Do you struggle to do things that interest you, with people that interest you?
Everyone wants to do fun stuff with people that they like, it’s part of human nature. The social connections in our life turn the monotonous into spontaneous and memorable!
Think about how someone at school who you grew close with improved your experience there. How about those times you watched a movie with a friend and had a fascinating conversation about it afterwards?
Having multiple, meaningful relationships is the true spice of life. Social connections help us feel included and appreciated. It’s part of our human evolution.
Our ancestors relied upon being part of the “pack” in order to get access to food and shelter, being ostracized from the group meant death. In fact when we are ostracized, our brain triggers the same part of our brain that goes off when we feel physical pain.
This feeling is so strong that in a controlled experiment of a multi-player game, the subjects were found to prefer to be “included” rather than excluded, even if it meant losing money! So regardless of if they won or lost money, they always defaulted to wanting to be included even though it didn’t make economic sense.
Now at this point in society, we won’t physically die if we’re not part of the pack, but think about how it makes you feel mentally and psychologically.
- How can I establish deeper relationships with people?
- I don’t wanna talk to people just for the sake of “small talk.” What’s next?
- I want to build a social circle to do fun things with, where do I start?
- I don’t go out because no one ever invites me to do anything. What do I do?
Today I’m going to answer these questions, share a word-for-word script, and principles that will help you do the things you want to do, with people you want to do them with.
Trust me this stuff works. I used these same principles to make friends in a brand new city I moved to where I didn’t know anyone. I built such strong friendships that a few of these folks who I only knew for a few months even came to my wedding!
I know I want to build my social circle, but where do I start?
The answer is simple, you have to start cultivating relationships.
It sounds cheesy, but relationships are like trees. You have to plant them, care for them and maintain them. If you do, the “fruits” of your labor will translate into having people to hang out with on weekends, share experiences with, and form a group of people in your life who you can turn to when you need support.
It all starts with getting to know people on a deeper level, and you do this by hanging out with them. The reason why this works is because you both commit your time and energy to each other and it naturally builds a meaningful relationship.
Think about it this way: Have you ever had an experience of befriending a coworker? You may have started as acquaintances at work…but when you hung out outside of that environment, it took your friendship to the next level. Didn’t that relationship evolve way faster compared to coworkers who you didn’t hang out with outside of the office?
It did for me. Some of the greatest friends in my life have been people I met through work years ago and hung out with outside of those confines.
The reason why those friendships remained strong even after we all moved companies was simple: we did stuff together. We’d hang out on weekends, grab drinks after work, and celebrate birthdays. We had a shared history that created a bond we didn’t want to lose.
See humans are hard-wired to avoid losses. In fact, people would rather not lose something, than gain something. It’s called loss aversion and it also applies to relationships.
You can build relationships worth keeping too.
Remember it’s not other people’s jobs to decide that you’re “good enough” to hang out with, it’s up to you to decide who you want to hang out with.
So how do I take the first step?
In the last post we talked about some basic principles you can use when inviting someone out. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it in person or via email, phone, etc. the principles hold true.
In general, people want to hang out with other fun people (be cheerful), they don’t want to think a lot (give them some choices on days/times/venues and keep it casual), and they don’t want to hang out with desperate people who feel sorry for themselves.
Let’s jump into a word-for-word script you can use:
Hope you’re doing well! [Reason] I’m gonna be in your neighborhood on [proposing a day and time] Friday afternoon around 2pm.
I wanted to see if you had some time to [keep it casual] grab some coffee and catch up at the [easy and casual venue] closest Starbucks to you. [cheerful + reason] Just wanted to say hi and see what you’re up to these days!
[not desperate] If you’re busy Friday, no biggie, just let me know a few days that work well for you in the next 2 weeks so we can set something up.
Have a great day!
Why does this work?
The short answer is that it makes it easy for the other person to say “yes.” But in “Social Tiger Mom” style, let’s dive deeper:
1. Reason- you’re giving them a reason to hang, whether it’s good or not doesn’t matter. People value their time so you want to let them know the value they’ll be getting in exchange for it. Maybe there’s a band you know they like that’s having a concert or in this example you just wanted to catch up
2. Propose some days/times- in this example I only gave one choice, but you can give 1-3 choices of days or times. Don’t give them too many options, when people face many choices they get overwhelmed. This is called the paradox of choice. You also remove the cognitive load of them having to come up with a few days/times. If you want to invite someone to a specific event (like a concert) that’ll make this part even easier.
3. Keep it casual– you want to keep the barriers low, so don’t invite them to a VIP club where neither of you aren’t guaranteed to get in. If you have an exclusive invite to a party or venue, that’s awesome…leverage it! But if it’s a general meet up, coffee, drinks or a meal will do
4. Easy venue- if you’re not picky on venue you can propose one or let them decide one that works well for them. Most people have “go-to” places in their neighborhood so it will be a bit easier for them to decide that piece. Otherwise, pick something centrally located to both parties
5. Cheerful- notice how the tone of the note is upbeat and not desperate. At the end I give them an quasi “out” if they can’t make it. People don’t want to hang out with a sour puss and they also don’t want to feel bad if they can’t make it
Now it’s time to start asking people to hang out.