As people work more and more, and spend more time alone with technology, not to mention the breakdown of families and communities, people don’t feel valued and appreciated.
If you are the remedy to this problem, you will make many friends very easily.
Making friends is fairly simple if you follow the maxim below. At the very least, you’ll increase the people who admire you, look forward to seeing you, and want to be around you. Eventually, some of these people will turn into friends.
So what’s the maxim?
Take a genuine interest in as many people as possible
That’s it. People like for others to take an interest in them and their passions, i.e. appreciate them. If you show interest in people and their interests, you’ll make them feel good, which means they will want to be around you.
It’s not rocket science (but it is brain science!). Do this with a diverse group of people, and you will have a lot of friends.
The easiest way to show interest is to simply ask questions. A genuine “how are you?” or even better, a more specific question related to an individual person, like “I heard you had a great run at the last meet. What was your time?” shows interest.
For example, when I was a teacher, I would talk to our coaches about their teams, and the art teacher about her and her students work. I always congratulated the quiz bowl adviser and the team members when they did well, because I knew that meant a lot to them (since they always complained nobody appreciated all the work they did). I asked about their progress regularly.
Some days I check to see what the musically inclined people in my life are into, and other days it might be gamers. I try to take an interest in everybody I directly encounter, and I have a lot of friends because of it.
First, you must pay attention. Pay attention to people’s interests, habits, etc. This makes asking specific questions and saying direct things (like “that Thor t-shirt is awesome!”) possible.
Second, be genuine. You have to really care, which means listening to their response and being ready to carry on a conversation. You can’t just view it as exchanging facts without actually caring.
Third, focus on them. Most people take an interest in themselves over the other person. They always steer the conversation back to themselves instead of the other person. I overheard a guy talking to a person in class one day. They were discussing a comic book character. The one guy wouldn’t even let the other guy get a word in, as he was so focused on showing his own knowledge of the character in question. If he wanted to make an actual friend, he should have focused on the other person’s knowledge.
Fourth, keep it appropriate and non-creepy. Don’t ask questions that are too personal and overly-sexual, and don’t overdo it.
I should note that using this technique without modification works for straight-up friendship. The rules of romantic engagement are more complex. You will want to take an interest in girls and guys, and make them feel happy, but in a different way, to distinguish you from “just a friend.”