Friends are an essential part of life that increase our happiness and make us feel more fulfilled. There’s nothing quite like having a bond with someone who shares similar values, attitudes, and ideas. When you find someone who complements your personality and makes you a better person, you know you’ve found a worthwhile friend.
Some friends you make naturally. You may not even know how the friendship formed. Then, there are people you don’t know well enough to call a friend, but you’d like to get to know them better. For these cases, it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle in a little psychology. You might already use psychological tactics but don’t know it.
So, if you want to excel socially with people around you and make new friends, here are three psychological hacks to try.
1. Leverage FOMO
In today’s social media-driven world, it’s too easy to feel like we’re missing out on fun activities, events, and opportunities, also known as FOMO. The fear of missing out is a psychological phenomenon that produces anxiety and stress when people feel like they aren’t where they want to be. It’s especially common for social media users because they constantly see content and media of people they know going out and having fun.
On average, 69 percent of millennials experience FOMO, which is the most of any age group. It’s easy to open your social media and instantly see post after post of friends and peers hanging out and having experiences together.
FOMO doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however. You can use it to your advantage to connect with friends and motivate people to create their own unique, fun experiences.
For example, you can:
- Reach out and plan exciting activities with friends you haven’t seen in a while. The mere exposure effect shows that repeated exposure to someone makes them like you better.
- Turn your phone off for a few hours every day to unplug from social media.
- Take up a new hobby that keeps you busy and doesn’t let you wonder what others are up to, such as creating a blog, for instance.
- Create a set time for social media so you don’t spend extra time mindlessly scrolling through apps and wasting time.
2. Mirror others
In 1999, researchers at New York University conducted a study to see how participants felt when the person they spoke to mirrored their body language. Known as the chameleon effect, it proved that when you mimic someone else’s behavior in a conversation, it draws them in, causing them to like you more.
The next time you approach someone, try copying their body language during the conversation. When you share physical behaviors, it makes the other party feel understood and heard. It also shows them you’re fully invested in the exchange and want to listen to what they have to say. Attentiveness goes a long way in getting to know someone better and forming a bond, and you can use this for anyone you want to become closer with.
3. Kill ‘em with kindness
When you perform acts of kindness, it brings more benefits than you think. Being kind to others releases oxytocin and serotonin in the brain. These chemicals strengthen the bond between you and the other person, release positive energy, and make it easier to form a meaningful connection.
When making friends, we look for those who complement our personalities but also encourage us to do better. The more we feel we connected to someone, the more inclined we are to keep that connection going so it’s long-lasting.
From a business perspective, speaking positively about others in your industry helps you build authentic relationships and generate leads. People want to surround themselves with those who build them up, encourage them, and bring out their best qualities. So, when you praise someone for a job well done or tell them something you admire about them, it boosts their confidence and urges them to get to know you.
Over to you
Don’t underestimate how much psychology can benefit you to help you achieve your goals and meet new people. The human brain is a weird place, but when we use data to understand it, we can make informed decisions that lead us on the path to success and happiness.