Do you have the friends you want? Do you have several deep close friendships, lots of people you can hang out with, and a thriving social life?
Learn A Simple, Proven Formula To Rapidly Make New Friends, No Matter What Age You Are
Do you have the friends you want? Do you have several deep close friendships, lots of people you can hang out with, and a thriving social life?
If not, don’t beat yourself up. Most people don’t. But most people don’t really know what to do about it.
That’s why Dr. Aziz interviews friend-making expert Paul Sanders to crack the code on how to easily and quickly make life-long friends. If you want more friends, better friends, or are tired of feeling alone, this episode is for you.
Click below to hear this episode!
My name is Paul Sanders. I’m a life coach, specialized in teaching people how to overcome loneliness and shyness, master conversation and social skills, make friends, and build their social life. My method draws from scientific research, learning from socially successful people, and my own experience, applying those insights during the last 9 years. Learn more about Paul here.
You Can Have Thriving Friendships No Matter What Stage of Life You Are In
Hey, Dr. Aziz here. Welcome to another episode of Shrink for the Shy Guy. Thanks for joining me today. I’m excited because today, we’re going to be diving into an incredibly important topic that I think is often overlooked which is your social life, your friendship life. And I know so many people who don’t spend as much time with friends as they would like, maybe don’t quite have the friends that they want. Don’t have the friendship group that they want. Don’t feel as satisfied as they would like after spending time with people that they know, a lot of acquaintances, lot of “Yes, we’re sort of close.” But they don’t have those deep authentic, incredible best friend connections with one two or maybe even a group of four people. Or you just feel like this person has got my back. We can talk about anything. I totally love hanging out with them. This is just someone that I really love and admire and they love and admire me and this is awesome.
I think it’s rare for people to have that or they have that and then they move to a new city and they can’t quite create that again or they tell themselves like, “Well, I’m 30 now so you can’t make friends.” Or, “I’m 40 now so it’s too late. Everyone’s already married with kids and I’ll never have that.” And so, but we miss out when we tell ourselves that stuff and none of it is true. No matter what age you are and where you are, you can create thriving deep friendships.
And the reason I’m so excited is because I’m interviewing a guy today who really has studied the sh*t out of this. I mean he’s really invested years and not just his own experience but spending time with people who are incredibly socially skilled and studying them and then a lot of scientific study which is really interesting to hear his insights on that. So without further ado, we’re going to be diving into an interview with Paul Sanders who is an expert in helping people making the friends that they want.
My guest expert today is Paul Sanders and Paul is a life coach who specializes in teaching people how to overcome loneliness and shyness, master conversation and social skills, make friends and build your social life. His method draws from scientific research, learning from socially successful people and his own experience and applying those insights during the last nine years. And he focuses a lot of on building incredible friendships and that’s what really stands out to me. Because I think so many people don’t have the friends they want or want more friends or just don’t feel quite as connected as they know they could be and Paul has really cracked the code on a lot of this stuff and I’m super excited to have you on this show. Thanks for coming, Paul.
Paul: Thank You for having me, Aziz. It’s my pleasure to talk to you.
Dr. Aziz: Awesome. And so I look through a lot of the material you have and it’s really good. I have a ton of great questions for you. But the place I’d love to start is for people listening, maybe you could share a little bit about your own experience. How did you get to the place where you’re teaching people how to make friends among many other things?
Paul: Okay, well, growing up, I was a geek actually. I was focusing on things like programming computers. I had a lot of fun doing that. Of course, it can be a lonely activity. Then after that, I was interested in music composition. I participated actually in a rap group. I was their producer. It was an interesting life growing up. But I was a shy guy. I was lonely. I didn’t know how to make friends. Of course, I was introverted. So, I didn’t know how to deal with my introversion. I didn’t understand what’s being introverted meant and if you ask people today what an introvert means, everyone has their own opinion but if you go back 10, 15 years ago nobody knew what it meant. So I dealt with that. I was lonely. I changed schools many times. So, I didn’t have long term friendships.
