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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.20 – How To Build An Awesome Social Circle

How To Build A Social Circle

  • David Tian Ph.D. tells us a great way to build a social circle is by doing cold approaches.

  • David Tian Ph.D. asks men to go and make some female friends by actually starting conversations with strangers.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. suggests men to get training on learning to be social.

In episode 20, I talk about how to build a social circle from scratch.

[Intro music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Fade music]

Hey, welcome to episode 20. This is a really good question coming from the Facebook group. So this is coming from David in the secret Facebook group. First question – it’s actually three questions. I don’t know if I’m going to answer all of them but I’ll do the first one here, “Do you have any recommendations on the best ways to build a social life and social circles from scratch?”

The background is that he’s older now and many of his close friends are married or with kids or in serious relationships so they’re not going out and meeting new people – which is already worrisome. It’s not like you get into a relationship and suddenly your whole social life stops. That’s one reason why relationships fail. So David, hey man, you should learn this, what I’m about to tell you because then you’re going to need to coach your buddies later when their relationships fail.

So the question is, “Do you have any recommendations on how to build a social life and social circles from scratch?” Yes, of course. One more follow-on sentence from him, “The best idea I’ve got so far is to join clubs and societies and go do activities that I’m interested in or to try things I might be interested in and then use this as a way of meeting people. I’d love to hear some other ideas, though.” Okay, cool.

Quick plug, we have a program coming out at Aura, it’s an online program. It’s going to be about social circles. It’s tentatively called Social Circle Mastery. That would be on There is an entire program on this so I spend six hours walking guys through the most optimal ways to build a social circle from scratch.

It’s always a challenge. I’m excited to do these five minute – and I’m always aiming for five minutes but it usually goes longer – five minute videos to answer questions and really point it away but it’s challenging to pare it all down into that five minutes. So I just want to let you know David, and everyone watching, there is a lot to say about this but I’m going to try and make it – just give you one or two suggestions to get you going.

If you’re limited to joining clubs and societies and activities you’re interested in – which by the way you should be doing anyway, those are all good things to do. You should be doing them regardless of whether you’re doing it for the purpose of building a social life.

Hopefully you’re already doing activities you’re interested in and hopefully these activities involve other people. So it’s not just you locked up in a room, woodshedding or something like that. Hopefully that’s already happening and, yes, of course those are great ways of meeting people.

But in order to be smooth with the act of starting conversations with strangers even in those settings – like if you go to a yoga class partly to meet women, which is not a bad idea, you still have to break the ice. Being in a yoga class is not a naturally social environment because there aren’t group activities. You just happen to be in a mat next to somebody and you still have to strike up a conversation.

Often, like in Singapore, a lot of these classes are like – they go to the yoga class just before the class begins. Then the class begins and it’s pretty zenned out. You’re not supposed to be having conversations while you’re in like weird poses and then the class ends and a lot of people just pick up their mats and walk right out to the change room. There isn’t like, “Hey, let’s socialize for ten minutes time,” right? It’s still a great way to meet women especially if you’re interested in women who are interested in fitness and yoga.

It’s not like it’s designed for people to talk to each other. So there’s still this initial awkwardness where you have to conquer the anxiety that you’d have naturally, that most guys would have of breaking the ice. The only efficient way to do that is to actually isolate that as a specific anxiety or skill that you want to master and master that.

This is the one area – you know I started Man Up with an episode on how the pickup artist industry and community has messed things up. But here’s a caveat to it because everything’s complicated – one good thing that comes out of that is that if you are training yourself to talk to strangers and training yourself to talk to intimidating strangers and training yourself to talk to women that you’re attracted to, attractive women who are strangers, you’re going to be developing a set of emotional experiences that will help you in building a social circle.

So a great way to build a social circle is actually doing cold approaches. What this means is you see somebody you want to meet walking on a street or in a café, just go up and meet her. Then you don’t try to sleep with her or anything but you just meet her and you become friends with her. It’s perfectly fine to be attracted to your friends, in fact, that’s a compliment to them. That’s a good thing. Get used to that. Get used to being around women that you’re attracted to but that you’ve purposely put in a friend zone for yourself.

It doesn’t even have to be like you exclude the possibility of sex with her completely but that you’re just shelving that as an option for the time being because you value other things and that relationship. In other words, you value the friendship more. So that’s a great and healthy thing to have.

Go and make some female friends by actually starting conversations with strangers. That actually opens up the entire society to you. You literally could just walk around and just make friends. And if you’re cool, like you make them laugh, you’re able to form a connection with her; she’s going to want to introduce you to her friends and then you make friends with her friends and then you do that multiple times and you can merge these social circles.

So really, if you’re good at walking up to strangers and making conversations happen, all of these becomes really easy. If you’re limited to having to go to specific structured activities or settings in order to meet people, you’re going to be very limited. I mean, obviously it’s better than only being limited to your workplace or your school so it’s good to join clubs and societies and have extra-curricular activities but you also don’t want to limit yourself to that either. You want to have the skillset of being able to just walk up to people and make conversations happen.

If you don’t know how to do that, get some training. Go to our website and we have – basically the whole company is about that – how to teach you to be social, teach you how to make friends just from strangers, people walking around in the street. That’s possible, you can learn it. It’s a skill that you can learn. When you’re able to do that then you’re not limited by clubs, societies or activities you’re interested in.

Okay, cool. So that’s a quick answer to that. Remember, actually there’s a whole program that walks you step-by-step on how to build a social circle from scratch, how to cultivate it and so forth. But for now, that’s your quickie answer. Make sure that you click on the link to join the Facebook group where you can ask your questions directly to me and get your answers directly from me. All right, so I’ll see you inside the Facebook group. Until then – man up.