ENTERTAINMENT

How to make friends as an adult

Our guide to making friends and influencing people
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Making friends is one thing when we’re kids, but as we head into adulthood it can sometimes get a little tricky. 

But if you want to expand your social circle, it’s something you can do at any age.

Watch Below: How To Make New Friends As An Adult

In her book, The Mindful High Performer, motivational speaker and meditation coach Chelsea Pottenger explains how to reach your potential in all areas of life, including socially.  

“When we truly connect with someone, it feels pretty great, right?” Pottenger says. “We can enjoy an easy laugh and a sense of confidence is shared. While your ability to build rapport with someone depends on having a bit of natural chemistry, research also points to several human factors that can increase the level of warmth and trust between two people.”

Here, Pottenger explains how to make new connections.

Sex and the City
Here, Pottenger explains how to make new connections. (Credit: Getty)

Ask Questions

Whenever we meet a new person, our brains do some fast work to decide how to react. Do we recognise their face? Are they a threat to us? Are they like us? 

In sociology, this is seeing someone as part of our in-group. When you are meeting someone for the first time, I encourage you to ask enough questions to find things in common with them so you can get a better sense of who they actually are.

New Girl
When you are meeting someone for the first time, I encourage you to ask enough questions. (Credit: Getty)

Mirror Body Language

Not only does mirroring someone’s body language help you feel like you are on the same wavelength, it also shows that you are engaged and listening. Make sure you use a subtle approach here.

Remember Names

Want to know what the sweetest sound is to anyone’s ears? Their own name. A lot of people have trouble remembering other people’s names. 

Here are my tips: repeat their name out loud after they introduce themselves and then mention their name twice in conversation. For example: “Jane, it’s nice to meet you”, “Jane, this is Lisa”, “Tell me more about that, Jane.”

You can also try connecting their name to something familiar. The more outrageous and left-field the connection, the more likely you are to remember it. (Confession, when I first met [my husband] Jay, I connected it to ‘vajayjay’.)

Grey's Anatomy
Not only does mirroring someone’s body language help you feel like you are on the same wavelength, it also shows that you are engaged and listening. (Credit: Getty)

Check Your Posture

One of the first things people notice is how you carry and present yourself. Do you walk and stand with confidence? The most important thing you can do to ensure correct posture is probably similar to what my mother taught me: stand tall as if a string is being pulled from the centre of your head. You want to portray to people that you are confident and sure of yourself.

Friends
You want to portray to people that you are confident and sure of yourself (Credit: Getty)

Shake Hands

To connect instantly with someone, shake hands, when possible. Touch is the most primitive and powerful non-verbal cue. Touching someone on the arm, hand or shoulder for as little as a fraction of a second creates a human bond. 

In the workplace, physical touch is established through the handshaking tradition and this tactile feedback makes a lasting and positive impression.

Fun fact: a study on handshakes by the US Income Center for Trade showed people are twice as likely to remember you if you shake hands with them. Another fun fact: the temperature of your hands impacts how people perceive your trustworthiness. No-one likes to shake a cold, clammy hand, so before you meet someone make sure you warm those hands up!

Edited extract from The Mindful High Performer by Chelsea Pottenger (Murdoch Books, $32.99). Buy it Here.

Need a casual spot to build those friendships? Visit your local Jamaica Blue with a friend (new or old!) before 1 May 2024 to receive a FREE banana bread when you order two coffees in the same transaction. T&Cs Apply.

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