How To Make Friends If You Have None

June 19, 2009

Alright, so you have no friends and you want some.  How do you go about getting them?

The good news is that you do not have to be some kind of conversational wizard.  

All you have to do is be friendly and proactive.

People in general are attracted to whatever provides them with good emotions.  This is why even the most socially awkward, nerdy people have friends.

How do you give people good emotions?  By not trying to make a certain impression on the other person.  

What does this mean?  Be authentic.

A lot of people do not interact with others authentically.  They are constantly trying to impress or manipulate how the other person thinks of them.

DROP THAT.

By default, if you are expressing yourself as opposed to trying to impress another person, you are a source of good emotions.  This is because humans are wired to enjoy authentic conversation with other humans.

When you are trying to impress other people, you are by definition trying to get a certain reaction from them.  This is value taking to the extreme, and they can feel it.  

Think about a beggar who approaches you on the street.  How do you feel when he starts talking to you?  Usually pretty defensive.  Why?  Because you know he wants something from you.

So when you meet someone new, expect nothing.  This is incredibly important.  When you expect nothing, and just let go of any outcome, you will be communicating all the right things.  At that point, even boring conversation will work.

Being proactive means taking the initiative in the friendship.  The key ingredient to a friendship is time spent doing things together, so take the lead and arrange things with other people.  

In college, the easiest things to invite people to are parties.  As I talked about in another article, the path of least resistance is to be able to provide hot girls, booze or a place to party.

That said, those are a few options among many.  Off the top of my head, you can invite people to…

– Swing by and play video games
– Check out a part of campus
– Study
– Play pool
– Attend a sporting event
– Go ice skating
– Go to the mall
– Window shop
– Get a coffee
– Go to the park
– Walk your dog
– Go out to eat
– Meet up for a meal (Money if you’re in the dorms)
– Go to an event
– Go to the bar
– Go dancing
– Bowling
– Watch TV at your place
– Go do some shots
– Pick up girls/guys
– Pull some prank
– Play catch
– Play frisbee
– Go to the gym

And that’s just off the top of my head.  There are thousands of other things you can do.

Being proactive also extends to meeting people in the first place.  Start up conversations with people in class, have a pleasant conversation and simply say “yo, we should hang out some time.”  Boom, you have a new acquaintance.  Call him/her up and suggest doing something.  Do this a few times, and you’re friends with the person.

And yes, always assume that people are lazy.  Be the one making the calls.  be the one making the arrangements.  Go introduce people to one another and help them keep up an initial conversation.

And have no expectations from your friends.  If they flake on you, it isn’t a big deal.  If they keep blowing you off, it doesn’t necessarily mean they hate you.

Because remember, humans are, well, human.


How To Be Popular In College: Becoming Cool

June 4, 2009

Alright, so I cranked out an article a while back on the superficial ways to become popular  in college.

I felt kind of weird writing that article, because I actually do not do that stuff anymore.  Nevertheless, it is easier than ever for me to make friends.

That article was targeted towards someone who is looking for a “quick fix” to a lame social life that doesn’t require seriously changing him/herself.

Now, providing booze, hot girls or a place to party is not the only way to become popular in college.

You probably know a guy who is just so fucking cool that he can appear at any party and immediately become the center of attention without doing anything.

He can get away with this because he is cool.

Most of us act, or try to act, cool.  When we say something, we hope that the other person responds in a certain way (laughing, being in awe, etc.).  When they respond the way that we want them to, we feel more confident that the other person thinks we are a cool person.  As a result, we feel better about ourselves.

In short, we are response junkies.  Like a heroine addict, we need our fix of validation from others in order to feel good about ourselves.  When we feel good about ourselves, we give ourselves permission to act cool.

Guys who are cool don’t need certain responses in order to give themselves permisison to be cool.  That permission comes from, well, being alive.

Because they are so convinced that they are the shit, any kind of negative feedback, such as others not laughing at their jokes or feeling annoyed, is blocked out completely.

As a result, they don’t feel self-conscious when they don’t get a certain response because they aren’t looking for a certain response in the first place.  Negative responses are not even processed.

Because they aren’t self-conscious, they feel free to be cool.

Now, being cool is the secret to social success.

But what does it mean to be cool?

