How to make close friends

Closeness and intimacy is never instant, and takes time to achieve.

Posted September 9, 2012

QUESTION

I am a 27-year-old woman and find myself lacking the close friendships I long for. I’m well aware of the reasons why. Explaining would take all day but in a nutshell: I was a shy child who warmed up slowly but eventually made close friends I loved. In high school, I developed severe social anxiety and panic disorder, which continued in college. I still managed to make some friends, but only on a superficial level. In grad school, I finally made good friends again but they live on the other side of the country.

I’ve had therapy to deal with social anxiety and other issues, and it helped immensely. I know how to make friends and other people often seek me out to be their friend. The problem is that in the past I only reached a certain level of emotional intimacy with friends due to my anxious, shy adolescence. I’m lonely now, and I long for a circle of lifelong, very close girlfriends.

When I get to a certain level of closeness with new friends, I don’t have the skills to carry on. I worry that my friends won’t want to be friends with someone who is as inexperienced in close friendships as I am. Additionally, it seems that many people I meet are rather aggressive and argumentative. I can’t keep up with this type of relationship nor do I want to. I want to have sweet friends, but they are hard to find.

Do you have any strategies for how to make my current friendships closer and how to make new, intimate friends? I feel like I missed out on the types of friendships most women have in their teens and early 20s. It seems harder to foster this type of friendship at 27, especially for someone who lacks previous friendships of this type. What can I do to make up for lost time?

Many thanks, Stacey

ANSWER

A few thoughts come to mind: While it’s reasonable to want to make intimate friendships, you can’t go back and make up for lost time. You can only begin pursuing your “lifelong” friendship goals now. Having insight into some of the personality factors that made it hard to connect in the past can serve you well in the future.

It sounds like some of the prospects you have identified as potential friends, probably aren’t very good prospects at all. If your new friends are aggressive and argumentative, that can be pretty off-putting (and intimidating)—especially for someone who tends to be shy and reserved. Being anxious, I suspect that you may be very self-critical and hard on yourself as well.

It might help to approach your friendships in a more relaxed way. Continue to be open to meeting new people. Perhaps, take a course or participate in an activity in your neighborhood (based on your own interests), where you can “sniff” people out and decide which of them might be someone with whom you would like to be friends.

Build on the positive experiences you had in graduate school in your new setting. Smile and engage in small talk (I know you can do it if you try). Show interest in the other individual. Find things you share in common. And when you find someone with whom you feel comfortable, be open to spending more time together (without being smothering or needy, of course).

As you begin to know each other, slowly peel back and share parts of yourself (your history, aspirations, etc.) with the other person. (This may make you feel like you are taking a leap of trust—and you are, in a sense, but it’s the only way to get close.) If you find yourself still feeling uncomfortable, listen to your gut and take a step back to figure out why.

Thus, your immediate and more realistic goal should be to find a friend or two with whom you feel comfortable as opposed to hoping for a circle of besties. Closeness and intimacy is never instant, for anyone, and takes time to build. Don’t worry about not having a “track record” of lifelong friends. You are still quite young and have many decades to find friendships that are satisfying and fulfilling.

Hope this helps.

Having trouble making or keeping friendships? Take a peek at The Friendship Blog, five years old this month, for some advice and to share with other others.

Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier’s blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet. Read more.

Sometimes, you don’t want to share an Instagram Story with all your followers. Fortunately, Instagram has a dedicated whitelist option for those times. This feature, called Close Friends, allows you to share a Story with just a small group of friends.

How to Configure a Close Friends List

There are a few ways you can manage your Close Friends list for Instagram Stories. You can add someone to your Close Friends list from his profile or use the dedicated “Close Friends” screen from your own.

To get started, open Instagram and tap your profile picture in the bottom-right corner to go to your Profile.

Next, tap the hamburger menu in the top-right corner.

Tap “Close Friends.”

How to make close friends

The first time you use this feature, the list will be empty; tap “Get Started.”

How to make close friends

You can type someone’s name in the “Search” bar to look for them on Instagram.

How to make close friends

When you find the person you want to add to your Close Friends list, tap “Add” next to the account name. Repeat this for all the friends you want to add.

