I am a total introvert. I am also an HSP, which makes for a very interesting combination, especially when it comes to making friends.
Introverts are social beings just like everyone else, we simply prefer to socialize differently. Dr. Clinton Moore, Clinical Psychologist and the founder of Cadence Psychology says, “Introversion doesn’t equal anxiety or shyness; it’s just a personality trait that means different types of social interactions are likely to appeal [to certain individuals]. Friends are still achievable, [introverts] just might need a different approach.”
As an introvert, I would rather have a handful of deep relationships as opposed to a lot of casual acquaintances. Most introverts prefer one-on-one get togethers or gatherings with only a small group of friends. Nothing is wrong with any of these, but it can make meeting people a bit challenging at times. If you are an introvert like me, here are some tips on how you can still make friends as an introvert.
#1 Adjust expectations
As an introvert, it can be challenging to go out and meet new people. Instead of psyching yourself up by saying, “This is going to be so much fun,” when you know very well it may not be, adjust your expectations. Let go of the idea that it is going to be fun and know that getting to know new people is work. By being honest with yourself and not sugar coating it, you are being more realistic.
When adjusting expectations for yourself, also adjust expectations of others. Suzanna Wylde, holistic coach and alternative therapist, says, “Introverts tend not to want to make superficial friendships, and unfortunately many people are uncomfortable with being either too personal or too serious when first meeting others. Therefore, it is important not to be disappointed if people do not always want to have the conversation you want to have, just relax, listen and see where it goes.”
Think of making new friends like you think about starting a new workout regimen. It may be a little awkward and painful at first, but you have to start somewhere to get to where you want to be and over time, it gets easier.
#2 Make a list
When making friends as an introvert, start small by making a list of five places you can meet people that share similar interests as you. You can find potential friends almost anywhere you frequently visit: church, the grocery store, gym, library, work or your favorite coffee shop.
You can even make friends online. I have one good friend who I met through Instagram because we were both really into Tone It Up and we are still good friends to this day. (Oh hey Kelly!)
Jonathan Bennett, certified life and dating/relationship coach, even recommends becoming a regular somewhere.
“You don’t have to suddenly develop a love of crowds or talk to random strangers to make friends. Become a regular at a place you enjoy, like a coffee shop, bar or even a recurring event. Over time, as you begin to feel more comfortable, reaching out to others will become more natural.”
#3 Learn to tolerate small talk
I know, I know, small talk may seem like the bane of our existence as human beings. But when it comes to making new friends as an introvert, or any functioning adult really, small talk is something you have to get used to.
And believe it or not, small talk can be interesting. I made friends with another woman who goes to the same daily workout class as me and it started with simple small talk bonding over the intense workouts. (Hi Emma!) Something that may seem so insignificant could be the start of a new friendship, so don’t overlook something that may seem super obvious.
#4 Remember to honor your inner introvert
As an introvert, I know me and my rich inner life will have an absolutely lovely time at home on a Friday night and that’s okay, especially after putting in some solid time spent out with friends or making new ones. I know my limits, so when I feel myself getting burnt out, I know it’s time to take a step back and retreat home for a night (or two) in. Whether it be catching up on a Hallmark movie (don’t judge me), curling up in bed with a good book, enjoying an epsom salt bath and calling it an early night by 9pm, remember to honor your inner introvert and give yourself the grace to do what you need to do to take care of yourself in between making new friends and keeping up with the old ones.
Making friends as an introvert may sound like a lot of work, but with a little thought and effort (okay, sometimes a lot of thought and effort), you can make friends even if you are an introvert. Cue “Why Can’t We Be Friends.”