I don’t know who you are or how you found this post. But if you’re reading this post and you’re one of the seeming millions of people who don’t have friends and feel trapped, this is for you. Or if not, then skim it a little bit anyways, as it may be helpful.
I’m going to assume you already read some article similar to this (which all suggests probably very similar things eg meetup.com, join club, etc.)
The tl;dr of this post is one word: Committment (I created /r/CommitToFriends for that reason). I mention this on Step 3.
Note: This subreddit is an experiment. There may never be a community. For now, I’ll personally make it an effort, get an alert, and try to help.
Now, onto the steps.
Step -1: Be kind to yourself
It’s so easy to tell others to be kind to yourself. Yet, we’re all so hard on ourselves. I know I am.
Regardless, this is just another reminder – if you’re a crappy friend or if you’re having difficulties on this subject, whatever, be kind to yourself. You can always revisit this.
Step 0: Consider if this post is for you
Do you have a person who can always be there when life is being super god awful?
If the answer is yes, and you feel no deficiency otherwise, you can stop reading.
If the answer is no, then this post is for you.
(I) Even if you don’t feel too bad about it now, there may be a time you will.
Rather than explaining it, I’ll literally include a link of me reading David Whyte’s poem on Friendship.
(II) you should know there’s tremendous amounts of kind people out there. If you reached out to some of those acquaintances, I’m sure you’ll be surprised by their niceness. I don’t expect
Parasocial relationships do not count. Twitch streamers/YouTube creators are not your friends.
I totally understand the journey you can go through with your favorite podcast host, etc. It can be great and you can support them per your discretion.
But part of the reason I’m writing this post is because of the proliferation and possible consequences of parasocial relationships.
Parasocial interaction refers to a kind of psychological relationship experienced by an audience in their mediated encounters with performers in the mass media, particularly on television. Viewers or listeners come to consider media personalities as friends, despite having limited interactions with them.
This is not a scientific conclusion, but I’ve been on the internet long enough to see how only hanging out with streamers/creators can have long-term consequences. It’s not a long-term solution. The YouTuber is not going to be there when you need help.
So if this is you, it’s going to suck, but try your best to make friends you can actually tell personal stresses to (and can actually listen).
Step 1: Consider if you’re cool with all interactions being online OR need to be local.
This is a very important filter and first step.
If you’re okay with online (as you enjoy being home 24/7 anyway), then that’s fantastic. The world’s your oyster. There’s online communities for everything.
If you need the person to be local – because you want the physical presence of someone, you need to a tea/wine drinking buddy, you hate lag when playing Super Smash, cool, I totally get it.
Quick aside: Here’s the thing. While you may think you’re cool with 100% online interaction, there may come a time you’re not. For most people, you probably want at least 1 local person. So I’d recommend this first.
Step 2: Consider your strategy/outlets
Okay, open up a doc/Google Sheets.
Start writing down names of people and potential communities.
This includes subreddits (of your interest), Facebook groups, meetups, former friends/colleagues.
Before you spreadsheet out all the people you’ve met / all subreddits/Facebook groups, stop.
This is more so an exercise so you can then prioritize who to reach out to, etc. My fear is you spend 3 hours creating a an enormous spreadsheet, get tired, and not look at it again. Don’t be like that.
Step 3: Commit and take risks
Ok now here’s the part that everyone seemingly don’t understand.
“How do you make friends?” Is asked a billion times a day, but it’s always generally the same answer. Commitment.
I don’t care if it’s a boring club, etc. If you’ve tried to interact with one person, and the person seems mildly interesting, commit. Commit to going back to that club or take a risk and ask for the person to hangout.
Take a risk, send memes occasionally. See how the person reacts.
Try and stay committed. Cause here’s why, time is its own currency.
It’s an unfakeable currency. This is why people stick with their friends since school/college, etc. Even if one is rich and is now poor. Time matters. I know for me, I’ve spent hundreds of hours trying to help my friends by practicing interviews, constantly checking in on them to make sure they’re coding (as they said they should).
Despite saying all that, people still always ask, “how do I make friends?” And that’s why I created /r/CommitToFriends.
There’s always subtle nuances I get it.
“I’ve been to the club 3 times now, should I go back?”
“There’s this cute girl in the group… can I still be friends with them?”
“I still don’t get it. No one acknowledges me. Maybe time to call quits?”
This will be a place to discuss, ask questions, seek motivation (self-affirm) on friendship.
If you have those kinds of questions, feel free to post. I’ll give it an answer.
Consider subscribing to the subreddit too. It always feels good to help others.
All this said, I’m not the best example. I’m sure most people aren’t. Life gets in the way. Your mind gets in the way.
I totally get it. As I mention in step -1. Be kind to yourself. You can always revisit this later.