Socializing as an introvert can be a delicate balance of your confidence, energy and time. If you have ever wondered “How can I make friends?”, this is for you. To become more social, there are small steps you can take that will help you gain confidence and become more comfortable.
First, you must possess the right attitude. If you go into a conversation or a social situation where you don’t express interest in other people or their small talk, it’s going to be difficult to establish meaningful connections. I know small talk can be a bore on occasions, but it’s important to express interest in these conversations because they matter to others in the group.
To exhibit the right attitude, it’s important you try to display some of these behaviors.
You should be willing to listen to others. This means you need to maintain eye contact and engage others by asking follow-up questions. If you spend the duration of the conversation focused on your phone, your shoes or you are spacing out, others will pick up on this and will come to the conclusion you are not interested in them.
You should also be willing to initiate conversation. Take it from me, this can take time and practice. One of the ways I was able to grow in this was to find simple icebreakers that took the attention off me and allowed someone else to share insight. For example, if you go to a concert with a large group, approach someone you don’t know well and ask them which bands they like. By doing this you accomplish two steps. You show that you are outgoing by approaching that person and you express interest in them by asking for their input.
Along with a positive attitude, it’s important you are willing to go where people are.
To make this transition more comfortable, you should find groups that share your similar interests. If you are in college this is easy, as you can check your school’s website to find the students activities’ page. If you cannot make new friends in college, try to make friends online through websites such as Meetup, as they are a great way to find groups that appeal to your interests. As noted previously, when going to these gatherings it’s a good idea that you practice good listening behaviors and initiate conversations with others, as these will help you connect with them more naturally. I go more in depth about how to make conversation as an introvert here.
It’s also important to show others you are flexible to a degree. This means you should try to step out of your comfort zone some to try new things with friends. Now keep in mind there is a delicate balance here and you shouldn’t try activities if you feel they are unsafe, illegal or comprise your principles in any way. However, if a friend offers you a chance to go fishing with them, and fishing doesn’t sound appealing, try it anyways. By doing this, you are being a good friend because you are willing to do things that matter to others.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to give yourself a break regularly. Talking with others and doing social events can be energy consuming, so it’s important that you schedule events accordingly that way you don’t feel burned out or overwhelmed. What I like to do is meet weekly with friends where I know the conversation will be more in-depth, and then several times a month I may go to events with a larger group of people. The key here is to find a healthy balance that way you can continue to build meaningful friendships, but you don’t overextend yourself in the process.
To recap, building good friendships as an introvert doesn’t have to be a difficult process for you to undertake. By having the right attitude and the willingness to approach others, you can express interest in them. Further, by being adaptable and showing the courage to try new things, it can help you take that next step in your friendship, which can build stronger connections with others.