4 Steps to Making New Friends

Updated on April 1, 2018
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Chris has spent his adult professional life as a healthcare worker and in Christian ministry observing human socialization.

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How to Be a Better Person and Make New Friends

The four communication principles I want to share in this article apply to any setting where two or more people meet, work or socialize together on a regular basis. These fours principles will make you a better person and will cause other people—potential new friends—to be attracted to you.

  1. Avoid gossiping
  2. Listen more
  3. Talk less
  4. Give words of praise

I have been a traveling healthcare worker for five years. I go from state to state, hospital to hospital for contracts that run from thirteen weeks to one year. This lifestyle gives me the opportunity to observe human behavior, in a variety of situations, at its best and worst.

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Avoid Gossiping

The best workplaces I've been in have strong, mature leaders who are fair to everyone. The worst are those with weak leaders who participate in the daily gossip about others in the department. Gossip is like a drug that gives practicers an emotional high. They feel superior, powerful, and justified.

I worked in one facility that was having morale problems. The supervisor asked me how he could make the department better. Without hesitation, I mentioned his practice of talking about people when they weren’t present. It was a bombshell at first, but he took the advice well, and I could see how he made the effort to curb this very bad habit.

Here are three ways gossip destroys social groups:

  • Gossip creates cliques. Every member of a gossip circle is a member of multiple gossip circles that prey on others and each other.
  • Gossip creates distrust. We all understand this simple fact; If they talk about others to you, they will talk about you to others.
  • Gossip reinforces negative feelings and creates a negative atmosphere. Gossip turns people within a group against each other. It separates those who gossip from those they gossip about, which is everyone, including the other gossipers.
  • You get a reputation as a gossip among other gossips. But you also gain a reputation as a gossip among those with enough self-respect and respect for others not to participate. Which group do you want to be associated with?

How does not gossiping make you a better person? Good people build others up and encourage them. Gossipers are the demolition crew in any social setting. By not participating in gossip, you have taken the first step to building people up. You are already a better person.

How does not gossiping help me make new friends? By not gossiping you have proven yourself to be someone others can trust. They will gravitate toward you rather than the negative crowd.

About Gossipers

“They have the unique ability to listen to one story and understand another.” Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

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Listen More

To hear is the passive form of auditory processing. To listen is the active form. If you merely hear, you will neither care nor recall. Remember the Charlie Brown cartoons in which Charlie Brown is hearing his teacher talk? That’s pretty much what we hear when we aren’t actively listening.

Charlie Brown and His Teacher

Active Listening

Active listening involves asking clarifying questions and/or restating in your own words what you heard the person say. This is a simple tool that communicates to the speaker you are accurately processing their words.

Example:

Friend: “I hate when my husband falls asleep on the couch and doesn’t come to bed until 3:00AM.”

You: “So you’re offended when your husband doesn’t go to bed when you do?”

If you have missed their meaning, this gives them the opportunity to explain further.

About Listening

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

“Listening is about being present, not just about being quiet.” Krista Tippet

Talking Too Much
Talking Too Much | Source

Talk Less

You might prefer the term garrulousness or possibly narcissistic conversation. But the problem is the same. This person talks too much. Is it you? These are individuals whom others avoid at all costs.

We all enjoy talking about ourselves, our families, our plans for the future, our new car, our new grandchild, and on and on. It’s easy to become extreme and obnoxious on this point. If you want to be different from nearly everyone around you, try closing your mouth and listening to the constant noise of two-way monologues going on around you. It is eye opening—and mouth closing.

Here is a conversational tactic that is familiar because we’ve had it used on us. Most likely, though, we’ve used it as well. Rather than listening, we are planning our next spellbinding addition to the conversation.

The most self-centered example of this behavior is when someone tells another person about some bad news they’ve received. It might be about a cancer diagnosis or a death in the family. The hearer responds, not with sympathy and caring words but with their own story about a similar situation. Are they trying to be sympathetic by expressing how they too have been in such a place, or are they playing a game called, can you top this?

The garrulous person is like a child who shoves another child out of line at the drinking fountain and takes their place. These loquacious people verbally shove others aside and steal their place in the conversation.

This is a key place to show others you are different. Hear, listen and participate in the conversation the other person desires to hold.

About Talking Too Much

“It was impossible to get a conversation going. Everybody was talking too much.” Yogi Berra

Complimenting Others

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Praise

We can also refer to this as giving credit where credit is due. Whenever I do this, the person I’ve spoken to pauses for a brief instant and looks at me. The compliment catches them completely off guard.

When someone says you have done a good job, you like the feeling it gives you. It shouldn’t be surprising to discover that others feel the same way. If someone does something well, tell them so.

