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What's your secret to making people want to hang out with you?

(20 Posts)
yummymummycleo Sun 23-Oct-16 23:06:39

Feeling a bit down and lonely tonight as I feel like I have to make all the effort in friendships otherwise they fall by the wayside. So after trying really hard and succeeding in building new friendships I find myself back to having very few friends.

There's a few things that have made me feel like this. Half term next week so have messaged a few people and no reply. I had a monthly meet up with a group I do an activity with a felt like everyone is so much more connected than they are with me. A few knew each other beforehand and meet up regularly anyway but a couple of the others who didn't know each other were talking about getting together now and I felt totally excluded. Then another women I got friendly with who is a neighbour seems to have totally gone off me. I never hear from her unless she wants something and then it's frequent texts but if I follow it up with a how are you? Text afterwards I get no reply.

Plus, I ve not heard from My so called best friend for over 6 months and again contact is only made if I make the effort and recently texts have been one word replies. I know people are busy but these people obviously have time to contact others as I hear about them going out with so and so. Why am I always the person no- ones bothered about?

I am Not good in groups and don't really have groups of friends as this is a common feeling with me and I end up getting totally confused with what's me being paranoid and what's reality.

I ve always struggled with friendships. I find myself constantly unsure where I stand with people and cross between whether I am being paranoid and it's all my imagination or if people don't like me or just don't know me or if I give some kind of signal that puts people off. I replay conversations in
My mind to check I haven't said anything that would put people off or something I ve done wrong and it's exhausting. But obviously I am doing or saying something wrong as friendships go by the wayside.

My dh and sister are very popular people and the kind of people everyone loves. I ve tried to be more like them as it seems to me they are very good at listening and working people out quickly, are good fun, don't give strong opinions and are very easy going. I guess this is the kind of person people like as they are a magnet to people.

But ultimately I mess it up and end up giving my opinions too much, talking too much and perhaps being too negative. I know I need to just be myself but I find being myself isn't the person people think "oh I must hang out with her" don't get me wrong I don't necessary feel people don't like me but they aren't bothered by me. I am down their list and so they are happy to meet up with me if they have nothing on and I contact them but it involves me making all the effort. I am really tired of it.

What's the secret in getting people to want to hang out with you and maintain long lasting friendships?

pallasathena Mon 24-Oct-16 07:49:20

Generally, from what I've noticed, the common characteristics of seriously popular people are that they're fundamentally happy sorts, easy to get along with, non judgemental and with a great sense of humour.
They're usually confident and caring without being a pushover and genuine people too whom you can trust, confide in and know they will keep a secret because they're honourable individuals who have a conscience.
And people like this are rare.
Rare because they're fully fledged adults who have experienced life and its ups and its downs and as a result, have real experience which they use sensitively when you ask them for advice.

cece Mon 24-Oct-16 07:55:29

What strikes me is that you seem to be trying something you think people will like. My advice would be to be yourself.

yummymummycleo Mon 24-Oct-16 08:20:30

Cece- yes I know you're right but unfortunately being myself doesn't seem to be a person people want to spend time with or bother to make an effort with so what can I do?

Ultimately I do end up being myself as I revert back to that as I am rubbish at being something I am not. But I guess I am trying to have more of the traits my dh and dsis have which don't come naturally to me.

I know lots of people who don't have those character traits but still seem to have lots of friends and people who make an effort with them. I guess I am not asking to be the most popular person I would just like a handful of friends I can rely on. I think there is certainly something about me which puts people off after a time, once they get to know me I guess. What is this?

What am I missing in securing lasting friendships?

PastoralCare Mon 24-Oct-16 12:25:47

Do you have hobbies?

yummymummycleo Mon 24-Oct-16 14:20:20

It's difficult to have hobbies right now as my dcs are both pre schoolers and I don't have much time to myself and at the end of the day I am knackered. but when ds goes go school next year I am hoping to do more.

