Most people hang out with people who have similar interests, goals, and backgrounds. Yet, variety is the spice of life. Having friends with different interests and lifestyles will broaden your own mind, as well as make you a more rounded individual. This in-turn opens the door for meeting even more types of people that can be future friends. Here are some ways you can broaden your friendship base and meet a variety of people.

Move Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you continue to do the same thing day in and day out you will probably not meet many different types of people. Do things outside of your comfort zone. Do things that will stretch who you are as a person. These situations may feel uncomfortable to you, but keep in mind that the experiences are growing you as an individual and opening the door to new relationships.

If you generally spend all of your time doing physical activities in your free time such as sports, or attending sporting events, take a plunge and sign up for a class or lecture. If you are a very feminine woman who generally leans toward girly activities, take a class in self-defense or one that teaches you how to change the oil or tire on your vehicle.

When participating in these new things be sure to keep your sense of humor about you. You may not be a smashing success at whatever it is you are trying to do, but there will be folks around you that can lend a hand and help you adjust. So laugh through your nerves and don’t take yourself too serious. The purpose behind doing new things outside of your comfort zone is to make new friends, not to be a perfectionist.

Meet Online Friends in the Real World

In today’s world, most of our more diverse acquaintances are people that we have met online. The people we hang out with in the real world are generally like ourselves. Take a step to meet individuals you have bonded with online through an epal or social networking site in person. If that is not possible due to great distances, perhaps you can video chat with them. Do whatever it takes to pursue online friendships and make them lasting friendships in the real world. As always, use caution and common sense when meeting anyone in person for the first time.

Age

When doing things outside of your comfort zone, and making online friends, don’t count out people who are in a different age bracket than you. Sometimes your new best friend may be someone that is 10 or 15 years older or younger than you. Many people say they want to meet different types of people, yet they don’t include that to mean someone who is not in their age bracket. People of all ages have something to bring to the friendship table. Don’t overlook a great person simply because of their age.

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Making friends with new people can seem daunting. You may feel that you are not good at small talk or that you do not send out a vibe that makes people like you. If so, here are some tips that can help you come across as more likeable so you can start building friendships with new people.

Watch Your Posture

While good posture is a good thing to have, if you approach someone and you are very formal and stiff, you may come across as uptight. It’s great to display confidence, to stand tall, have your shoulders back, to walk purposefully, and so on. But it can also put people off and make them feel intimidated. Loosen up a bit. Get rid of the power pose. When you relax your shoulders, tilt your head when you talk to someone, and stand comfortably you will come across as genuine and more open.

Touch People

Non-sexual touching can go far in making your more likeable. When you lightly and casually touch someone on the arm or shoulder when you are talking, it makes you seem more open and friendly. It will radiate warmth and put the other person at ease. Don’t touch the other person continually. However, a light touch on the shoulder or arm when shaking hands or during a conversation can break down barriers and close distance.

Ask the Right Questions

Have you ever spent 10 or 15 minutes talking with someone only to walk away and later realize you know nothing about that person? If so, you are not asking the right questions. When you don’t ask the right questions the conversation may have been centered on yourself, which may have left a bad impression. Or, if you did not ask the right questions the conversation may have stayed very shallow.

As soon as you begin talking to someone, you learn things about them. Ask them questions. Doing so will show them that you respect their thoughts or opinions. For instance, “What did you think of that speaker?” or “I see you have a really large family, how do you manage it all?” or “How long have you been interested in the arts?” Use the answers you receive to learn about the person. This will enable you to have a more in-depth conversation. It will also make you seem more likeable and not self focused.

Be the Real You

To be likeable, you need to be genuine. Don’t feel that you have to come across as perfect. Admit your flaws or weaknesses. For instance, “I’m really impressed by your ability to seem so calm in these types of settings. They generally make me a little nervous.” Don’t talk bad about yourself or give a laundry list of your short-comings, but do come off as human. Also, laughter goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to let your sense of humor out of the bag, as long as it is appropriate and not crude. Laughter can go a long way in lightening up awkward situations.

Winding it Up

When the conversation has come to a close and you or they have to move along for some reason, don’t just nod and say the standard “nice to meet you” line. Take it a step further. Shake their hand again, lightly touch their arm or shoulder and smile. Tell them it was nice talking to them and you are glad that you got to meet them. This will leave an impression and make you seen very likeable.

