3 Tips to Make Friends as an Introvert
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by Lindsey Kubly
The fact that I’m an introvert isn’t something that took me by surprise. I’ve always had tell-tale characteristics, like being an avid reader, having an active imagination and thought life, and preferring a small friend group. But for many people, the discovery that they are introverted is a surprise. Luckily, this surprise can help make sense of seeming anomalies in life.
- Ever wondered why you hate horror movies?
- Do you feel like your brain is running a mile a minute?
- Did you love academics and secretly know you were a little nerdy?
- Do you need space to just get away and recharge?
- Hate talking on the phone?
- Would you rather listen than speak?
Introversion can help connect the dots.
I Like People Too: A Field Guide for Introverts is an eBook I wrote after spending several months researching and teaching a class about introversion. It is chock full of stories and strategies to help introverts manage their energy. You see, when introverts are surrounded by people or in new surroundings, energy flows out of them (sometimes to the point where they feel “drained”). On the other hand, a crowd of people fills extroverts with energy.
I’m excited to share three simple ways to help you build friendships as an introvert.
1. Go Deep instead of Wide.
Everyone, extrovert or introvert, has a limited amount of time and energy to give. Introverts prefer to spend energy on their nearest and dearest. If you are looking to build new friendships, don’t spread yourself too thin. In a culture of comparing Twitter number followers and Facebook friends, go against the flow and experience the value of having fewer, authentic friendships.
I have deliberately chosen to follow a limited number of people online, because then I can really feel connected with them as individuals. Sometimes I am tempted to follow all the people, but I know that doesn’t work for me because I just can’t keep up. Sometimes, less really is more.
2. Encourage Meaningful Conversation.
Introverts can feel lonely even when people are all around them. Loneliness for introverts comes from a lack of meaningful conversation. If you feel disconnected from your friends, try steering the conversation from surface-level to something that is more genuine. One of the best ways to do this is by asking questions that start with “why.”
Recently, I attended a conference. If you’ve ever been to any big kind of social event, you know that it is easy to feel overwhelmed. So, I stuck with #1 — and made sure to meet with the people I already “knew” online. Then I deliberately tried to quickly move a conversation from small talk to a topic that we both were genuinely passionate about. This helped me to solidify friendships, instead of spending the whole conference networking with strangers.
3. Give it Time and Vulnerability.
When you are working to create friendships, the recipe always includes a willingness to share your time and vulnerable spots. When my husband and I first joined a small group within our church family, there was certainly an awkward period. We didn’t know one another well, and it would have been more comfortable to just stay home on those Wednesday nights.
But my husband and I agreed to two things that allowed these five couples to become some of our dearest friends. (I think these work in all friendship situations.) First, we decided that going to our small group was a priority. We chose to give these strangers two hours of our time every week, live life together, and believe that friendship would grow. Part of making friends is just showing up.
Second, we deliberately chose to be vulnerable even when it was scary. To sustain a friendship, you have to share bits of yourself. The depth of the friendship is directly related to the depth you are willing to share. During the three years we have been in this group, we have discussed the topics of sex, money, and marriage. We had to trust the other couples with our story and be a trustworthy and safe place for them in return. And that created a true bond between us.
Want more ideas?
This post is built on a chapter about creating genuine community from my eBook, I Like People Too: A Field Guide for Introverts. Plus, you will find ten other chapters to explore. The book will help you pinpoint your strengths, and learn how to use them effectively in your community, your work, and when attending social events.
Lindsey Kubly is an introvert learning the influence of her quieter voice. While writing I Like People Too, she drew upon her degree in biology, her lifelong love of reading and storytelling, and her passion for encouraging others. One of her biggest pleasures is reflecting on life and experimenting with simple strategies to inspire growth and freedom. Find her stories of marriage, motherhood, and introversion on her blog.
My husband and I are both introverts and it has always been difficult making friends. At 31 I only have one true friend that lives out of state. Learning how to manage my introvert personality trait will probably be beneficial in making new friends.
I’m also thirty one with my best friend living 3 provinces over. It’s so hard having her so far away and so many times I wish we moved back to our home province to be closer. It’s been so hard trying to build friendships and maintain them. There are days I wish I had friends so we could do things together and have those deep convos but at the other time I find myself struggling to want to do things as I prefer to be alone. The fear of rejection and judgment always seems to be in the way and it’s really becoming lonely. I’m hoping I can break out of my shell eventually
Thanks for sharing your ideas.
Introverts can be a little shy when it comes to getting out there and making friends. Figuratively, they are the ones that might get their feet a little wet at the beach while contemplating whether or not to dive in. What if it was a glorious day though. The sun is shining, it’s nice and warm and the water is inviting? The sun is almost about to set and it’s looking like it’s going to be a beautiful sunset. Makes me want to dive in just thinking about it.
Sweet spots and treasure troves can have a similar effect on anyone. I encourage people to find out about new activities and try them out. In so doing, they may find a sweet spot in life. Mine was board gaming which I happened to stumble across. A treasure trove can be found by visiting new social groups. Eventually you will find one with a group of people you get along with well. Both of these can help allay the anxiety and fear introverts may feel and get them to look forward to their next social outing.
My daughter is an introvert and after reading this, I think i lean that way as well!
Hi, i have read ur blog and it is very amazing and beautiful. As a introvert, i have a hard and difficulties in starting a conversation. Was i am boring, not have any idea or am i crave for attention. Could you help me by give an idea to stand up tall and make conversation more meaningful and. Interesting?
Can you please explain why hating horror movies is indicative of being introverted? I’m an introvert and have always hated them, but I am not sure how they relate?
Great post, Now I know a bit about why I sometimes feel disconnected form my friends, and why I sometimes feel like I do.
Great post Lindsey! Each tip was very helpful. Number one is very hard to do but very important. Thank you for your article =0)
Thank you, Micah. #1 gets easier with practice, I promise.
Hi Lindsey! I wasn’t in your class about introverts, but I watched it later because so many people raved about it during a different class I took. I found myself nodding a LOT then and again now as I read this post. The best part about your research and teaching is that it helps us (introverts) understand why we are the way we are and then gives us strategies for handling life, rather than constantly trying to “act extroverted” instead.
I haven’t purchased your book just yet, but it’s on my list! thanks for all you do!
It is so powerful to understand the WHY behind our actions. I’ve found this new comfort in my skin since unpacking the introversion that is embedded in my DNA.
Can we be friends? Because you get me! I love this post. I married a guy on the extrovert end of the spectrum (22 years ago) and our approach to people is opp.o.site.!! I have had to do a lot of figuring it out on my own over the years and now you’ve written this handy guide that I can recommend to my introverted pals (and their spouses!)
Yes!! Let’s be friends, Alyssa 🙂
Enjoy the guide – thanks for passing it along!!