Discover How To Create The Friendships You Want With The People Who Excite You Most
Dr. Aziz continues his liberating interview with friend-making expert Paul Sanders. In this in-depth interview you will discover exactly how to make friends step-by-step. From where to go, what to say, and how to ask people to hang out in the future, this episode has everything you need to create the social life you want!
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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.
How to Create Friendships That You Really Want
Hey, welcome to today’s episode of the show. I’m Dr. Aziz and we’re going to be diving deeper into how to create the friendships that you really want, the friendships that are exciting and fun and nourishing for you. The ones where you want to spend time with that person. You are looking forward to it. It’s fun. They make you laugh. They listen to you and you do the same for them. And it’s awesome. And maybe you’ve experienced something like that in the past in your life but you don’t have it now. Like you had that experience in high school or college but you don’t. Now you’re working a lot and you move to a new city or just things have drifted and you just don’t have those connections. Or something has happened and you’re missing that. Or maybe you’ve never had that. You’ve never had those deep awesome fun connections.
Either case, you’re in the right place because we’re going to be diving deeper into my interview with Paul Sanders. We learned some of the habits last week. We know how to start building your social habits and social life. Now, we’re going to look at, “Okay, when you go to these places, how do you talk with people, how do you connect with them, how do you create great conversations and how do you turn those into friendships? So, you can really leave today’s episode with some actionable steps that you’re going to take or habits that you’re going to apply over time to create a thriving social life. It’s absolutely possible. And Paul’s got some great insights about that as well. Some inspiring stuff he shares at the end of the interview. So stay tuned for the whole thing. You’ll get a ton and we’re going to dive right back into that right now.
Dr. Aziz: Good, and okay I’m going as I say I found. I really agree with this. There’s something that really changes in our energy too. And we’re going somewhere that we’re already interested in. Something that we — now I remember, I lived in a city and I wanted to make new friends and there’s this bookstore in the downtown area which was kind of near my house that would have at least once a week, maybe even twice a week that have like free, really cheap like little trainings and classes by some book authors on certain topics ranging from health to personal growth to just random hobbies and anytime there was something interesting to me, I would go to that little training and there would be sometimes eight people there, sometimes 40 people there and when you’re already going to a place because you’re interested in it then it’s just so much easier to meet people, to connect with people, to talk with people, versus like I’m going to go to a random bar. That’s not even that fun for me just because there’s people there.
Paul Sanders: Sure. The easiest way to make friends is go to a place like you’re saying, go to a place where others are also out to meet new people. You know what I’m saying? That’s another reason because people go to these events, expecting to meet you. So why go to a public place where it’s harder and nobody is expecting to meet new people. It doesn’t make sense.
Dr. Aziz: So let’s say, I go to this event and then I want to … because it is possible to go to an event, hang out in the back, look busy on my cell phone and then scurry out as soon as it’s over and not talk to anyone.
Paul: Yes, it’s possible.
Dr. Aziz: So how can I show up in a way, what habit do I need to bring there that’s going to help me really connect with people to set up the groundwork for friendship?
Paul: Sure. So there is another reason why I really emphasis to my readers to stick with places where others are also there to meet new friends and that reason answers your question. That reason is that it’s like a rule of thumb. Only go to places where it would be very appropriate to walk up to somebody and just introduce yourself. Okay. So you can’t do that in a bar, unless it’s a really friendly bar or really friendly restaurant. You only can do it if it’s appropriate and expected. So people expect you to walk up and introduce yourself and make conversation. So when people expect you to do that and it’s expected, appropriate, natural, it’s much easier to just mix up with people and introduce yourself. I think that is another important reason why you should go to these friendly, semi-private places. I think you should just do that, just go to places where it’s easy to just introduce yourself.
Dr. Aziz: Right and then walk up to people and simply introduce like, “Hey, I’m Aziz. Who are you?”
Paul: Yes. Exactly. That’s it. You do that and the first thing that’s … I’m going to give you a few techniques that help you get the ball going. The first thing you can talk about is exactly the theme of the event. So if you go in to a book store where they are organizing a training. First of all, you introduce yourself and you say something about the environment. You can say, for example, “I really like this training,” or “The author is late,” or something, I don’t know. Something relates to the context where you are, something that both of you can observe, so, something like the environment. Okay?
Dr. Aziz: Sure. It’s great. It’s an immediately shared experience that you both can relate to.