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So, you have struck up a friendship with someone and you plan to hang out with them either online chatting or in person. If you are worried about what you will talk about, don’t sweat it. Here are some things to open the conversation doors with your new friend.

Ask About Family

Ask your new friend about his family. Asking about family and siblings is a great conversation topic and it helps break the ice. Having a conversation about families also opens the door for consecutive questions. It also lets you and your friend get to know each other better as you learn more about each other’s background.

Movies and Music

It would be hard to find someone who wasn’t interested in movies or music. Ask your new friend what his favorites movies and music are and why. Even if you discover that their taste is much different than yours, show an interest. Be open to listening to a song you’ve never heard if the offer is given, even if you think you may not like it. Who knows, you may develop a new appreciation for a different music genre. Not only is music and movies great conversation topics for new friends, their tastes can tell you a lot about how they tick and how their mind works.

Travel

If traveling is your thing, ask you new friend if they travel often. If the answer is yes, ask them to tell you their favorite spots. Keep in mind that some people who would enjoy traveling may not have the finances to do it. In this situation, it is perfectly fine to ask about places they’d like to visit. Travel topics are a good conversation for new friendships as it gives you an inside look into the person’s interests and likes and dislikes.

Pets

You really can’t go wrong asking your new friend about pets. You’ll either discover they are a pet lover, or not. Either way, the answers will tell you a lot about the person. Even if the person doesn’t currently have a pet due to a busy lifestyle, they probably did when they were young and they’ll be more than happy to talk about favorite pets—or pets they want in the future.

Work and Hobbies

Two areas that are good conversations topics when you are getting to know a friend are work and hobbies. Finding out the type of work the person does and the hobbies they enjoy will give you in-depth knowledge about many things—such as their professional background, lifestyle, interests, and more.

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Making friends can be a challenge. When your family is in ministry work, it can be challenging and complicated. You never know if people are friendly because they want to be genuine friends with you, or if they want to be close to you because you are related to someone in the ‘spiritual lime-light’. Reports show that a majority of the family members of people in the ministry (particularly their spouses) do not have genuine friends in their faith-communities. Yet, with a little work you can have real friends in your faith community and outside of it.

Be Wise

When your family is in the ministry, your family is generally popular—at least among people in your faith community. If you have people around you all the time who want to hang out and be chummy, be genuinely friendly toward them, but be wise. If they have ulterior motives for wanting to befriend you, you’ll soon pick up on it. If they get excited about dropping your name to others, or if they are asking nosey questions about your family, or if they consistently try to charm you and act fake, they probably want to be friends with you for the wrong reasons.

Someone who wants to genuinely be your friend will like you for you, not because your family is popular or because they want to get on the good side of your family. Each of us has internal radar that will begin to beep when we are around people who are not authentic. Be wise and patient and let your internal radar lead the way. You should also be open to recognizing that there will be people in your faith community who will be authentic. Don’t judge everyone the same and assume they everyone is being friendly for the wrong reasons.

You are You

When your family is in the ministry, all too often people will introduce you as ‘the pastor’s wife’ or ‘the leader’s brother’ or ‘the pastor’s son’. If someone is doing this to you, gently take them aside and tell them to just introduce you as ‘John’ or ‘Amy’ – not by your relation to the minister or leader. Tell them that in no way are you embarrassed by your family, but you want people to come to know you for yourself, not for your position in the family.

People will come to know who you are eventually. However, the space of time before then will help you see if these people were interested in being friends before they found out who you are related to.

Outside Friends

While it is possible to make and find good friends at church, many people find it easier to just go outside of church/ministry to find friends. Join groups or clubs where you will meet people who have similar interests. Look for potential friends at the gym, coffee shop, and other non-church related places. You can also go online to make friends with people that live in your area—or people on the other side of the world. Sometimes online friendships can go a long way when you don’t feel that you can truly let your guard down and relax with those around you.

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Life has a way of throwing us into situations where we are around people that we don’t know – whether it is a new job, a party, or finding ourselves in a group setting for one or more different reasons. Making friends with strangers isn’t always easy, but there are things you can do that will attract people to you.

