How To Make Friends And Build Your Personal Dream Team

how to make friends

A little while back I published a post about the social challenges of being “different”. Whether it’s minimalism, veganism or entrepreneurship, I was feeling a little out of touch with my existing social circles. In the post I talked about changing up your starting 5 to reflect the people who you want to spend the most time with.

In this note, I want to take it a step further and talk about some actionable strategies to help you make friends and build your personal dream team.

I recently came across an interview between Paul Jarvis and Gala Darling. One thing that stood out in their conversation was how hard it is to make new friends as a grown-up. Sure it’s simple enough to make surface-level friends, (which we often refer to as acquaintances) – but it’s much more challenging to find people who align with at least some of your core values.

One thing Gala said that struck a cord with me was how she finds it much easier to make new friends online than she does offline. Excuse my terrible attempt to paraphrase what she said, but here it is:

“If you think about it, the world is so big. What is the likelihood that you will step out of your front door and make a connection with some random stranger on the street, in a shopping centre or in a cafe?”

It rarely happens that way.

The internet on the other hand has a way of shrinking our world. It’s now easier than ever to connect with people all around the planet. And the cool thing about it is that you can filter and screen people online without them even knowing! You can learn more about a person and their interests by connecting with them on social media, reading their blog or hanging out with them in an online forum.

You can find out whether they like the same musicians as you, whether they love yoga like you, whether they’re vegan, or paleo. Do they like Loui CK or Frozen?

You can get a feel for all of this information before you make the decision to pursue the relationship further. Much like online dating 😉

Finding friendships offline is simply not as effective as it is online. Don’t get me wrong, offline is better for deepening relationships, but it’s just so difficult to filter and screen potential friends in person. We’re often quite reserved when we meet someone in the the flesh for the first time. It might take 4-5 meetings before you start warming up to each other – all to find out that it wasn’t meant to be.

So having all of this I’m mind, the next question is how. How do you find your starting five online? Below are a few tips I’ve found handy for finding, connecting and deepening relationships using the internet as a vehicle.

1. Research where your type of people hangout online

The first thing you need to do some preliminary research to find out where your kind of people spend most of their time online based on common interests. A logical place to look first is Facebook.

With over 1 billion users, you’re bound to find like-minded people on there. Randomly stalking peoples profiles probably isn’t the best idea though. Instead, focus on connecting with others in Facebook groups based on things that interest you.

Would you like to find people who love handball? Search for handball Facebook groups. When you find a potential group, it will either be public or private. Anyone can join a public group without permission whilst you will need to send a request to join a private community.

Personally, I’ve found that private groups have stricter guidelines and more meaningful engagement as they’re not just any randoms joining the group and causing a ruckus.

Talking about guidelines, make sure you take the time to read them. It’s important that you adhere to simple ground rules so you don’t get kicked out.

Once you’re in, it’s time to connect. Introduce yourself to the group or even take it a step further and create a little 30 sec video on your computer so people remember you.

Set a few minutes aside each day to comment on other posts and share some information with the community.

Over time you will start to have conversations and perhaps develop some relationships. It’s quite easy to start a conversation because typically you’re talking about a shared interest within the theme of the group.

After a few weeks or a month in the group, you might find out that you have more in common with some members. That’s when you could send them a direct message or add them as a friend. Then you can comment on things they share on their newsfeed and further develop the relationship.

Action step: sign up to 5 Facebook communities based on your passions and interests. Introduce yourself with an image or short video and connect with people a few minutes each day. Aim to add 5 friends within the next 30 days.

2. Catch up for a virtual tea or coffee

By now you have spent some time connecting with people on Facebook or other online forums. Many of us get stuck in this connecting phase and fail to deepen the relationships.

The most effective way to take your new connections to the next level, is to jump on a video call with them. There are tons of tools out there which you can use for free. Go ahead a create a Skype account if you haven’t already. It might also be worth creating a Google account so you have the option for Google Hangouts or FaceTime if you own Apple devices.

