The first step is to develop a healthy mental image of meeting new people. Some of us see meeting new people as a scary event. We are concerned about making a good impression, whether the other person will like us, how to keep the conversation going, and so on. The more we think about it, the scarier it seems.
First you should try your circle of friends – i.e. people you are more familiar with.
Some ways to do that are:
- Reach out to acquaintances. Have any hi-bye type friends from earlier years? Or friends you lost touch with over time? Drop a friendly sms and say hi. Ask for a meet-up when they are free. See if there are opportunities to reconnect.
- See if there are cliques where you can join in. Cliques are established groups of friends. The idea isn’t to break into the clique, but to practice being around new friends. With cliques, the existing members will probably take the lead in conversations, so you can just take the observatory role and watch the dynamics between other people.
- Get to know your friends’ friends. You can join them in their outings or just ask your friend to introduce you to them. If you are comfortable with your friends, there’s a good chance you will be comfortable with their friends too.
- Accept invitations to go out. I have friends who rarely go out. When they are asked out, they reject majority of the invites because they rather stay at home. As a result, their social circles are limited. If you want to have more friends, you have to step out of your comfort zone and go out more often. You can’t make more friends in real life if you stay at home!