MAKING new mates takes time, patience and a little luck – but there are a few tricks you can use to make the process easier.
Whether it’s smiling more or handing out plenty of compliments, science has come up with a bunch of psychological “hacks” that make you easier to be around.
Getty – Contributor These psychological tricks will help you make more friends
We’ve built a list of seven tricks you can use to build better friendships.1) Smile often
Smiling is the key to new friendships.
That’s because people tune in to positive vibes when they meet a stranger, and shy away from people expressing anger or sadness.
Showing your pearly puts across that you’re courteous, likeable, and competent.
Getty – Contributor Don’t forget to smile whenever you meet someone
Happiness is also rather infectious, and people are always more likely to like you if they’re in a good mood.
In a 2015 study, scientists at the University of California found that people tend to feel closer to strangers who display positive emotions.
They also found that people can easily pick out a fake smile, so don’t plaster on a grin unless you really mean it.2) Embrace your vulnerable side
We typically hide our fears or flaws when we meet new people, but sharing them can help us make new mates.
Being vulnerable in front of someone is a sign of trust and courage, and makes us seem more honest and likeable.
University of Houston social work researcher Dr Brené Brown conducted thousands of interviews to understand what lies at the the root of deep friendships and relationships.
She says that the courage to be ourselves, warts and all, is the key to building satisfying, meaningful relationships.
Separate research from Stanford University shows that when we are inauthentic and try to hide our feelings, others quickly spot it, and respond via a rise in blood pressure.
This may explain our discomfort around inauthentic or “fake” people.
Getty – Contributor Share some of your fears and flaws to build a closer bond
3) Have a sense of humour
A good sense of humour is they key to any social bond.
Laughing releases brain chemicals that trigger feelings of happiness and a heightened sense of well-being.
If you’re the one behind these feelings, then people feel closer to you.
Research from Illinois State University has shown that almost everyone lists a good sense of humour as important for their ideal friend or lover.
4) Copy the person you’re with
As the old saying goes: “Birds of the same feather flock together”.
Strangers will feel closer to you if you come across as similar to them, and you can achieve this by coping their behaviour.
Known as mirroring, the trick is to copy the other person’s body language, gestures and facial expressions.
Getty – Contributor A good sense of humour is key to making new friends
That makes them more likely to see themselves in you, and so relate to you more closely.
A 1999 New York University looked into the effect of mirroring, which scientists called “the chameleon effect”.
It showed participants felt a closer bond with strangers who mimicked their movements and behaviour.5) Don’t forget physical contact
Casually touching people creates closeness.
In particular, subliminal touching – a light brush of someone’s hand or shoulder while chatting to them – is important when making friends.
Research from the University of Mississippi has shown that waitresses get bigger tips if they touch customers on the hand or shoulder.
Be careful not to overdo it though – some people like physical contact more than others, so judge your moves carefully.
6) Compliment others
Everyone loves a compliment – so it’s no surprise they’re a helpful tool when trying to make new friends.
According to Gretchen Rubin, author of the book The Happiness Project, “whatever you say about other people influences how people see you”.
Getty – Contributor Physical contact creates closeness
He’s referring to “spontaneous trait transference”, which means that strangers directly link you with the kind words you use to describe others.
If you describe others as kind or helpful, they will think you’re kind and helpful, too.
One US study found that this effect occurred even when people knew the traits did not describe the people who had mentioned them.7) Let them talk about themselves
Letting others natter away about themselves is a surefire way to make new friends.
It helps them feel valued and listened to, and promotes a feeling of trust between you.
To flip it around, spending a whole evening talking about yourself can make you come across as self-obsessed and arrogant.
And it makes us feel good, too: Research from Harvard University has shown that talking about ourselves is inherently rewarding in the same way as food, money and sex.
NEW DIN-OZ-SAUR New species of small dinosaur unearthed in Australia resembles sailing ship LIFE UNDER MARS Hope for ‘finding alien life on MARS’ after ancient underground lakes found BOTTOMS UP Mysterious ‘eternal life’ potion found buried inside 2,000-year-old Chinese tomb ExclusiveBABY BLOCKERS Sea-sponge insertions and POO paste – bizarre ancient contraceptives revealed SPACE SECRETS Missing ‘Planet 9’ and ‘alien probes’ – the strangest space mysteries ‘CHESTS CUT OPEN’ Photos reveal sacrifice site where HUNDREDS of children were slaughtered
A psychologist recently revealed what happens when you nearly die.
Brits are feeling “isolated” by tech as 1 in 10 say they’ve gone three days without speaking to another human.
One psychology clinic warned that humans risk getting hooked on sex robots.
What tricks do you use to make friends? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at email@example.com or call 0207 782 4368 . We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.