Your Body Language

When you find yourself around a stranger, or a group of strangers, watch how you carry yourself. Your body language can speak volumes, and sometimes it sends the wrong message. Avoid the body language that sends out the message that you don’t want to be approached – such as sitting with your body facing the opposite direction of the stranger, folding your arms, and keeping your head down.

Position yourself so that you are facing the stranger, keep your head up, make eye contact, and if you have to do something with your arms and hands, place them on the top of your legs, or place one hand over another in your lap or on a table. Avoid excessive fidgeting, as this sends out the signal that you are bored, or anxiety-ridden.

Small Talk

When around strangers, let them know that you are open to conversation. You can do this by making a statement about the situation you find yourselves in, asking a general question, or by commenting on something that is going on around you. Don’t be overly forward or pushy when making small talk, but send out the signal that you are approachable and friendly.

When you are talking to someone you don’t know, pick up on their body language and what it is telling you. If the person seems to want to talk, but their body language tells you otherwise, the stranger may be shy. In this situation, go out of your way to carry the conversation until they begin to relax.

Find a Common Interest

The best way to start building a friendship with someone is finding the ‘something’ that you both have in common. You can discover this through small talk. Once it is discovered, use that as your foundational base and the avenue by which to get to know the person better.

The common interest may be what brought you together in the first place – such as you both know the person who invited you to an event, you both are taking the same class together, or you both are at a job orientation. Whatever it is, go with it. Discuss the common interest with your new friend. Act genuinely interested in what he or she has to say and be open to sharing yourself, too. Before long you will be able to determine if this person is merely an acquaintance or someone you are truly want as a friend.

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While there is no magic pill to make you a friendship magnet, there are some things that you can do to increase the likelihood that you’ll make friends. Some of them should be obvious—such as good hygiene. Others may not be as obvious. Here is practical advice to help pave the way for new relationships in your life.

Accept Every Invitation You Receive

No matter what type of event or activity you are invited to, go! Even if the event is something that genuinely doesn’t interest you, or you think it is lame, go anyway. You never know when you will meet someone. So show up and be personable. You will not make new friends if you don’t socialize.

Be Positive

Nobody likes to hang out with people who whine and complain. Take a good long look at your attitude and see if you are a pessimist, or if you send off depressing energy. If you do, it could be why you are having problems making new friends. Emotions are contagious. People are attracted to people who are positive. Work to stay positive, and don’t forget to smile!

Diversify

If you are going around looking for a specific type of friend, you may end up looking for a very long time. People are individual and you can’t expect to find a perfect friend who is like-minded and like you in all ways. That just isn’t going to happen. You are also shortchanging yourself and missing out on relationships that are right in front of you by insulating yourself from those who are different than you.

If you have been keeping yourself from going places or hanging out with people because they are different, you should stop. While you may not become best friends with whoever invites you places or extends friendship your way, you could meet a more compatible friend through them. But, you’ll never know this if you shun or shy-away from people who are different than you.

Emotional Activities

Try to engage yourself in emotional activities. This includes things such as sports, outdoor activities, clubs and groups that require interaction, volunteering your time to help others, and other types of activities that bring emotions out in people. Nothing bonds people faster than emotions. Become involved and share yourself and you’ll find you make friends.

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If you travel often with your business, or you travel a lot with family and friends, try to make friendships with people at the places you visit. You never know when you will be back in that area. Knowing there is a friendly face there should you ever return is a nice feeling. Also, if the friends you make while traveling should ever be in your area, they will know they can look you up, too. Here is how you go about making friends when you travel.

Ask About Food

When you interact with someone you feel could be a potential friend, ask them about the food in the area and what they suggest you should experience. Local culture and cuisine is one of the best conversation starters when traveling. People generally enjoy opening up and talking about food and local areas of interest to dine.

Ask About Culture and History

Just like talking about food, people generally open up and like to share the culture and history of their area. So, use this as a conversation starter, too. Not only are you sure to learn things about the area that you won’t read in brochures or books, the conversation is opening the door up to making a new friendship.

Ask About the Best Entertainment Spots

Come right out and ask people you come in contact with where the best entertainment spots are in the city. This is a great way to find good locations that are not traditionally as ‘touristy’ as ones that will be advertised in brochures. By asking the question, you not only have the chance to make a potential friend, you will be directed to more places where you can make other new friends, too. If you are lucky, perhaps your new friend will offer to meet you at a local spot and show you around.

