If you’re an introvert, social gatherings can feel pretty exhausting. Putting yourself out there may seem like a lot of effort when what you really like to do is sit at home with a great book or watch something interesting on TV.
Mhmm, I get you.
It’s not that you don’t want to make new friends, it’s just not one of your greatest strengths. But the truth is everybody needs people in their life. Whether that is a group of 20 best buds or 3 meaningful BFF’s, having friends is an essential part of a healthy life. Studies have shown that people with high quality social relationships were happier than those without.
In this post I will answer the following:
- How do I make friends with people if I’m an introvert?
- Where can I find new friends?
- How do I start talking to someone I don’t know?
- How can I make new friends online?
- What are some general Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind?
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How do I make friends with people if i’m an introvert?
Being an introvert doesn’t doom you to a life of solitude. Introversion and extraversion are simple terms used on opposite ends of a sliding scale of sociability. Social relationships are a self-evident source of happiness, and there are happy introverts in the world. One study showed:
Get In Touch With Old Friends
Chances are that you already have a few good friends, but you aren’t the type of person to reach out and make plans. Search through your phone and see who you haven’t talked to in a while. Send a quick text asking how they are, and see if they want to hang out on an upcoming weekend. They will be thrilled to hear from you, and it will be a lot easier than starting with somebody new.
Ask For An Introduction Through Current Friends
Your friends know other people. Ask if they know anyone they can introduce you to because you want to expand your friend circle. It’s a win for everyone because you can meet new people, your friend can now make plans with you and their other friends, and your friend’s friends get to meet you!
Where Can I Find New Friends?
Pursue Your Interests
What we love connects us to others. Start branching out and exploring your hobbies and passions. This is where you will find “your people”.
A few places to start may be:
- The gym
- Your local church
- An art studio
- The dog park
- The beach
Go To Local Events
If you live anywhere near a large city, there are always events happening that you may not even know of! Do some quick Googling to find out what events are coming up in your local area. Websites and apps like Eventbrite and Meetup make it incredibly easy to stay up to date with gatherings such as:
- Support Groups
How Do I Start Talking To Someone I Don’t Know?
Show that you are a happy and positive person. Nobody likes having a friend who is a grouch. Smiling is contagious and can be a way to break the ice before the conversation has even started. If you have difficulty with this because you’re lacking in self-esteem, check out this article here for tips on how to build up your confidence.
Give A Compliment
A straightforward way to strike up a conversation is to give a genuine compliment.
- “Hey I love those workout pants, are they Gymshark?”
- “What a cute dog! What’s his name?”
- “Cool bag! I really love that style”
- “That was really nice what you did for that elderly lady back there, not many people would have done the same thing”
People like being recognized and talking about themselves. This is a fantastic way to introduce yourself because you have started the dialogue in an upbeat manner.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
If you attend a local event by yourself, start by asking positive open-ended questions like:
- “Wow this place is beautiful, don’t you think?”
- “What a great class today, wasn’t it?”
- “This artwork is incredible, what do you think about it?”
- “Isn’t the iPhone so convenient for situations like this?”
If you ask closed-ended questions such as “Is this your first time here?” it can lead to a one-word answer and an awkward pause because now you aren’t sure where else to lead the conversation.
Don’t turn the conversation into a job interview, include some of your own comments and continue being mindful of what the person is saying with their words and their body language.
Assuming the conversation goes well, see if you can get the person’s phone number, Instagram handle or Facebook name so you can keep in touch.
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Share Something About Yourself
Offering up a little bit of information about yourself may incline someone else to do the same. Don’t spill your dirty little secrets right away, but offer up enough information to get a conversation started. Once the banter starts going, relate to them and let the conversation grow naturally.
Ideas to Share:
Say your reason for being at the location.
- “I came here on my day off. It’s nice to get out and about during the day”
Talk about something positive.
- “I love these authentic tacos, my boyfriend says they are the best in town and I must agree!”
Make a positive comment.
- “Wow, the lines have never been this short, and I come here all the time. How lucky!”
Think of something personal, yet light-hearted.
- “Today is my parents anniversary. They have been together for 30 years! They are still as much in love today as they were 30 years ago”
Be Observant And Listen To Them
Listening is just as much part of a conversation as speaking. Before you start up a conversation, listen to what they are saying. This can be them talking to someone else or just with their body language. Don’t be afraid to chime in if the conversation permits.
Once you are talking, continue your active listening. Offer up responses that show you understand their point. For more information on how to easily flow in conversations check out this post here.
Just Go For It
Don’t let fear get in the way of an opportunity to make a new friend. Stop thinking so much about yourself and how you may be perceived, and focus on simply seeing the beauty and greatness in all of the people around you. The worst that could happen is that a stranger gives you a weird look or ignores you. That’s okay! Not everyone will be someone you want in your friend circle, and putting yourself out there is the only way to see who is a good friend for you.
How Can I Make New Friends Online?
Be Social On Social Media
Like, comment, and add new friends on social media who are into the same hobbies as you. Get the conversation started, and don’t be afraid to send a DM if you really liked what someone else posted.
You can also find people through the comment sections of blogs, forums, Quora, Youtube, Mix, etc.
Don’t Forget Why You’re There
One study showed that introverted adults were more likely to report compulsive Internet use symptoms than extroverts. Simply scrolling on the ‘gram will not help you find new friends. In fact, it may make you feel more alone as you observe everyone’s highlight reel.
Another study suggested that limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day may lead to a significant improvement in overall well-being as participants who limited their social media use showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression.
This is not to say that finding friends online is a bad thing, but it’s important to remember to not be sucked into the social media rabbit hole.
Do’s and Don’ts
DO follow up if someone hasn’t responded. Sometimes people need another reminder.
DO put yourself out there even when it’s uncomfortable.
DO be yourself and the right people will be attracted to your vibe.
DON’T speak negatively about other people.
DON’T start by talking about religion or politics.
DON’T make judgements too quickly. Often our first impressions can be inaccurate.