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How to make friends

How to make friends
Highlights

As we know humans are social beings and having a peer group is important in life to grow. However, due to certain circumstances a few of us are unable...

Qus: I am a 21-year-old student. My problem is that I have no friends at all. No one seems to like me. I have tried very hard to hang out with people, invite them for tea, treat them to lunch, I even let people take my notes, copy my answers in exams. But still, no one seems to want to be my friend. Of late I'm pretending to be sick, fabricating stories about how I know film stars and celebrities and making up a lot of things. I feel guilty about this. How do I make friends? I feel lonely and sad!

Ans: Hi! Missing having a peer group is indeed a difficulty. There are many more details that would have helped us understand this better. Going by what we have, there are some things that need to be looked at.

1. For how long has this problem of not having friends been going on?

2. How were your friendships during your school days?

3. Was this a sudden change?

Apart from these the kind of a course that you are pursuing, is it too competitive? Was the preparation part so engrossing that somewhere the social part got left behind? We must always look at situations from as wide an angle as possible. Social skills are more often learnt from the environment around us. Though your need for friends is clear there may be some missing links in the process that has led to this situation where you feel you need to make up somethings to bring people to you.

1. Please remember that being your genuine self is the first step. In that, we need to also focus on some essential skills like empathy and true interest in others which naturally will generate mutual interest.

2. Try being more of a listener than a speaker when interacting with others.

3. Do not be too opinionated about many things especially not too vocal about everything. Be conscious of the place, context, people and the forum.

4. Be open to some negative feedback. That's what friends do.

5. It's possible that you're over-eagerness to make friends could be making others vary.

6. Also do you sustain the enthusiasm, or do you lose interest soon?

7. If there are any tendencies to be clingy or controlling nature to your interactions now is the time to work on it.

8. You can start by being friends with your family members. Share some things. Watch movies, crack jokes.

9. Social intelligence starts with self-awareness and evolves into sensitivity to others' needs. So, keep track of your emotions and reactions in any context. You will start getting more information about your strengths and weaknesses. Your behaviour patterns vis a vis other etc.

10. It is not a rule that all of us need to have the same skill sets. We are ok to accept them in the world of academics and professions, so learn to not undervalue or undersell yourself to gain some friends.

11. A good friend finds the worth in the other person without having to resort to creating a story. Don't let this overwhelming need throw you off track and earning the tag of show off or any such thing.

12. Be your own best friend first and others will follow! All the best!

- Vasuprada Kartic, Anthroposophic Counsellor and Psychotherapist.

Qus: I am a graduate and recently got a job in an MNC. I'm in the night shift and my problem is that none of the other women wants to make friends with me. When I talk to the boys, bad rumours are being spread about my character, when I try being friending the girls, no one seems interested and moreover, they make fun of me. I'm lonely and unable to work. My manager warned me that my work isn't good enough…please help!

Ans: Hello… being the newbie on a job is tough. Particularly in the IT sector where there is a tearing need to rise fast in the ranks and prove your mettle as early as possible. Night shifts itself are tough to handle particularly if this is your first job. I find many youngsters who don't seem very forthcoming and friendly to newcomers. It's nothing personal just that in many places' groups would have already formed and to accept a new person seems tedious...particularly in girl gangs where lots of secrets and personal information would be shared. The other thing is; are you replacing some other employee? Perhaps you are...and that's what is causing hostility from your colleagues...maybe you replaced someone who was a friend of theirs? So then though it isn't your fault, you will face hostile behaviour sometimes. The good thing is...most of these things work out and people will eventually warm up to you. My advice to you is:

1. Don't worry, get depressed or get anxious…be patient and wait.

2. Be your usual self...don't think to change your personality is going to get you, friends...you are what you are, and you must not change that.

3. Beware of rumours, they sour relationships. Make sure of the source of the rumours before you confront if you wish to.

4. A non-confrontational stand might suit you since you are new to the office. Then maybe an informal mailer conversation stating that the rumours are upsetting you might help.

5. From your side, try to be as friendly and informal as you can... try to ignore the snideness if you can.

6. Not having friends can be lonely... but try to choose your friends wisely to be able to forge lasting relationships.

7. Be there for colleagues if they need you…both for technical and personal help.

8. Have fewer expectations and never compromise.

9. Take along a book to divert your mind or immerse yourself in your work.

10. Invite colleagues to a snack or take something from home. Politely ask if you can join in on their conversations.

11. Each office has its own style of functioning and socializing... try to understand the basic framework of the office style of functioning.

12. There is always a soft and gentle solution to most issues...look for it.

13. Don't let all this tamper with your self-esteem...but do think if something you said went the wrong way.

14. Chin up! It's just a job...if you don't like it after every effort, maybe you can switch roles or look for anything else.

- Dr Purnima Nagaraja, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist.

- This feature is in support of 'Rotary Kshemam' initiative for safe and happy communities. Do you have any relationship-related queries or issues with your friends, loved ones or family? For informed advice by professionals, send in your questions to features.thehansindia@gmail.com.

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