Here's How Introverts Can Make New Friendships IRL

Some people are naturally blessed with the power of small talk and the kind of magnetism that attracts new friends wherever they go. On the other hand, some people are blessed with extreme awkwardness and the ability to overthink all conversation to the point where no words come out and no new friends are ever made. You in the second group? We feel you. And we have some tips that'll hopefully ease the awkwardness of making new friends.

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Our tips come from Dr. Melanie Ross Mills, a temperament therapist, relationship expert, and author of The Identity Bond. She says that introverts make wonderful friends because they challenge everyone around them to think deeper, to care, to listen, and to engage. But she understands that for introverts, it can be hard to get to the point of friendship with new people.

"You'll benefit from both extroverts and introverts in your life," Dr. Mel explains. "The kind of friend that you should look for is one that understands you and knows how to let you be yourself."

More from CafeMom: How to Make Small Talk Easier When You're an Introvert

Okay, but how? Dr. Mel says the kinds of people you'll mesh well with will show up in environments that focus on helping others (like volunteer opportunities, nonprofit communities, or religious or spiritual activities) and personal development (like book clubs, museums, and think tanks). Finding these environments might mean going out of your way, but Dr. Mel says that might be valuable.

"If your 'usual routine' isn't producing the results that you desire, you should go out of your way to meet new people, in new situations," she explains. "Keep in mind that it could be uncomfortable at first because it's going against what you are used to doing -- especially if you love routine and limiting risk."

After that, all you have to do is approach someone. It's hard, but Dr. Mel recommends keeping in mind that you're most likely just scared of rejection, and that's an easy fear to push past if you remember how cool and amazing you are. Plus, you probably won't be rejected. Just sayin'.

More from CafeMom: What Introverts Should Consider Before Choosing a Job

Once you're in, Dr. Mel suggests looking at it like dating. "Take your time ... You extend an invite to grabbing lunch the following week. Then, give your new friend time to reciprocate," she says. "Include them in your life in an organic, natural way."

Dr. Mel also explains that introverts can sometimes have a tendency to take things personally or hold on to the flaws of bad past friendships, but that will just hinder friendships in the long run. "Learning to let go, learn from, and forgive past friendship hurts will help the introvert move forward in new friendships," she says.

Overall, she says to try your best to let your personality shine through new conversations and relationships, and find people who fill your needs as much as you fill theirs. "As an introvert, you are naturally a listener," she says. "But you need to be listened to as well."

 

Image via iStock.com/AJ_Watt

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