How to Make Friends and Build Meaningful Relationships

how to make friends

The quality of our friendships and relationships are closely tied to our quality of life. In fact, these are probably the most important keys, apart from our health, to our overall happiness. It follows that understanding how to make friends and build relationships are essential skills in life.

I’ve written this guide based on my own journey in life. Indeed, it took me years to fully appreciate how important meaningful connections have been to my overall well-being and a sense of fulfillment. Many times, I overlooked the significance of these connections, focusing on external achievements or material acquisitions.

As time passed, I have realized that the moments shared, the laughter echoed, and the support exchanged in my friendships and relationships are what truly have given depth to my life. It’s my hope that my insights will help others, such as you, on the path to authentic and rewarding connections.

How to Make Friends and Build Relationships

The following are seven keys to making any relationship more fulfilling, whether it’s romantic, friendship, acquaintances, or even someone you meet just one time:

1. Always focus on building a connection with people

A connection is based on sharing of an emotional experience with another person. This means when you’re talking to someone, you share stories about your life, you ask them about theirs.

Discover shared interests and passions, which can be pursued together to strengthen your bond. Discuss your life goals and explore ways to collaboratively support each other in achieving them. Such joint efforts can lead to cherished memories and accomplishments.

2. Remember that we’re all the same, yet very different

Every person we encounter possesses their own distinct background and experiences. While each individual is unique, the art of building friendships often revolves around discovering shared interests or commonalities.

It’s about peeling back the layers to truly understand someone’s journey and the lessons they’ve derived from their experiences. By connecting with others on this deeper level, not only do we enrich our own lives by learning from their stories, but we also acquire wisdom that we can, in turn, share to uplift and benefit those around us.

3. Remember that you have something special to offer

Just like we absorb lessons from others, you also possess a wealth of unique experiences and insights. By connecting with your true self and embracing your individuality, you realize the unparalleled value you bring to the world.

Confident and comfortable in your own skin, you can leverage your unique attributes and experiences to contribute something truly extraordinary and wholly unique to the world, a creation that is a genuine reflection of YOU.

4. Always be yourself

It’s common for many of us to envy aspects of other people’s lives, wishing we had their wealth, appearance, or popularity. However, trying to emulate someone else is like forcing a round peg into a square hole.

We might believe that attaining a specific trait or possession will bring happiness, but we overlook the importance of our unique role in life’s grand symphony. By embracing and playing our own distinct instrument—our unique skills, passions, and experiences—we can offer the world something genuinely irreplaceable.

5. Leave something good behind everywhere you go

Life is more than just birth and death; it’s an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. Express your unique essence, learn, grow, and harness your experiences to make a meaningful impact.

Prioritize making a difference that can touch countless lives. In the end, the mark you leave on the world defines the significance of your existence.

6. Never try to control other people

All too often we can think “If he did this I wouldn’t be so miserable” or “If she did this I would be happy”. The truth is we can only control our actions and reactions; we cannot dictate the behaviors of others nor expect them to be the architects of our happiness.

True contentment stems from within; external circumstances can only complement it, not create it.

7. Don’t judge others

Often, we observe individuals quick to judge others, despite their own imperfections. No one stands without flaws, and it’s misguided to feel superior based on personal perspectives.

We must remember our shared humanity and avoid elevating ourselves above others. Passing judgment only fosters negativity and bad energy, neither of which benefits the world.

In the intricate tapestry of life, our ability to build relationships and make friends stands out as a defining thread. It’s through these connections that we not only find happiness and fulfillment but also truly understand our place in the world.

As we navigate our journey, let’s always remember the importance of genuine connections, shared experiences, and the transformative power of acceptance and understanding. By embracing these principles, we can create lasting bonds, foster deeper understanding, and enrich our lives in ways beyond measure.

So, as you move forward, prioritize building relationships and making friends—it’s an investment in a richer, more fulfilling life.

22 thoughts on “How to Make Friends and Build Meaningful Relationships”

  1. Chris- great article. My take-away is that I need to remember to stop worrying about what people will think of me. Sometimes it gets in the way of me doing bigger things to help others.
    What do you find to be the most challenging issue for your clients in creating meaningful relationships?

    1. Hey Wendy,

      Thank you so much for your thoughts!

      As long as my article helped you I’m happy, because that’s what counts.