Offering praise—

  • Creates a positive atmosphere: Praise is a way of fighting back at the negativity of gossip.

  • Creates trust. If someone says you did a good job raising your children, you will have a new level of trust and respect for that person.

  • Will give you a reputation as an encouraging person, which beats having people run when they see you coming.

About Complimenting Others

“We are prepared for insults, but compliments leave us baffled.” Mason Cooley

“ You can always tell when someone deserves the praise and recognition they receive, because it humbles them rather than inflating their ego.” Ashly Lorenzana

Attracting New Friends

Source

Being a Magnet for Like-minded People

If you want to be a better person and attract new friends, try these four principles of communication. They will set you apart from the majority of people in any social situation. You will become a magnet for like-minded people.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Chris Mills

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      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        5 months ago from The Caribbean

        Good tips. Great explanations especially in the listening section; but they're all good.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Frank, it is good to see you. Fall? Absolutely we fall, and yes, you are right, we get up again, quieter, but more determined than ever to live differently.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Manatita, As I travel, I mostly find workplaces that are devastated by the effects of loose tongues. So I write to those, like myself, who are willing to be different. I'm going to work on another poem. It will likely be titled, The Tongue is a Fire. But I want it to be mostly positive. We will see. Peace to you and all my friends here on HP.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Venkatachari M, We read in the Bible that the tongue is a fire, capable of great harm. But it can also be an instrument of all that is good, positive and beautiful. I would be interested in hearing what you have to say on this topic since you come from such different world than I do regarding religion and culture. Are the issues the same? Thanks for visiting and reading my hub.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Komal, thanks for following and for reading this hub. Welcome to HubPages. Anyone you see commenting on my hubs would be a good place to start as you build a community around you.

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 

        5 months ago from Shelton

        Very sound suggestions... I'm listening... :) Just remember when we fall we just rise again.. but quieter.. right? what a wonderful hub my friend

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        5 months ago from london

        "You will become a magnet for like-minded people." So true. It is sad though, that some will remain the same ... that we can only serve those who are receptive to our ideas. Many aren't and I'm happy if you find the workplace which is better than most.

        A most wonderful and necessary Hub

      • Venkatachari M profile image

        Venkatachari M 

        5 months ago from Hyderabad, India

        Very inspiring article. Gossiping is the worst habit that people all around the world cultivated. When a person can come out from that bad habit he will succeed in his life and be a role model for others.

        You have pointed out very aptly the four things needed to be practiced by people for success in their life. Thanks for this nice message.

      • komal karnani profile image

        komal karnani 

        5 months ago from India

        Attracting new friends seems no tough job in digital era. But sticking to them trusting them is.

        Your tips are great for a long term friendship.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Threekeys, Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I think gossipers are looking for something to entertain them, so they create elaborate stories that are only loosely based on fact. Maybe they should take up writing fiction. They have enough practice already. Yep, two ears, one mouth.

      • profile image

        threekeys 

        5 months ago

        Hello Chris.

        Your content is well needed to be heeded.

        I don't listen to gossipers. In fact, the gossiper is the troublemaker in the making. Why are they needing to speak badly about someone in the first place? And more often than not the game of Chinese whispers has taken place and this means the information its highly likley to be out of context.

        There is this old saying. We were born with one mouth and two ears. In other words, we were meant to listen more than speak. You made a great point about that, Chris. Cheers.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        John, I was doing some research with Google Adwords and Google search engine. I found two topics that have 10k-100k searches per month but have relatively few articles written on the topics. So I combined those topics in this article and titled it to attract those searches. A grand experiment. I appreciate the visit and comment.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        5 months ago from Queensland Australia

        You offer very good advice here, Chris. Gossips are best avoided, and being a 'present' listener is very important. good job.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Louise, They are everywhere, and they kill morale wherever they go. I've begun to speak up from time to time. People are embarrassed and admit it is very poor behavior. Thank you for reading the article and for your comment.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        5 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Eric, in these kinds of situations, with certain people, there is no winning. If you had been able to answer with a simple yes or no, then the gossip would have been that you were hiding something. We must leave these dear folks to themselves. Thanks for reading.

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        5 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Yes I agree, gossiping is never good. I don't like gossipers at all. 9 times out of 10 the gossiping is all taken out of context.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        A truly helpful "How To" hub. I just happen to work on all of them. Progress and not perfection. Here is the fun one; Someone asks you a question looking for a yes or no answer, to which there is none. You explain and they "listen" for ten seconds. Then they gossip that you talk to much.Life is full of such challenges.

      working

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