Ever been in this situation? You’re out looking to meet new friends in a bar, club, or a party and no one seems to be coming up to talk to you. You could be extremely attractive, funny or a great conversationalist. But that doesn’t matter one bit, if you’re giving off the wrong signals, look intimidating or unapproachable nobody will bother taking the time to get to know, let alone chat to you.
If this seems to be holding you back from making friends in London, follow the simple steps below and soon you’ll find yourself being propositioned and positively harangued everywhere you go:
1) Use body language to attract new friends in London
We all speak without having to say a single word, using body language. It’s one of the first things which people notice, picking up any negative vibes and subconsciously forming opinions, just by glancing over.
Good posture is of the utmost importance; crossed arms for example, look defensive and act as a barrier; you might as well be shouting, “don’t talk to me!”. A tilted head could be an indication that you have something to hide, are shifty by nature or are nervous and constantly moving your feet can be a sign of nervousness, impatience or being scared.
Such “closed” body language can be mistaken as a sign that you want to be left alone and which potential new friends in London subconsciously pick up on and immediately avoid you. Be aware of the image you portray using body language. A good “open” stance is to relax, keep your head up and your arms down by your side or confidently, in your pocket. This stance instantly tells everybody you are approachable.
2) Eye contact
Believe me, there’s nothing worse than someone sulking in the corner with a face like they’ve just eaten a plate of lemon sprinkled with salt, especially if you want to have fun, it brings people down.
By smiling, you are telling everybody you are having a great time; they will want to be near you to share in the fun. If someone looks at you, smile at them – it’s like saying, “Hi, it’s ok to talk to me.” Another form of “open” body language, smiling makes you seem much more approachable and also serves to put people at ease.
When you’ve pulled someone in for conversation or small talk, keep smiling; it show you are interested and appreciate their company. Your smile needs to be genuine; a big cheesy grin for no apparent reason can be massively off-putting. If you’re unsure of your smile, why not practise alone in the mirror. Try to remember, it’s the eyes that show the sincerity of a smile rather than the mouth.
3) Make sure you have a drink to hand
It sounds silly but having a drink can help you in this situation; Dutch courage being the obvious reason; alcohol can help calm the nerves in social situations. Another reason is it gives you something to focus on, something to take you mind off any social anxiety or nervousness. You can focus this anxiety away from you and into your drink; hold your drink by your chest, holding it by your face gives the same impression as folding your arms or looking down.
4) Network to find new friends
If you find people are still not approaching you, go to them. It’s a great way to show you are confident and approachable. If you do not know anybody, the longer you spend skulking in the peripheries, the more difficult it will be to pick it up later on. When you arrive, you have an immediate excuse to approach people for small talk or conversation. If you are worried about what to say, a sincere compliment or introduction followed by questions acts as a great ice breaker. Make sure you are accommodating, positioning yourself for the conversation – if they are standing, get up, otherwise the conversation may be cut short due to them feeling uncomfortable.
5) Ever heard of smirting?
Alternatively, use small talk after gaining someone’s eye contact for example, “What are you drinking, that looks nice?” If you are a smoker, smirting (a phrase coined combining the words, flirting and smoking) is great way to approach others. In the UK you have to go outside to smoke, there are less distractions and you already have one thing in common; you are both smokers.
6) Fun people attract new friends
The best way to look approachable, in order to make friends in London, is to have fun and genuinely enjoy yourself. Dive into the atmosphere, dance, laugh and join in. Having fun is a great way to dispel any social anxiety, you are changing your body language and any nervousness will disappear. Having fun will put you completely at ease and will make you appear confident and extremely approachable.
7) Physical appearance
In order to look approachable, you need to look like somebody would like to approach you. As is the case with body language, people may be subconsciously repelled by your physical appearance. Simple things like making sure your hair is tidy, you are well groomed, you have no stains on your clothes and if your shoes are clean all make a huge difference; first impressions count, we all stereotype subconsciously, even if we say we don’t.
Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the situation, some bars and clubs have a dress code, this goes with other social situations; make sure you are clued up to the dress code. If you don’t know, smart casual with shoes – not trainers, will generally be ok. Unless of course it’s a black tie occasion. Finally, if you feel good about your appearance you’ll be more confident and appear more approachable.
8) Help out in a social situation
If you get the chance to help out, do it. This will show people you are willing to do your fair share, particularly at a party – the host or hostess will be very appreciative. This is a fantastic pretext to meet new friends and the task will stop you from cowering in a corner feeling awkward.
9) Ditch your IPod
Ever get tempted to escape into your music or book? Resist the urge, it puts up an instant barrier to other like a big sign reading, “don’t bother me, I’m busy!” And no one will bother you. Chances are, you won’t meet new friends during rush hour, so it’s ok for tube or bus journeys. Otherwise, you could be missing out of some meaningful conversation. Imagine a chance encounter with a potential new friend, random I know, but it is possible, if you create unnecessary barriers, it’s never going to happen.
10) Believe in yourself
You’ll be a 100% more approachable to people if you exude confidence, believing that you are interesting and totally worth approaching confidence is magnetic; having self belief will make others want to stop and talk to you and get to know you. If confidence is a sticking point for you, think about your accomplishments, all the things you have going for yourself and your skills. If you can’t think of anything, you may need to learn new skills; take a class, take up a new hobby or join a sports team.