Paul: After that, you can ask the other person about their relationship to that context. So, if it’s training about something, maybe something about psychology, you ask them what’s their relationship to Psychology? “Have you always did stuff like this,” or you can say, “Is this your first time doing something like this?” That gets the ball started. That gets the conversation started because both of you know that both of you are interested in that topic and it’s a very appropriate question that anybody would be happy to share. So if it’s a meet up group about, I don’t know, kayaking, I don’t know, I’m just thinking of random things. If it’s about some kind of sport like kayaking or going to the outdoors, you ask to the person how you always did this? Are you a beginner? Are you an expert, blah, blah, blah. And they will be happy to share their relationship to that context of the event. And when they do that, you also need to share yours really fast. You don’t need to say. You know you don’t need to talk about … you don’t need to give a lot of details. You’re just starting the conversation so you just talk about your relationship to that context and if you don’t mind, I want to give you another example.
Dr. Aziz: Sure.
Paul: And because I also advise people to go to private parties and the ultimate private party is a birthday of somebody you know. And that’s probably the easiest way to meet new people is to go the birthday of somebody you know. And the first question that you can ask to talk to anybody there is just introduce yourself and ask them how they know the person who is having the birthday. So, it’s the birthday of Alex. You say, “How do you know Alex?” That’s it.
Dr. Aziz: That’s great. That’s a great tip, the birthday party because even if you’re kind of new, maybe there will be like someone at work who has a birthday party and then there’s a bunch of people coming together for a birthday party that’s usually kind of a broader sense, like people invite some people from work to their parties. They invite some friends, they invite some family. So there’s a whole lot of new people there and it’s an environment where people don’t expect you to know each other and everyone is kind of meeting each other and then you have the shared focus of you all appreciate Alex and it’s a great way to start the connection and let’s say you’re in the conversation whether it’s in the bookstore or the birthday party, how do you — you talk in your 12 Step Guide on how to make friends at your site, getthefriendsyouwant.com and go there and subscribe. But you talk about having great conversations and how do you take it from, “How do you know Alex” and that sort of a thing to a great conversation and you’re … from what you’ve seen what makes a great conversation? We’re going to pause for one quick moment and then dive back into the interview with Paul Sanders.
What is a Great Conversation
Paul: A great conversation to me is something that a conversation where both of you are sharing information about your lives and also sharing the emotional side of it. So, you’re not just sharing data and information. But you’re also talking about emotions and opinions. It goes from the simplest things like if you have lived in a few states and cities and maybe you would exchange your opinions about these cities. That’s one thing: the emotions.
Other things are like exchanging stories and adventures that happened to you even if it’s the first time you meet the person. You could have a few minutes to talk about some stories that happened to you and the more personal it gets, the better the conversation. It just should not go too far. It shouldn’t go and share things that are too personal too soon. That for me, that’s a good conversation, is that you first you exchange information. You exchange opinions and maybe something that has to do with emotion and also you share stories and of course, you find things in common. That’s a big element of making friends. So you could actually theoretically, you could have a great conversation and not become friends but if you really need, if you really want to have friends, you need to find things in common.
Dr. Aziz: Yes and that’s great. That resonates with my experience with what makes a great conversation and let’s say, you have that with someone. How do you convert that into an ongoing friendship with someone where they actually become … sometimes people ask like “How do I … when Do we become friends?” So how do you take it to that one conversation to an ongoing relationship?
How to Transition in Conversations
Paul: Okay. Well, I just wanted to go back a little, so first of all, we were talking about the first thing to do to start the conversation and then you ask about how to have a great conversation. I just want to give people a little tip about how to transition from talking about the context, so talking about their life, so that’s a missing piece. I just want to add that. So, that’s how you transition I think to having a good conversation from talking about the context to talking about their life and your life and your stories and their stories.
Actually that bridge, it happens naturally because when you talk to someone new, you say … you ask about what their relationship to, for example to Alex or to perhaps psychology. And they will start to tell you how it happened. And when they start to tell you how it happened, it’s like a story. They’re already giving you the story of their life. So, all you have to do is ask why they did this. Why they took this, for example, if they said three years ago, I came to Portland, Oregon. You say why. It’s a great tip. You should remember to ask, “Okay, why did you go to Portland,” or “What’s brought you here,” or something. And that gives you stories because people start to share stories of you ask them why. Of course, you also need to share your personal stories too. And that’s how you transition to a good conversation. Okay.
So now, I can answer a question about how to bring that, how to transition from having a conversation to having a friendship. Okay, as I said finding things in common is a very important thing. As I said, it can be a shared interest. It can be a shared industry maybe at your work in the same area or something. It can also just be intellectual. It can be just opinions. You have the same opinions. You have the same outlook on life. And that’s what you should pick up on, I think, so you should ask people where they go out for fun or those things bring opportunities for finding things in common. So the more you talk, that’s why I think people should just … very often people underestimate the power of small talk. They want to brush it off and tell you that they they’re tired of having small talk. They just want to have interesting conversations. And I say I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. You need small talk and small talk is talking about going from subject to subject to subject to subject without getting too deep in any of those subjects. And the reason you do that, the reason you go from subject to subject to subject and stay superficial is because you’re going to touch a lot of subjects and that’s what’s going to help you find the things in common. Does that make sense or am I talking too much?