I am interested in crafts so have joined a monthly meet up with that. I did have a quick look at meet to see if I can join anything there. However, in some ways this is worse for me as inevitably I end up feeling left out of group situations and as time goes on it always feels like other people connect with each other more. I also find I put a lot of effort into these things and make an initial friendship where we see each other and it's mutual effort on both sides only for it to fall away after a while and completely go if I don't make all the effort. It's like people get to know me and then decide actually they don't want to spend time with me but still have time to make the effort with others.

This is why I want to try and get to the bottom of this problem instead of just joining groups/attending toddler groups etc and for this to repeatedly happen. I am very nervous about what's going to happen when ds starts school as I am just not the person people like very much. I am a nice person though and have asked dh about it who is a very good judge of character and he says he can't see why.

I guess I want to solve the problem and be able to manage these feelings before I make more attempts at meeting new people. It seems to become a cycle where we never move from a casual friendship to a closer one.

cece Wed 26-Oct-16 12:46:14

Perhaps when you make friends initially by being a fake you but then the real you comes through and you have less in common. Does that make sense? You need to be you from the start. Then people will decide if they like you enough to become a friend and won't be puzzled by the change in you.

SeaCabbage Wed 26-Oct-16 15:06:20

I don't think having an opinion is a bad thing, unless it's coupled with denigrating someone elses.

But you said you talk too much and can be negative. Those are not attractive traits. Do you think you could work on changing those?

And I would ask your dh and sister (if you are close to them) to tell you honestly if they have any ideas as to why you are having trouble keeping friends. But they have to know that you want (diplomatic) honest answers and you are strong enough to hear them.

I wish you well.

SeaCabbage Wed 26-Oct-16 15:08:04

PS. Honestly, I don't know how bad your talking too much is, but being withe someone who talks too much is exhausting and frankly quite an unpleasant experience. A lot of people would avoid someone who they discovered talked too much. Maybe that's all it is and you can work on that?

maggiethemagpie Tue 01-Nov-16 12:56:54

The best thing I've learned is to not try... the more I try and make people be my friend, the more it pushes them away.
The best friendships have been those that happened without me even noticing.


IreallyKNOWiamright Tue 01-Nov-16 17:21:11

Hi op don't change yourself so people like you. Be yourself don't try to hard and the right people will gravitate towards you. Maybe your neighbour forgot to text back. Perhaps knock on the door rather then text and ask if she wants to have a cuppa.

yummymummycleo Tue 08-Nov-16 21:02:04

Thanks for the answers. Yes definitely need to work on not being negative. I know this is not an attractive trait and need to work on it. Also need to work on thinking before I speak I think I sometimes say things which don't come across well.

Yes, think I probably do come across as too try hard. I have also Mage friends when I ve not been trying and have been surprised when these people are making an effort with me. It's such a fine line though as others have said I can come across as aloof. I find it hard to walk the line between the two.

Definitely seems when people get to know me they don't like me. Felt this way since school. Def think others feel like we don't have common interests after awhile but that seems to always be the way. I can't seem to get people who are more similar to
Me to gravitate to me. If I do they seem to have all their friends already. I just think I miss the social cues.

Re the neighbour- I ve now given up with her. No reply to messages but multiple messages when she needs a favour. Telling me she's attending an event with others which is linked to somewhere we see each other regularly but no invite for me.

I just feel others manage to make close relationships so much easier and I am overlooked.

Truckingalong Tue 08-Nov-16 21:09:54

I feel exactly the same and its shit. It makes you question your whole character and wrecks your self esteem. I have no wise words but you sound perfectly likeable to me and I bet your husband thinks exactly the same too.

yummymummycleo Wed 09-Nov-16 23:37:07

Thanks truck. You're right it does effect your self esteem. I constant feel like there's something wrong with me as I see others make friendships so easily.

I ve even lost my so called best friend now. One word answers on texts which I always have to initiate. Haven't spoken to her since summer and she doesn't seem to care. She can't come to ds birthday party, a valid reason, but no request to meet up another time. Think that's it now. We were friends 14 years so really sad but can't be treated like she does in the friendship. I guess I had always held on to the fact that I had her even though I don't think she saw me as her best friend. Feel quite alone now.