Cool= Uniqueness + Congruence

Uniqueness:  Things that stands out about you.  This can include your personality, your mannerisms, your style, your worldview and the general way you carry yourself.

Congruence:  Are those things “who you are?”

Usually congruence lags behind uniqueness.

For example, if this guy…


…rolls into class one day rocking a tank top, bling bling and a bandanna and goes around saying “whad up dog,” he is probably not going to be congruent to it.  In other words, it is going to come across as weird because it is not who he is at that time.

Now, if he keeps with it long enough, it will become who he is.

The fact is, people can and do make dramatic changes to themselves.

If you think back to high school, you might have witnessed an average girl turn into an emo girl.  You might have seen a nerdy introvert become very outgoing and popular.  You might have seen a jock become a nerd.

Now, when somebody does something to make themselves stand out, they are usually not congruent to it.  Instead of being cool, that person goes through a period where he is “try hard” or “not himself” or “weird.” It takes a long time for old habits to go away, after all.

For example, if you are dry and boring, you will initially come across as weird if you start telling jokes.  Most of those jokes will probably bomb initially because you just aren’t that kind of guy yet.  You will feel enormous social pressure to return to the dry, boring conversationalist you were before.  After all, that boring identity is what you are still congruent to.

Most people are not willing to go through that period of rejection, so they don’t do anything to make themselves stand out more.

And since conformists are so common, they don’t stand out and therefore are not cool.

Now, even when a person becomes congruent to a more unique identity, their problems are not over.  The more you stand out, the more people with either love you OR hate you.

Your life will be filled with more groupies AND more haters.

The person you know with the most friends also has a lot of people bitching and moaning about them.

This is because if you do what most other people are doing, people will be indifferent towards you.  When you don’t do what other people are doing, then other people will actually have opinions about what you are doing.

Indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love.

Think about Nelly.  Nelly is undoubtedly a guy who stands out both professionally and personally.  He is pretty congruent to that to.

In fact, when he got a cut on his face and started wearing a bandaid, thousands of groupies across the country followed him and started rocking bandaids on their faces as well.

That said, a lot of people do not like Nelly’s antics.  They don’t like his attitude, his language, his style or his music.  To these haters, he is not cool.

Cool is in the eyes of the beholder.  The more you stand out, the more cool you will seem to some and the more uncool you will seem to others.

It’s a balance of sorts.  Depending on what you want in your life will depend on how you want to stand out.

It is possible to be cool and wear T-shirts and jeans.  It is possible to be cool and be full emo.  There are so many different ways to stand out it’s not even funny.

So let’s bring this around.  The key to being able to make friends without relying on superficial things like hot girls, booze and parties is to develop your individuality and allow yourself to stand out from others.  It is all about identity.

When you can go up to other people and give them a taste of this without needing anything in return, that is when you become powerful.  That is when you will have people begging to hang out with you.  That is when you become attractive to the opposite sex.  That is when you can walk into any social environment and immediately hook attention.

That is also when you will get people talking shit about you and trying to mess with you.

Thankfully, you will always have more groupies than haters so long as you give off good vibes.

Expect more to come on this topic.


Changing Yourself In College

June 1, 2009

A lot of incoming freshman come into college seeking to change their lives.  Usually, this means reinventing yourself as a person.

This is fantastic and should extend beyond college.

I can hear the chorus of naysayers.

“But you should just be yourself!”

“Don’t change who you are, that’s not keeping it real!”

“It can’t be done!”

This is all nonsense and comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of human beings: who we are is consistent, but what we do, how we look and the actions we take is not.

In other words, while it is true that parts of us cannot be changed, most of our behaviors and actions can.

This is because human beings are creatures of habit.  Well over 90% of the things that we do every day are predictable and do not change from day to day.

The way we socialize is habitual.  The way we do our work is habitual.  The way we walk is habitual.  The way we breathe is habitual.

We get our habits by acting in the same way over and over again, oftentimes for years.

Biologists and psychologists go a step further and claim that a lot of our habits are programmed, including our personality traits.  Read up on Myers-Briggs if you don’t believe me.

The good news is that while you might naturally programmed to be a certain way, you have the power to override that programming.

For example, if you are naturally a person who prefers solitude , you can become a person who prefers socializing.

If you are a person who feels the need to logically think about something before taking action, you can become a person who is more spontaneous and goes with the flow.

