Turning People You Like Into Close Friends (Without Being Try-Hard)

How do you keep in touch with someone you hit it off with without coming off as try-hard or awkward?

You know,

  • That person you had a lot in common with at that meetup
  • The colleague you have a chat with every now and then
  • The friend you click with but only meet through other friends

I’m not talking about turning ANYONE into a close friend. That’s probably not even something you want. (Read more about how to find friends more like you.)

But when you DO hit it off with a specific person, there are things you can do to keep in touch and let your friendship grow instead of watching it fizzle out.

There are TWO things that need to be in place to make it feel natural to escalate the friendship.

  1. A great personal connection. You need to get past the small talk and bond to be able to meet up again without it feeling forced. That’s something I delved into in this video. Watch that video first if you haven’t already.
  2. A sense of COMMONALITY. You need to feel like you have something in common. It could be a mutual interest, a similar way to view life or a similar background.

Before I understood this, I made painfully awkward attempts to keep in touch with people.

Me: “It was really nice speaking to you, we should hang out someday”.

The other person: “Ehh, yeah, sure”. (Thinking: “He’s either hitting on me or trying to recruit me to Herbalife.”)

Finally, I learned that I had to find a commonality to make it feel natural to keep in touch.

Here’s a cold fact: When we meet someone, we often never discover our commonalities, because we don’t know how to look for them.

The more unique the commonality is, the more it will help you bond.


You’ll come across a lot of people that you won’t find any commonalities with. And that’s OK. Obviously, friendship isn’t an off the shelf product you can apply to anyone you meet.

But for those who don’t know how to find commonalities, new friendships tend to die out after a while.

But what about keeping in touch with someone you want to date, not befriend?

What I’m talking about here is friendships and not dating. In dating, it’s all about the personal connection. Commonalities aren’t the deal breaker here.

If you don’t have the right personal connection, no reason or interest in the world will help you here. It’ll feel forced. However, if you get the right personal connection with someone you want to date, you can meet up again without any specific reason or commonality.

Back to friendships

This video is from my program Social Success Decoded 4.0.  In the video, I show footage from an actual conversation where I look for commonalities:

The path to friendship is all about taking small steps so that each step feels natural and not like a big deal.

In this graphic, I summarize the most common way people become friends. Going from step 1 to 6 takes years – or weeks, depending on skill.



Notice how each step would feel like a natural next thing to do, for you and someone you have a great personal connection with and who you’ve found commonalities with.

Have you tried this method of finding commonalities? Perhaps even without knowing? Let me know what happened in the comments!

David Morin is the founder of SocialSelf. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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