Expanding your social circle is one key strategy for career success and advancement. It also presents a valuable opportunity for you to improve the quality of your life and relationships.
1. Have a natural curiosity towards people.
Show genuine concern. Give a helping hand when you can. That way people want to know you.
They are keen about allowing you into their social space.
2. Go out and meet people
I recommend taking up new activities to meet some interesting people. You’ll find that if you keep getting involved in new things, you’ll keep meeting more and more people, and every once in a while, one will “stick” and you’ll have a friend for life. Volunteer, get on a committee, join a gym, a book club, a dance class, some professional group etc. It is important to also note that the kind of people the kind of people you attract would be determined by the kind of places you choose to hang out. Someone rightly put it this way, “if you want to see a ship, then go to the shore”.
3. Be sensitive to the other person
Don’t bore people with tales about yourself or things you want to talk about. Talk about what other people want to hear. Listen to them. People want an opportunity to express themselves. They want to be heard. Give them that chance and you would be perceived in good light. With that perception people see you as very valuable for their social circle. This automatically means a social expansion for you.
4. What are you bringing to the table?
No one ever wants a liability or a give me, give me kind of person as a friend-It puts people off. Always think of what you can bring into ever relationship. Ask yourself how you can benefit this new contact. Think about how you can help them with their goals. Leave people better than you find them.
5. Make time to see people
I said “make time” because I know most people are short on time. But it is things that you care about that you allocate time for. If you really care about people you have to squeeze out sometime to see them or at the very worst keep in touch my personal [not forwarded emails], phone calls checking out on them or post cards saying they are in your memory.
6. Always stay positive and give people encouragement
Negative people sulk! They promote fear; raise anxiety levels and fuel insecurity. And nobody wants to stay around them. But when you are positive even in the face of adversity, people tend to look up to you and draw inspiration from you. This is a great arsenal…please, please use it. It works!
7. Smile a lot and be friendly
Friendliness begets friendliness. Avoid being rude to people you do not know. Be kind to them. A warm smile is inviting and is a first sign that you are accommodating. Give it generously. It is very inexpensive but works wonders.
8. Be visible
Don’t hide within a group. Speak out and “seek” attention. [Sorry if you don’t like that] but if you are serious about expanding your social circle then you must do what it takes. Else you can just hide behind the curtain.
9. Be open to opportunities
Who says people of different generations can’t build valuable relationships? Narrowing your circle of friends to your particular demographic is like limiting your underutilizing the options available to you. There is always something unique about people outside what would ideally be your comfort. They bring perspective and unique approaches to issues. There is so much to learn about people that are different than us. Harness it.
10. Expand your horizon by exploiting your existing network!
“People you like will know other people you’ll like. So try meeting friends of your friends. When you organise a function ask your friends to come over with their friends. Before long you would realise that your social circle is just exploding. That’s actually what you see playing out on Facebook.
11. Getting out and meeting unfamiliar people.
Don’t walk past people in functions because you do not know them anyway. Extend a handshake, smile and introduce yourself. At first it might feel odd and somewhat strange to you but as if you can repeat this time and time again, there soon comes a time that you would find it less difficult and gain a boost in your confidence.
12. Hold your own-Never intimidate or be intimidated
Don’t be intimidated by people’s status or what they have or own. You must also ensure you are not intimidating. Stay simple and get down from your horse. You never know what stuff the next guy is made of.
13. Pay attention to details
Remember little things about people. Things like their names and birthdays and off course ensure that you do not forget some “petty details” they would have communicated to you in an earlier conversation. It matters a lot especially to ladies! [LOL]
14. Appreciate people sincerely and praise generously
“Flatter” them genuinely. Always be on the look out for something special about people you can commend. Praise generously but rebuke sparingly.
15. Create networking opportunities for others
Organize meetings or functions that create networking opportunities for others. Work out ways of getting together people that have solutions and those that have needs the solutions can meet. You can be the meeting point. And either would always be glad they ever got to know you. This ups your social significance.
16. Do what you can to make friends but don’t overdo it
Never spend all your time trying to lets someone become a part of your social circle. Try but don’t beg! All you need to make people want to know you is raising your social proof. Ignore rejection and move ahead. You must understand that there are plenty of people out there who will want to be your friend. Move to the next opportunity!
17. Act like a leader.
People always want direction. Create it. But never be arrogant or want to tell people what to do. They’ll loathe you. So in trying to act like a leader please and please always remember there is a thin line to walk so you’d better be careful.
18. Be reliable and trustworthy
Being reliable and trustworthy might just be the most important of all of these points. The fastest way to loose social capital is to be unreliable. If you do this people melt away from you faster than wax melts in the presence of fire. Avoid anything that raises questions about your integrity. Shun it like a plague.
19. Talk, talk, talk
Make small talk with everyone you meet, it doesn’t cost much. It might not be serious at first but guess what? You might meet them again and again and you would find that you would begin to relate like you have know each other for ages. I don’t know how it works but I have seen it work over and over again.
20. Stay in touch
Finally, get in the habit of following up with any new potential friends you make. Make sure to remember their names. Mention their names when you speak and when you try to contact them after the first meeting. It shows interest and that you genuinely care about them. Take their contact information and drop of an email within 24 hours saying how good it was meeting them. Try to stay in touch. And you might want to get a list of your old friends now and email them, give them a call, send them a card, a handwritten note or something that tells them, “I have not forgotten you”.