Are you an Introvert who lacks companionship? If you aren’t sure how Introverts make friends, you should know you aren’t alone. Many Introverts would like to build a larger network of friends and social contacts, but remain uncertain about how to make it happen.
To learn more about how Introverts make friends, it never hurts to ask other Introverts how they’ve done it. If you do, the chances are they will mention at least some of the following six strategies, all of which have been helpful to Introverts who’ve put them into action.
#1 Assume others are also looking for friends and act accordingly
The simplest social interactions and casual conversations can eventually evolve into deep and meaningful friendships. Most such interactions won’t have the potential to develop to this level of intimacy and involvement. But at least some will, because the people involved are ready and willing for something more.
As you interact with others, or seek out socially active environments, you should realize that you’re not alone. You’ll encounter others who are just as motivated to create new friendships as you are, and they will be more than happy to meet you halfway to make things work out.
You don’t have to know ahead of time which people are truly open to friendship and which are not. The best method to meet your objectives is to assume everyone you encounter socially is a potential friend, and then behave in a way that is consistent with that understanding.
This is how Introverts make friends, by showing authentic interest in the other person. Listen closely to what they say, and offer your thoughts or opinions when your turn comes. Ask follow-up questions to draw them out more, and when they ask you questions answer sincerely, honestly, and in more than just a few words. If the dialogue continues, try to keep it going as long as you can. When the interaction is ending, you should suggest an exchange of emails or phone numbers, and if the other person agrees be sure to follow through and make contact soon.
Over time you may discover you have only limited compatibility with people you meet in this way, and those initial friendly contacts may not lead to anything permanent or lasting. But if you act like a friend right from the beginning in all your new relationships, you’ll almost certainly find a lasting friend or two at some point.
#2 Start online, but don’t stay there
If you ask someone for their thoughts on how Introverts make friends, they are likely to mention the possibility of initiating social contacts online. It’s never been easier to find others who share your interests and enthusiasm, they will tell you, in Facebook groups, at online dating sites, on special interest forums, through email pen pal clubs, and so on. They’ll point out (accurately) that a person’s natural Introverted traits won’t limit them quite as much when you’re interacting virtually.
Online relationships are undoubtedly a good option for Introverts. But online interactions lack vital elements that allow friendships to develop and deepen. Consequently, Internet-based relationships will always be shallow and unsatisfying, if no attempt is made to translate them into the “real” world.
There is no reason your online relationships have to remain confined to virtual environments. Making contact with others over the Internet can lead to something special, if you take the initiative to convert your online friendships into real-life meetups. If you make arrangements to get together with the people you meet online, you can convert those that seem most promising into something deep, lasting, and rewarding.
Naturally, when you’re looking for friends this way you must proceed with caution. Initial meetings should be in public places, or should take place only when you’re accompanied by existing friends or family members you know and trust. Once you get to know the new person better such an approach may no longer be necessary, but you should remain safety-conscious in the beginning.
#3 Start your own activity or discussion-based group
Introverts are often told they should sign up for group activities or classes to meet new people. This is how Introverts make friends, it is said, by putting themselves in proximity to others who share their interest in chess, political discussion, craft classes, learning foreign languages, camping, or a thousand other activities that can bring people together.
There is some truth to this. But Introverts who join such groups will be bringing their reserved natures with them. If they struggle to initiate contact with others whom they don’t know, they may never break out of their bubbles and speak to anyone beyond what is required during classroom assignments.
The best way to avoid this outcome is to start a group yourself, casting yourself in the organizing or leadership role. Pick something where you already have some expertise, or are willing to work hard to obtain it, and let others come to you. When you’re the one introducing topics or setting the agenda, you’ll be more deeply involved in all the discussions and actually initiating conversations about topics that bring out your passion. Your knowledge about the topic will boost your self-confidence as well.
If starting your own discussion or activity group seems like a daunting task, and you aren’t sure exactly how to do it, you can always ask a close friend or family member to assist you. You likely will know someone who has previous experience in this area.
#4 Renew your old acquaintances, it’s never too late
One of the best ways to find friends is to get back into contact with people who you were friendly with in the past.
Introverts have a tendency to let some of their friendships or relationships fall by the wayside. They don’t do it intentionally, but just because they get busy with other things and fall out of the habit of maintaining contact. It’s far too easy for the Introvert to let relationships slip if it takes some extra work to keep them going.
The good news is that old friendships can be reactivated, assuming you have an existing database of email addresses, phone numbers, or shared friends that might be able to tell you where these former friends are. You can also search for old friends on social media sites.
While its certainly possible that some of your old past acquaintances won’t be interested in renewing the relationship, the chances are good that at least some will. If your attempts to make contact are successful, you should try to arrange in-person meetings with your old friends if you can, since this type of encounter is more likely to yield lasting dividends than online interactions.
#5 Don’t waste your precious social energy
Introverts need companionship. But they also need the opportunity to recharge and refresh, which can be a struggle if they are immersed in too many social situations for too long of a period.
As you begin your search for new friends, this is something you should keep in mind. You only have so much social energy to invest, and if you spread yourself too thin you’ll end up feeling overburdened and stressed out.
While you can benefit from a stronger effort to spread your social wings, you’ll do better if you concentrate on trying to find two or three new friends who will really enrich your life. You don’t need to seek out new relationships constantly or incessantly, and you shouldn’t waste your energy on people with whom you don’t have much in common simply because you’ve been feeling lonely.
As a social actor, you’ll only have so much of yourself you’ll feel comfortable giving. So, you must learn to invest your time and energy wisely.
#6 Study the art and science of body language
Most people underestimate the significant impact body language has on communication. Posture, facial expressions, and the positioning of the arms and legs communicate subtle but meaningful clues that indicate your openness to socializing. Others will pick up on those clues both consciously and subconsciously, and react positively to your signaling.
But they will only react that way if your body language suggests an eagerness to engage. If your arms or legs are folded, your eyes cast downward or looking away, and your expression seems blank or disinterested, the message you’ll be sending out is “stay away, I’m not interested.” On the other hand, if your arms and legs are open, you make eye contact, and are wearing a pleasant expression that suggests friendliness, potential friends will be instinctively drawn to you.
They may or may not make the first move. But they aren’t likely to turn away if you do. And of course, if you look closely you’ll be able to tell from their body language just how open they are to meeting and socializing with you.
It’s surprising how few people really understand the role of body language in communication. They overlook it completely, and as a result spend no time studying the subject or sharpening their skills in this area. Introverts can especially benefit by learning more about body language, since they have a tendency to unconsciously assume a guarded or overly modest aspect that may push others away.
Adopting the appropriate body language won’t lessen your need to put your verbal communication skills on display. What it will do is help you open doors that others will feel comfortable stepping through.
You can learn more about body language and its power by reading books or visiting websites that discuss the subject in-depth.