Social isolation and difficulty making friends are two of the problems that, paradoxically, occur in a society in which the Internet has the ability to bring all types of people into contact.
Problems when forging friendships not only have consequences on people’s mood and self-esteem.: It has also been seen that loneliness is related to a lower life expectancy.
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How to break the isolation?
Gaining a greater ability to win friends is a process that involves dedicating yourself to various fronts. Fortunately, it is possible to win at all of them if you follow the right strategies and show a commitment to certain principles and ideas.
Next we will see what people who find it difficult to make friends can do to get out of their isolation.
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1. Work on self-esteem
This is a step that must be taken first but that must accompany all those that follow.. The perception that there is a lack of friends who are by our side is usually associated with the belief that we are not good enough for someone to want to spend time with us, which in turn causes us to adopt behaviors that make it difficult to create bonds of friendship. .
For this reason, it is necessary to analyze these beliefs in a calm and somewhat distant manner, judging their foundations and seeing how they adjust to reality. Normally, social isolation is produced by the anticipation of the failure of making contact with other people, with the fear that this generates and with the lack of self-esteem that makes us be defensive and give up the possibilities of making friends. which in turn confirms our pessimistic beliefs.
This step can be started alone or with the help of friends and family, but attending psychotherapy is also a good option to carry out this cognitive restructuring.
2. Judge our friendship needs
Secondly, we must stop and think about why or why we want to have more friends.. This will help us know the nature of our need, which in turn will make it possible to be clear about the contexts in which we want to meet people and the kind of people we want to deal with.
3. Find meeting spaces
Secondly, we will have to think about the spaces in which we could make new friends. Here we must consider meeting places, but also virtual spaces, especially forums where we can find people with common interests. Beyond social networks, which are usually designed more for individual contact with already known people, There are web pages with debate and discussion sections where people who are regulars of the place meet.: They are a good option.
4. Find the exhibition
Losing the fear of exposing ourselves to the opinions of others is totally essential when it comes to making friends. To do this we must leave the comfort zone and combat the fear learned from previous frustrated experiences when making friends. Following self-instructions and “obliging” ourselves to comply with them following a difficulty scale is a good way to resolve this, in addition to being a widely used resource in cases of social phobia.
5. Do not follow scripts in the conversation
Once you have started a conversation with someone, it is necessary to give up the possibility of following a more or less structured script in which we have included elements that we want to say: they do not work and make the dialogue fluid and unsatisfactory. It is advisable to look for spontaneity. To do this, it is good to follow relaxation protocols (preferably with the help of a therapist) and let yourself be carried away by the dialogue without thinking obsessively about the image we are giving. If we appear confident and sure of ourselves, the most absurd conversation can become something fun and stimulating.
6. Show commitment
Maintaining the ties of friendship is betting on the commitment that unites two people who consider themselves friends.. This means that we have to make some sacrifices and be clear that we should also be willing to contribute something to others. It is a very basic point but one that is often forgotten, causing relationships to deteriorate and become circumstantial, something instrumental.
If the phrase “I find it difficult to make friends” frequently runs through our heads, we must be clear about two things: on the one hand, that if we are willing, we can be friends with many more people, and on the other, that this process is going to cost us a series of effort and sacrifices that will make us leave our comfort zone.
Having this clear from the beginning is essential to not get discouraged in the early stages, something that can make this experience memorized as “proof” that friends are not made for us.