Do you find yourself avoiding social situations where you will be meeting new people? Maybe you feel exhausted after being in a crowd or even just hanging out with a small group of friends. If the above scenarios sound familiar, you may be an introvert.
What is an Introvert?
Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation. Introverts tend to be more quiet, reserved, and introspective. Unlike extroverts who gain energy from social interaction, introverts have to expend energy in social situations. While being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean that you struggle with social anxiety, some introverts also feel a degree of shyness around meeting new people and participating in new experiences.
But while introverts tend to expend energy in social situations, that doesn’t mean all introverts don’t enjoy being social. We all want to make a connection with friends, but sometimes, it can be difficult to meet new people. This is especially true for introverts.
Making Friends as an Introvert
Find Common Ground: If you find yourself struggling to come up with a topic of conversation, joining a small class or group that is based on your interests is a great way to have something to talk about. In small classes, chances are that most of the participants don’t know each other either. Teachers and facilitators will often provide “get to know you” activities that allow you to connect with others in a way that feels more organic than forced. There is less pressure because you already know you have something in common with the people around you.
Listen: The best way to connect with people is to listen, and listening is a strength for many introverts. Encouraging a new acquaintance to talk allows you to get to know more about them, while also helping them feel like they can be open and genuine with you.
Set Goals: If you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t go out to social events, but then miss connections with friends, try setting some outing goals for yourself. Hold yourself accountable to participating in one activity every month. Knowing that you have committed in advance makes you less likely to back out at the last minute. And having an event on your calendar helps you plan and prepare for the social outing, and the more you participate the higher your tolerance will become for these social situations. You can also make goals for yourself during an outing, such as introducing yourself to one new person.
Set Boundaries: Know when to call it enough. If you find yourself exhausted after too many work and friend obligations or in a situation where you feel deeply uncomfortable, know that you can always go home. Having that out can make you feel more comfortable in the moment. You don’t have to stay. You can stay because you want to stay.
It’s important to remember to not put too much pressure on yourself. Find ways to make connecting with people fun and remember that it takes time and effort to meet new people. Not everyone you meet at a class is going to be your new best friends but maybe with enough connections, you can start to build a friend group.
Journey Home East Can Help
Journey Home East provides key supportive interventions in a home-like setting. We include various types of interventions including group, individual, and family support. As a transitional independent living program, we also help our residents work on independent living skills, develop positive peer and community relationships, help them with academic success, and provide exciting recreational activities.
Journey Home East helps provide the opportunity for greater freedoms and responsibilities entailed in pursuing further education or having a job. Residents are being supported in this process by our skilled staff. For more information please call (828) 408-0767.