When we are younger, it kind of seems natural to make new friendships and we do it without difficulty. But as you grow older, making new friends seems to get harder and harder but this doesn’t change the fact that we all need to have friends.

Friendship, like any other relationship, is a two-way street that requires a lot of patience and effort, if you want it to work. But, it also requires time- it doesn’t happen overnight.

Although there doesn’t exist a manual on how to make new friends, here are 4 mistakes you should avoid making while doing so.

Being passive or being too pushy

When it comes to making new friends, you don’t want to jump to any extremes. One of them is being too passive. If you want to make new friends, you can’t just sit at home, waiting for them to knock on your door. The worst mistake you can make is to avoid meeting new people or to avoid initiating conversations. If you happen to meet someone you think might be your friend, don’t be afraid to be the first one to suggest some kind of hanging out. But, like in every other relationship- take things slow. Other extreme is being too pushy. Make sure not to bother anyone too often, because that chases people away. Instead, find the middle way and learn to read people’s signals. If someone returns your calls and continues to initiate contact and get-togethers, follow their pace. But, if it seems that someone is not up to having a new friend or you think they might be avoiding you, take the hint and walk away.

Talking too much about yourself or not talking about yourself at all

When you meet someone new, make sure to give them enough space to tell you about their attitudes, interests, and hobbies. I know one of the main reasons you want a new friend is so you could talk to them about your issues, but be careful not to make every social interaction revolve around you only, because you’ll appear to be selfish and self-centred and that is usually not a quality people look for in a friend. But, that doesn’t mean that your entire conversation should completely focus on the other person either. Be free to share your thoughts about a subject or to talk about your interest, because it means you are opening up to this new person. In the same time, you’ll reveal your qualities and characteristics and consequently, you will appear more interesting.

Pretending to be someone you’re not

The worst and one of the most common mistakes most people make when trying to make new friends is pretending they are something they are not. It doesn’t matter how old you are- when you are trying to make friends and especially when you are trying to become a part of an already existing group of friends- you feel the need to fit in, whether you are in high school or you are a mature adult. While that being perfectly reasonable- after all, we are social beings and we all have the desire to be accepted and liked- that doesn’t mean you need to disregard your personality and pretend to be someone else. First of all, it is not good for your mental and emotional health to change the essence of your person every time you get new friends or a new romantic partner. Secondly, you may think people don’t notice it, but when someone pretends to be something they are not, it is easily seen through. And you can’t act forever. Sooner or later, your true face will come out on the surface and people will start perceiving you as a liar who can’t be trusted. Besides, if you want new friends, you should try making real ones who will like you for who you truly are.

Giving your time to the wrong people

As we grow older, we learn to appreciate time more and more. There are other important people in our lives, besides our friends, and we want to save some time or ourselves as well, so there is not much left for friends. This is why it is a huge mistake to spend your precious time and energy on toxic people who don’t suit you nor do they have a positive impact on you. This kind of friendships bring you negativity and have an effect on our mental and emotional health. Besides distorting your image of what friendship should look like, they are also stealing you the time and the opportunity to find new friends who may officially be more compatible with you. So, if you have toxic friends, now is the time to remove them from your life. Remember, it is always better to have fewer quality friendships than more toxic ones.