As a fellow introvert, I know how it feels. In a world where the majority are extroverts, making friends isn’t an easy task for us. Not that there is anything wrong with us, but most of the people expect a kind of behaviour during social situations that isn’t our forte. We aren’t the most talkative, neither the life of the party, but we still like the company and wish to interact like anybody else.
After years of unsuccessful moments and awkward attempts to build connections, I have learned a few lessons and came up with some guidelines on how to make friends when you are an introvert. It has worked for me, and for people who has asked me for advice after noticing that I do have a decent list of friends despite being an introvert. So here is what you have to do so never to feel isolated again.
It is OK to be shy or anxious
The first wrong assumption of an introvert is that everybody will notice that they are feeling uncomfortable during a social situation. Not all introverts are like that, but it is true that many of us might feel overwhelmed when in a larger group. And this feeling can show up in our body language and tone of voice in the form of shyness and anxiety.
The good news for us is that everybody feels nervous when meeting new people. The difference between us and extroverts is that they know how to fake and control it better than us because they have been in the same position much often. They have trained their communication skills to deal with this kind of stress, let’s say it this way.
So stop worrying about feeling shy or anxious by being sure that the person in front of you is feeling the same. And that you will manage it better over the time if you keep trying it hard enough.
Accept yourself as you are
As I said before, there is nothing wrong in being and introvert, so you shouldn’t try to change yourself in order to make friends. Plus, they will have to accept you as you are, especially because you won’t be able to play a role for very long anyway.
You should also have in mind that you can have other introverts as friends if you feel more comfortable this way. But you might want to give a chance to extroverts as well, as many of them love to have an introvert by their side.
We are famous for being good listeners and for our high-developed problem-solving skills, among many other traits that should make you proud of being who you are.
Look for people with similar interests
If you want to make friends, you should look for people with similar interests. It seems obvious to say it, but it also means that your local bar, your job, or your sister’s birthday party might not be the best place to start with.
You might be better off joining a club or a meet-up group that bring together people who enjoy any of your passions, for example. You can also try to enrol in a class so you can learn a new skill or start a new hobby with like-minded people.
This is a great method of making friends as you won’t have a problem trying to find what to talk about – it will come naturally. And the best way to find the right place for you to go is by checking our next tip.
Start with social media
Most of the introverts are happier chatting behind a screen compared to face-to-face. And you should take advantage of it instead of feeling like a weirdo.
There are plenty of online communities full of people just like you, so you can get talking and getting to know each other before meeting in person.
This kind of approach might minimize your social anxiety (if you have any) by giving you the chance to gather valuable information about the person beforehand.
Just make sure that you don’t keep it online forever and that you don’t wait too long to meet up, or it will just build up your expectations and make things worse.
Making friends isn’t easy to anybody, introvert or extrovert. You need to go for a lot of small talk and spend time on pointless conversations just to get to know the person. And it can take time to find those that you will actually call friends in the future, so don’t be concerned if it doesn’t happen overnight.
Also, be aware of what you are looking for. Most introverts are happy with a handful of good friends, and you shouldn’t force yourself to do any different if this is how you like it – spend your time building strong connections instead of trying to deal with a busy social life that will just drain your energy away.
My last piece of advice is not taking rejection personally. Everybody get rejected quite often, they just don’t broadcast it to the world. There are people that you will enjoy to be with and others that you won’t, but it goes the same the other way around.
So start putting these guidelines into practice today. You will be happy to find yourself with friends that you always wanted sooner than you expect.
By Norman Arvidsson