Callie at Through Clouded Glass has started a blog series on ‘Friendship‘. My friends (online and ‘IRL’) often joke that I seem to apparently ‘know everyone’ (I really don’t), but I guess it’s because I love networking and building relationships with people. So I love the idea of this blog series, and couldn’t help but join in!
I’ve never really had a problem with starting friendships. Even as a teeny bopper I made friends with kids wherever I went! It didn’t matter to me who they were or where they came from, I would find a way to try and communicate and hang out with them.
Part of that for me is that I’m an extravert and I’m also a bit shy. A lot of people don’t get that because they associate shyness with introversion or quietness and I am anything but quiet! But if there’s a social situation I’m unfamiliar with, I am FREAKING OUT on the inside. I get very intimidated walking into a room on my own – even if I know the people in it. If someone speaks to me I don’t know how to respond and I’ll either run away as quickly as possible or verbal diarrhoea will set in.
So I like to have lots of friends so I don’t have to enter large group social situations alone.
I guess my one tip for starting friendships is that you shouldn’t judge people. Some of my best friends are not people that I would have naturally associated myself with and we are very different people. In our interests, in our politics, in our beliefs, in our personalities, in our life stages. The trick is to find some kind of common ground in which to have a shared interest in and work from there.
My second tip is having patience. Building a new friendship takes time, and it’s highly unlikely you’re going to be best buds straight away. It takes time to build that trust and knowledge of each other. There’s not really a way of rushing through that.
My third tip is ask question – show interest in them. It can be very easy to assume that someone knows something about you that is common knowledge. So if they talk to you about something and you’re confused – just ask! Walking on eggshells will likely only make you feel awkward, and also could end up with you putting your foot in it at some point without realising. Respect each other if one of you asks a question you don’t feel comfortable answering – and also don’t be afraid to say you’re uncomfortable if you are. Honesty really is a good basis for any relationship. It’s what trust & respect are built on.
What are your tips for starting friendships?