Dr. Aziz: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. You want to find the one that lights both of you up.
Dr. Aziz: And there’s a connection. There’s an energy to it. The last thing you want is to just be drilling down in something that either bores you or bores them and it’s not going to be a great conversation and it’s not going to want to lead to you guys hanging out again in the future.
Paul: That’s right. So, I’m not against very interesting conversations. I’m just saying leave them for later. When you’re just meeting the person, cover a lot of ground, so you know all the possible potential things in common that you may have with them. So that’s why I’m saying keep going from subject to subject to subject and story and cover a lot of ground so that you know what you can connect on. So finding things in common is a very important thing. Okay?
Dr. Aziz: That’s great. We just have a little bit more time so I’d love to get to … I think there’s probably so much here and I know in your 12-Step Guide, there’s a lot. So if you are listening right now and you’re like, “Wait, I want to know more about the conversations and the transitions,” there’s a ton on Paul’s sites. So go dive deeper. I want to keep the kind of broad stroke going here and say, “Okay, great conversation, how do I connect with that person and make it an ongoing thing.” We’re going to pause here for just one more quick moment and then we’re going to dive into the conclusion of the interview with Paul Sanders where he talks about some really interesting stuff about the research on loneliness and why it is more important than ever to take charge and break free of anything that’s stopping you, from creating the friendships and the social life that you absolutely want. Stay tuned, we’ll dive back in right after this.
Paul: Okay, I’m just going to try to be fast now because we don’t take too much time. So when you find things in common, when you start to see where you connect with the things you have in common with people, I think you should go even more and find what I call hook points. And these mean — why I call them hook points because these are like a promise in the future that you could possibly hang out. Okay? So for example, if both of you are interested in psychology, you’re probably going to talk about your favorite authors, your favorite books, your favorite topics in Psychology.
Using a Hook Point
So of course, a hook point is like taking that thing in common that you have that’s common interest and saying that maybe I should, maybe next time, I’ll bring a book. The book I talked to you about and I give it to you. I think it will interest you. So it’s like a promise in the future of hanging out. I’ll give you another example. For example, if you ask someone where do you like to hangout? Maybe they’re going to talk about a restaurant that they like lot. Maybe they have a great wine or great steak or something. You say, yes, yes, I go there from time to time. I really like that restaurant too. And you say something like well, maybe we will bump into each other sometime in that restaurant, so I don’t know maybe we should stay in touch. You know what I’m saying. So do you get it Aziz?
Dr. Aziz: Yeah, I love that. I think that’s great. It’s suggesting something that you could do. I sometimes go even if I really feel a strong connection with the person I might be even more explicit like “Oh, that sounds great. We should totally go get a meal there sometime. I would love to do that.” And it’s…
Paul: Go ahead. Go ahead.
Dr. Aziz: And what that does is if you’re feeling the connection and you want to be more vulnerable in that way, really kind of show where you’re at that in a way often gets a great response because people on some level then we’ll be like “Oh, this person likes me. Oh, cool.” And they might start to open up more or be very enthusiastic about the idea of going to this restaurant or watching that movie or whatever it might be.
Paul: And you say that very important word which is suggesting because I can do like you do it. I can suggest to people more explicitly to go out. I have no problem with that and if they say “Oh, I’m leaving town,” blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. I don’t have a problem. But many people are not used to having that much guts, seriously so a lot of people who will hesitate to go that explicit. So that’s why I’m suggesting that they suggest something in the future and not ask for it. So this is like getting what you want without asking. So they would just say, “Hey, maybe we will meet in the future because we both go to that place or we both do that same activity. So maybe sometime we would bump into each other or maybe we should go together sometime. Hey, who knows.” So, you keep it open.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, sure.
Paul: And when you do that, then you watch what they do. You watch their reaction.
Dr. Aziz: Testing the waters.
Paul: Exactly. So it’s a safe way to suggest.
Dr. Aziz: And if they grimace in like horror then you simply say, “Yes, so how do you know Alex?”
Paul: Yes, forget about it. I was just suggesting that. I didn’t say anything.
Dr. Aziz: You can’t reject me. I didn’t ask.
Paul: I was just talking. No. It’s impossible. It’s rejection free. So that’s why I say that.
Dr. Aziz: I love it.
Paul: Exactly you got it. It depends on their reaction. If they say sure, we should do that give me your number, blah, blah, blah. Then it’s easy. You didn’t even have to ask. If they’re hesitant, well maybe you can just stay in touch via Facebook or something and wait for some time that they are more open and then go out or not. Who cares? But that’s the way you go forward. And that’s what takes you to the place of exchanging contact information. When you do that, of course, your next Tuesday or next Wednesday, that reminder will pop up in your phone or on your computer and it will say social time and then you will say, okay, I met that person last Friday, now it’s time to talk to them. So that’s how you … that’s why I was emphasizing on habits so it becomes like a cycle.
