How to Make Friends

dear balckwell,

my name is jeremy from the state of massachusetts. i’ve been living here in massachusetts for seven and a half years. i just turned twenty two years old, and yet, i don’t know anyone anywhere. i used to know some people but then i forgot about them, and i can’t find their names anywhere. that was around a year ago. i would like to make some new friends, but i don’t know how. if you have any tips for not forgetting my friends once i get them, that would also be helpful.

john (that’s a fake name)


Hi John!

This is an interesting question. Enough readers have written in with variations on this question that I’m starting to wonder where they got the impression that I have friends. I do have friends; it’s just that I’m not sure where I ever mentioned it. I have also begun to wonder how I made the friends I have. Perhaps, if I can come to understand that, I can begin to help my readers who come to me for advice on this topic.

By my definition, I would say that I have ten friends, plus one potential friend who I haven’t met yet. Outside of these ten friends, there are some people who, if encountered at the right level of inebriation, I might call “my friend” or “my buddy.” However, they’re not really my friends. They’re just people that I know.

I have one friend of 20 years, three friends of 11 years, three friends of 5 years, 2 friends of 4 years, and one friend of 3 years. I guess it’s been a while since I made a friend.

For the record, if anyone is wondering, The Imp is not my friend. I want to make that explicitly clear.

I made four of these friends in high school. I made three of these friends by living in a college dorm with them. I made one friend at work. I made one friend by him being a brother of a previous friend. I made another friend by her being a friend of the Imp (who, I repeat, is not my friend.)

I would say that the friend I made at work is the only friend I made on purpose. How I did it was I showed up at work, and waited for him to talk to me. When he had talked to me enough, I started talking to him too. Then, I left that job and didn’t talk to him for a year. After that year, he messaged me on Facebook. So that’s how I got that friend.

Okay. I think, after some analysis, I have come upon a couple of pointers for how to make friends.

1) Show Up at the Same Place at Around the Same Time

A great way to make friends is to be in constant proximity with someone who you might like for a few months, maybe a year or two. This could be at school, at work, or even at home if you happen to be roommates. Eventually, if you are near them a lot, you will find it necessary to say something to them. If you’re at work, you might say, “Do we have any more potatoes?” If you’re at school, you might say, “What class is this again?” If you’re at home, you might say, “Where’s the salt?” If you have enough mundane conversations, it is statistically likely that, eventually, one of you might make a joke. If both parties find the joke compatible with their humour, a friendship will begin to sprout. From there, friendships have a mind of their own.

If you’re impatient, or have no reason to talk to the person, you might have to take matters into your own hand by speaking unnecessarily. If you’re at school, you could say, “Hey, you dropped your pen.” When they look for it, you could say, “Oh, maybe I was mistaken.” If you’re at work, you could say, “Hey do you work tomorrow?” If they ask why you asked, you say, “Oh, no reason. I just wanted to know.” If you’re at home, you could ask them what they think of the house or apartment the two of you live in. You share common ground, after all.

Here are a few more lines for various situations:



“Hump day, am I right?” – NB: Only works on Wednesdays (and some Thursdays, depending on the country.)


“Hey, mi casa es su casa.”

2) Ask Your Friends to Bring Their Friends

This an advanced manouevre, because you need to make at least one initial friend first, and that friend needs to have at least one friend other than you. This won’t work for you, John, since you don’t have any friends yet, but if you do happen to make a friend or two who have at least one other friend, this will become a viable option.

There are several ways to make this happen. One way is to plan an activity that requires three or more people, and then say, “Well, [friend], I don’t know enough people to make this work, but I’ve already bought the tickets, so it’s up to you to bring some of your friends too.” This shifts the obligation to your friend to bring their friends, and you can sit back and reap the rewards.

Making these new people into your friend can be difficult. Some of the tactics from step one won’t work, because you will be meeting them less often. My advice is to be cool, be calm, and take things in stride.


This is something I also have struggled with in the past. Here are some tips that I have implemented in my own life.


A list is a great way to remember anything. Whenever you make a new friend, write their name down in a notebook, along with a brief physical description, and a few notes about how you met, what they like to do, etc. This way, anytime you’re unsure about what friends you have, you can check back on the list and remember. If possible, write down their address, or some form of contact, so that you don’t end up in a position where you can’t find where they are. Having a friend who you can’t find is no better than having no friend at all.


Your brain is a collection of interconnected neurons. The more connections a neuron has, the more easy it is to recall the information contained in said neuron. So a good way to remember people is to associate them with common concepts or objects. For example, you could associate your friend Brian with the colour blue, so any time you see something blue, you think of Brian, and remember that he is your friend. Or you could associate cookies with your friend Kirkencott, so that any time you eat a cookie, or buy cookies at the grocery store, you remember Kirkencott, and perhaps think about calling him or sending him a text.


A schedule means that you will meet with friends whether you like it or not. If you say to Sam, “Let’s meet at the discotheque every Sunday,” and then write “Discotheque” on each Sunday of your calendar, you will end up finding Sam at the discotheque every Sunday (providing you follow the schedule on your calendar.) Even easier is to tell Joe, “Hey, come over every Saturday and we will play Shogi.” That way, Joe will simply show up at your house each week with his Shogi board, and you won’t have to remember anything at all. If Joe shows up and you don’t recognize him, just play it cool, and it’s probable that you’ll be able to become friends again fairly easily.


Well John, I hope this helps you out. Good luck.

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