Available now - The book based on the site

The Social Skills Guidebook

Learn More
View on Amazon

The Main Tasks For Creating A Social Life

The site's section on making friends covers a lot of information. This article will provide a quick summary of the core action-oriented tasks that come out of it. It won't cover the 'how to' or principles behind each step. That's for the articles which cover those topics themselves. Here I'll just provide an overview to focus what you need to do in the real world once you've read up on the advice.

Out of the main social problem areas this site covers, building a social life lends itself most easily to creating a To Do list of specific tasks. There are clear behavioral steps to making more friends, and the end goal is tangible and measurable. We usually have a good sense of whether our social life is where we want it to be, both in terms of the quality and quantity of our relationships. Compare this to a much vaguer goal such as 'feeling more confident'.

Naturally, you'll want to skip the items you already have handled, or which don't apply to you. This list isn't exhaustive either. If you think up a task which would also help you build your social life, there's nothing stopping you from doing it. I've very roughly graded each task on how difficult it is, so you can ease yourself into them slowly if you'd prefer,

Spend some time researching your community, so you'll have a sense of places where you could meet people, or invite people to hang out if you organize a plan.

Although I'm presenting this as a one-time task, it never hurts to periodically refresh your knowledge of your town or city. There's always more to find out about.

Difficulty: Easy

With this step and the next, resist any urges to be overly picky when evaluating options. Some people have a tendency to declare there's nothing good where they live.

Think of all the ways you could potentially meet new people

For a ton more suggestions, refer to How To Meet People

Difficulty: Easy

Follow through and pursue one or more of your avenues for meeting people

Sign up for those lessons, or drop by that poker game.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

This task may be harder if...:

Approach potential friends and talk to them

In some situations, like meeting your friend's friends, this step will be almost automatic. In others you'll have to take the initiative to strike up a conversation.

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

This step can be tricky for a lot of reasons, such as shyness, weaker conversational ability, and general social traits and habits that get in the way of your connecting to people.

One way to make this step more manageable is to focus on the types of people you have an easier time talking to and conversing with. It's also important to realize that no matter what you do, you won't get along with everyone.

Get potential friend's contact information

This could be their phone number, email address, or Facebook user name.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Some people feel a little uncomfortable asking someone for this information, since they fear rejection.

If you're going to naturally see your potential friends again, continue talking to them and getting to know them when you cross paths

For example, you may see a new co-worker again on future shifts, or continue to hang out with a friend's friend on group outings.

Difficulty: Moderate

Article continues below...

If appropriate, keep in touch with potential friends so the 'lead' doesn't go stale

This one varies. Some potential friends you'll see often enough that you don't need to text them or talk to them on Facebook. Similarly, if you've met someone once and seemed to get along, sometimes you'll follow up and invite them out fairly quickly. However, in some cases you'll need to keep on their radar by staying in touch.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Once again, some people fear rejection here, or worry they're bugging the other person with their unwanted contact.

Think of something you could do with potential friends

Whether you're likely going to see someone again automatically, or whether your initial meeting with them could be your last unless you follow up, it's important to invite potential friends to hang out. First you have to think of some things you could do with them. This isn't a step you need to overthink. Standard choices like grabbing some drinks, spending time with a group of other people, going for a bike ride, or seeing a movie are often fine.

Difficulty: Easy

If you're not sure what you could do with someone, check out this article:

Things To Do With People

Invite your potential friends to do something with you

This could be a one-on-one outing, or a group event where you pull together a bunch of prospects at once, or you hang out with some existing friends and one person you'd like to get to know better.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Again, some people fear rejection here. They may also not know how to invite someone out. They may also stumble while trying to put a plan together.

There's also the matter of how well things will go once you're actually hanging out with them. Here things like conversational ability, your personality, and your ability to connect with others will come into play.

If your potential friend doesn't accept your plan, but doesn't clearly state they're not interested, try again later

This is ambiguous territory. The person could not be interested in knowing you better, or they could have just been busy, or what you suggested wasn't their style. It never hurts to try again a few more times. Where you stand will usually become clearer with more information. If it later turns out the person doesn't want to be friends with you, continue to try to meet new people. It can't pan out with everyone.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Some people are uncomfortable following up in the face of apparent rejection.

When you've met someone you get along with, and have successfully hung out with them, continue to keep in touch and invite them to do things with you

This is the part where you actually grow the friendship. Again, some relationships may fizzle out for various reasons. It's unavoidable.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Some friendships grow easily. In others people continue to deal with their insecurities and fears of rejection (e.g., even the ninth time inviting someone to hang out, they worry about being turned down). Some people also have trouble getting to know others on a deeper level.

Continue meeting new people, and trying to be friends with them until you're happy with where your social life stands

This involves repeating many of the steps above as necessary.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

I find this stage varies in how it goes. Some people get on a roll and have an easier time making even more friends, once they've established that base of confidence and the assuredness that comes from knowing you already have some kind of social life. Other people slow down once they've got some friendships going. In some cases it's because they're satisfied with the small social life they've built. For others they may actually be happier if they continued to get out there, but they've got just enough going on that they get lazy and complacent.

As you become more comfortable in your social life, try experimenting and pushing your boundaries

Difficulty: Moderate

These steps are more advanced, however they're not too bad, especially if you've already built up some experience in making friends.