3. Be open, friendly and welcoming
Having an open body language, as opposed to a closed one, makes you seem friendlier and more approachable to others, especially in a social setting. Have a positive body language when meeting new people, shake hands firmly, make eye contact, smile, sit or stand up straight etc. You should also try to have an open mind when conversing with others, yet be genuine and friendly. As everyone is different and may have different views, learning about them, validating them or even engaging in a healthy logical debate can also help you build new friendships. So make sure to listen to what stories others have to share and pay attention to them without making any judgments.
4. Improve your social skills
Show interest in people, give them compliments, smile at people you meet on the street, or make some small talk with your coworker at lunch. There are innumerable opportunities throughout the day to build a connection with someone and you need to be aware of such situations and make the most of them. Although not everyone will want to be your friend, it will at least help you overcome your shyness and social anxiety. You should also boost your social skills by practicing how to initiate and hold conversations, including “small talk”. When talking to someone you barely know, you can talk about a wide range of generic topics like food, weather, pets, current affairs, vacations, hobbies, work or generally talk about families. Try to ask them non-intrusive questions to encourage them to open up and talk more honestly with you, engaging in longer conversations.
5. Seek therapy
Talking to a therapist can be helpful if you are unable to overcome your shyness or social anxiety. Moreover, if you have any underlying mental or physical health conditions that keep you from being as sociable as you would want to be, then talking to a medical professional may be necessary. According to a 2014 study, comprehensive and thorough “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is very effective in treating anxiety. It is a structured intervention that follows a general framework that is modified for each individual.” Therapy can help you find a sense of belongingness within yourself and in your loved ones.
Strategies To Cultivate New Friendships
Here are a few helpful tips that will enable you to meet more potential new friends –
- Visit places where you can have enough opportunity to meet new people, like a club or a bar, do volunteering, take a new class or participate in meetups
- Accept invitations to socialize instead of rejecting them immediately
- Practice small talk and take advantage of it for initiating more meaningful conversations
- Be grateful, humble and welcoming towards others. Smile when you greet someone and show interest in them in a friendly way
- Don’t shy away from talking about yourself. Feel confident in opening up to people you are comfortable with
- Avoid judging or canceling people based on specific traits or within the short period of time you have known them. We all have different layers to our personality
- Be proactive and introduce yourself to people you find interesting instead of waiting for someone to approach you. Although it may trigger your anxiety, this is often how we make close friends
- Don’t allow your fear of interacting with strangers or rejection stop you from being more friendly with others
- Look for like-minded people who share similar interests or have similar personalities
- Invest in your existing acquaintances and see if it can be turned into a more meaningful friendship
- Make sure not to approach someone too strongly and avoid appearing desperate, needy or even creepy
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Do not compromise yourself either just for the sake of having new friends. Respect yourself and let your peers respect you too.
- Create a profile on friendship apps and see if you can meet anyone interesting. But don’t let this be your only option for meeting new people.
- Get a furry friend instead if you still feel anxious around other human beings. Having a pet can not only provide you great company, but can also help you meet new people as well.