At some point, I was so frustrated that I decided I had to do something about it. So I started Googling stuff. I read articles online. I ordered some books, ordered some courses. It was a hit and miss. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. So what I did was the first thing that changed my social life and when I started to really learning is when I met some expatriates. Those expatriates were very friendly and they became very skilled in building friendships really fast because they went to many cities and many countries, so they had the making friends process down. So I learned a lot from them. I watched them, I watched how they started making new friends, inviting them to private parties and lived in social circles in a fast manner. So, the first big change for me was that.
“I Started to Apply It”
Secondly, I started to apply that. Apply it to my life with where I lived. And then I started to teach other people. Teach my friends, my personal friends and my old friends I started teaching them via MSN or messenger, via the phone. I started talking to them about all these principles and techniques that I learned. So they started applying those techniques and then they told me, “Hey, you need to teach this stuff. This is good stuff. Maybe you should write a book or write a PDF or something. They convinced me like four or I think, it was five years ago, they convinced me to start a blog and then start a PDF and a book and then I started writing. And when I started writing, I felt the responsibility to check with the scientific community what would they say in about friendship, what would they advise in.
So I had to spend a lot of time ordering some pretty rare books about friendship from scientists who made a lot of experiments about friendship, about kinship. So that’s like from these three elements; learning from socially skilled people, learning from science and learning from my own experience, my method emerged from those three things.
Dr. Aziz: That’s fantastic and I’m excited to just tap into as much of that as we can today and really learn from you and I think a lot of people listening right now are maybe in the place of not having any friends that they are close to or maybe just one or two sort of default friends. I’ve been friends with this person for a long time but they don’t feel like this ability or option to go out and create new friendships. Maybe they have some story that says, “Well I’m past age X. I’m past 30, therefore I can never…” Before we dive into some of the specific strategies, I think there’s going to be some inner blocks or obstacles that I’m sure you’ve come across that might shoot someone in the foot. They might stop them from even applying all these great strategies. So, in your experience and from what you’ve seen in other people or working with folks, what are some of the things that people tell themselves, some of the other stories they have, some of the inner blocks to going out and then applying all this great stuff?
The Obstacles that Must Go- Lonliness
Paul: Okay. We can start and talk about loneliness itself. It’s a very interesting topic; loneliness because people actually just brush it off. They think it’s a simple concept and we don’t tend to study or learn what loneliness really is and how it makes your mind work. So I think loneliness when people get it in that state of being lonely, there is a lot of science that says that your mind starts to think and act differently. So, the mind of a lonely person is a scared mind. Because when we were evolving as human beings, when you were alone, that meant you had a really high chance of really dying.
If you were lonely in the desert or I don’t know, the forest, you would be dead. No question about that. So you needed to be with your tribe, otherwise you would be dead. So when you were lonely and you’re not socially connected, that still plays today where you feel danger. So you will feel that danger at the same time you feel that social rejection is going to be a very big moment. You think it will have a big impact on your life. So, you start to exaggerate the effects of the scenario of somebody not wanting to talk to you or somebody not answering your phone call or something like that. So that’s a block. So, it’s kind of like a trap. I call it the loneliness trap. When you get in loneliness, if you don’t know how to deal with it, you could be trapped by it because first of all, you are socially disconnected, so you have a desire to connect with people but at the same time you feel that they’re going to reject you and that rejection will be very grave. So you kind of bounce off of those two influences on your life. So you’re kind of trapped in there. So that’s my first, I think that’s the first thing that prevents people from getting out of that bubble of loneliness and getting to meet new people.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, that’s really fascinating about how being lonely in and of itself can create that sense of danger because on some level we are evolutionarily programmed to be around others and to be part of that tribe. And I’ve definitely seen that exaggerated perception of how unacceptable, how intolerable it will be if I try to talk to that person and they didn’t really want to talk to me back. We’re going to pause for just one moment right now and then we’re going to dive back into our interview with guest expert Paul Sanders.
Dr. Aziz: So that’s a big one. Are there any other obstacles that come to mind? I think it’s just so valuable to flush any of them out, ferret them out of the bushes. Just because when we get into some of the great stuff you teach, I hate for someone listening to be like, “Yes, well, that doesn’t work for me because” and then we have some story that.
