I recently asked my email list: “What is the most difficult part of making new friends?”
I want to answer the two most common responses:
- “I don’t know where to meet people.” This came in different forms, like, “I don’t know what places are good for meeting people.” And, “It’s really hard to find people I’d actually want to become friends with.”
- “I don’t know how to turn a stranger into a friend.” Other forms of this response were, “I don’t know what to say when I meet someone.” And, “Getting people I don’t know to like me seems impossible.”
They seem like very different issues. The first one is about locations. Where do I find these people?
And the second response is about interactions. What do I need to do? How do I need to interact with them?
I understand this problem very well. I’ve asked myself these questions over and over.
And it sucks because meeting new people can be so difficult and frustrating. I remember forcing myself to go out so I’d at least have a chance at making new friends.
- I went to the plaza in the center of town and walked around.
- I went to a hosted pub crawl that gave me access to 10 bars in a close proximity.
- I even went to malls and shopping centers, praying for good luck.
I kept asking myself – What am I supposed to do now?
Do I just walk up to a stranger and try to start a conversation?
Does talking to the bartender or sales clerk even count since they are only talking to me because I’m buying something from them?
Those were actual thoughts that ran through my head and they gave me serious anxiety. Luckily, I didn’t let that stop me.
Even though I didn’t have a good game plan, I kept moving forward. I kept going to different events and doing whatever I could to get out of the house to hopefully meet new people.
- I met up with a stranger whose email I got from a coworker, and went to a college football game.
- I joined a softball league.
- I even played darts with people I didn’t know in the back of a cigar shop.
Finally, things started clicking.
- The stranger I went to the football game with happened to bring a friend along, who ended becoming one of my best friends.
- I became really good friends with pretty much everyone on the softball team.
- And one of the dart players ended up being another one of my best friends.
I started noticing something – that certain situations were much better for making new friends than others.
After lots of experience, much thinking, and talking to tons of people, I realized that there are three scenarios for meeting people that are far better for making new friends than any others.
Those three scenarios are when you meet people:
- At work (or school)
- Through your connections (existing or new)
- At Consistent Social Groups (CSGs)
Numbers 1 and 2 are not always feasible though. Maybe you work from home. Maybe you just moved and don’t have any connections to use.
However, almost everyone has access to Consistent Social Groups. If you live in a small town or city, then your options will be more limited.
But if you live in a city of 50,000 or more, then almost certainly there should be plenty to choose from.
So, what is a Consistent Social Group?
The 5 Components of a Consistent Social Group
A Consistent Social Group (CSG) is a group, a series of events, a team, a club, an organization, or any type of activity that gives you the best chance of turning strangers into good friends.
There are five components that any activity needs for it to be a CSG. If you want to make new friends from scratch, you’ll have the best shot at success if you find an activity that meets all five of the following requirements:
- It involves other people
- It meets regularly in a physical location (the closer to where you live, the better)
- The same people consistently attend
- You’re forced to work or interact with the other people in the group
- It’s something you enjoy, or would possibly enjoy
So what are some good examples of CSGs?
- Joining an adult-league sports team.
- Joining a book club meetup.
- Joining a hiking group.
- Taking photography classes.
- Taking a position for a volunteering organization.
As long as it contains all five of the components above, it is a CSG.
Why CSGs are Perfect for Helping You Make Friends
What is it about Consistent Social Groups that make them so great? Let me show you.
Former FBI agent Dr. Jack Schafer wrote a book called The Like Switch where he explains what it takes to get people to like you. It’s a great book, and one of the cornerstone philosophies is something he calls the Friendship Formula.
According to Dr. Jack Schafer, The Friendship Formula is this:
Friendship = Proximity + Frequency + Duration + Intensity
Basically, the closer you are to someone, the more often you see them, the longer you see them each time, and the more engaged your interactions are, the better friends you will become.
Of course, things like being likable, interesting, and nice all matter. But for factors other than your personality, the friendship formula is absolutely essential.
This is why CSGs work so well. They force you to spend more time with the same people more often, and in more intense situations.
For that reason, if you want to find places to make new friends, you have the best chance if you meet them at Consistent Social Groups.
But that’s not it. You might be thinking, “We’ve covered the solution on where to meet people, but what about how to meet people? And didn’t you say the solution is the same?!?”
These People are Already Interested in Meeting You
Yes, the solution is the same! Because people that meet you at a CSG already want to meet or talk to you. And that’s what makes it so much easier.
Go up to someone in the grocery store and ask, “So, what brings you here?” They’ll just look at you like you’re a weirdo and say something like, “Umm, to get groceries,” immediately thinking of ways to get away from you.
On the flip side, if you ask someone at a cooking class the same question, they might respond with, “Oh, I just love cooking and enjoy learning more about it. What about you?”
Dramatic difference! The reason people join these activities is to spend time doing things they enjoy with like-minded people. Most of them are hoping to meet new people and are much more open to starting new relationships.
It’s like the difference between sending your résumé to a company through their online admissions without knowing anyone there, versus getting an introduction to the hiring manager from a really good friend, who sets you two up to get coffee together before you even apply.
In one situation, you’re just one out of hundreds of different people, with nothing making you stand out other than your words that may or may not get read.
In the other scenario, you already have major credibility because you’ve been recommended by someone they trust. The hiring manager is going into this situation expecting it to work out, and taking things from there.
To make it even better, you’re forced to work with these people. Maybe you have to do a class project together. Maybe you’re working together to score against the opposing team. Or you might have intellectual discussions together.
Regardless what kind of group you join, you’ll be interacting in a much deeper and more meaningful manner than you would be in practically any other situation.
And to top it all off, you’re both interested in whatever the activity is based around. When you and the other people are enjoying yourselves, you will be more fun to be around and they are much more likely to associate you with a good time.
This a great way to start meeting new friends. If you want to know how to meet and connect with these people and turn them into good friends, you can get my free 8-lesson email course that covers the whole process from meeting to becoming friends.