Dear J: How can I deepen my communication with new friends without being weird?
J: When we make new friends, there will always be that “acquaintances” period that can’t be avoided. The only way you can really become closer friends is with patience and time. Spend time together doing things you both enjoy, try new things, and just have fun learning about each other and having shared experiences. Being an engaged listener and asking questions to get to know your friend better are all crucial in developing a strong friendship, but deepening connections can’t be one-sided. If your friends aren’t reciprocating your type of energy or putting in as much effort as you, it’ll never happen. Although friendships do require some kind of work, it should come rather naturally, and if not, then it’s okay just to be surface level friends.
Dear J: How do you know when it's the right time to let people in regarding secrets and trust?
J: Usually if they’re telling you things and trusting you, you can trust them as well. It’s all about gauging how comfortable you feel around each other and the types of conversations that you’re already having. If I’m quoting "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (2018), then you never really know — it’s just a leap of faith. You don’t know if you can trust them until you make the conscious decision to trust them and hope they don’t betray you. If you’re relaying a sensitive piece of information, you could always preface it with “Can I tell you something?” or “Can I let you in on a secret?” to casually let them know that this is for their ears only. Don’t be afraid to be the first to take the leap because chances are, they will be relieved and happy that you’re confiding in them and they will do the same for you. Other little things you could take note of is just how reliable they are in general and as a friend to you. Do they flake on your plans and claim that they’re too busy but they’re always hanging out with someone else, or are they excited to see you and always looking for things to do with you?