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A mate or friend can be anyone you feel comfortable with and want to be in contact with in one way or another. It is often enough to have some common interests or topics to talk about with your friend. However, it can be difficult to find a friend who meets all your needs. A mate can become a close friend over time.


  • Mates from school, hobbies, or childhood
  • Neighbours, online acquaintances, or work colleagues

You can do different things with different mates, and some are often closer than others. Often, close mates are called friends. Some of them you meet mostly in private and others in a large group. You can keep in touch online, by phone, or face-to-face.

Your mate doesn’t have to be similar to you, the same gender, or in the same life situation as you. They could be an elderly person, a neighbour, a relative, or a friend of a friend. The important thing is to find something in common. Different kinds of friendships enrich and broaden your worldview. An important foundation for friendship is respect for the other person as they are.

It’s up to you to think about and decide who you want to keep in touch with and what kind of friendships you would like. Making friends is often easier if you are open and willing to accept different people around you.


A good friendship usually requires both parties to be interested and willing to invest in the friendship. Friendship is born from mutual hopes, expectations, and actions:

  • How much and what are you willing to do to get to know others?
  • How much of your time are you prepared to give?
  • What do you expect from your friends or friendships?
  • Are your expectations realistic?
  • How much are you willing to invest in friendship?
  • Are you ready to share your thoughts and yourself with another person, even at the risk of failure – do you dare to take a risk?

If there is bullying or abuse of power in a relationship with a friend, or if someone feels unwell in a relationship, it is not worth keeping. It is important that both parties are doing well. Both also have the right to end the relationship. The basis of a good friendship is that both friends both give and receive.

Making friends can be hindered by experiences of bullying, shyness, or social fears. Many wonder:

  • Am I good enough to be a friend?
  • Am I too weird or different?
  • Does anyone care about me?


To make friends, you have to learn to believe that you are valuable, important, and interesting. If you find it difficult or impossible to believe that someone could care or welcome you as a friend, it is important to focus on strengthening your own self-esteem. It’s not worth trying too hard to be something you’re not; you should start by being something you are. It’s worth reminding yourself that you are an adequate and worthy person just as you are.

If you feel you can’t get ahead on your own, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Conditions such as depression can make it difficult or impossible to make friends. When depression is treated, this often helps in building and maintaining friendships.


In principle, anyone can be a friend. Go boldly to your place of study, hobbies, or events that interest you. Be interested in other people, say hello, look them in the eye and smile. A good way to approach a casual acquaintance is to ask for help or advice.

You can meet new people, for example:

  • at your place of study and events organised by student organisations
  • events and activities that interest you
  • through acquaintances and relatives
  • in your neighbourhood or online
  • on occasions organised by a church or some other community
  • military or civilian service
  • at work and in voluntary work


A friendship starts with an acquaintance and builds gradually. When you know someone by face, it’s easier to start a conversation with them. If you want the acquaintance to deepen into a friendship, you should at some point suggest something to do together. Some mates can become close friends.

It’s a good idea to consider whether it’s easier for you to approach a single person or spend time with a larger group. If you need individual friends, you can suggest a one-on-one meeting. People are mostly happy when someone wants to approach them. Be bold and propose things to do together.

Use the following methods to contact your acquaintance:

  • Ask for a phone number or email address, or send a friend request on social media
  • Call, text, chat, or contact the person on social media.
  • Ask the person for news and be interested in them – also tell them about your own affairs and news.
  • Suggest studying, going to the library, or doing group work together.
  • Ask the person to join you for lunch or coffee.
  • Ask them to jog or exercise with you.
  • Ask a friend or group of friends to go with you to a student event, a concert, or a new hobby.
  • Invite them to your home, for example for coffee, to cook a meal together, or to watch a film.
  • If you have people you know online, suggest a face-to-face meeting.
  • Get in touch with former friends with whom you have lost contact for one reason or another. Ask for updates and let them know you’d like to be in touch. A common thread can be found even after years apart.


When you meet an acquaintance, be yourself. Talk about things you have in common or your interests. Ask the other person what they’re up to and what they’re thinking. Often, people like to be able to talk about their own affairs and have someone be interested in them.

At the end of the meeting, you can say that it was nice spending time together and you wish you could see each other again. For example, you could ask the person to accompany you to an event you had planned to go to.

It is often easier to maintain relationships with friends when the time between meetings is not too long. If the new meeting you propose is not suitable, be proactive and propose another one. Even though people can be very busy and don’t get to meet as often as they would like, many people like the fact that you clearly want to meet them.

And don’t be discouraged if, despite your best efforts, the acquaintance doesn’t develop into a friendship. The fault may not be yours at all. Your acquaintance may have something else going on in their life at the moment that is directing their focus elsewhere. You can do better next time, or with another acquaintance. It’s worth focusing on the positive and believing in your own future potential.

In Nyyti’s chat, you can share your thoughts and read about other people’s experiences of dating, loneliness, and other life issues.