Be Ready for New Things

When you are traveling, you have to be open-minded and open to new experiences. Whether it is trying new food, participating in a dance you don’t know, learning new words, or learning how to participate in a cultural tradition, if you are open to new experiences, people will warm to you and new friendships can blossom.

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Just Epals recently underwent an upgrade. Although we tried to keep the core functionality and design as similar to the previous version of Just Epals as we could, things still look a little different.

Primarily, we improved the update feed so it’s easier for you to see what your epals are doing in the community. We’ve also made it easier for you to comment on the activity of your epals and begin conversations.

Perhaps the biggest addition we made to the site is a live chat feature. You can now chat in real-time with members who are on your epals list. This isn’t a free-for-all; only members you’ve added to your epals list will appear in your chat messenger window.

If your epals list is short, take this opportunity to search for new friends, leave profile comments and send messages. When you get to know a member, you can then add them to your epals list and in the future you’ll be able to see when they’re online and have a real-time conversation with them.

Log into your account now and see which of your epals are online (look in the bottom right corner of your screen when logged in). If you aren’t a member of Just Epals yet, join today and make friends today!

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Sometimes when you get a divorce, friends often feel they have to pick sides. It can be surprising to see how many friends go away. While you probably do have friends that are still around, it is a good idea to make friends with people who didn’t know you when you were married. Here are some places and ways you can go about meeting new people.

Online Divorce Support Groups

There are many messages boards and gathering places online that are solely for the divorced. Joining one of these places is a great way to chit-chat with others who are going through (or have gone through) a divorce. Not only can you make new friends, these types of groups are a great place to vent about your ex with people who do not know them.

Friendship Sites

The last thing a newly divorced individual probably wants to do is get back into the dating scene. However, you may still enjoy the company of talking with people of the opposite sex. There are friendship sites on the internet (like Just Epals) that you can join where people of all backgrounds congregate. Because these sites cater only to platonic friendships, you don’t have to worry that the people you are becoming friends with have joined the site for ulterior motives—such as seeking dates or hookups.

Get Out of the House

There is no way you are going to make new friendships in your area if you stay secluded away while you lick your emotional wounds. Take your dog for a walk in the park, go to a movie, walk around at a free museum, sit in on a poetry reading at a local coffee shop, accept invitations from your relatives to events that will help you come in contact with new people, etc. Get out of the house and be friendly. If you do, new friendships will come.

Local Groups and Clubs

Whether it is a divorce group, a mommy-and-me play group, a book club, or a church group, these types of local groups and clubs and others like them are great places to meet new people and make new friends. Join a group that is of interest to you and attend regularly. Be open and friendly and you are sure to make new friends.

Take a Class

Even if you have your degree, consider taking some type of class. The class may be hobby related, or it can be something that will help you in your profession. Classes are ripe for friendships and will often have off-site activities such as conferences, field trips, and more that will give you extra time to forge relationships with your classmates.

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If your boss is someone you like and you feel that he would be open to establishing a friendship outside of work, it is perfectly fine to pursue a friendship. However, because he is your boss, it can be delicate. If you don’t approach it in the right way it may come across that you are trying to pursue a friendship simply to climb the career ladder at work. Here are some tips that will let your boss know that you are interested in him as a person and not just someone who holds the keys at work.

Make Small Talk

If the style of your workplace allows for casual conversation, more than likely your boss will participate. Listen to what he says and use it as a way to build dialogue. For instance, if he was chit-chatting with you and your co-workers about something that he was planning to do over the weekend, stop by his office on Monday morning and ask how things went for him. Taking the initiative to ask him about things outside of a ‘group’ setting will alert him to the fact that you are interested in his life outside of work.

Avoid being a ‘Yes Man’

Work places are full of people who give their bosses generic, positive answers to everything. Show your boss that you are an individual. Try to be up-beat and positive about things, but do share tidbits of things that will personalize you to your boss and pique his interest.

For instance, if he asks you how things are coming on a project, saying something such as “I’m a little slow getting started this morning; I was up reading such-and-such so I’m a bit tired. But, everything is good and will be turned in on time.”