Paul: Okay. I get you. So, the second one is, of course, it’s shyness. So, fear of social rejection and fear of social criticism. So, that’s obviously most of the time comes from childhood experiences and people think that they keep being bullied even if they are adults so that stays with people. Even if they grow up, they think that they could still be made fun of. It’s not a fact. When people grow up, they stop being children. They stop making fun of you. If they don’t want to hang out with you, they won’t do it. But they won’t be as harsh as a bully. So shyness, I know you talk about it all the time. I don’t know if we should dive into it because you talk about it all the time. What do you think?
Dr. Aziz: No, I think you’re right. I think that can just be something that we point out. It’s this fear of rejection, fear of harsh rejection and perceiving people as maybe a lot meaner and harsher than they typically are going to be. Especially when you show up in some of the ways that Paul suggests because these are ways that actually tend to produce really positive relationships. So I think that’s good. I guess, well last thing I’d say is if you’re listening and you hear some suggestions from Paul and myself and there’s a part of you that immediately dismisses it as impossible or that wouldn’t work anyway, I’d really just slow down and say, “Okay, what might I be afraid of? Is there some inner story that I’m telling myself that or any inner fear that would block me from testing this stuff out? Because as I look through what you teach, it’s really top notch stuff. So let’s dive into it. And for those of you, oh go ahead.
Paul: I want to talk to you about another concept because I’m looking at my website. My website reminds me of concept. I also wanted to just talk to you about something else that prevents people from being social.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, I love it. Let’s hear it.
Paul: Thanks. So I think individualism is very exaggerated in Western society. I think people tend to become very individualistic and they think that they can live alone and they cannot depend on anybody and they have lost that natural instinct of being with others and needing others is actually now, it’s not well seen. Where in the past, needing others was like something that was part of life. You had your pals, you had your family, you don’t need to be individualistic and be super hero. You need others and that’s not a bad thing.
And I think individualism is you should just be careful with it because society pushes you to rely on yourself and … look to be honest, marketing … big companies market their products in a way that actually, it serves them if you are lonely and alone, they make more money because if you’re alone, you’ll need more products to fill that void of happiness but if you’re a connected person, it’s harder to influence someone who is already connected with friends and who is already has a strong base. If you’re lonely and alone, I think it’s easier to be influenced. I just want to throw that out there.
Dr. Aziz: Absolutely and there is something appealing about I can meet my — I’ve this deep need to connect with people but for a variety of reasons, I might be scared to do it, scared of getting hurt, scared of getting rejected, scared of just losing myself and my individuality and all that. And so, it’s easier and safer to say when is the next iPhone coming out and I’m going to go buy that and I’ll focus on that and it will give me all this excitement and meaning and fulfillment and I think we really pursue that as a way to or any other product. You know, there’s a million and one of them. So, that’s absolutely right. I think we really want to focus on this because deep down, that’s what we really need. We don’t need a new phone. What we really need on a deep primal level is connection and people that we love and to spend time with those people whether they’re family, partners, friends.
Paul: And I love the iPhone too. I’m not against buying products. I’m just saying people shouldn’t, like you’re saying, people shouldn’t confuse buying stuff with happiness. It’s not the same. You need people to be happy. We are social beings. We are social creatures and I don’t think most people hear that often. We are wired to be social. It’s not a negotiable thing. You can’t just choose to be alone. It doesn’t work like that. You can’t choose.
How to Make Friends
Dr. Aziz: Yes. Absolutely and so I think one of the best ways to learn more about how to make friends is let’s just walk through a scenario. So, I am new to a city or I might as well be, because I’ve been living here for five years but not really interacting with that many people and I really want friends so either case, I’m newish to all the potential to the city and I want to make some friends. I’m not in school and I have a job and there’s a few people that I work with there but I’m not, it doesn’t seem like there’s really great prospects for friends at my job. And I’m pretty busy with work and stuff. So what do I do? How do I go make friends? We’re going to pause for just one more moment and then we’re going to dive into more great insights about how to connect with people, how to make the friends you want with Paul Sanders.
Paul: Well, first of all, I don’t know, subscribe to my blog, first of all.
