People are social creatures. They live in groups, they need the groups and they rely on the groups to survive. Some people need friends more than others do, but living on our own, not seeing or being in contact with the outside world, would bring an end to human kind. Friends and friendships are very important to all people, even to those who find it hard to admit, and what social skills we do not have naturally, we can develop.
To be comfortable on a social level avoid doing the following:
1. Do not criticize. Criticism is the opposite of being friendly. It changes the balance between equal people to one considering himself/herself better. Do not confuse feedback with criticism. Criticism is always considering your point over the other.
2. Do not condemn others for their actions and behavior . Again, this destroys the fine balance that is required in a pleasant interaction. When you condemn people, you are stating that there is right and wrong. This only proves you are not a close enough friend as you have no idea what would make this person behave the way he/she did.
3. Do not complain. Complainers are not friendly by definition. The things they complain about are more important to them than the friendship and others do not like hanging around them for long.
4. Do not nag. Nagging is another way of criticizing, condemning and complaining. It is a sign you are not in an equal relationship. Nagging is a sign you think your opinion is superior and that you rather the other person do what you want even if it is done by force.
To stand out as a happy, social person, do this:
1. Give honest and sincere appreciation. The opposite of the first four behaviors that destroy the balance is to show and express appreciation. Say good things about your friend. Generally, saying good things about others (only if they are true) makes others consider you a friendly person that sees the good in others.
2. Use people’s names. Everyone likes the sound of his or her name. Remembering someone else’s name is very important and it is better to ask, “Can you remind me of your name again?” than not to use the name at all (or to guess it incorrectly).
3. Avoid arguments. In any argument, there are two sides. Both of them are valid. Argumentative people do not have many friends, because they are energy consumers and exhausting to spend time with. If you start an argument, consider the friendship and choose to lose the argument and not the friendship. If you feel you need to win an argument, you have already lost.
4. Smile. People who smile seem very friendly. Smiling is a form of communication that attracts people. When you smile, it sends the other person an invitation to interact with you
5. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. In every interaction, measure how long you speak and how long the other person speaks. The one who speaks less is considered friendlier. In an interaction with others, there should be an equal share of contribution
6. Be genuinely interested in other people. When you do listen and encourage others to talk, make it genuine and sincere. To show interest in people, you need to ask questions. Ask more information about what they have just told you to show that you were listening and you are interested by what they are telling you.
7. Make the other person feel important and special and be honest with it. Tell someone if you think they look nice or if they seem happy.
8. Show respect to others’ ideas and never tell them they are wrong! Every relationship is based on mutual respect. People do not like being in a judgmental relationship.
9. When a person is upset, do not talk negatively, only talk about the positive. Friends are there to help each other.
10. Do not try to change your friend. Instead, try to see things from their point of view. No two people do, act, say and treat things exactly the same way, but that does not need to come between friends. Friendship does not give you the right to change the other person but to understand them.