11 Ways To Make Long Lasting Friends

Toni Koraza

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Dale Carnegie wrote the all-time-bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People. The book is dominating the charts since the original publishing date in 1936.

The opening chapter talks about how you can’t find any such read in the early 20th century, and that Dale Carnegie is the first person to research and establish interpersonal education. I’m not sure if it’s true because people have known other people since the begging of the human race. But Carnegie’s lessons are valuable to this day.

I’m a diplomacy major, and I have a few years of work experience helping ambassadors, ministers, and first secretaries across Europe. Most of my young professional years have a strong focus on interpersonal and cross-cultural communication. (Diplomacy is rarely pointed on politics as many might think.)

Essential life truths are often simple, but hard to learn. I’m sharing the experience of reading Carnegie's work and adding my lessons from traveling more than 20+ countries and meeting high-end officials in good faith. Here are 11 ways to make long-lasting friends:

1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or overly complain

Complaining a little can make you look human. We all have our issues with the world, and other people can often relate to your frustration. But don’t complain about the other party to that party.

If you’re trying to find more friends and stay professional in your workplace, don’t criticize people as you speak to them. You’re risking a conflict. And that’s fine only if you want to tussle.

2. Acknowledge your own mistakes

You might try to save your face when meeting a new group. People dislike such attempts, especially if you’re not a skilled liar. Most people are terrible at obscuring the truth (even though everyone thinks they’re fantastic at it.)

The fastest way to lose respect is to act like you’re not the wrongdoer when you’re obviously in the red.

Honesty and humility are great virtues. Laughing at your own expense after saying something stupid is the best way to win back others. Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister of the UK and he thrives on self-ridicule. He’s famous for being stuck on a zip-line while cracking jokes about himself.

3. Don’t try to win an argument

When it comes to friends, don’t even start one. If your goal is to expand your network, then don’t contradict others. You don’t have to agree on everything and be the yes man. The overly-agreeable approach is equally bad. And lying is never the right option.

You can just change the subject or change the focus on something external, like the third person in the room. You can’t win an argument, because nobody wants to change their opinions. Opinions are just opinions at the end of the day.

4. Actively listen and share relevant information

Basic communication comes down to listening and sharing relevant information. You can talk to anyone about anything when you master this simple approach. Always listen first, and share second.

5. Ask for small favors that appeal to the other party’s worth

You can win more friends by asking for small favors. Politicians call it the Ben Franklin effect, and psychologists the cognitive dissonance. Benjamin Franklin writes about what happens after asking a rival legislator for a rare book:

“When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.”

6. Stay Present

Spiritualists like Echart Tole talk about it at length, and other people feel this vibe straight off. You can sense when someone is not in the room with you, even though they’re physically sitting across the table.

If you want to make an impression:

  • Stay away from your phone
  • Don’t think about dinner
  • Be aware of your surroundings and people

You can stay present by turning your thought off for a bit. I see massive engagement when I’m truly present. Most people are distracted with their worries, wants and life issues, that being present serves as a great social community.

7. Stay human and vulnerable

Nobody likes preachers and holier-than-thou moralists. Let only your mother be the mother, and don’t act like one around your company.

Accept your flaws and your mistakes. Stay honest to yourself and the other party. Never get yourself too serious. On the flip side, don’t advertise your insecurities to score cheap social points because it might backfire. Stay light and honest.

8. Always start on the common ground

Everyone is interesting. You just have to find the common ground. Search for something you can genuinely agree on with the other party, and build your relationship from there.

When you don’t know what to talk about, default on the common ground and find your way again.

9. Make them the only person in the world

Rihana might sign the only girl in the world. And you’re supposed to make your partner feel like they’re the only person on the planet. The same goes when talking to others.

The most important person is always sitting right next to you. Focus on who you’re with right now.

10. Charm goes a long way

You don’t have to be Barack Obama to charm your way around. Offering a simple compliment is good enough.

When someone does something nice, compliment them. Bring good character traits to focus. Tell the other party what you like about their presence, work, or approach.

11. Give time for assurance

Let others deliver your idea. If you truly want to change someone's opinion, then it has to feel like it’s their plan. You can’t change the room by delivering facts.

Your ego can’t make you likable. The protection mechanisms to make you feel important are turning people off. Nobody likes self-righteous moralists.

Your best bet is to plant a seed and let it grow in the minds of others. If you want more veggie options in your cafeteria, mention the great benefits of green food to your colleague and your boss. Talk about life-changing zucchinis.

If you want to visit the Mediterranean for the next team-building trip, don’t shoot the idea straight away. Talk about the beautiful and clear turquoise sea, and mention all the tiny islands and fantastic Mediterranean food.

When your boss arrives with a plan for the summer vacation in Croatia, you’re already on board, and they believe it’s a great deal for everyone.

The most important person on the planet is always standing next to you.

And the most important time is right now. Leave major political disagreements for Facebook and Twitter comments.

Respect is the keyword for winning more friends and staying professional in the workplace.

You don’t have to prove you’re right about something. You can be right and still be the ass of the night. Respect the most important person right now, and you’re winning influence and long-lasting friendships.

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