Draw on your current contacts
This won’t apply to people who have just moved to a new area and don’t know anyone, but often you’ll already have the seeds of a social life around you. You don’t necessarily have to go out and meet ten strangers to have one. It’s often easier to turn existing contacts into full-fledged friends than it is to meet new ones.
Meet some new people
Getting more out of your current relationships can go a long way, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes you’re at a point where you need to meet entirely new people. Not having easy access to potential new friends is a big barrier for many people in creating a social circle.
Invite potential friends to do something with you
Once you’ve met some people you get along with, ask them to hang out. This is the most important step in my experience. You can meet all the people you want and they can think you’re great, but if you don’t take any actions to does something with them in the future, then you won’t form many new relationships.
Make a habit of getting people’s contact information
There have been plenty of times where I’ve met someone I got along with, and would have liked to hang out with in the future, but I only saw them a handful of times before they dropped out of the picture. I didn’t have their phone number or email address, so I had no way to get in touch with them. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of getting people’s contact info fairly early. Ask for their phone number or email address, or ask if they’re on Facebook. That way if an opportunity to get together comes up, they’ll be easy to reach.
Have a basic grasp of how to make plans
To hang out with someone you’ve got to plan it. Sometimes the process is straight forward. You ask them if they want do something, they agree, and you set a time and place.
Once you’ve got some budding friendships, keep in touch, and keep hanging out
Keep in touch with friends through the phone, email, MSN, Facebook, etc. Hang out with them on a regular basis. Basically, enjoy each other’s company and let the relationship naturally develop and deepen.