As I’ve mentioned, after your physical health, I would rank quality of your social circle as the second most important aspect of your life when it comes to happiness. If you’ve recently moved to a new town or your old friends are having families and don’t have the time to spend with you anymore, then building a new social circle should be one of your top priorities. Plus, expanding your social circle using the advice I detail below will naturally bring more women into your life, and these women will be more likely to share your interests. Depending on the bars for your romantic success is a lot like depending on casinos for your financial success. It might happen, but your energy would be better spent building a successful lifestyle.
If you’re starting from scratch, building a social circle can seem like a pretty intimidating task; in reality, like everything else in this book, it’s really quite simple. Below are the two key steps to developing a dynamic social circle.
1. Take Control of Your Social Life
Jeff, an alum, emailed me a few months ago saying that he needed a phone call. Once we were talking, he told me he was frustrated because people he knew weren’t inviting him to their events despite the fact that he was doing everything I talked about in Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this book. I thought for a moment and then asked Jeff how many times he invited these other people to events of his own. He paused, and replied, “never.”
Jeff was getting frustrated that other people weren’t demonstrating that they wanted to be his friend, while at the same time he was never demonstrating that he wanted to be their friend. If you want other people to invite you to their events, the easiest way to do it is to stop being a victim and blaming everyone else — and start taking control of your social life instead of being dependent on everyone else for it.
In short, you need to invite other people to events you create. These events, which you should try to organize at least once a month, don’t have to be huge or complicated — they just have to be something you’d love to do. Maybe it’s a simple boys’ night out; a dinner party at your place or a meal at some restaurant you’ve been wanting to try; a sporting event, concert, day in the park, pre-party, birthday party, or something more out-there like bungee jumping.
After deciding what you want to do, the next step is to invite every acquaintance of yours who may be appropriate for the event. You must invite the people that you don’t know quite as well yet, the people who wouldn’t be your first thought. Use common sense of course, but don’t make excuses. That is how those individuals go from being acquaintances to friends.
Keep in mind that you won’t get a lot of responses to your first events — one or two if you’re lucky. People just aren’t used to this coming from you, and usually don’t want to be the first to commit to something new. Keep at it though, and as your events become more common more and more people will be coming out to them and these acquaintances will start inviting you out more and more to their events.
2. Expand Your Social Circle
Once you’re becoming the center of your own social universe, the next step is to expand that universe. The best way to do this is to support friends and acquaintances and join other groups that are already formed. For starters, start showing up for invites to a friend’s improv night, his band’s show, the opening to her new play, and so on. Aside from being there for a friend as you’d want him to be there for you, you’ll also meet other great friends of his who care enough about your mutual friend to come out and support him as well. Employ the social skills you’ve learned in this book, and invite these new acquaintances to your next event.
Joining other groups that are already formed is another great way to meet people with similar interests. Maybe it’s a cooking, dance, or improv class. Maybe it’s a meetup.com group that discusses business trends or traveling; maybe it’s a group that does non-profit work or meditation. Whatever it is, think of something that you’ve been wanting to try for awhile but have been putting off, or something that you’d love doing even if no one else were there. This point cannot be stressed enough. People usually make their closest friends doing things they’d do even if those people weren’t there: school and work. Plus, if you’re really being honest with yourself, if you met some of your best friends randomly at an event, you probably wouldn’t have immediately decided, “I want to be friends with this person!” It’s usually after spending many days with them that you let your guards down and this connection begins to form. Of course, as you’re attending these events and activities that you’re doing solely because you love them, make it a goal to be as proactive in meeting others in that group as possible and to employ your new-found communications skills.
As you social-butterfly your way around your new groups, chatting people up, inviting them to some sort of group bonding after-activity (“Anyone want to grab a drink/dinner after this?”) you’ll naturally find that there are people you get along with more, and those you get along with less. With the people whose company you enjoy more, it’s time to invite them to your events and build your own social circle even more.
The longer you activate this “machine”, the more dramatic your results get. You start developing stronger bonds with the people in your other groups, more and more people start showing up for your events and they bring more and more friends of their own, and you start getting invited to more and more of their events as well. The growth is exponential and before you know it you’ve got to turn down invites because there are only so many nights in a week.
Building a social circle shouldn’t be put in a separate category as dating — it’s all just connecting with people. As I mentioned, most of the time that we feel lonely, it’s not because we don’t have a woman in our lives — a “solution” that will ease the pain only for a limited time — but rather because we don’t have regular social interaction or a healthy circle of friends we can talk to when times get rough. Whether you were in a long relationship and let your social circle slide, or you’ve been “gifted” social circles previously in your life through school, work, or certain friends and have never built one for yourself, this is a skill that can be developed at any point in life. It may be difficult at first, but I can promise that this work will be as rewarding as any you’ve ever done in your life — and you’ll be much more likely to find someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with.