Giving your boss personal information about you in this manner will open the door to more personalized communication.

Extend Invitations

Believe it or not, bosses are human and many of them are lonely for friendships, too. If you are going to lunch with co-workers or alone, ask your boss if he would like to join you. If he declines, ask him if he would like you to bring him something back to eat.

In addition to these types of work-hour invitations, if you are hosting a party or event outside of work and you believe it is something your boss would enjoy, extend an invitation to him. Many times interacting outside of work is the only thing that is needed to build a friendship. Why? He knows the invitation isn’t obligatory such as going to lunch while at work. By receiving an invitation to an event outside of work, your boss will realize that you are genuine about wanting a friendship with him.

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It can be difficult making new friends when you have social anxiety. The traditional methods of going out and making friends simply do not apply when you live with this condition. However, this does not mean that you cannot find new friends. Here are some ways you can go about making friends.

Through Family and Friends

Many people with social anxiety do not experience such extreme nervousness and panic when they are with family and friends they are already comfortable being around. To make new friends, tell your family and friends what is going on. Clue them in that you find it difficult to approach people and/or be in social settings. This generally will prompt them to help you out.

Family and friends can pave the way by hosting a very small get-together at their home or in a non-chaotic setting. They can introduce you to people they know and they can even ‘casually’ stay alongside you for a while when you do start talking with people you don’t know. In other words, they can be the buffer between you and the new acquaintances. They can keep the conversations flowing until you start to relax around the new people that you are meeting.

Support Groups

Believe it or not, one of the best places to meet friends when you have social anxiety is at a support group. In fact, people are surprised to find that interacting with others who also have social anxiety doesn’t mess with their nerves as much as interacting in other social/group settings do. Gathering with others who also face the issues you face takes a lot of pressure off. While it may make you anxious when you first arrive, once you come to see that everyone there has something in common with you, you will start to relax and make friends.

Online

The Internet has been a great tool for people with social anxiety. Beyond the useful online support groups for social anxiety, you can make friends online at personals and friendship sites. Getting to know someone online is often a slower, more comfortable process. This is ideal for someone who deals with social anxiety because it enables you to be social from the privacy of your own home and you can go at your own pace.

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Throughout life we mix and mingle with people at work, school, and at social events. If you find yourself in a situation time and again interacting with a person that you think would make a friend, your instincts are probably right. Here are some tips on how to grow the friendship.

Act Like You Are Already Good Friends

The next time you are in the situation that lets you cross paths with the person, act like you two are already good friends. You can do this by going up to them and being super friendly to them. Greet them like they are an old friend. Do this in a casual way, not in a way that will freak them out.

The vibe that you will be giving off will let the person know that you are genuinely happy to see them. It will also tell them that you are comfortable around them. This is contagious and they’ll start to feel the same way.

Come to their Aid

If the person finds himself in an uncomfortable situation or put on the spot, do what you can to save him. Take the attention off of him by diverting attention on to yourself or something else. You can do this by making a comment, asking a question about something unrelated to what’s going on, or cracking a joke about something other than the situation. He’ll feel relieved and see that you truly do care about him as a person.

Ask Questions

Show the person that you want to get to know him beyond whatever it is that consistently brings you two together. Ask personal questions that aren’t too personal. Examples can be asking about hobbies, what kind of music they like, if they have pets, what they do for fun, etc. This opens up the door for interaction and getting to know each other on a deeper level.

Extend an Invitation

If things are going well and the person seems genuinely interested in opening up and being friendly, ask him if he would like to hang out some time. Extend an invitation for a sporting event, pizza and video games, golf, or whatever it is that you think you two have in common. The chances are high that the invitation will be accepted.

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When you work with people every day you come to see their personalities. If there is a co-worker that you interact with regularly at work and you think they would make a good friend for you outside of work, it is fine to pursue that avenue of friendship.

Ask for Advice

You and your co-worker may talk a lot throughout the day about work related things. To expand the relationship further and take it to a friendship level, ask her advice about non-work things. Don’t go to the person with something heavy and serious, but ask her advice on small personal things that you think may be relevant to both your lives. This will open the friendship door wider.

Examples can include telling her that you have a new dog and asking if she has a dog. If so, ask how she went about house-breaking her pet. Other ideas include asking her if there is a movie she would recommend, or if you know she likes to read – ask if she has read a good book lately that she would recommend because you are looking for something to read, and so on.