When you’re done, tap “Create List,” and your Close Friends list is ready!

How to make close friends

Now, when you return to your “Close Friends” section, you see the people you added at the top. You also see a list of suggested profiles—tap “Add” if you want to add any of these people to your Close Friends list. If you want to remove someone from the list, simply tap “Remove.”

How to make close friends

You can also remove a friend you follow from your Close Friends list from their own profile. To do so, tap “Following.”

You have to tap “Add to Close Friends List” first.

How to make close friends

You can then come back and tap “Close Friend” to remove that person from your Close Friends list.

You can change and edit your Close Friends list any time, and as many times as you want. Instagram doesn’t notify your friends about your Close Friends list activity.

How to Share Stories with Close Friends

The Close Friends feature is integrated into the Instagram Stories interface.

To use it, swipe in from the left on the main Instagram interface. Create a new Instagram Story as you usually would (and maybe try out some of the new effects).

When you’re done editing your Story, tap “Close Friends” in the bottom toolbar to share it with your Close Friends.

Your Profile icon in the Stories section will have a green circle around it to signify it’s a Close Friends Story. If you see this same green circle around a friend’s profile picture in the Stories section, it means you’re on their Close Friends list.

How to make close friends

When you’re viewing your own Close Friends story, you can tap “Close Friends” at the top right to edit your Close Friends list.

How to make close friends

You can also swipe up on your Story to see which of your Close Friends have viewed it.

Go “Close Friends Only” with the Threads App

Instagram also has a new Threads app dedicated to your Close Friends list. It’s a good way to stay in touch with your nearest and dearest without getting distracted by memes or videos.

How to make close friends

Threads is the Close Friends feature in its own app. It allows you to quickly share a Story with one friend or your whole Close Friends list. Your Instagram DMs with Close Friends are available in the Threads app, as well.

Conversations in Threads are fully functional for you even if your friends don’t use the app (they can use the Close Friends feature in Instagram).

If you’re looking to further improve your Instagram game, take a look at our tips for uploading the best-looking photos.

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When creating a post, you have the option to make your post private so that only your contacts can see it; open so that it’s visible to anyone on MeWe; or only visible to a select list of close friends whom you choose.

Posting to Close Friends

You have the option to create a Close Friends list with up to 200 of your contacts, and share posts only with them. When creating a post on your timeline, select Close Friends from the postbox and then select which contacts you want to be on your Close Friends list. Only you can see your list of Close Friends. Contacts on your Close Friends list will know they are on the list but will not be able to see who else is on your list.

Here’s how to choose who can see your post:

1. Create a post

2. Select the arrow at the bottom right corner of the postbox next to Post

3. Choose to make your post to My Contacts, Close Friends, or Public

How to make close friends

When creating a post, you have the option to make your post private so that only your contacts can see it; open so that it’s visible to anyone on MeWe; or only visible to a select list of close friends whom you choose.

Posting to Close Friends

You have the option to create a Close Friends list with up to 200 of your contacts, and share posts only with them. When creating a post on your timeline, select Close Friends from the postbox and then select which contacts you want to be on your Close Friends list. Only you can see your list of Close Friends. Contacts on your Close Friends list will know they are on the list but will not be able to see who else is on your list.

Here’s how to choose who can see your post:

1. Create a post

2. Select the arrow next to Post to at the top of the postbox

3. Choose to make your post to My Contacts, Close Friends, or Public

How to make close friends

When creating a post, you have the option to make your post private so that only your contacts can see it; open so that it’s visible to anyone on MeWe; or only visible to a select list of close friends whom you choose.

Posting to Close Friends

You have the option to create a Close Friends list with up to 200 of your contacts, and share posts only with them. When creating a post on your timeline, select Close Friends from the postbox and then select which contacts you want to be on your Close Friends list. Only you can see your list of Close Friends. Contacts on your Close Friends list will know they are on the list but will not be able to see who else is on your list.