Once you’ve setup your accounts, it’s time to ask your new acquaintances out for a call. Simply send them a private message and say:

Hey {insert name},

I’ve really enjoyed connecting with you in the Facebook Group and it seems that we have a lot in common! I was wondering if you were free sometime for 15 mins to catch up over a Skype call to talk all things {insert common interest}.

Chat soon,
{your name}

That’s all you need to say. Short and sweet. It’s not creepy because you’ve already built up a relationship.

Depending on their timezone it may take some back-and-forth to come up with a suitable time for the both of you. During the call, just be yourself and stick to your topic of interest. Naturally you will start talking about other things.

If you feel that the call is going well, don’t be a afraid to ask at the end of the call if they would like to catch up again next month.

Don’t worry if you miss the opportunity, you can always ask them in a follow up message.

Action step: send a private message to 3 online friends and ask them to join you on a video call.

3. Create a personal mastermind group

Another fun way to build your dream team is through forming a mastermind group. A mastermind is typically used in business to form a team of 3-4 people who catch up regularly to discuss progress in their respective businesses.

It would be just as powerful to form a mastermind around your personal goals. Maybe it’s forming a new habit, or reaching your ideal weight, or getting out of debt. You could use the networking strategies above to schedule regular group calls with people with a very clear focus on self-development.

You could catch up once a week, a fortnight or once a month, depending on everyones availability.

I’ve found it extremely helpful to set an agenda for your mastermind. For example:

  • First 15 mins – each person discusses their progress and challenges for the last week.
  • Next 30 mins – the mastermind focuses on helping one member with a challenge they are having.
  • Last 15 mins – each member talks about what they will focus on to make progress this week.

Before rolling out an agenda, set up a casual call with all of the members just to see if the vibe is right. If you think it has legs, make a proposal for a regular mastermind.

Reaching your personal goals within a team environment is not only a powerful accountability tool, it’s also a great opportunity to build lifelong friendships.

Action step: send out a group message/email to your online friends outlining the details of setting up a mastermind group and propose a date and time to do a group call.

4. Take your relationships offline

After you’ve spent time forming relationships over virtual teas and mastermind sessions, you may want to go a step further and take those relationships offline. Sometimes this will be hard, particularly if you live on the other side of the world. Even then, it’s comforting to know that if you decide to travel, you have some friends who can show you around the area.

But if you’re within the same state, there really isn’t an excuse to meet in person and depend the relationship. You don’t have to force the issue. Maybe you could suggest that you attend a meetup or a conference together. Or if you’re comfortable just continue your sessions like you would online but do it in a cafe or something.

Then as the relationship grows, you could organise to spend time at each others houses and meet your respective families. The sky is the limit!

Action step: organise an in-person meet up with your new friend.

Not all relationships work

This system does not guarantee you an amazing set of friends. Just like any relationship, there are going to be some that work and some that just don’t work. What I like about this system is that it makes finding opportunities relatively easy. It’s just a matter of finding the places online where your kind of people hang out. And all it takes initially is a few minutes a day to see if there is anyone worth following up.

It’s interesting, we have a whole industry dedicated to online dating, but we don’t have any tools for online friending. It just shows that we commonly accept the friends that we already have, even though they might not be the best friends for us.

It’s definitely worth taking a bit of time to find your dream team.

Your dream team will hold you accountable to reach your personal and professional goals.

Your dream team will be there when life kicks you in the guts.

Your dream team will be there to celebrate with you in big moments.

Your dream team can be one of your most powerful assets. Most successful people have a close group of people they trust. Why can’t you?

2 comments… add one
  • Namrata 13/11/2016 Reply

    True that! It’s a lot easier to meet like-minded people online. I met most of my awesome set of current friends in as FB group dedicated to support vegans my country. I have also met a lot of amazing people in “real life.” Not random strangers tho. Visit places/attend events that truly interest you and you are likely to meet people with similar interests and values. Like if you’re an animal loving vegan, attend protests against animal cruelty, marches for animal rights, vegan events/potlucks, animal shelters, etc.

    • Well there you go. The internet is a powerful connection tool. Events are definitely the way to go if you have access. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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