All close friends were once strangers. Making deep, close friendships is a science. It’s the “steroid” version of learning how to befriend strangers. Some rules and tricks make developing friendships easy at any age. But, being frank, I have one very close relationship I spend all my time with and another deeply loving childhood friend I text once or twice a week. I also have a few casual friends I solely text. And I’m happy with this. I don’t have time for friendships due to my tight schedule and pursuits. So I can’t say I’m an expert on making close friendships.
But, out of curiosity, I bought a course on how to develop deep friendships. It’s from Social Self again, although other classes are available. Many such courses exist on Udemy.com and LinkedIn.com. However, these Social Self courses are practical, and they’ve brought me impressive results in a short time. The first course I took was called Invisible to Interesting, and it has made my life much happier. If I have it correct, the second course is called Developing Deep Friendships. It costs over $500 but is paid in small increments over ten months. With that said, I hope to provide some insight into this course that may help people make deep friendships later in life.
First, be where people are but be visible. Join meetups, hobby groups, gyms, churches, temples, schools, mosques, or anywhere else healthy. I’d advise avoiding pubs, bars, strip clubs, and casinos. Those places may take us to the dark side, culminating in suffering. And be sure not to hang out against the wall. Be in the center of action, even if we aren’t necessarily in a venue that requires us to talk, such as a Mosque.
Second, learn the art of conversing with strangers. Share about ourselves. When I phone college administrators to see if they want my company’s courses in their curriculum, I may ask how their weekend was. I instantly know who is a good communicator and who could be better. The best communicators will give details such as, “My weekend was good. I celebrated my neighbor’s eightieth birthday on Saturday and relaxed watching Netflix on Sunday.” On the other hand, bad communicators will say, “Good. How was your weekend?” They need to give more details! But even if they aren’t the best communicators, I will follow with, “My weekend was great! I went swimming both days and studied a critical thinking and problem-solving course I love.” That usually causes them to warm up quite a bit. And what I say doesn’t have to be that interesting at all, just as long as it reveals something about myself.
Second, unite based on commonalities such as a hobby or interest. My young, sweet Vietnamese friend loves to exercise and cook. So, she suggested we go to fitness classes together. That means we could spend upwards of an hour together each week if we were both consistent. Also, I love cooking but eat primarily raw foods, so I wouldn’t be interested in most cooking classes. But I would love to learn how to prepare sushi. We could go to a sushi class together. That would amount to another hour a week together. But I’m pressed for time, so we text once a week instead. As a result, we’re not developing a deep friendship. So to make deep friendships, you should spend time together based on a hobby, interest, sport, or even Netflix if that’s a shared interest.
Be strictly positive with our new friends when we get together. Show them love, appreciation, and encouragement. Most courses say to share our problems. Based on content I learned from a different course, we shouldn’t share our problems. I try never to share my problems with even my most intimate friends, even though I’m okay with them sharing their issues with me. That’s because my problems introduce new problems to be on their minds, and I don’t want to be a source of stress, negativity, or burden. I prefer to keep things strictly positive. Most people enjoy being around positive and supportive people. There may be exceptions, but the rule is universal.
Spend lots of time with our new friends. According to ChatGPT, research indicates that developing a close friendship can take roughly 140 hours. So, aim to spend lots of time together. Building a close friendship for one hour a day would take over four months. So, budget smartly. Again, a shared activity is a great way to generate more of these hours.
So, those ideas on building a close friendship are highly applicable to introverts or more mature adults—or any of us wanting deep, meaningful, intimate rapport. However, a lack of friendships is not necessarily an indicator that we aren’t fantastic. It instead may signify that we could use clear guidelines on rapport building. Courses on developing friendships teach us systems for how to make many friends fast.