Here’s how to choose who can see your post:

1. Create a post

2. Select the arrow next to Post to at the top of the postbox

3. Choose to make your post to My Contacts, Close Friends, or Public

Social media has a way of mixing up our social groups in a way that isn’t always ideal. For example, you may not want to show the same side of yourself to a coworker that you would your lifelong best friend.

Luckily, Snapchat lets you control who sees what.

On Snapchat you can create private stories. That way, only the people you want to see a certain story will be aware that it exists.

Here’s what you need to know to create a private story on Snapchat, and what happens after you send it.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone Xs (From $999.99 at Best Buy)

Google Pixel 3 (From $ at Best Buy)

How to make a private story on Snapchat

Creating a private Snapchat story is pretty easy, but it does differ from the typical process of sending a Snap in a few key ways.

Here’s how to make a private Snapchat story:

1. Open the Snapchat app and log in, if necessary.

2. Tap your profile icon (or bitmoji, or story thumbnail) in the top-left corner of the screen.

3. Select the button that says “+ Private Story” or “+ Custom Story” in the “Stories” section. Snapchat may ask you to confirm that you want to make a private story — just tap “Private Story” again.

4. Tap each recipient you want to be able to see your private story.

5. Take your photo or video, edit and add stickers or tags, as desired.

6. Hit the send button (it’s the paper airplane icon).

Whoever you specify during the posting process will be able to see your public and private stories. Android users will see them separately, while iPhone users will see them mixed together.

And, of course, people who don’t make the send list won’t know either way that you’ve created private stories.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

How to see your friends list on Snapchat on an iPhone or Android phone

How to enable and use Snapchat filters and lenses on an iPhone or Android phone

How to delete or deactivate your Snapchat account, which you can only do from a desktop browser

How to delete or block friends on Snapchat on an iPhone or Android

Insider Inc. receives a commission when you buy through our links.

Social media has a way of mixing up our social groups in a way that isn’t always ideal. For example, you may not want to show the same side of yourself to a coworker that you would your lifelong best friend.

Luckily, Snapchat lets you control who sees what.

On Snapchat you can create private stories. That way, only the people you want to see a certain story will be aware that it exists.

Here’s what you need to know to create a private story on Snapchat, and what happens after you send it.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone Xs (From $999.99 at Best Buy)

Google Pixel 3 (From $ at Best Buy)

How to make a private story on Snapchat

Creating a private Snapchat story is pretty easy, but it does differ from the typical process of sending a Snap in a few key ways.

Here’s how to make a private Snapchat story:

1. Open the Snapchat app and log in, if necessary.

2. Tap your profile icon (or bitmoji, or story thumbnail) in the top-left corner of the screen.

3. Select the button that says “+ Private Story” or “+ Custom Story” in the “Stories” section. Snapchat may ask you to confirm that you want to make a private story — just tap “Private Story” again.

4. Tap each recipient you want to be able to see your private story.

5. Take your photo or video, edit and add stickers or tags, as desired.

6. Hit the send button (it’s the paper airplane icon).

Whoever you specify during the posting process will be able to see your public and private stories. Android users will see them separately, while iPhone users will see them mixed together.

And, of course, people who don’t make the send list won’t know either way that you’ve created private stories.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

How to see your friends list on Snapchat on an iPhone or Android phone

How to enable and use Snapchat filters and lenses on an iPhone or Android phone

How to delete or deactivate your Snapchat account, which you can only do from a desktop browser

How to delete or block friends on Snapchat on an iPhone or Android

Insider Inc. receives a commission when you buy through our links.

How to make close friendsFriendship—that close connection with another person which allows us to feel valued and cared for—is vital at any stage of life. The need for love and belonging has long been established as one of our basic needs as human beings. And it has been well documented that having strong, healthy relationships improves our self-esteem and overall well-being. As valuable as these connections are, however, they do not always come easily or naturally, particularly for adolescents.

We’ve all known the charismatic, outgoing teenager who is friends with everyone and approaches social situations with ease and grace. We’ve also known the awkward, insecure teenager who struggles to connect with people and becomes more withdrawn with each friendship that crashes and burns. While some of it has to do with personality and development, it is just as important to remember that just like so many aspects of adolescent development, making friends is a skill that can be learned.

