In ancient Africa, in the Buganda kingdom located in current-day Uganda, people lived an inter-dependent life. Your success greatly depended on how many friends you would have.
Your ability to make friends largely depended on your social skills and the purity of your heart. The more social skills you had the more friends you would make. The purer your heart was, the more friends you could retain. Your friends could join hands to build your house, cultivate your land and even nurture your children.
The more secluded you would be, the more misery and scarcity you would have to face. It was very important to have friends. The foundation of one’s friendship which was the purity of the heart composed of generosity, love, selflessness, reliability, compassion, empathy, and care would make one trustable.
Once one was trustable they could keep secrets, wealth, and the deepest lives of their friends without collateral. That is why baby boomers make it a song referring to old times when people were less superficial and more trustable.
Today the pure hearts are taken advantage of and the manipulative, narcissistic, and superficial people come off as friendlier. My great grandfather kept his will with his best friend including all documents to ownership of his land.
Today it would be very ridiculous to do such a thing. The more developed the world has become the more divided human beings are getting. The more we understand other things like technology the less we understand each other.
What went wrong? What happened?
Is our interdependence dying out? Are we stopping to need each other more like friends or is Siri a better substitute for your friend?
And if all these things are taking a better part of our lives, why are people sinking into depression because of loneliness or lack of love?
We are interconnected as humans biologically and spiritually. We need each other and love is our language. Hollowness creeps in once we stop speaking that language. At the end of a stressful day at work, we crave that human touch. A hug or uninhibited laughter.
But what do you do if you can’t find someone to hug you? Someone to tell you that you are worthy. Someone to crack a joke that can excite your facial muscles into a smile. Someone to confide in or hang out with.
What do you do when that person isn’t there? When you move to a new area and no one even cares to ask where you come from? What do you do when everyone at school has someone to share a table with at lunchtime yet you are by yourself eating food like it’s some bitter medicine?
What do you do on a Friday evening at work when everyone has plans with someone and all you have is your laptop with a slow internet connection?
Do you walk to random people and ask them to be friends with you? In this modern world insensitive to such overt approaches, you would most likely be called a weirdo or a desperate human.
Do you put on a façade and act like you are the best friendship candidate on earth? No, that will only get you fake friends that will bring you heartbreak after they figure out that you are only putting on a show.
Do you just accept being lonely and crying under your blanket? Nope, I will not let you do that until you prove to me that what am about to tell you can’t work for you. But am certain if done right, everything will be alright.
How to make friends.
Being friends with yourself.
There is a saying that ‘’if you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone’’. This statement in its entirety has two messages it sends out to me and you. Message one. Your first friend in this world is you. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.
You can be alone and feel so okay and happy by yourself. That only happens if you are friends with yourself. But if you have no friend within you, lonely you will always be. Whether you have external friends or not.
I have met several people whose solitude feels like being in a furnace. People who can hardly face the turmoil within themselves. If they are not distracted by external friends and intoxications, it’s all war and terror in their minds.
The second message is that people are attracted to be friends with people who are friends and at peace with themselves. What does it take to be friends with yourself, we will talk about that later.
The truth is the more harmony and serenity you have with your inner self the more likable you become. The self-love, self-compassion, and self-awareness in you spread to the world outside you.
It’s harder to understand the world and people around you if you can’t understand yourself in the first place. If you understand yourself it will be easy to understand others. People like people that understand them. That is why the fake and manipulative people will first act like they understand you.
If you have friendship and love within you it will be easy to be friends with others and love them genuinely without faking it. If you can forgive yourself you can easily forgive others which is a big quality of a friendly person.
If you are self-aware you will have self-confidence. People like confident people. Confident people are not easily offended which makes others hang around them freely without worrying about being so conscious.
So, when you are friends with yourself first, it’s natural that other people will want to be friends with you. It is like a magnet to pull people towards you. We know at least one person in our lives who everyone wants to hang out with. Such people never get lonely because there is always someone looking for them to talk to or hang out with.
You become friends with you then you have a friend in you, once you have that friend, other people will want to be friends with you. Say goodbye to loneliness. Wait. First, know how to be friends with yourself.
How to be friends with yourself.
The formula isn’t any different. The basic step of making a friend is showing interest in them. Asking questions to know about them. Learning to tolerate things about them that may perhaps be unchangeable or take time to change.
Take a deep interest in yourself. Create self-awareness within you. Do it like you are trying to know a new person who you have no bias against. Retrospect and seek to know who you are. Where are you from and where are you going?
What are your triggers to certain reactions? What are those things you can change and those you can’t? You can change from bitter to joyful but you can’t change your past. Look out for those things inside you that you can change and make peace with those you cannot.
Get to know yourself more. Get into your mind and heart to reconcile with yourself. Heal all your emotional wounds and get compassionate with yourself. Forgive yourself for the things that you believe you never did right. You can’t change it all but you can do the right thing in the future.
It is not being self-absorbed or narcissistic. There is no ill or evil in truly loving yourself. There is a difference between true self-love and toxic self-love aka narcissism.
True self-love is profound it comes from within to spread to the world around you. Toxic self-love is toxic as it sounds. A person with toxic self-love loves a deluded image of themselves that they want the public to see.
It’s toxic in that it takes away from others to feed itself. At the cost of anything, toxic self-love will fight to protect that fake image. Toxic self-love is a product of the self-hate that is within someone’s heart.
So, when we speak of cultivating self-love, we ask you to enter into your mind and heart and find those unnatural seeds of love, forgiveness, calmness, patience, and compassion.
