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How to build a social circle?

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Hi guys,

As you may have read in other topics, I'm facing challenges in my social life. It all started when I started to study medicine. I also moved away from my hometown. So I'm kind of an expat in my own country.

I tried over and over to build relationships and connect with people but it seems that I am hitting a wall FOR THE MOMENT. I'm taking responsibility for it so this is why I'm working on increasing my social skills. However, where I live, people are quite closed off and keep to themselves. They do not include me in their social lives YET.

I started the habit to call people I like on Wednesdays to see what they're up to. There are very few people I have a good connection with YET. It's going to sound harsh but here it is: I think there are not so many people who are interesting to me where I live. They all have the same mindset and goals.

So I think it's 50/50: I do not connect well with the local culture and I might have the wrong approach.

Any advice/gameplan?

It's been a few years and I'm so tired of it that my best plan of action is to change cities. I already said that I think Amsterdam and The Netherlands are more welcoming.

I think in some ways you have to become a local.  I live in a crappy suburb but its surrounded by better.   I found badminton (had to learn but I was already a tennis player) - local market next to a small lake (get to know the stall holders - social proof  and action dates back in my single days, bookclub (100% chicks and of course ladies only choose popular books so just read a couple of reviews and comments (and not the damned book).  And one Leil Loundes (author) recommended was scramble therapy.  If you're not into diving - go to a scuba class (whatever's local of course).    And choose activities e.g. hiking where ppl are forced to talk to you.  Find some of those get to know people questions lists and sprinkle.  Hiking is just about everywhere and good for this. Being a doctor of course dating is easy for you - nurses but from another hospital.  You're obviously driven and smart.  I think an achilles for people like you can be you get in a deep rut quickly in thoughts and actions coz yr so focused.  Random guy on the net wisdom 😉

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

I may be recommending something that you are already a part of or aware of.

Philanthropic Organisations

You mentioned on another thread that you are passionate about empowering children.
I thought that this is an interesting children's organisation Terre des hommes.
I have put the relevant link for Lausanne, Switzerland.

Naturally, philanthropic causes attract more pro-social individuals.
(I have witnessed power-hungry people use it as a weapon for public relations)


Toastmasters is great as well!
I had to work on my presentation and public speaking skills heavily a while ago.
You will meet like-minded people who have a drive to work on their communication skills.
Lucio has far more experience in this area since he is running the biggest club in Berlin.
Here is a club in Lausanne.

The Skill of Going Out Alone

I have faced the same challenge as you.
In a new city. Few friends. Full-time job.

If you do not want to depend on anyone for a good social experience, the skill of going out alone to socialise will give you immense freedom.
Probably this feeling of freedom is far greater than that of financial freedom. (At least personally for me)

I remember going out alone everyday for a period of time.
It's scary at first.
Fear. Anxiety.
I went out. Lots of awkward conversations.
Standing in a corner.
Some nights you don't connect with anyone.

I am personally a bit rusty now if you ask me to go out to a bar or club to mingle.
I will seek to hone this skill further in the future.

Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Social events
  2. Business networking events - for high-end events, individuals will expect you to be concise in expressing your value.
  3. Bars and clubs - personally hardest for me because of the loud, noisy environment. Element of cold approaching as well.

I have lots to work on in this area if you ask me personally as well.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I am terrible at going out solo.  So I asked a certain skilled somebody for some exact recipes. Here s his advice

Going out solo is interesting topic that I'd be happy to discuss.

We'll start with Level I - Difficulty -- Easy.

The first thing I would do is go out to eat alone after work, say 5 or 6 pm. Go to a bar and grill type place and sit at the bar. Ask for a drink and a menu. (Since you are just ordering food, it's even ok to get a Coke if you don't feel like drinking.) You don't even have to talk to anybody, unless you want to. Bar staff are completely comfortable with solo diners at such places. And age is no issue. A 70-year guy could sit down and order food. It's not viewed as "sarging alone." It's just food and drink.

Or alternatively, just go out for a beer around happy hour. Nobody else will think twice about it because plenty of solo people want to unwind after work and have a drink. Looking at TV screens and/or your phone is totally fine. But sit at the bar, not a table.

