Making new friends is an art we can cultivate at any age. If you are fed up of spending weekends in bed with popcorn and Netflix, going out with people you love and cherish can drastically improve your life. Being around friends and family who build us up and add joy to our live contributes greatly to our well being. Here are some ways in which you can make that happen:

Go on a lunch with your friend or colleague

Before we go about expanding our social circles, it is a great idea to start nurturing the relationships we already have. If you have time to spare during a break this week, why not invite your friend for lunch? You two can catch up, talk and vent about work, and just have a good time together. Or if you are comfortable with it, asking a coworker out for lunch is also a great way to establish a friendship.

Work on what prevents you from going out

For some of us, social events bring on a lot of anxiety. For others, the fear of rejection or of not being enough makes them cancel plans every week. Whatever it is that is hindering you from attending more social events, know that it is not permanent – you can and will work through it. You can take the help of online videos that focus on this kind of anxiety, and if you can access the one you can go to a counselor or therapist too. Once you sit down with the issue and talk about it, you will be able to understand it and effectively work through it.

Show interest in other people

One of the best and easiest ways to strike up a friendship is to take interest in the other person. Ask questions, listen to what they have to say, and engage in the conversation. A great tip to remember is that it is way easier to take interest in other people than to make other people feel interested in you to make friends. This habit will also help you realize that we have a lot in common with other people than we may have thought.

Make the best of the holidays

Holidays come with many opportunities to socialize. You can host a party at your house for your friends. Spending these occasions with loved ones is a great way to remind yourself of the wonderful people you have in your life, catch up with them, and make the holidays more cheerful. Days off like weekends are also a great time to get together. You can plan a night out with your friends and spend some quality time together. When you take the initiative to meet up, your friend/s will also show interest!

 Be a good guest

Hosts love guests who are polite and helpful. The next time you are invited to a dinner party, make sure you reach on time. Offer to help with setting up the table, serving drinks, etc. These things will help your host a lot, and you will also have a chance to interact with people throughout the night. Be your natural self, listen to people, and be friendly. The host will remember you, and want to invite you again!

 Go to places and events where you feel comfortable

Be it a local book fair or a meet for a social cause, turn up. If you are in college or university, look for clubs that interest you. Are you a poetry buff? Do you like singing? There will be something or the other for you to join. These spaces are great for meeting new people and expanding your circle. You can easily strike up a conversation or two with them. Because you already have an interest in the event, you will be more relaxed and confident about yourself.

 At first, meeting new people and opening up can feel all sorts of scary. But putting yourself out there is perhaps the only way to expose yourself to new people, and thus, new experiences too. Once you relax and take an avid interest in the person in front of you, everything else will fall into place.