Help! I want to make friends, but I don’t know how to become close to someone

Dear Friend,

I know that friendship is important, and I want to have a close relationship with someone. But I don’t know how. How do you understand and get to know a person? And how do you develop a common hobby or interest with your friends?

Best, Alone


Dear Alone,

There’s no doubt that friends can make our lives happier. Friendships have a huge impact on our mental health, but building a strong one takes time and commitment.

We agree that having a hobby is a great way to get closer to people. Rather than forcing yourself to start a new hobby with someone, you can use your existing hobbies as a way to make new friends. Do you like volunteering? Strike up a conversation with someone the next time you’re doing it. Are you a huge bookworm? Join or start a book club!

In addition to having common interests, it’s important to be able to understand how other people feel. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Be curious

People who are good at understanding others are usually really interested in people. Pay attention and listen to your friends carefully, and try to explore their feelings underneath their words, as this can deepen your understanding of them. Make sure to ask questions to show you’re paying attention.

Be sincere

When someone tells you their feelings, ideas, or opinions, show how much you appreciate them sharing with you, and give feedback or support without expecting a reward. If someone is telling you about what’s troubling them, it may be helpful to ask if they want advice, or simply want to rant.

Be embracing

Everyone thinks and acts differently. The more we know a person, the more likely we are to realise our individual differences. Remember to accept these contrasts and treat others with respect; these are key to building and maintaining a lasting friendship.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to dive so seriously into new friendships. You can start by getting together and hanging out with a few friends, or people that you know a little that you want to be closer to. Have a movie night, pop some popcorn, and enjoy each others’ company – you can see where it goes from there!

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend

This was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.
Source: Young Post