      But to answer your question…

      The most challenging issue BY FAR is that most of the education people receive on topics is watered down and “censored” to remove anything that isn’t “positive” or doesn’t sound “politically correct”, and people try to tell people what sounds nice rather than what they need to hear which, just like propaganda, leaves them with incomplete information that can’t actually deliver results.

      From a practical standpoint though, the biggest problem I tell people is that 99.9% of the people I work with are taught by everyone to constantly think about and try to guess what the other person wants to hear, and what they can say or do to please the other person’s mind so the person will like them.

      Then, at the same time, they tell the other person to just “be themselves” which is giving blatantly contradictory advice (so how does the person get results?)

      For example, I noticed growing up in my own life, and even stereotyped in popular culture, that it’s the most intelligent people who are associated with having the most difficulty socializing, and it’s because they overthink, which leads to them doubting themselves, which leads to social anxiety, which leads to a PARALYZING fear of rejection.

      The people who don’t think and are just themselves (think about the stereotype of the most popular people in college being partying, beer-guzzling “frat boys” and “sorority girls” who just go out and have fun.

      Plus, if they’re not being themselves and always worried about what others think of them, no matter how many friends they make they still have that insecurity inside, so they’re always going to be afraid of failure, afraid of losing what they have, emotionally dependent on others for happiness, and they’ll never actually get to enjoy any of the relationships they have because they’re scared of losing them.

      So what I do is first teach them how to become emotionally happy within themselves, and comfortable in their own skin so that they no longer care about or are attached to certain results, which allows them to be “set free” inside of themselves and be themselves around people.

      Then, I teach them how to emotionally connect with and build meaningful relationships based on the foundational principles of honesty and respect.

      And I guess the most challenging issue is that they haven’t had anyone who’s actually been in their shoes to teach them, who understands what they’re going through and has figured out how to actually get the results they’re looking for in the real world, and who has prided themselves on becoming an expert at teaching and communicating this information to other people and can teach it to them…

      Basically I just go in working with people as a friend, let them no that no matter what I won’t judge them, and that all I want is to help them get whatever they’re looking for.

      I really hope that answers your question.

      If you have any other questions feel free to email me or contact me on Skype (my address is on my website) and I’d be happy to talk to you some more… or just leave me another reply on here :)

      1. RE: For example, I noticed growing up in my own life, and even stereotyped in popular culture, that it’s the most intelligent people who are associated with having the most difficulty socializing, and it’s because they overthink, which leads to them doubting themselves, which leads to social anxiety, which leads to a PARALYZING fear of rejection

        Disagree Chris. The reason intelligent people have difficulty socializing is because our culture denigrates intelligence and celebrates dimwitted buffoonery. Overthinking, doubting, etc., are symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself, nor its cause. And the stereotype exists because people of all stripes identify with it.

        Intelligent people, if they want to be accepted to any significant degree, have to learn to dumb it down. Which in turn means not “being yourself”, but I digress…

        1. I never try to convince anyone they’re right or try to tell someone that my way is the only answer. If what you’re doing is working for you and getting you the results you want then by all means keep doing it; I’m just offering an option for people who feel like they’re not getting the results they want in their life.

          But my comments are this:

          Your view is interesting to me though, and I’d love to hear more about it. It sounds like you’re saying that building rapport and relationships is something we consciously decide to do, much like if I put you in front of someone of the opposite gender you could intellectually control your feelings toward them, and whether or not you liked them and wanted to be around them based on what you logically would want to like in them.

          For example, many smokers want to quit smoking, but because they conscious, decision making mind isn’t in control of their behavior their behavior is in NO WAY logical, in their best interests, or consistent with their desires… and it has nothing to do with whether people praise or “celebrate” smoking or not… people act on EMOTIONAL IMPULSES and URGES.

          Your whole reply sounds like, “I shouldn’t have to change anything or make any effort to improve or work on myself, and other people should just completely change to accept me for who I am.”

          I know intelligent people who are extremely popular without dumbing themselves down so, at least from my experiences, that is a generalization for which I have evidence to the contrary.

          Also, there is anger, condemnation, and I feel a bit of resentment for the way society is in your writing (i.e. use of patronizing terms like “dimiwitted buffonerry” ), which means you’re not objectively looking at the situation, your ego is looking for reasons why the world is just “low quality” so that you can justify your beliefs.

