Improving Your Social Network

I was sitting at home a couple of days ago, wondering how some people have very small social networks/circles and others have the largest network/circle of people around them. Is it that certain people have better opportunities than others to make their networks grow and expand to every facet of their lives? I wasn’t quite sure what the answer was to my question, but I was sure there are ways to improve one’s social network/circle. I then began listing different ways to do so and I came up with the following list:

  1. Get a job: For those of us who are unemployed at the moment, our socializing is certainly limited. However, working will offer an abundance of people to socialize with. Also, the larger the company, the better chance to make friends or network with other co-workers.
  2. MySpace/Facebook/Etc: Although most of the online world uses some type of social networking website, most people neglect to actually socialize with those thousands of friends we’ve accumulated on the site. By writing/messaging/commenting more people on these sites, you will increase your own “fan” base. The more people you conversate with, the better known you will become because people will be more likely to remember your name and conversate back to you.
  3. Go out: This is one of the easiest ways to meet people. Going out to clubs/bars/events and meeting new people will aide in your socializing. The more you go out, the more noticeable you will become and eventually people will get to know you and want to befriend you.
  4. Volunteer: Involve yourself in a charity or volunteer group and you will meet new people through your volunteer work. If you get involved in charities or volunteer groups that you are interested in, you will be very likely to meet people with those same interests.
  5. Meet your friends’ friends: Usually, people like to stay within their own circles and are less likely to open up to people from the “outside.” Instead, meet some of your friends’ friends/associates/co-workers. You never know if a “friend of a friend” could be the great friend or social networking opportunity you have been looking for!
  6. Join a sport or hobby group: By playing sports that you like/love or getting involved in your favorite hobbies, such as scrapbooking or photography, you will be able to meet other people who will obviously have the same interests as you. Look up groups for your specific hobby or sport online or in newspapers and commit to joining.
  7. Make friends with your loved one’s family: I know, not everyone’s family is as perfect as yours (lol), but open your heart to these strangers who are a large part of your loved one’s life. Even if they don’t like you (so you think) or vice versa, you never know if there may be a sibling/cousin/family member’s mate that you may get along with. After all, you all will have at least ONE common interest: you ALL love your loved one!
  8. Forgive/apologize to old friends: Yes, this is probably the hardest thing you have ever had to do, but swallowing your pride and being the bigger person are healthy for you and the other party involved. Sometimes the disagreement isn’t as big of a deal as it may have seemed, so you should just forgive and forget. This will most likely help you to gain back the friends you once lost because of an argument or disagreement.
  9. Rekindle old friendships: Likewise to regaining friendships through apologizing, rekindling old friendships you may have lost through relocating/job change/etc. will aide in gaining a larger group of friends. So, if you have lost touch with old friends, organize a dinner or small event in which you can regain your old friendship.
  10. Leave the house: I know, this is the most simple, easiest thing anyone could ever do, but it really is the best solution. Getting out of the house will broaden your horizons and you never know who you could bump into while you’re out. So, go shopping, go out to eat, go to your local coffee shop, or even walk around your neighborhood or downtown area. Just do something outside of your home where other people are dwelling or enjoying themselves!

So, I hope this list aides you in gaining a larger social network/circle of friends. These tips are not scientifically proven to work, but from what I have gathered from television/movies and real life experiences, people are starting in these general categories. Also, I have a few tips for those who are more apprehensive to socializing with people they don’t know:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to people or be the first to strike up a conversation.
  • Be approachable- smile – FEEL happy and it will show!
  • Carry around a cell phone or address book. Also, make sure you have a notepad/paper and a writing utensil at all times- if you can’t call someone or get their number, how will you be able to socialize with them?
  • Be patient and stay positive- all good things come to those who wait.
  • Don’t speak about negative topics when you first meet people; save that for those committed friendships!
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