Sports bars are also very good for getting comfortable going out alone. People have their faces glued to the TV screens, and they REALLY don't give a shyte that you are alone lol.

On to Level II Difficulty -- Moderate

Go out to a bar (that is potentially more of a pickup place) LATER say 8 or 9 pm. Could still order chicken wings or nachos (or light bar fare) if they serve food. Otherwise, just get a beer. Can also look at your phone or watch the tv. Don't have to talk to anybody yet unless you want to. You'll probably feel some awkwardness but just let it pass (and drink lol). Nobody gives a shyte that you are alone. Could even just chat a bit with the bar staff.

On to Level III Difficulty -- High

Go to a lounge or nightclub* alone, assuming you like or can tolerate the music. As an introvert who is comfortable alone, that was super easy for me as a young guy. Today, over 40, I have to really fight that paranoid "creepy old guy" negative talk (or limiting belief), even though I still enjoy nightlife from time to time.

Pick a place that is more upscale. Going early is nice because the music is lower and has more of a chill lounge feel than a frat party.

*I really like casino lounges and clubs. Since gamblers come in all ages, such venues are more tolerant of older guys. You also tend to get some occasional working professional women and MILFs. Or a club or lounge attached to a hotel that hosts a lot of business conferences is good too. (There is a risk of being approached by a hooker, but you should be able to figure that out fast and end the conversation.)

Other thoughts....

As an older guy alone, there are still some minor adjustments that I make to reduce the awkwardness.

1. Arrive early enough to the venue where you can get a seat if possible. Standing behind the bar people just holding your drink, while not creepy per se, is very awkward alone unless you are engaged in conversation with someone.

2. Minimize your approach distances. While seated, chat with the bar staff. Then simply turn your head and start chatting with broads next to you. I barely even leave my seat anymore when I go out, unless I hit it off with a broad and we go dance. Since you don't really have a "home base" as a solo guy (unless you hit it off with someone or a pair of broads), your seat is your home base.

Lucio Buffalmano and John Freeman have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn Freeman

Hello guys,

I'm making adjustments based on my recent learning experience with social climber inside the social circle I'm building. So the main activities I'm building activities around are :

  • Dinners + board games on Saturday nights
  • Board games on Sunday afternoons
  • Hikes in mountains during the day on Saturdays or Sundays
  • Seeing my family for board games and small hikes (small children) during the day on Saturday and Sundays

My main strategy is the same as usual: adding value and having a good times. Values I'm providing are: Respect, Trust, Love, Fun and Honesty. I'm verbalizing them from times to times as it is important for me that the people around me know what I'm standing for and looking for.

What I learn is that it starts with inviting people. I love to provide people with a good experience so I do my best to buy them food and drinks of the highest quality, find the games the will like the most and buy them gifts they will enjoy. I'm doing my best to be a good friend and uncle, in particular.

I changed my strategy recently like this:

  1. I kicked A. out of my life
  2. I'm inviting high-quality friends I got along well back from my studies and that I got a bit out of touch with. The advantage is that they know me and I know them: there is a good bond and trust between us. Thanks to Lucio, now I'm better able to sort out who's high quality from who's not.
  3. I'm doing something during the week-end no matter what: my job can and has eaten my private life before. I'm not letting my job eat my private life anymore. I got a bit behind with my administrative work (like:  a lot) because to stay on top of my job, I would have to work during the week-ends on top of the 11-13 hours I'm putting in every week (55-65 hours per week). It's not because it's necessary. It's mostly because the hospital is not well organized I believe. But I cannot change that. It is what it is.

