Listen and Respond: This doesn’t just mean nodding your head and saying “yes”. Make sure to physically show your interest in the conversation. Actually be present, and let the person know that you’re truly listening to what they have to say.
Open Ended Questions: Ask questions to get to know the person that don’t require simple one-word answers, lest you come off like you’re just having small talk. Questions like “What did you do this weekend?” or “What do you think you’re going to wear for your date?” help begin a more in depth conversation that shows legitimate interest.
Plan Activities: Always try to make plans that are simple enough to talk as you go, but aren’t boring. Go out for dinner or drinks, or simply talk on the phone – do whatever you can to encourage conversation, but try not to seem like you want something more. Don’t come off too strongly or like you have other motives. Simply show that you enjoy time spent with them.
Learn About Their Interests: As you get to know them better, don’t hold back on your own thoughts and interests. Don’t feel that you need to constantly agree with them, or do what they do. Be yourself and get to know what they spend their time doing, as opposed to what you do.
Secrets: Of course, you don’t want to tell them these right away, and you don’t want to go too deep, but show them that you value their friendship, and be honest with them. They’ll appreciate it.
Be Content: No one is drawn to a Negative Nancy. Even if you’re not enjoying life right now, don’t let it wear on your face. People are drawn to confidence and someone who seems to enjoy life. After all, what kind of friendship would you have if all you’re doing is complaining and have a negative persona?
Don’t Force It: If they don’t seem interested in maintaining a friendship, don’t force it; it will only get on their nerves, and push them away even more. Let things flow naturally.