Find a Therapist

If it seems like it was easier for your child to make friends when they were young, you’re right. When kids are little, most of their friendships are cultivated and managed by adults. Parents set up “play dates,” organize the activities, and manage any conflict that pops up. Parents also plan birthdays and other parties, and manage the invitations, gifts, and RSVPs to make sure everyone is included.

The good news is making friends boils down to a series of skills that can be learned.

As kids become teens, these friendships start to shift and evolve. As is true with so many things about middle school, teens become more independent and start making choices for themselves, so it makes sense they also become more independent in managing their friendships. Some kids handle this transition effortlessly, while others struggle mightily with making and keeping friends. And those friendship struggles can lead to a lack of confidence and feeling disconnected and vulnerable at a crucial time in their development.

The good news is making friends boils down to a series of skills that can be learned. And as with any new skill, becoming proficient at friendship requires some self-awareness, some guidance, and practice. Here are some tips for helping your teen improve their friendship skills:

  1. Invite your teen to do some reflecting. Ask them, “What qualities do you have that would make people want to be your friend?” And more importantly, “How do people know that about you? How do you let people see what you value, what’s important to you, and who you really are?” Rather than just looking around for someone with common interests, helping teens become clear about who they are and what they value allows them to attract friends who will be a good fit for them.
  2. Remind your teen that not every acquaintance will become a BFF. Teens who struggle with making friends tend to latch onto the first person who shows them meaningful attention. They may share too much personal information too soon, and they may become jealous and insecure when their new best friend has other friends. Help your teen work through the difference between a friend you sit next to in class and chit-chat with, and a friend who really understands and values you.
  3. Teach your teen how to engage in conversation. Small talk is a learned skill. It doesn’t come easily for everyone. It is particularly difficult for teens who are more introverted. Practice having light, casual conversations about easy topics such as music, activities outside of school, or homework. Help them learn how to keep it positive, and promote the value of listening more than they speak.
  4. Help your teen understand that conflict is a natural part of relationships. Even the best of friends are going to have fights, but not every argument means the end of a friendship. Help them work on fighting fair and knowing when to take a break from an argument to cool off. Particularly when it comes to social media, where misunderstandings are common and conflict can quickly get out of control, teach your teen the value of saying, “I think we’re both really upset. Let’s talk about this in person tomorrow.”
  5. Be aware of your own judgments and opinions. If you don’t like your teen’s new friend and you believe your reasons are valid, be thoughtful about how you bring it up. Opening a conversation with, “Tell me what you like about hanging out with her” may be much better received than the more obvious, “I don’t like her! She’s a brat!” And if you feel the need to criticize your teen’s friend, be sure to be specific about the behaviors you don’t like. For example, “I’ve noticed she cancels plans with you at the last minute a lot” opens up a much healthier conversation than, “I don’t like her. She’s so selfish and disrespectful!” Your teen values your opinion much more than they will ever let you know, so if you notice them being treated badly by a friend, by all means speak up. Just make sure you do it in a way that is likely to be heard.
  6. Help your teen foster other relationships. The need for connection and belonging extends beyond friendships with peers. Make sure your teen feels connected to you and other adults in their life. When teens have solid, healthy relationships in their lives that they can count on unconditionally, it becomes much easier to endure the roller coaster of adolescent friendships.

Friendships during the teen years can be so important and fulfilling. Having someone to lean on, share secrets with, and let loose with makes life better at any age. If your teen is struggling with friendships, remember that it is not a lost cause. Make sure your connection with them is strong, and guide them toward the skills they need to make the kinds of friends that will serve them well.

While some roles are more significant than others, each type of friendship fulfills an important need in your life.

How to make close friends

Friendship is an odd thing. There’s no rhyme or reason to it; there are no rules. We meet another person and we decide we like them for reasons as simple as having matching outfits or as complicated as going through life changing events together, and from that moment on that person becomes a part of our life.

Take a moment to reflect on the people in your life; specifically anyone you consider to be a friend. Now compare the relationships you share with each of these people. You will recognize that each of these friendships play a different role in your life. While some of these roles are more significant than others, each type of friendship fulfills an important need in your life, whether you realize it or not.

