How to Make Friends. Part Two

24 Dec

“HI.” and a FIRST IMPRESSION.

So, hopefully you’ve read and mulled over the first part of this series on, “How to Make Friends.”  Maybe, you’ve even FOLLOWED my advice and narrowed your focus to a manageable, less intimidating group of people.  How’s that going? Which small group did you pick? Was it all one gender or co-ed? Religiously affiliated? Fitness? Reading?  I would love to hear your choices!  I can also hear you tell me:

“I have joined a group, introduced myself as the “newbie” and still haven’t made any progress towards finding a REAL friend!”

Well, my friend, the good news is that we have all been in your shoes.  The second step of making friends is to make a great first impression!!  Making friends is a whole lot easier when people WANT to get to know you!!!!

Let me give you a scenario: You’re the new person in the group, so the first day you introduce yourself.  You’re red-faced and rush through it,

“Hi name is Cecilia, I’m glad to be here. ”

and then sit down……….

You are embarrassed and avoid eye contact at all cost.  NOT GONNA WORK ! People need a hook.  Tell them something genuine, something that makes approaching you easier.

Or just as deadly, another scenario:  You come across as cocky and bragged just a little tooo much.

 “Hi my name is Cecilia, I didn’t think I needed to join a reading group because I’ve read every Pulitzer Prize winner, fiction and non-fiction, all the Oprah book club picks, and the entire NY times bestsellers list since the dawn of time. I’ve already read the book you’ve selected and I thought it was downright boring.  Who picked THAT book?  Anyway, I am glad to be here.”

 Ouch.  Not gonna make friends that way either.

Here’s a better intro:

 “Hi everyone!  My name is Cecilia and I am so glad to be here, I love reading and want friends that have similar interests.  I just moved here from Small Town, America and I am really hoping to get to know people better.”  

You have built common ground, have given a personal fact about your move, and you have made yourself approachable!  See?  Not hard at all.  PRACTICE IT!

The first impression is really important and you want people to think that you are nice, not overly shy or worse yet, a “know it all.”  Most people remember how hard it is to make friends in a new place. Lets go two things that can ruin a first impression.

1. Your OUTFIT.  I know, it seems a little petty, but no one can see through to your heart.  What you’re wearing is the FIRST thing people see!

 Guys, don’t wear your favorite team’s jersey, hat and socks, unless you’re going to a football game.  Avoid expressing bodily functions, we are all grown ups now.  Don’t smoke or chew or worse SPIT into a cup.  It’s silly.  And gross. And smelly. Speaking of smells, my husband just walked in smelling like a compost heap.  MEN! LISTEN UP!! Your armpits are stanky, wear deodorant! Nothing worse than not even wanting to be near a person because they stink!

Ladies, don’t wear 4 inch heals, carrying a designer bag, wearing designer jeans and diamonds in you ears, around your necks and wrists. Leave the super expensive stuff at home.  It’s intimidating for other women who don’t own as much! I can tell you, I have done this, and it ALWAYS backfires!!!  You get so worked up on trying to make a good impression, that you become a LABEL for the fashion industry (which I love) and not a PERSON.  Also, DONT WEAR 10 LBS of MAKEUP!!  Heavy makeup is for nighttime events and sexy date nights.  If you’re makeup routine is that same for day and night, we can cover that issue at a later date. “Less is more” during the day!

Examples:

1. Under dressed.  Here I look like I just had my kid throw up on me, ironed with a rock, haven’t washed my hair in weeks, don’t own a tube of mascara and don’t give a crap about myself.  Also, I don’t look happy. That’s a level 1 “Push AWAY” outfit.

Photo on 2012-12-24 at 14.00 #2

2. Over dressed. I am SOOOO guilty of this, so many times!  Don’t make my mistakes people, be APPROACHABLE!! Level Two “Push AWAY.”  (I had an obsession with facinators for like a second, during the royal wedding madness.) Who wants to be friends with a lady who wears crazy crap on her head??!!  If you have an eclectic sense of fashion, consider toning it down the first time.  Or consider making friends with the guy on The Voice, that wears 20 rings, a vest AND an Ascot AND a corduroy jacket and hasn’t shaved in forever.

IMG_0944

3. Just right!  Notice, the big smiles!!!  Its your best and “friendliest” accessory!   These are a few of my great friends!  I had to introduce myself to them all and I haven’t scared them away yet!!!DSC_0062IMG_7654-1

DSC_0055

 The second thing that can make you unapproachable is this : Being too polarized.  The bottom line is that unless you are in a group that caters to your SPECIFIC opinions, keep them to yourself for now.  For instance, if you are joining the Republican group of your city, by all means, express your political views!  But if you’re joining a book club, you should definitely keep politics to yourself.  If you are joining a group of Moms, keep your views on baby wearing, nursing, preschool, potty training and labor to yourself.  You’re almost 100% guaranteed to offend someone who has done it differently.  The last thing you want to do is DRIVE people away!!!

I am not saying to avoid getting personal, I’m just saying keep it simple at first.  On my very first encounters with new people, it usually sounds something like this,

“Hi my name is Cecilia and  I have two kids, I was born and raised in Texas but I LOVE FLORIDA,  and the most important things in life are faith and family.”

I don’t get into why my God is cooler, or why my husband is sexier, or why, almost every state in the Union (except FL) is inferior to Texas.

Just kidding, I’m sure Nebraska is great.

I hope this helps!!! Our next installment on friendship will be about how to BE a great friend!  Something that I have learned a lot about recently.

Take Care!  Happy Holidays! Go out and make a GREAT FRIEND!

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