When it comes to making friends, some people are naturals, while others struggle greatly. Regardless of your current social skills there are 6 principles that once applied, guarantee people will enjoy and respect your company.

I must note that these skills are all from the book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People‘ By Dale Carnegie. This book is the second self-help book I ever read and Is still my favourite to this day. The principles it contains are some of the most simplistic yet profoundly impactful ideas I’ve had the pleasure of implementing in my daily social life.

I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in self development. Unfortunately, the skills in the book are so basic that some may perceive them as useless or worthless. This was my initial opinion. However, after attempting to apply them to a few social interactions I changed my mind.

Much to my surprise these were some of most fruitful conversations i’d had in a long time, concluding with strong sense of connection from both parties.

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

This tip alone, is probably the single most important one of this entire post. If you can show genuine interest in other people’s affairs, they will relish your companionship.

The key to this is being authentic. Most people can sense artificial interest the moment it presents itself.

To prevent this, approach every interaction with an honest desire to learn as much about the other person as possible. When I first began trialing this skill, I spent a few social interactions being overly interested in the other person. I don’t just mean a little bit, I mean incredibly overkill. I was asking them about literally anything and everything that I could possible think of.

Much to my surprise, the responses to this were incredible. It seemed to add an almost inhuman connection to the interaction. Like two lost siblings reconnecting after years.

Ive continued to apply this principle to this day and experienced only positive outcomes. I will warn you again though, this has to be done authentically. Rapid fire questioning, without paying attention to their answers will result in lowered rapport.

Become a curious explorer of humans.

2. Smile

Again, such a simple technique. But the power of a smile is far beyond that of any words.

Think about how you feel when someone smiles at you from across the street, or when you are conversing with them. It’s the highest form of social validation and acceptance.

By smiling at someone you disarm them. Instantly throwing the interaction in a positive direction. But be careful. Its very easy to spot a fake smile, or smiling to much for no reason can come off as weird. Guys talking to attractive females are especially guilty of this.

Think about it from a different perspective. Imagine sitting in a room and a stranger walks in and smiles at you. It forms an instant connection and creates a magnetic pull towards them.

3. Everyone loves hearing their own name

There’s no sweeter word in someone’s vocabulary than their own name. Learn it and use it.

This is particularly powerful if someone isn’t expecting you to know it or remember it. Unless of course they have never told you and they aren’t wearing a name badge. Then you will probably appear creepy.

When you first learn someone’s name,throw it into the conversation where possible, but not at the start of everything that comes out of your mouth or it will get weird.

This is especially effective if someone deems themselves inferior to you or not worthy of your acknowledgement.

I have written an entire blog post on this subject, feel free to check it out here

4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

There is no topic people likes to discuss more than themselves, not necessarily in a selfish way. But people like to be heard.

If you take the time to listen to someone regardless of the importance of their discussion matter, they will be drawn towards you.

I’ve found this to be particularly effective when someone is being talked over the top of, in a group situation. If you move your attention to what they are saying rather than listening to the person who is talking over them, you will generate much rapport.

5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Everybody has at least one interest that they can talk about all day, every day. Your goal in any new interaction should be to decipher that person’s number one interest.

You’ll know when you’ve hit the nail on the head because the conversation will become very one sided, and you will feel the passion oozing off them. A one-sided conversation may not sound appealing, but if you’re looking to form a friendship this is the strongest and quickest way to do so.

When someone talks on their biggest interest for a long period of time and you continue to listen attentively throughout the entire conversation, asking an appropriately timed question occasionally. They will leave conversation feeling very positive about you.

6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

One of biggest human drives is the desire to be significant and important. If you can convey to someone that they are, they will love you. Particularly people with low self esteem.

This is incredibly powerful if used correctly. DO NOT try to this if you don’t have something genuine to say.

A good example of this is thanking someone if they unknowingly taught you something new. Or pointing out something positive they do differently from other people.

Some of these principles may sound manipulative or artificial. What I want you to understand is that they are only artificial if you make them artificial. The above advice is very easily integrated into natural interactions. It may feel a little forced at first but once you begin to regularly apply it, it will become habitual and feel completely natural.

To sum up the above principles, befriending anyone is as simple as being a genuine, kind and empathetic person. But don’t accept what I’m saying without trying it. Start experimenting with these things yourself and watch the magic unfold.