Some of us struggle to make friends easily, but others seem to do so without any effort whatsoever.
Why is this?
When I was younger, I fell into the former group.
Don’t get me wrong; I had friends.
But I never found it easy to make them despite always being interested in what it takes to do so.
I don’t claim to be perfect at this now.
But through reading books like How to Win Friends & Influence People and observing friends who possessed the superpower of making friends effortlessly, I have learned a lot.
So what do these people have that most don’t?
Turns out, we can boil it down to these five personality traits.
Let’s dive in.
1) They have a positive-mindset
Positivity is magnetic when it comes to making friends.
People naturally gravitate toward those who radiate positivity.
And why wouldn’t they?
Everyone wants to feel like things are going well.
That things are going to be okay.
And whether they realize it or not, that’s what a person with a positive mindset does.
Their positivity rubs off on others, making people around them feel happier. It’s contagious.
It’s not just me who has made this observation.
It’s simple. We all want friends that make us feel happier. So people who make others feel happier through their positivity make friends with ease.
Of course, it needs to be genuine, though. Toxic positivity doesn’t cut the mustard.
That’s where this next trait comes in.
2) They are authentic
Another standout trait of people who make friends effortlessly is authenticity.
This is perhaps the most important of all the traits mentioned in this list.
People are smart. When someone is not being genuine, it is usually easy to tell.
You’ve been in this situation…
…when someone is doing all the right things to make friends, but none of it seems real.
They might be positive, and they might be saying all the right things. But they are overdoing it, or it just seems phony.
Naturally, you want to end this conversation as soon as you can.
No one wants to feel like they are being lied to, and none of us want a fake friend.
That’s why authors and experts in this area often stress authenticity and are careful in how they word their advice.
For example, in Dale Carnegie’s classic book How to Win Friends & Influence People, principle number four does not read ‘Act interested in other people’.
It reads, “Become genuinely interested in other people”.
Similarly, for his second principle, he wrote, “Give honest, sincere appreciation”. Notice how he added two words, “honest” and “sincere,” to stress that it should be genuine. This wasn’t by accident.
In a nutshell, people who are truly good at forming new relationships are genuine in their interactions, and when they display the remaining traits on this list, they are not pretending.
3) They have empathy
People, more than anything, want to be understood.
They want to know that they are not alone in this world and have people who can relate to their feelings.
Those who make others feel this way have little trouble making friends.
But how do they do it?
People who make friends easily generally have an exceptional ability to put themselves in the shoes of another.
I have noticed this time and time again.
If you rack your brain, you probably have too.
Empathy is so crucial in making friends that Kimberly Key, Ph.D., author and past division president of the American Counselling Association, wrote an entire article on it.
If you think this is something you lack, you should check out our full post, How to practise empathy: 14 tips to improve your skills.
4) They are active listeners
While empathy is key, it’s not always obvious to people that they are being listened to.
When people aren’t sure they are being listened to, or more than that, heard, they tend to shut down.
For people to open up and give you a chance to show empathy, you need to be an active listener.
As noted in a previous article, active listening is a game-changer in conversations and one of the things socially intelligent people always do.
So what is active listening?
Quite simply, it means listening to understand, not just to respond.
It means using nonverbal cues like eye contact and verbal cues like reflecting on what has been said to show the speaker that you are fully engaged in what they are saying.
And it’s not as easy as it seems.
When sharing tips on how to be an active listener, Hack Spirit writer Louise Jackson recently shared that most of us are not as good at listening as we think.
That is, research showed that 96% of people believed themselves to be good listeners. However, we only retain about half of what we hear.
A 50% retention is hardly what we could call good listening.
Anyway, people who make friends effortlessly have perfected listening and making people feel like they are being heard.
Of course, these four traits aren’t the whole story.
Without this next one, it isn’t easy to make friends.
5) They have social confidence
As a younger man, this held me back from easily making friends.
I didn’t have the confidence in social situations to meet new people.
I would wonder what they might think of me if I approached them or what might happen if I said something wrong.
Luckily I had a friend who is possibly the most socially confident person I have ever met. He could walk into a room of strangers and strike up a conversation with any of them.
Ten minutes later, people would be gravitating towards him, and his newly made acquaintances would be introducing him to their friends.
At the time, it felt like he had a superpower.
That was until I followed his lead and decided just to go talk to people.
When I did, I realized my fears were unjustified. Things became a lot easier after that.
To make friends, you have to put yourself out there. People won’t automatically come to you to make friends.
They might have their own insecurities, or possibly your lack of confidence is making you seem somewhat unapproachable.
Whatever the reason, social confidence is essential in making friends.
People who make friends effortlessly know this.
The bottom line
So there you have it.
If you were wondering what traits are shared by people who effortlessly make friends, now you know.
As always, I hope you found this post enjoyable to read and valuable for your own journey.
If you are interested in making more friends, you may also like our post 18 easy steps to making friends as an adult.
It details small things you can do to make big changes to the size of your social circle.