The question of how to make friends as an adult is all too relevant for many of us, particularly during the Internet age with so much of our communication taking place behind a screen. What do you do to meet people when you're not thrown with a whole new bunch into a classroom setting every couple of months? How do you get people to warm up to you? It just seems so complicated! Happily, though, BuzzFeed's latest video identifies several ways to make friends that are backed up by science. The video, entitled "How To Make Friends According To Science," gives you a few quick and dirty tips to make yourself appear more open to new connection through things like body language and strategic communication.
I'm not going to lie, you guys: I'm really excited to use some of their tips in my own life. I also find that while it can be easy to meet people, make new connections, and even find people to hang out with, sometimes it's tricky to take someone from an acquaintance friend to an actual friend friend. It might feel weird to just come and out say, "Hey, let's take our friendship to the next level," so these tricks might be useful in transitioning the acquaintances you like into being stronger friends.
Check out three of the tips below, and scroll down to watch the full video for more.
1. Face The Person You're Talking To
The first tip is to keep your torso open and face the person you're speaking to directly. According to BuzzFeed, this will make people feel that you are "more mentally open" — which sounds kind of like a no-brainer, since common sense probably tells you that you shouldn't turn your back to someone you're talking to if you want them to consider you to be a halfway decent person. But there's more to it than just that: Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. says that keeping your back straight and shoulders forward helps you to appear more confident and in control of your emotions — qualities that many people might value in a friend. But, she also advices you to sag slightly to appear sympathetic, like if someone is telling you about a recent death in their family.
2. Ask Them To Do You A Small Favor
This probably seems like a way to get someone to be annoyed with you, but asking for a favor is actually a way to get someone to feel closer to you. The idea is that if you ask someone to do something for you, they'll feel that you've entrusted them with something of yours — which, in turn, creates a bonding effect amongst the two of you. When seen in action, it's called the Benjamin Franklin Effect, which states that we tend to like the people we do nice things for more. In our minds, we don't want to feel that we've done nice things for someone we don't like, so we trick ourselves into liking them more automatically because we did nice things for them. So the next time you want to make a friend, ask them to do something for you!
3. Share Some Personal Information
Don't go around giving out your social security number, of course, but sharing some personal details about your life can help to build trust between two people. Just make sure not to make it too personal, or the other person might feel awkward or that you tend to overshare. A study on trust in the digital age found that it was harder to build trust online, since eye contact and empathy building weren't made nearly as easy as it is with communication that takes place in person. Additionally, a 2012 study that set out to see if building trust was an effective way of building friendships found that, indeed, it was — influencing others' opinion of you by sharing information about yourself is a good way to win people over.
To see even more ways to easily make friends that are scientifically sound, watch the full video below.
Images: Unsplash; BuzzFeedVideo/YouTube (3)