There is a common expression saying that friends are the family we choose for ourselves. In fact, having friends is of major importance as it adds to the fullness of life, improves wellbeing and decreases the risks of health problems such the diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. What is more, there is observed that friends offer emotional support and can positively influence your choices. In other words, the term friendship along with influence is deeply connected to one another.

“Whether you realise it or not, their influence goes well beyond the moment”. Leslie Becker-Phelps, PHD Psychologist said.

However, as we are getting older it is much harder to make friends and build strong connections with people. Speaking of friends and influences, author Dale Carnegie through his book “How To Win Friends And Influence People”, analysed behaviours, friendships, and overall human relationships. Specifically, Mr. Carnegie offered all the tools you need in order to build solid friendships and boost your network.

Among others, the book focused on applicable principles based on how to win friends, some of the following:

#1 Don’t criticize

As of matter of fact, it is in human nature for people to criticize other people. However, in this situation this is not the case at all. As a start towards winning friends, you must avoid judgemental behaviour. Instead of judging someone for what he's done or how he acts, try to understand the person and put yourself in his shoes.

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving”.

...Carnegie stated.

#2 Be Generous

When we give to others, we don't only make them feel closer to us, but we also feel closer to them.

By adapting a “giving to give, not to get” attitude, is more likely to earn others’ appreciation. Keep in mind that people are not creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, who are motivated by pride and ego. Therefore, it is vital to treat everyone with kindness and generosity.

#3 Become truly interested in other people

It is known that people love to talk about themselves. By showing your interest and being genuinely curious about the other person, you can make friends quickly and easily, as you make them feel important.

As, Carnegie explained:

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. The only way to make quality, lasting friendships is to learn to be genuinely interested in them and their interests”.

#4 Be a good listener

To be a good listener, you must really care about what people have to say. According to Carnegie, when people share things they enjoy, tend to feel good as they talk and as a result, they’ll associate those good feelings with you. In other words, encourage others to talk about themselves and simply focus on them.

See also: 9 tips for effective listening

Did you know?

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People is an 85-year-old book written by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936. Over 30 million copies have been sold worldwide, making it one of the best-selling books of all time.
  • In 2011, it was number 19 on Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential books.