I feel scared for the future especially when ds starts school as I feel this is next important milestone in his social life and I suppose potentially mine. It's the next opportunity to make friends and I feel if I don't solve this problem beforehand i ll make no friends and will have to see these people everyday. I know people will say you don't need to make friends with parents from school but I ve got so few other friends I feel I do and don't want to fuck it up.

junebirthdaygirl Wed 09-Nov-16 23:51:57

I agree with Maggie. I found when l was conscious of friendship l tried too hard and was too self conscious. Then because of life circumstances or maybe getting older l decided not to give a dam. If it worked it worked. And now l have lots of friends. I also decided not to care who planned getting together. I have one or two friends and l always plan stuff but l don't care because it suits me. I have others and they contact me more and that's fine.
I have to admit l made more friends when my life fell apart due to my dh getting ill that when everything was going really well for me. It's like people liked me more in a bit of a mess or maybe l was more real and not keeping a wall of protection there.
If you are full of opinions maybe join something where opinions are good and you can meet like-minded people. My dh has lots of opinions and so have his friends. They don't do small talk and love to get into the nitty gritty straight off. There are people for you out there.

dazedandconfused2016 Thu 10-Nov-16 03:09:53

Hi OP,

Years ago a good friend and colleague joked that I was always talking about myself by saying: "Okay, back to me."

We laughed about it but I took it on board and subsequently read a very famous and successful self-help book that I don't think I'm allowed to post the name of here due to the T&Cs. It is a book that I will never forget and, incidentally, probably one of the best unofficial dating manuals ever written (not that I was using it for that!).

The basic principle of the book is that ultimately, everyone is interested primarily in themselves and everyone wants to feel important. So instead of talking about yourself, ask the other person about themselves. Give others free reign to talk about themselves and show genuine interest in their lives and they will love you for it and seek you out.

Dr Phil (McGraw) has said the same.

Listen more than you speak. Be kind to people, don't judge them or criticise them. Compliment them and praise the good things about them.

I ended a long-term friendship because the other person criticised me and judged me to the point where I came away from our meetings feeling depressed. I'd tolerated the friendship for years because we were old university buddies but finally I'd had enough of the negativity.

There's an old saying that I can't remember exactly but the spirit of it is something like: "A good friend admires the beautiful flowers in your garden but doesn't notice your broken fence."

In terms of conversation, think of others first before yourself. We have two ears and one mouth because we should listen twice as much as we speak. Show interest in people's lives. Look for the good. Pay them compliments. Make them feel good about themselves, never bad. And consider their needs as well as yours.

The "frenemy" I mentioned would always grab the best seat in the restaurant without considering where I wanted to sit, and it would be the restaurant she wanted to eat at - I would never be consulted.

If you don't know what to talk about with people you don't know all that well, make small talk - "small talk, happy talk", and if in doubt, there's always the weather! I talk to colleagues I know only vaguely about the weather all them time! Especially in a slightly awkward situation such as when we're in the lifts and one of us feels we should make small talk. You'd be amazed at what "conversational cherries" follow on from that.

Example: You: "I see it's raining again - well, more like drizzle."
Them: "Yes, I suppose so. But it'll be good for my plants ." (conversational cherry)
You: "Oh, so you're a gardener?"
Them: "Aw, not really. I just like to plant a few tomatoes, and maybe some cabbage on my allotment (conversational cherry)
You: "Oh, so you have an allotment?"
Them: "Oh yes, I'm always on it whenever I've got a spare minute. It's so relaxing.... blah, blah, blah.... "
And once you've got them on their favourite subject you're home and dry.

Try not to be so hard on yourself OP - to me you sound as though you'd be a wonderful, loyal and caring friend. Just break the ice with small talk and keep it light to start with. Try not to pursue people too overtly, keep it casual. The people who are meant for you will seek you out as much as you seek them out, but if they sense any kind of "neediness" on your part, they may back off - that's just human nature.

Those who don't seek you out are not part of your story, that's all. Pay no attention to them and don't worry - someone will come along who does want to be part of your story. The universe hates a vacuum and when we let go of people who don't reciprocate our interest in them, be it friends, colleagues or lovers, we create the "universal space" to attract and accommodate the right people in our lives.