Next step:

  1. Finding a balance between catching up on my work during the week-end and having a social life. I think I can only do one activity during the week-end. That is why I want to leave Switzerland. My quality of life is not good enough for all the efforts I make and I made, in my opinion. What keeps me going is to know that in Montreal the work environment is different. So I have a future to look forward to.
  2. Do my best to show my friend R. who got close to social climber A. who he really is but not in a direct way. I think he's a bit naive regarding human nature and does not understand what I'm doing. I told him that I was not too warm about seeing A. and he asked if we were "in cold" (french expression) I said that I will explain it to him. So now he knows. R. is socially clueless unfortunatley so I'm quite sure he will let it slip to social climber A. because he thinks he's his friend. And social climber A. being aware of where I stand will start to maneuver to isolate my friend R. from me to feed him his mental poison. I know it because that is what these people classically do: isolate someone they've been able to manipulate to further their manipulation. So my friend R. he will have to see it for himself in the end. It is what it is.

That being said, I made a lot of progress and I'm happy. I now have friends I can call to do stuff so I'm not as isolated as when I wrote this back in May (7 months ago). I'm in a completely different place and once again PU and this forum have a lot to do with it. It's all about social skills and they're learnable.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Rock on, John!

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Great job John - much action taken and real tangible progress!

I'm in a similar place, in that I want to build my social circle and social life. I know that it will come in time, so long as I take leadership on the issue and provide value. Like @Transitioned, I'm over 40 and the negative 'creepy old guy' talk in my head is something I need to counter. I think sharing your values - Respect, Trust, Love, Fun and Honesty - is a big positive with new people. It has to be done in a way that is socially appropriate and natural, of course, but it's not hard to get these things into a conversation and let people know what you're about. As I've gotten older, integrity has become an extremely important value and principle for me, and I've found that it can also be a good conversation starter. Once an initial, warm conversation has been struck up, it's natural to ask people what's important to them, what they value etc... inevitably the question then gets sent right back at me..

Hope you've had great weekend!


John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman

Hello Lucas,

about values, here is how I behave naturally:

  1. Either I see a person's behavior and I'm either complimenting them for their honesty, etc. any quality that I appreciate and I can even ask them how they developed it.
  2. Either something happens and I explain my behavior through my values.

I think values exist only within actionable and observable behavior. I can tell you "I value honesty" but it's only real when I tell you:

  1. "I value honesty and this is why I thank you for telling me the truth to my face even though you know I might not like it" (appreciating  someone's values)
  2. "I value honesty and this is why I avoid fakers and I don't see this guy anymore" (explaining my behavior through my values).

It's a self-disclosure behavior or a "get-to-know-someone" behavior. We reveal our values (based on our behaviors) and we connect at this level. It does not necessarily mean we prioritize the same values. However, it can be a learning opportunity for both of us.

Of course it can be used as a way of setting expectations but I do it rarely. Better to surround oneself with people who are already like you like them to be.

ZenDancer has reacted to this post.

Hello guys,

I am at a point where I have a social group of 7 people including me which I am the leader of.

The group is based around board games, partying and fun.

Now every week-end I have fun things to do. I attribute my progress to PU, TPM, my efforts towards self-development and developing social skills, the learner mindset and having a good training ground working in a hospital (lots of social interaction and power dynamics).

So my next step is to extend my social circle to have more options.

So here is my plan: I’m going to build a 2nd social circle.

The strategy is to have 2 social circles centered around the same topic: board games.

So I can have more options during the week-end and not rely on a single group of friends. I can also invite freely people between the groups since they share the same interest for board games and fun.

Any input on this idea?


Lucio Buffalmano, Matthew Whitewood and NoLimits have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew WhitewoodNoLimits

Hey John,

Maybe you already have people outside these 7 on inviting into your new circle? I have a few thoughts below but it may not necessarily be aligned if you want to build a social circle primarily around board games.

Joining other social groups like on could be a good idea. It takes the pressure off that you always have to be the person organising.

Then, once you find more people you like and click with, you can invite them over for your own gatherings and board game sessions. Then you could be the leader of 2 social circles.

Another option. I'm not sure if you enjoy going out alone to socialise. I did that for a period of time because I wanted to feel the freedom of not being attached to social circles.

There was a lower effort way during a period of time to keep up my social life. Which is to organise dinners at a restaurant or cafe every weekend. I recalled in your city that food places are shut down so this may not be feasible.

But these are probably steered towards my preferences socially. I believe people have very different preferences towards their social lives and how to build them.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
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