These types of personal, but not too serious, conversations can get the pair of you talking about things that are not work related. As you talk more and more, the topics can go deeper and become more personal.

Show Genuine Interest

If a co-worker has mentioned in passing something going on in her life, follow-up with her later about it. This will show your co-worker that you are interested in her life outside of work. Showing that you are genuinely interested and that you remember things that she has said can go a long way in building a friendship.

Don’t Gossip

Avoid gossiping about anyone at work. If you are a gossiper and you try to pursue a friendship with a co-worker, she probably won’t be interested. She will just automatically assume that you are someone that cannot be trusted with personal information.

Give Invites

In addition to the obvious lunch-time invitation, ask your co-worker to do things outside of work hours. Ideas include grabbing a coffee and dessert after work, inviting her to a get-together you are planning, or asking her to go shopping or to a movie with you. If a co-worker accepts an invitation to do things away from work, it’s a good sign they are interested in friendship, too.

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Whether you are a long-time Christian or a new Christian, making friends with people who have similar beliefs as you is important. Not only can having a friend with the same religious beliefs as you help you to keep your own faith strong, it is just a given that the types of activities that these people engage in will generally fit into your lifestyle.

Church

Church is the obvious place where you can mingle and make friends with other believers. However, if all you do is attend services the chances are very high that you will not make a true friendship connection with anyone. The people you see will probably just stay on the acquaintance level.

To use church to your advantage to truly make friends you should become involved in church activities and church work that goes on outside of normal church time. Look for these types of activities in church bulletins and newsletters. By attending these events you will have more of a chance to get to know people on a personal level.

Talk to Leadership

If you are new to a church or an area, don’t be afraid to approach a pastor or someone in church leadership to help you extend your social circle. These leaders are generally more than happy to help you make connections. They can introduce you to individuals that you may never find on your own.

Community Action Activities

Community action events are full of many different types of people. You are sure to rub elbows and find Christians at these types of volunteer-based activities. Ideas include volunteering your time at a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, food banks, clothing drives, and more. Not only can these places use your helping hands, they are a top go-to place for locating other Christians.

The Internet

If you are looking for Christian friends, don’t count out the Internet. It is a very viable place to make friends who have the same beliefs as you. There are many friendship sites that you can join that welcome people of all beliefs that Christians are members of, as well as sites are strictly for Christians only.

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Bars and restaurants are a hot spot for making new friends. If you wait tables in one of these types of establishments you will see the same faces over and over again, as well as new ones. Here are some tips on how to make friends while you wait on tables.

Learn Names

Make it your job to learn the names of the regular customers that you think would be potential good friends. Coming out and asking for the name of a regular customer generally isn’t awkward. You can approach the topic by saying something like, “I see you in here so much, I can’t believe I don’t know your name yet!” This should open the door to exchanging names and small talk.

If you are waiting on a new customer that you’ve never seen before, but they are friendly, be sure to introduce yourself if you are working their area. If you are not in charge of their section, stop by their table and introduce yourself. You can do this under the guise of asking if their service is good. If they don’t come forward with their name after you give them yours, you can find out their name if they pay by debit or credit card.

When you know the names of customers you like, be sure to call them out by name when they leave. Something like “It was good to see you today, (insert their name), come back soon” works nicely. And, the next time they do come in, greet them by name when you see them, whether you are working their section or not.

Making Small Talk

Once you know the names of the customers that you think would be good friendship candidates, take time to chit chat with them the next time you see them. You don’t want to be too personal when first talking with people, simply ask how they are doing. This generally works to build a conversation.

Over time people may begin to open up about their life and share things with you. Show genuine interest in them and what they say. The next time you see them, follow-up on how things are going in their lives. For instance, if the last time they were in your restaurant or bar and they shared that a parent was ill or they were in-between jobs, ask about it. This is a good way to turn customers into friends because they will realize that you are truly interested in them as individuals, and not just as patrons.

Make a Connection Outside of Work

Once you have learned the name of a customer and you have made small talk with him or her, find a way to make contact with them outside of your work. A good way to do this is through a social media outlet such as Facebook or just happening to run into them at a public event that you know they would probably be attending.

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