Introvert’s Guide to Making Friends
So you’ve moved to a new city, started school at a new university, or discovered your former friend group spends too much time watching an animated pony show meant for five year olds. Making friends is tough, especially for introverts. It may seem like social butterflies make friends with every stranger they meet on the street, while us introverts are often too afraid to offer more than a smile to a stranger. And most of the time, not even that. While making friends may seem like middle school torture, even the biggest homebodies need company while they watch Netflix and drink wine.
If you have a passion, go do it!
You may have heard that the key to success is to “get involved.” And yeah, you may have joined that one club because it looked good on your resume in college, but the best place to meet friends is through shared interests. If you’re still in school, research different clubs and organizations and find one or two that pique your interest. Chances are your school will have something. Even if your passion is snowboarding and you go to school in the middle of the desert, there will probably be a campus group that takes weekend getaways to nearby snowboarding locales. Maybe you’re super stoked about STEM education and can join a club that tutors local kids after school. If you love to write, join your school’s newspaper or literary magazine. There’s nothing that can stop like-minded people from becoming friends when working together towards the same goal. If you’re not in school, find classes near you that explore your interests or even teach you something new. Art bars are becoming huge, and there’s no better way to start a conversation than over some wine and canvas.
Two words: Happy. Hour.
For many introverts, social situations can be scary and difficult. One quick fix for that anxious feeling is our best friend: alcohol. If you’ve just started a new job, it may be hard to get to know your co-workers while you’re busy during the work day, but happy hour is your time to shine (and make new friends)! You don’t have to be the one inviting everyone to the
Facebook event, but if someone invites you, GO! Humans bond over shared experiences, and when you work with people for 40 plus hours a week, there is plenty to bond over. This is your time to talk about that annoying delivery guy who always drops off your packages on the wrong floor, and to find out that everyone else is equally as peeved at UPS as you are, or to laugh about that hilarious giraffe video you secretly watched at work in between Excel grids. Tread carefully around sensitive topics, but chatting over drinks at the end of the day is the easiest way to turn co-workers into new friends.
Explore, both online and IRL
No matter where you live, there are parks, bars, concerts, and other events going on in your town. Try out that coffee shop you walk by on your way to work every morning, and you’ll be surprised by how conversations can start if you give off friendly vibes and keep that resting bitch face in check. Go see your favorite band and fangirl with the people next to you in line. And yes, you may have to step out of your comfort zone, but rest easy knowing that you can step back in it at the end of the day.
It may seem unconventional, but social media is also a great way to connect with people in your area. Explore the #yourtown tag on Instagram, and see what people are up to. Leave a comment asking if that brunch place really looks as good as the picture seems, and see what happens from there. With so many different hashtags and platforms at your disposal, finding people who are as passionate about #yoga in #Baltimore has never been easier.
If you’re feeling especially bold (+5 introvert points for you!), you can use dating apps to spark conversations with people near you. It may not be a love connection, but you could make a lifelong friend from a chance Coffee Meets Bagel encounter.
Use the buddy system
If you have a friend who also wants to meet more people, bring them along. They’re a built-in support system for awkward conversations and will make the experience infinitely easier than if you were to go at it alone. Even if they’re just an old friend or a friend-of-a-friend who happens to live in your city, building that relationship and making new connections does double duty in the social sphere. You might find a Netflix pal where you least expect it.
Feature photo by Christopher Sardenga VIA Unsplash