Be Yourself and Attract the Right People to You
Do you know how to attract friends? It’s a lot like attracting readers to a blog.
Forgive me if I veer a little bit off topic from social anxiety for this post. Know that I will return to regularly scheduled programming in a jiffy! Although, if you’re willing to be patient, I think you might find some nuggets of wisdom here that will help with attracting friends.
First things first, I need to explain a bit of terminology.
In the world of blogging, or online business, we talk a lot about avatars and niches.
To put it simply, an avatar is a person that you write to through your blog or website. In order to communicate to that person, you need to understand what makes them tick. For example, for this website, the avatar is a person with social anxiety looking for solutions to this problem. Other examples of avatars might be a person looking to get out of debt, a stay at home mom, or a brand new vegan.
A niche, on the other hand, is a topic that you write about. Good examples of niches include personal finance, home organization, self-care, etc.
In the blogging world, it’s generally argued that you have both an avatar (the person you are writing to) and a niche (the topic you are writing about).
And in a perfect world, you will eventually do something called “niching down,” where you figure out what resonates most with your avatar, and focus most of your content on that area (or areas).
Some really good examples of niching down include what Abby did at Just a Girl and Her Blog, and what Jennifer Maker did. Abby narrowed her niche down to organization (with a bit of home decor) and Jennifer narrowed her niche down to paper crafts. If you go back to the beginnning of their blogs, you will see that they used to write about a wider range of topics. Over time, they narrowed it down.
Hold on, though. Who are their avatars? If you go to either of their sites, there isn’t a whole lot of emphasis on who the person is that they are writing to. Anyone interested in organization would probably like Abby’s stuff, and anyone interested in paper crafts would probably like Jennifer’s stuff. Sure, they are more focused on women, but that’s just a natural extension of the niche.
Now, in contrast, if we consider someone like Rosemarie Groner and her blog the Busy Budgeter, it becomes quite clear who she is targeting: people who tend to be chronically disorganized and need things simplified for them. That’s a strong avatar that is unreated to the personal finance niche.
And, I’ve heard Rosemarie argue on a podcast that if you know your avatar really well, you can write on a broad variety of topics. But wait, isn’t that the opposite of niching down?
What I’d like to argue is that yes, you need an avatar and a niche, but you don’t necessarily need to have both. Let’s consider the reasons why, by drawing some paralells to making friends.
Like-Minded People Hang Out
If you think about friendships, what is the secret as far as how to attract friends? If you want to attract the right people to you, the ones who will “get you,” the best thing you can do is to be yourself.
That means having opinions, having hobbies, having interests, etc. so that when people learn more about you, they can decide whether you might make good friends.
It’s much like writing to an avatar on a blog: not everyone will like you if you are being yourself, but that’s good, because it means that you don’t end up friends with people who in the long run are going to ditch you on a Saturday night in favor of the latest Netlix drama and a bowl of Cheetos.
Furthermore, if you how to attract friends that you click with and who are “your people,” you’ll probably find that you enjoy doing lots of different things together. You might go to the movies, bake cookies, do weird voodoo things to your ex-boyfriends—whatever floats both your boats.
The point is that if you’re good enough friends, what you do together doesn’t matter. You’ll probably enjoy doing a whole lot of different things.
In fact, it might be weird if you only ever did one thing together.
And, if you’re blogging and you have a really strong avatar, that means you can write about a whole lot of different stuff.
Doing Things Together Creates Bonds
On the other hand, can you think of a time in your life when you became friends with people simply because you were doing the same thing?
These weren’t necessarily people you had anything in common with, other than that particular activity.
Examples might include belonging to a running group, friends you make at work, friends at school, online friends, etc.
In this case, it’s less about whether you make good friends and more about the fact that you are doing something together.
I see this a lot in online communities. When people have some shared interest, they can be from all different walks of life but become fast friends.
This works in the blogging world too. If you have a really strong niche, your avatar might take a backseat and be of lesser importance.
Sweet Spot: The Point of Intersection
What would be the sweet spot of friendship and blogging?
You guessed it: it’s doing things you love with people that you like. Sounds pretty simple, right?
A good example of this in the blogging world is Get Your Pretty On. The site is narrowly niched on capsule wardrobes, and focused on women who want to feel more confident in their clothing style.
So, if you want to know how to attract friends for life, what should you do? Be yourself, and go do things that you love. I know, that’s easier said than done, but it’s the truth.
And by the same token, if you want to attract blog readers for life, what should you do? Write to a specific person with a certain mindset (probably someone a lot like you) and write about a particular thing that you are helping them with.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments about how to attract friends (and blog readers).