          You’re also using your ego to place yourself in a position of elevated status by making blanket generalizations about society as a whole (i.e. “here’s why I perceive myself as being better than or more “refined” than other people, and why I perceive other people as being flawed according to my standards which automatically makes me right… look how great I am… if everyone would just take my knowledge and wisdom the world would be a much better place”).

          And the reason I say that is because you didn’t actually give anyone any useful advice they could use to change their results… you just told in your comment what’s wrong with the world, and why everyone would be better off if they’d do things your way without providing any evidence to support your claim, or any techniques/tactics they could use to get results… which leave me to see the only purpose for writing that comment was to criticize society, and tell everyone why their view is wrong and yours is right just because you perceive it that way.

          Also, you’re ironically contradicting exactly what I said just by saying you need to “dumb down” to get people to like you… you’re using the “intelligence complex” to tell me what another person is thinking or feeling (something you have no way of knowing), and then telling me what you need to do to please THEIR mind to get them to like you.

          So what you’re doing by deciding how you must behave to please another person’s mind to get them to like you, and what you did in your comment, is overanalyze, overthink, and tell me why what I’m doing won’t work… but I leave you with one question:

          Have you actually gone out and tried what I’m suggesting?

          Note that I didn’t say “dumb down” or “change your personality to X, Y, and Z”. I said, be yourself and stop caring what other people think (i.e. stop trying to consciously coordinate your behavior just to please the other person’s mind based on what you THINK they’re thinking about, and just be yourself… because your own comments suggest your beliefs are based on trying to get into other people’s heads, make generalizations about what all people are thinking, and then telling me what must be done to please their mind to get them to like you… which leads me to believe you haven’t tried not thinking for other people.

          If you’re going to disagree with what I’ve said, all I want to know is that you’ve actually tried the approach before critiquing it, have evidence to back up what you’re saying, and that you’re not just telling me automatically that it won’t work.

        2. That is a very good point. I often don’t know what I’m walking into (business or personal) and I adjust as needed to suit the occasion. How can you always be yourself when a situation clearly requires a different approach? Say you unknowingly walk into a church social and have a great time… Would you act the same way if you unknowingly walked into a different style place like a bar social and had a great time? One cannot always be themselves, which begs the question: How do we know who we are?

  2. it was great.i can JUST say thank you.ive always had problems in making friends and meet up new people.but with you article i found out my faults.
    thank you

    1. You’re welcome. I’m so glad my writing had an impact on your life, because in the end that’s all that matters.

  3. The article is a great idea and the content is well thought. But then: We all have only a few real and good friends. And one should cherrish those. Many people try to please others, but one is liked when he is and stays natural. And a good friend takes you with all your flaws. The rest sticks to you as long as they see an advantage in you.

    1. Christa,

      I found this comment particularly interesting, because not only do we try to please others, but most people also judge and condemn others for traits they personally don’t like in an individual, as if that individual’s life goal is to make that specific person happy.

      One thing I tell everyone I work with is:

      If you’re TRYING to do something it means you’re putting on an ACT because you’re afraid of the reaction or response (which in most cases is fear of rejection) that people will get from seeing the real you.

  4. So true Chris. In my “younger days” I was all about what I can get from people. In my “old age” I have transformed my thinking to “what can I give to people.

    1. Hey Justin,

      What’s interesting that most people seem to want to put on a facade that they think will please the other person’s mind so the other person will like them (I know I said that in the other comment, but I haven’t yet found a more perfect way to phrase that statement).

      The problem is that no matter what you try doing or saying, there’s always going to be someone out there who’s not going to like you for it, or who is going to criticize or judge you for your behavior, so if you’re going to be anything you might as well just be yourself, and perhaps the most important realization I’ve had surrounding this is that by being yourself you’ll only bring people into your life who want to enjoy your company, and you’ll naturally be giving to people without even thinking about it.

      Because when you have to think about giving you’re not really giving… that’s why most people get upset when they don’t get anything in return for their “giving”… because what they were really doing was trading without telling the other person they expected anything in return… and the best part is once you are totally comfortable just being yourself and not caring what others think of you, and you’re free of your emotional insecurity and need to “get” from others in order to feel good you naturally become a person who can selflessly give.

      When you’re just honest with people everything has an amazing way of balancing itself out so everyone gives and gets exactly what they want and need in life.

