stages of getting to know someone new, it can be good to keep things light and to even have some silliness or jokes in the conversation. When you appear lighthearted, it will help the other person to feel more comfortable around you. We all want to be around people who are positive and easy to be around.

Study Anywhere_Skip the small talk

Skip the small talk

At the same time, though, your conversations with someone new doesn’t necessarily have to be revolved around small talk about the weather or how your day went. If you feel comfortable enough, sometimes skipping the small talk can enable you to make new, and possibly more lasting, friends. You can ask them about their backgrounds, their interests and hobbies. You might find that the other person is willing to share simply because you asked.

Study Anywhere_Listen

Listen

With that, it brings us to the next and final tip, which is the importance of being a good listener. Most of my closest friends are amazing listeners, and I think this is a quality that you can’t find in just anyone. Everyone likes to be heard. And it’s easy to tell when someone isn’t really listening (we’re all guilty of that, am I right?). So being more conscious of listening whenever you’re speaking to a new acquaintance can attract new friendships into your life.

 

If following all these tips seems a bit daunting, just go with the flow when you meet someone new. The most important thing of all is to be yourself. The kind of person you are attracts the kind of people you become friends with, so just be you. You’ll meet the right people in due time and you might just surprise yourself with the new friendships that you make in a foreign place. They may just be your ‘home’ away from home.

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