Dr. Aziz: There you go. In fact, let’s do that right now. You can go its getthefriendsyouwant.com right?
Dr. Aziz: Okay. And we’ll have a link below to the interview too. But yes, start with that. Get yourself some learning because it’s in depth. There’s no way we can cover in depth in this interview as much as Paul’s got already out there for you. So yes, step 1; go to getthefriendsyouwant.com.
Paul: And subscribe.
Dr. Aziz: And subscribe.
Paul: But other than that what you should do is just I think the first thing to do is start with how you think about it. So for me, don’t think about it as some activity that you will do. Don’t think about it like an action step. Think about it as a new habit, okay, so don’t focus on actions but focus on habit. So, managing your social life shouldn’t be like something that you do from time to time or something you do when you remember to do. Think of it as a new habit like work. You work five days a week or six days a week. It’s a habit, you don’t do it when you feel like, you do it every week. So that’s the way to think about your social life. Think about it as a new habit. And a set of activities that you will be doing every week and with some time, and that will result in you having the social life you want. So, I think that’s the first think you do. It’s just forget about techniques or forget about actions steps and that fantasy that you’re going to go out once and then you’re going to meet six best friends for life and you’re going to be done. It doesn’t work like that. First of all, forget about that. Are we clear on that or…?
Dr. Aziz: Yes, that makes absolutely, word.
Paul: Okay. So now, we talk about, okay, we’re going to build new habits. Okay, what are we going to do? What are these habits? First of all, just select one, I’m really getting down to the techniques here. I hope you’re fine with that.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, yes.
Paul: Okay, so you pick one day of the week that you have sometimes. You have some time left like Tuesday or Wednesday. Not the weekend but something early in the week and pick an hour after work. Something like 7 P.M. or maybe your lunch break and assign that in your calendar every week that you’re going to spend half an hour to an hour taking care of your social life. So first of all, just create that weekly reminder in your calendar. That every week is going to remind you to take care of your social life. Okay, so if you create it, call it something like social hour or social time or something. And I’m going to tell you why you really need that.
First of all, what I’m going to do in that half an hour or two and an hour? You’re going to first think about places you can go to meet new people. You’re going to think about plans that you can invite people to, maybe a new restaurant, maybe a new bar or something interesting, maybe an event that you can do during the weekend. So that’s why you do it early in the week so you have time to prepare for the weekend. And you also take that time to follow up with people you’ve met recently or just contact people you know and stay in touch with the people that are on your radar. So, that’s the first habit that you need to implement and the reason why I emphasize this repetitiveness of this habit is that you’re never going to forget about it.
Once you make it your priority in your calendar every week, you’re going to be reminded because one of the biggest reasons why people don’t manage a social life is that because they get lazy, they forget and they get distracted by work, by life problems. They only get conscious of the fact that they don’t have the social life that they want when it’s too late. What I mean by too late is maybe it’s the birthday, maybe it’s your birthday, maybe it’s Friday night and you’re alone, you have no plans, you have nobody to go out with. That’s when you think about loneliness, that’s when you think about, “Oh, I should take care of your social life.” But that’s too late. You can’t start doing stuff Friday nights, it doesn’t make sense. So I prefer that every week you’re reminded of your social life because frankly, there is nothing in society that will remind you of that. There is no pressure on you to do it. So you have to create an artificial pressure on yourself to actually perform and be always reminded about your social life. So, does that make sense, Aziz?
Dr. Aziz: Absolutely and I would say that the only time in my experience there is that pressure is once you’ve done this for long enough and you’ve really got the ball rolling, then and only then in my experience will people start to then reach out to you during the week and say, “Hey, what’s going on. What are you doing? You want to hang out on the weekend?” But we can’t wait or expect that to happen magically without us really taking this time that you’re suggesting, Paul and like building it, like building the fire and slowly adding to it. And only then does it really start to take flourish in a way.
Paul: Sure, I’m not expecting you to do it like forever. I actually, I’m following your hypothesis and that scenario that you’re talking about where you would be in a city and you don’t know anybody. Maybe you know just two people. So that’s where you need the most proclivity and that’s a reminder will help you be proactive, you’re right. You got it.