Have faith and remember that you are special and remarkable: you don't need "friends" who make you feel any less than that. Good luck, OP xx

InionEile Thu 10-Nov-16 14:27:50

It's isolating being home with preschoolers. You end up relying on friendships a lot because you don't meet people through work. There are toddler groups of course but they can often be hellish if you are feeling lonely already.

Do you feel lonely in your life? A book I read recently talks about how corrosive loneliness is and once you're feeling lonely it has the unfortunate side effect of damaging what few relationships you do have. You get entrenched in feeling left out and unloved and read negativity into all your encounters with others even when there's no reason.

I've felt lonely in my life and recognize some of your feelings well. I join groups and soon people pair off into friendships while I am left on the edge. I have learned a few things though.

Socially successful people generally like others. They enjoy their company and see the best in them. I am actually quite a curmudgeon and am not that good at connecting with others emotionally. My empathy capacity is lower and I am just not very open-hearted. Can't do much about it, I come from a family of introverts and reserved people.

Looking at the most sociallly successful person I know (also a kind of Queen Bee persona but everyone seems to love her so hey...) she actively seeks out what she has in common with others. If she meets someone who is into e.g. tennis she will say 'oh I love tennis, we should play together sometime'. She might not have played tennis in years but she genuinely wants to find common ground with the person and so will reach out to them. My reaction would be 'I haven't played tennis in years' = conversation shut down. Not intentional on my part but just me being honest and also anxious that if I said I liked tennis they might invite me to play and I wouldn't know where to start and would make a fool of myself. So fear and negative thinking can close off social avenues without you even noticing.

In a past life, I would have seen peopke like my friend as fake but now I realise that they are just more empathic than me and genuinely enjoy being with others more. They try to find the good in others rather than zeroing in on the bad.

It is very hard to shake the habits of a lifetime though. I am still working on it. It feels like shifting rusty gears in my brain. But I'm willing to make the effort. That's another thing: you sometimes just have to keep trying and not get down about the rejections. Focus on what you do have - outgoing husband and sister for example - and don't get too bogged down in feeling excluded.

Vagabond Thu 10-Nov-16 14:57:33

Hey friend,

Read this article. It might help you.

But first, I'll say this: I've moved a lot. I'm now living in my 11th country. I get by by being friendly, interested and confident.

I make eye contact and am genuinely interested in other people. I play a lot of sport so, for example, I'll approach people I recognise, but who I don't know and ask "how was your match? did you win?" or something like that.
You might not play sports but I'm sure you can find a parallel example at school or through your children. Just be open and ask questions. People love to talk about themselves..

Here is the article.

SuperFlyHigh Thu 10-Nov-16 15:02:14

not sure but it's finding people you want to hang out with and have things in common with - my latest friendship is someone who owns a local gift shop where I work -we chatted about stuff I like (her stock) then recently she was away I was away I was buying myself a belated birthday gift and she has birthday similar time so share same starsign... Other stock of hers is unusual animals - extinct like sabre toothed tiger plates etc - we got chatting as my mum writes books with endangered animals in them. You have to have common ground. I liked her before when I met her but nothing more nothing less.

off the back of that came an invitation to lunch with her locally (opposite gift shop) the following week.

yummymummycleo Fri 11-Nov-16 20:10:32

Thanks so much for the wise words. Lots of things for me to take on board. I am going to sAve this and refer to these wise words when I need to.

I agree it happens when you're not looking for it so I am trying to focus on family and not put so much emphasis on friends.

I will really try letting people talk
More about themselves as I think I do tend to talk too much. I do put myself forwards suggesting I could come along with them to whatever or saying I ll help out with dcs if they need it. These offers are NEVER taken up. I feel this is because these people don't want to get to know me. They've decided we won't do friends for whatever reason. This is what I need to work out-why?

Interesting what you say about how you used to think someone's fake if they take on any activity the other person is interested in but now you think they're good at showing empathy. I am on the fence with that one. I ve actually seen friends mould themselves into other people very effectively to to make friends and it's worked but surely it's short lived if you're not really interested in that activity. Surely that comes through pretty quickly and it is fake.

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