If you are someone who feels uncomfortable vibing with someone else, that can most definitely change.

Now, in my opinion, it is best to develop yourself on all levels.  For example, you should be perfectly comfortable both when you are by yourself reading a book AND in a crazy nightclub.  I think going overboard with one or the other makes you a pretty shallow person.

Anyway, making changes to yourself requires you to change your habits.  This is tough because your body and mind will resist furiously.

If you are a shy guy and you want to become more social, you will feel anxiety when you go and talk to people.  Why is this?  Because you are going against a habit of not being social that has been reinforced for years!

Luckily, you are a human being who is not a slave to her instincts.  You have willpower.  You can override that shit.

Unfortunately, willpower burns up quickly.

Willpower is like those big-ass rocket boosters

Willpower is like those big-ass rocket boosters

As anyone who has tried to go to the gym knows, it is much easier to go to the gym the first week when you are all excited than it is the second week when that enthusiasm wanes and rubbish thoughts start to appear…

“I’ll skip today.  One day won’t hurt right?”

“Oh, I didn’t eat my pre-workout meal, so I won’t be able to work very hard.”

“Oh, it’s raining outside.  Maybe I should just stay in.”

“It’s just not me.”

More often than not, those thoughts win out and you stay the exact same, non-fit person you were before.

Instead of relying entirely on your willpower to change a habit, it is usually better to use your willpower to create systems that force you to do the things needed to change the habit.  This article goes into this in more detail.

Using the workout example, you would leave yourself no other option than to show up to the gym.  Perhaps you have a training partner pick you up at a certain time everyday.  Perhaps you tell a friend to cash a $500 check if you skip a day.

Those rubbish thoughts suddenly have no power over you.

Fundamentally, this is why most college students fail to make positive changes to themselves: they allow themselves to be overwhelmed by their minds telling them not to do the things required to change themsleves.

I mean, 80% of the battle is usually just showing up.

If you want to improve your social skills, 80% of your success will come from just getting yourself to talk to people.

If you want to improve your grades, 80% of your success will come from opening your textbook.

If you want to get a boyfriend, 80% of the battle is showing up to places where there are guys swirling around.

It’s the old 80/20 rule in action.

Here is the take home lesson:

1.  Figure out what changes you want in your life.

2.  Figure out the person you need to become to have those changes happen.

3.  Force yourself to become that person by doing the work necessary to change your old habits.

Make yourself the person you know you can be.


How To Become Popular In College

May 17, 2009

So how do you become “popular” in college?  How do you get into the “scene?”

If you want to be the center of the social scene in college, the way forward is pretty straightforward.  If you don’t want to cultivate a chill, fun personality, you can get pretty much whatever you want if you provide at least one of three things: hot girls, booze or a place to party.

If you roll out with hot girls (Or are a hot girl), just about every party will open its doors for you.  It’s amazing how quickly a “full” party will suddenly have some space once some hot girls arrive.  You can hate on this reality, or you can make it work for you.

Like all human beings, hot girls like to be around fun people.  So, to get hot girls to roll with you, offer them a good time.

What does this mean?  Be a fun, chill person and become the center of their social lives by knowing what’s happening around town.  If you can go up and say “hey, I know this great party on Friday night, you and your friends should tag along with us,” you will be much more effective than someone who’s all like “ummmm… want to hang out?”

Another option is to provide alcohol or be able to direct people towards it.  The majority of college students drink.  Most college parties revolve around alcohol, so if you are the one providing it, then you will gain massive social value.

I love this movie

I love this movie

The third option is to provide a house, party, club, apartment, etc to party.  If can host some awesome parties, you will gain massive social value.  If you repeatedly host awesome parties (Say on a weekly basis) to the point where others become dependent on you for their weekend fun, then you will become very popular.

This might all seem pretty superficial.  However, working one or more of those options is the easiest way to be the center of the social scene.

That said, smart networking can also take you far in the social scene.  You can use networking to gain access to hot girls, booze and party places.  You can do things like befriend fraternity members who can get you and others into exclusive parties, make friends with club owners or just go and meet people during the day so you have more people to invite to parties.

Remember that as effective as all of these approaches are, the best approach is to just be a fun, chill person to hang out with.  At the very least, it will make this stuff work better.