I went from being a shy, little kid to being a shy, little man with a few more friends. And while I don’t consider myself as popular, I definitely have learned some things that have helped me make friends, create meaningful connections, and grow more intimate in my relationships. So here are a few very simple, yet effective tips or rules that I tell myself when I go out in public.
Don’t neglect a good greeting. At first, I didn’t realize how greetings could be of any importance or value to anyone. If anything, if someone said “hi” to me, I’d just say “hi” back and it’d end there. It was a piece of conversation that wasn’t essential and a waste of time. It wasn’t until I started greeting others with intentionality that made me shift my perspective. It made me feel good to say hello to others and hear them respond. It made me feel like I was heard. But more importantly, I learned that it made them feel noticed, comfortable, and present. Towards the end of my junior year of high school, something I surprisingly heard often was “Thanks for always saying ‘hi’ to me.” I felt proud of myself hearing those words. Whether you’re already best friends or complete strangers, a nice greeting can go a long way. Sometimes a simple smile and hello can make someone’s day.
Listen. This tip is as simple as that. But here’s the important part. Listening is actually the easy part for many of us, the hard part is shutting our mouth in order to listen. While it may seem like the most popular kids are the ones who talk a lot, everyone appreciates someone who listens to them. So try to listen to your waiter and cashier when they’re helping you, believe me, they’ll appreciate it cause I sure do. And try to include all your friends in the conversation next time y’all hang out. Everyone has something to say, not just you.
Lastly, be sensitive. This one is more for people who tend to have dry humor, are very sarcastic, and don’t take things too seriously like me. You don’t know what’s going on in everyone’s life around you. So the best you can do is to be sensitive and respect them. While I was still in high school, I was extremely blunt all the time. It was just how I spoke as well as how I told jokes. So if I was super sarcastic around you, it usually meant that I felt comfortable with you. Everyone in a friend group knew that I was this way. Then someone else comes and joins the group, but little does she know how sarcastic I am. I didn’t know at the time, but she later revealed that she was deeply hurt by some of my comments that would cause her to cry when she got home. I felt extremely bad at the time and wanted to stop being sarcastic and blunt altogether. Now, I realize that it’s not that I needed to change how I speak or my sense of humor, but that I needed to be more sensitive towards the atmosphere, the feelings of people around me, and the situation at hand.
So those are just a few tips that helped me that aren’t the cliche “Be confident” or “Smile.” Hopefully these tips will help you too if you’re in need of some companionship or just wanting to become friendlier. Let me know in the comments how you were able to make friends growing up or even currently. Thank you, wishing you a good day, God bless!