To clearly understand this, assume that you are your child. You have the responsibility of raising yourself to be a better person. How would you do that? Start with small habits that make other people uncomfortable around you. Write them down and work on each of them one by one. Success in changing one habit will trigger success in changing others.
I used to take offense to the smallest things which affected my friendship with many people. They could hardly joke freely around me. Until I stopped taking everything personally.
Richard Carlson’s ‘’Don’t sweat the small staff’’ changed my life. It made me realize how giving power and energy to some things makes such things a big deal however small they may be.
When a friend doesn’t call you to join him on a Friday night, do you get mad or just let it slide. If you get mad then you have something to sort out within you. It’s not a must that you should be the first priority in the lives of people around you.
When someone else is invited instead of you appreciate that perhaps your friendship hasn’t grown to that level of being thought about first. Don’t take it personally. Harmonize yourself with your mind.
You are not perfect and you should never be. Where you fall short, accept that you can improve instead of cursing yourself. Where you do great, celebrate. Celebrating your positives is one way of cultivating self-love.
Feel your mind with positive vibes. Things that you would love to hear. I understand there are people whose traumas got them addicted to sad and negative stories. They don’t love such stories They just need healing.
Everyone enjoys uplifting light heart moments. The funny and humorous dude at work is always surrounded by many people at lunch break to tap into his revitalizing vibes and energy.
The always miserable dude with complaints and negative stories only receives a hello. No one wants such. Now you don’t have to be funny or a comedian. With the lowest sense of humor, you can be a magnet of friends by just having a positive mindset. When there is peace and love in your heart, people pick it instinctually.
Find time for solitude.
Create time for yourself always. A lot of things are consciously and unconsciously happening in your life. You get too occupied doing plenty of things, work, family, friends, etc. You end up losing time for yourself.
Like I said earlier, you have a friend in you that you always need to be in touch with. In solitude, you meet this friend. You have those inner conversations. You advise each other on how to live in harmony. You reconcile and forgive each other.
You create a way forward for those things you can change. You get to know each other more. Your outer and inner man become one. You become more self-aware. At the end of that moment of solitude, you become revitalized and established to take on the life outside your mind. You can freely interact with other people without neediness and pressure to run away from yourself.
Giving to attract friends.
As hard as it may be to admit. There is always a reason why people become friends. That reason always depends on what they receive from the friendship. Rarely can one ever be friends with you if they have nothing to get from you.
The problem is most people are looking for what to get instead of what to give. It’s easy to make friends when you are rich. People will just get themselves your way. Why? Because they have something to get from you. As manipulative and selfish as it may sound, it’s pure truth. You have to have something to give to attract friends to you. Giving is the foundation of a good network of people
Fortunately, it’s not only money that you need. Many think that money can buy them pure friendship, nope. It brings friends but not genuine ones. Things that touch people’s hearts on an emotional level build deeper relationships than money.
Things like a positive compliment, moral support, laughter, care, etc. Luckily, we all have them within us. You don’t have to go to Walmart to buy a compliment to give someone.
Many friendships started with a compliment. Many started with a joke. Many started with help. In fact, movies use it a lot. Some dude rushes to help a lady whose belongings have fallen on the ground. Then friendship starts off from there.
The thing is we all have something to give. You may feel inadequate or void of anything to give. Believe me, you have a lot that people need. Giving is the only two-way language of friendship. If all you do is take and take, people around you will avoid you.
A call to check on someone is away to give. The guy at the gym who is trying to figure out how to use a treadmill will appreciate you giving guidance to him. The lady who can’t fix her tire will never forget you for helping her out.
The unappreciated security guard or waitress will be happy to receive a smile or tip from you. The bullied kid at school will forever love you for standing up to his or her bullies. Your workmate who expects no cake on his or her birthday will do anything to maintain a friendship with you if you surprise them with one.
In fact, by giving we can make enough friends without even trying other ways of making friends.
Become the friend you want to get.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘’If you want to be a friend, be a friend’’. What kind of friend are you looking for? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with?
Write down a list of everything you want in a friend. Love, care, fan, humor, compassion, etc. Write all of them. Start being those things.
The day you plant a seed isn’t the day you eat its fruits. You have to be patient, and water that seed consistently without giving up. That seed will grow into a tree and one day that tree will give you fruits. Patiently cultivate those values within yourself and believe me you will not have to chase for that kind of friend, he or she will come to you.
You will become more self reliant emotionally, intellectually, physically and financially. The more self reliance you are, the easier it gets to make friends.
I understand other people are giving you tips and clues of where to find friends. That is good. It works sometimes. Other times it even makes you lonelier. The thing I have concentrated on is making you fertile grounds for friendship.
It is pointless to be always looking for friends. It is much better to build a profound friendship than to be always on the lookout for new friends whose friendship will phase out in a blink of an eye. Or to even have many friends whose friendship with you isn’t laid on a strong foundation.
That being said work on yourself, be the friend you need. When you reach that point where you are at peace with yourself, then go ahead and do the following.
Go out and do active things. People like to hang out in gyms, parks, and social clubs.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. If it’s a guitar you want to learn, sign up for a class. You will enjoy the company of people like you that want to learn the musical instrument.
Don’t be phased by rejection. Not everyone you will talk to will connect with you. That is very okay.
Take interest in other people. People crave attention and a listener to talk to. Be that person. If you listen well, others will feel appreciated and respected.
Be the one to schedule a date with a friend.
Be the one to call your old friends and check on them.
Participate in voluntary work.
Hang out where the people you want to be friends with go.
With your heart and mind ready to receive a friend, you will automatically become friends with all the people you desire once you come into contact. I love you as my fellow human and wish you a life full of profound and intimate friendship. Share with me what is stopping you from making friends or what easily gets you, friends.