Dr. Aziz: Sure. Fantastic. I mean I feel like here’s still so much that we could be exploring and so much more and given our time, I’m just going to ask one last question which is and there is more about how to really create the ongoing connection and deepen the friendship and again I’m going to encourage people to dive deeper into Paul’s teaching to really learn all those secrets but just as a … from a step back, if you could give sort of a piece of advice or encouragement to someone who really wants to create a better social life, really get the friends that they want, what would you steer them towards? What would you suggest? What piece of encouragement or advice do you have for them?
There is No Reason to Be Lonely
Paul: I would say that there is really no reason for them to be lonely. It’s a very dangerous place. You shouldn’t be there and you shouldn’t do that to yourself. It’s not a joke. Loneliness is very dangerous. I think you read on my website about the dangers of loneliness and scientists are just starting to find some horrible facts about loneliness. I don’t think anybody should do that to themselves. It’s a really hard thing to do. It’s serious. One thing it does to you is bad for your health, first of all. Second of all, your struggles in your life will leave a bigger scar in you emotionally if you’re lonely, compared to if you have friends. So, the person that is social and socially connected can deal with problems much more easily because they flush out that stress when they meet friends. Okay when you’re lonely you’re the only one who deals with that so it leaves a bigger mark on you. So I’m just saying, look, take this seriously. Loneliness is not a joke. You shouldn’t stay lonely for too long. Snap out of it. Do whatever it takes and don’t let it consume you. You deserve better. That’s what I’m saying. You deserve better.
And there are a lot of solutions for any problems. If you have a shyness problem, I mean, Aziz gives you all the advice you can need. And just from my website, just from the articles, you can learn a lot about where to go, how to talk, how to have conversations. There is a lot of things you can do and granted, society is not going to encourage you to make friends but you should be proactive about it. As I said, build the habits and do something about it because I think you really deserve it. I think nobody deserves to be lonely. And as I said, if you go back 10 years ago, we didn’t know what being introverted meant. Now we know what it means. Introverted does not mean that you’re anti-social. Introverted does not mean that you’re shy, introverted just means that you like spending more time alone, compared to being social. So if you ask me, I’m an introverted guy and my friends don’t believe that because when I go out with them, I’m very social. But I spend a lot of time alone. I work alone. I work from my house. I really work alone. I work from coffee shops so don’t believe those stigmas about being introverted, I think.
Dr. Aziz: That’s awesome stuff and it’s inspiring and you’re absolutely right. There is a solution. So if you’re feeling lonely right now, if you’re disconnected. If you don’t have the friends that you want, there are ways to break free and it’s just life is what we’re talking about, the research showing, it’s just a lot better when we have people that we’re sharing regularly with, friends people we’re closed to, people we love and absolutely get out there and create that, you can and the person that can help you really do that is Paul so Paul, is the best place if people want to get in touch with you about the way you’re coaching and learn from you, is it through the getthefriendsyouwant.com website?
Paul: Yes, that’s the main website. That’s the only website I have so…
Dr. Aziz: Great, okay. So go there. I will have a link below. And thank you so much Paul for sharing your wisdom and your insights about creating friendships.
Paul: Thank you, Aziz I really enjoyed this. Thank you for the opportunity. I really had fun talking to you.
Dr. Aziz: That brings us to the end of the interview and the end of the episode. Save one part, which is your action step.
Time for Action.
Your action step this week is to do one of the things that Paul suggests. I mean, there’s dozens, right? But pick one and do it. So, go to some place that has a mutual interest where you can interact with people. Find that. Get that on your calendar. Book it. Make it a reality and then when you go there, find at least one person and experiment with just starting the conversation about the environment. Remember the example about the birthday party, how do you know Alex or whatever the environment is. I had a client recently who always wanted to be more social and decided he wanted to go to church again. Not a particularly spiritual religious guy but he just wanted to be around people and that’s fine. So when he goes to church, at the end, he can walk up to someone and be like, so how long have you been coming here or how long have you been part of this church? All right, just using these environment and then you can start to deepen in the ways that Paul suggests, so phenomenal stuff.
Again, if you want to dive deeper into Paul’s teachings, go to getthefriendsyouwant.com, getthefriendsyouwant.com and I’m excited to hear about how this works for you. Share, go to shrinkfortheskyguy.com or facebook.com/socialconfidence and share about your experience, what’s working, what’s not working. I’m here to support you and I’m curious to hear about everything that’s working for you. So and man, tell us about the awesome friends that you create and the awesome experiences that you have. I can say hands down, having great friends and great experiences with friends is one of the most rewarding experiences in life and I want that for you. So until we speak again, may 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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