      1. God richly bless you Chris.
        I guess this article was specially made for me. I really love it an I’d like to read more of your articles.

    2. I love this! And by doing so in turn benefits you anyway :) giving back is key to living life happy and being fullfilled !

  5. Like what Martin Kipp said: “Don’t change so someone will like you. Be yourself and the right people will like and love the real you”.

    In relationship, one of the most important thing is to respect each other, and the trust & relationship shall gain. =D

    1. That’s exactly right! When you put on a facade you’re attracting people who like your facade, but you’re so miserably focused on trying to hide the real you, and prevent losing people, that you can never actually enjoy your relationships in the first place.

      And the three core rules I live by are honesty, trust, and respect.

  6. I just never realised that it was this easy. I mean, making impartation and long lasting ones at that however, i have a problem, i dnt knw just how to make the connection a lasting one. That has always been my breaking point. Was wondering if you could help me with this 1 problem.

    1. Yeah, it’s like swimming or riding a bike or walking. To someone who’s never done these things before it feels like the hardest thing in the world, but once you automate the process in your subconscious mind and have your brain trained, conditioned, and “wired” to do it on “autopilot” it feels like the easiest thing in the world. For your specific issue I’d recommend reading the article “How To Be Popular” on my website as I wrote it all about how to do that one specific thing.

      Thanks for your comment! :)

    1. Nancy,

      While I appreciate your comments, I need to make some corrections here:

      I never said “be kind to each other”. That’s the kind of vague, ambiguous “Disney fantasy-based” thinking of how we’d like things to be vs. how they really are, and giving people fairy tale ideas about how we’d like the world to work that don’t actually deliver results in a real world where things are both good AND bad.

      Being kind and being well-liked are not entirely synonymous.

      I said be honest and straightforward; the two are not necessarily synonymous. You have no direct control over other people, their thoughts, feelings, or behavior. The only thing you have direct control over is yourself. Kindness is (for the most part) a subjective opinion. For example, is telling an overweight person they’re overweight “kind”? Most people would say no. But if it, down the road, causes the person to see the situation realistically because someone was honest about their thoughts, and the overweight person got on a diet, lost 100 pounds, and now feels much better about themselves, that would have been an inadvertently kind gesture from a long term standpoint… but that wasn’t me trying to be “kind” or “mean” or “good” or “bad”… it was just me being honest.

      The problem is that most people act like kindness is black and white. You always hear people reference behavior as “nice” and “kind” or “mean” and “cruel” and, as I said, that’s all subjective opinion based on perception to begin with… also many people’s idea of “kindness” is doing favors for someone, then if the person were to say, spit in their face afterward, they would get offended, upset, angry, and lash out… but if it were true kindness you wouldn’t even place a label on it because you wouldn’t be analyzing and trying to put on an act around people to be perceived a certain way; you would just be 100% real and yourself.

      For example, if I do something for someone, I don’t care if they spit in my face afterward, because I wasn’t even thinking about them at all; I’m just being myself and expressing my personality, and in the process of that other people benefit… but intentionally trying to behave a certain way towards other people is called putting on an act.

  7. Chris great stuff. #4 hits home the most to me because it’s so simple and yet so complex at times. “Be yourself” sounds cliche, but it’s the truth! We all go through an identity crisis in our youth, but unfortunately many adults still don’t know who they are supposed to be. I was a guilty of this also. I kept trying to be what people thought I should be and I came across like a phony. When I talk to kids and even adults that struggle with socializing, I tell them to just be natural and be yourself. If you put yourself out there enough, over time you will come across more and more people like yourself.
    Good stuff!

    9 years of being a self help enthusiast:

  8. All of these things I was aware of, but only recently began putting them into practice. I also know that having a relationship with yourself is equally as important because if you can’t get along with yourself, getting along with others will be that much more challenging. I have a phrase that goes with #4: “Be true to yourself as your own self true”. If you are not fake and can be yourself as you truly are and see yourself that way, then you will be more of yourself to others.

    Thank you for putting it all together in one place,

  9. Hai, nice article chris……….I think after reading this article somehow, i can change my behaviour, i am not having much freinds due to my behaviour i know this thing and i forced me not to behave like that but i was not controllable, i quesioned myself alot of times why was am i like this……………

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