To give us a better understanding of the relationships we share and the roles that they play in our lives, we are taking a deeper look at the 4 levels of friendship.

The 4 Levels of Friendship

Acquaintance

An acquaintance is someone you spend time with on occasion, or someone you see often out of obligation but not necessarily desire. Conversations that you share are typically formidable but general, lacking any significant personal connection.

Acquaintances are often coworkers that you share polite interactions with, people from school or an extra curricular activity that you greet in passing but don’t keep in touch with, or a friend of a friend that you see on occasion, but don’t particularly like.

Casual Friendship

Casual friendships form when you discover you have common interests with another individual. You enjoy each other’s company and are on a level where you are comfortable sharing personal conversations, but do not seem to go out of your way to see each other.

Close Friendship

Close friendships are a step above casual friendships. You have bonded over shared interests, goals, or struggles, and put effort into making time for one another. You seek advice from your close friends, celebrate successes with them, and kick back and relax with them. These are probably the friends you spend the most time with.

Intimate Friendship

An intimate friend is someone who is genuinely invested in your health, happiness, and success. This is the person you share all of your achievements with, and who has seen you, and helped you through, your lowest points. Your connection runs deeper than with anyone else; you understand each other, you support each other, and you work to make each other better (most of the time). You can go long periods of time without seeing each other, and yet the moment you do, it’s as if no time has passed.

Building A Friendship

While each friendship is unique, their formations most likely followed a similar path. Whether your friendship was almost instant, or whether it grew slowly over time, there are a few actions and qualities that would have been present to bring that friendship to life. Creating a lasting friendship takes time, and a combination of both emotional and physical building blocks.

Not every friendship is going to grow and develop into a can’t-live-without-you, lifelong relationship, but every friendship will bring value and happiness to your life.

LATOYA NEWMAN

Making friends can take some extra effort. If you want to be closer to an acquaintance then you will have to work on being more outgoing, reliable and friendly. Remember though that it takes two to make a relationship work. Your acquaintance must be interested in getting closer to you as well, or even your best efforts will not create a closer friendship with him.

Explore this article

  • Share and Connect
  • Initiate Outings
  • Prove That You Can Be Trusted
  • Be Kind

1 Share and Connect

Contact your acquaintance more frequently. If you have her number, start calling more regularly. Connect through social media or email. Start paying more attention to her posts, making comments and “liking.” Open up and share things about yourself that you are comfortable talking about with someone who is not yet close. Ask more open-ended questions. These will give you more information about the other person than a simple “yes” or “no.” You can ask questions that start with “How do you feel about. ” or “What do you think of. ” Through this form of give and take you will begin to uncover what you have in common, notes the article, “Friendship Building,” on the website of the University of Florida. Talk about your family, the things you like and don’t like, your hobbies and goals.

2 Initiate Outings

Find different ways and means to connect with this person. Sometimes you may have to be the one to research different events and invite your acquaintance out, notes psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker, in her article, “Turning Acquaintances Into Friends,” on Psych Central online. It shouldn’t matter who is doing the planning and the inviting. What is important is that you get to hang out and you actually enjoy being with this person. Invite him out to see a new movie with a favorite actor. Make plans to attend the upcoming baseball game together. Invite him to play some of your favorite computer games online.

3 Prove That You Can Be Trusted

Work on building trust and showing that you are reliable. Without trust your new friendship will die very soon after being born. Start by showing that you are trustworthy. Keep your word. Do what you say you are going to do. Call if you say you will and show up when you’re supposed to. Don’t share anything that your acquaintance tells you unless it is common knowledge. You can show her how reliable you can be by asking her directly what information she is not comfortable with you telling anyone else.

4 Be Kind

Lend a helping hand when you can. Hold the door open when you are walking together. Help with an assignment or with studying for an upcoming test. Collect the work he missed from being absent so that he doesn’t get left behind. Don’t hesitate to help when he asks for your assistance. Do favors for him. Surprise him with a special treat such as a sweet from your lunch. Being kind and willing to help can close the gap between acquaintanceship and friendship, because a good friend is someone you can rely on through thick and thin.