Dr. Aziz: And so I’m being proactive, I thought of some places I could go, I’m really investing some energy in it. So, there’s kind of two major questions. One is where do I go to meet people. And then two is how do I…
Paul: How do I do it?
Dr. Aziz: How do I show up when I’m there? So let’s start with number 1, where could I go to meet some people?
Paul: Okay, so going back to that mindset of building habits instead of actions, we talked about the first habit, the weekly reminder. Second habit I recommend is that you go out to meet new people. New people, not people you already know, new people, once a month or twice a month if you can. So how do you find places? It’s very easy. If you have the Internet, you go to meetup.com. You go to eventsbright.com, you go to Facebook and look for events about things that interest you or maybe it doesn’t have to be a hobby. It can be just an interest or a parallel interest in your mind that someday maybe you will be interested in that thing. If there’s an event about that thing, you should consider it. Okay. So that’s the best way…
The biggest mistake that people make when they think about meeting new people, is that they think of public places like bars or restaurants, coffee shops and public places because there is that fantasy that you can meet new people anywhere, which is, I think, is a fantasy. If you have time to spend ten hours in the street, meet new people, then do it. But I don’t think you have time for that. And I don’t think that it’s the right environment because friendship doesn’t work like that. Friendship needs an environment that brings you together. You need the context where you will be meeting the people for the friendship to have like a meaning or a reason to happen. Does that make sense, Aziz?
Dr. Aziz: Sure, yes.
Paul: Okay, so that’s biggest mistake is people think of public places. You’re not going to make friends in bars. Forget about it. Don’t do it. It’s a waste of time. Okay. So, what you do is go to places where there is a context; maybe an event, maybe at theme party or not just a party in a club. I mean something that has a context. Maybe it’s a professional event. Just use the tools. There are a lot of tools today.
There is also an app called Sporty which is pretty interesting but it looks for people around you and it finds people who are interested in playing a game or maybe they need someone to play with them. Maybe they’re five to six but they need the sixth person. You understand what I’m saying? So, there are a lot of tools like that. And if you go to my website, I think I publish two articles about just apps that help you meet new friends. So I have two articles about that. And I think I have something like 14 apps to help you meet new friends. So, there are a lot of places where you can find events with a context where you can meet new people. So that’s the second habit is do it at least once a month. Okay?
Dr. Aziz: Awesome.
Paul: That’s your second habit, Aziz. That’s how you meet new people.
Dr. Aziz: That brings us to the end of this part of the interview. We’re going to continue with the second part of the interview which is going to be incredibly valuable, lots of secrets about how to get the friends that you want. Really make those outstanding conversations, how to transition into better conversations, more engaging conversations, what the elements of those conversations are and then how to transition that, how to turn that into ongoing friendships and connections so some really good stuff coming up in the rest of the interview, next week. In the meantime, we’re not going to end until we do your action step.
Time for action.
Your action step for today is to do what Paul suggests and start creating some of those habits. Find that time in your calendar, whether it’s a Tuesday or a Wednesday, an afternoon or whatever it is that you can put an hour into your calendar and say, “I’m focusing on this area of my life. This is important to me.” Maybe even think about why it’s important to you, what it’s going to bring to your life or what some of the costs of loneliness are? And Paul’s going to talk a little more about that in next week’s episode.
So it’s really going to inspire you. But set that up. Put that structure into place and then start brainstorming the places you can go. Start doing a little research on the Web. Start maybe even asking people or just getting your ears open to hear what’s going on and really start to apply some of the stuff he’s teaching because next week, we’re going to go even deeper and if you have done that this week, then you’re going to be able to turn this into a, “Someday, I’ll do that,” to meeting people next week and having friends next month. I mean, stuff can happen fast when you can consistently apply yourself. So I can’t wait to hear about your experience.
If you’d like to share more, go to facebook.com/socialconfidence and let us know how it’s going there. You can also go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com to get all kinds of great insights from the people. You’ll be able to get links to Paul’s site as well as contact me through the site. So I can’t wait to speak to you again and talk more about this in next week’s episode. Until we speak again, maybe you have the courage to be who you are, and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome. I’ll talk to you soon.
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