Extroverts often appear to be the life of the party. Their laughter is contagious and they seem to be having the most fun. Everyone seems to gravitate around them. They don’t seem to have any trouble making new friends. If you are an introvert, it’s hard not be envious because meeting new people and making new friends is hard enough – worse when you consider yourself to be an adult introvert.
The difference between introverts and extroverts
An introvert is someone who prefers to socialize with smaller groups of people, or just one other person. It can be quite easy to spot the introverts in a room – they are often seen as quieter or more shy than extroverts. But that’s not always the case – some introverts can appear to be just as outgoing and social as extroverts. Introversion is often misunderstood as being shy or having social anxiety. But the fact is, introversion is not the same as being shy. Shyness is a fear of social interaction, while introversion is simply a type of social preference. The question is where they draw most of their energy from – an introverted person may enjoy socializing, but they might get tired after being around people for too long and will need some time alone to recharge. In other words, introverts simply prefer to lead a quiet life.
Making friends is easy for an extrovert because they are outgoing and enjoy socializing. They are not afraid to approach people and strike up a conversation. People are drawn to their bubbly personality and find them easy to talk to. Extroverts are also good at listening and remembering details about people, which makes others feel appreciated. On the other hand, introverts may have a harder time making friends because they tend to be more reserved and shy. They may not initiate conversations as often and may not be as good at listening and remembering details. Regardless of that, introverts can still make great friends – they just have to put in a little extra effort.
Our Secret RSVP events often attract a mix of introverted and extroverted singles. I recall a time when a Secret RSVP event was just about to begin. Many singles were already sitting at tables chatting away. There was a gentleman who sat at a table by himself, looking out the window of the restaurant with his body turned away from everyone else. I went up to him and struck a conversation. He appeared so nervous that he was almost trembling. After engaging in small talk with him and making him feel more comfortable, I escorted him to a group of singles who willingly welcomed him into their conversation. As the evening progressed, I kept an eye on him and noticed that he was starting to enjoy himself. After the event, I checked in with him and learned how relaxed he had become. He is now a regular at our events.
It is important to remember that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, many introverts are very successful in diverse fields, even those that require a lot of social interaction. This is because introverts possess many valuable strengths in life, like creativity, building deep relationships, thorough planning, independence, critical thinking and analysis, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to listen. These traits allow introverts to absorb information from the world around them, and process the information extensively before responding. In other words, an introvert’s response or action has usually been well thought-through. Some successful introverts you may know include Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Steven Spielberg, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet and J.K. Rowling.
Why Many Introverts End Up Lonely
Introversion is not a bad thing – the fact is everyone has different preferences when it comes to socializing. Many introverts find it hard to meet new people and form new friendships simply because they don’t spend as much time going to events and socializing as extroverts do. They may not feel as comfortable approaching new people and starting conversations. In social situations, they may prefer to be in small groups, which may reduce their chances of finding friends and getting to know someone. This can make it difficult to meet new people and form satisfying relationships, which can unfortunately lead to loneliness. The adverse health effects of loneliness have been equated to being similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day!
Thankfully, it is possible for introverts to have a successful social life with many great friendships, but it may require more effort than for extroverts. If you’re an introvert who struggles with meeting new people and making friends, below are 10 practical ways to make new friends. Remember, making friends doesn’t have to be difficult. Use the checklist included in this blog post to help you capture your personalized information. It will also serve as a useful guide in your search for new friends.
1. Do it for the right reasons.
Make sure you want to have friends for the right reasons. Friendship should be based on mutual respect and liking, not just on convenience or social status. Worse, you may want to be surrounded by people all the time just because you’re afraid of being alone. This is also not a good reason to want to meet new people because you will not be selective in your search and will risk opening yourself to superficial relationships that will not only drain your time and mental health, but will only make you end up feeling more isolated in the long run.
2. Know what type of friends you value.
Not everyone makes a good friend. Reflect on your current circle of friends and family members – which personality types help you feel recharged after time spent with them? Which personality types make you feel drained and low on energy after spending time with them? Make a list of the people you like, and the types of things or qualities you value in them. Some examples of qualities you may value may include:
- Good listener
- Fun, etc.
Often, you will find that the qualities you list mostly reflect whom you are yourself, or are things that you strive to be as a person.
That is a bonus because it will be easier to become friends with like-minded people who share your values.
Another reason to be clear about the type of friendship you value is because the more you spend time with someone, the more you will become like that person. If you form a friendship with someone who does not share your values, you may end up embracing some of the values they uphold. For example, if you hang out with someone who is materialistic, with time, you may end up taking on similar values and behaviors.
3. Be yourself.
It is important to find a friend whose values are aligned with yours. If not, you will find yourself having to be someone you’re not, and that can be draining on your time, energy and personal wellbeing. Play to your strengths. What are the unique qualities you are born with that your existing circle of friends and family members love about you? If you’re not sure, ask someone you hang out with what they love about you. It is important to find a friend with whom you can be yourself, who will value whom you are, and allow your natural introversion to shine. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being introverted. The right friends will be drawn to your sincerity and uniqueness.
4. What area of interests do you want to share with a friend?
Next, consider what your interests are and in what area of your life you’d like to enjoy with a friend. For example, you may be someone who loves jogging in a park every morning. Perhaps you’re looking for a friend who can become your jogging partner. This would help you narrow down where you might be able to find such new relationships. In this example, you may be able to find a jogging partner at the park you jog in, or a local running club in your neighborhood. A great place to start is to make a comprehensive list of all the activities you do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis in your life. You’d be surprised to find just how many day-to-day things you do represent opportunities for you to find new friends.
5. Consider those already in your existing circle.
Are there people in your existing social circle whom you may not have “officially” met yet? Are there people in your existing network you currently consider acquaintances? There may be an opportunity for you to build close friendships with them. Don’t be afraid to be the one to initiate contact. Many times, the other person wants to get to know you better and be friends too but is too shy to take the first step. So go ahead and send that text, make that call, or invite them out for coffee. Most people are busily moving from one appointment to another that they often don’t slow down intentionally and interact with others at a deeper level. Many people want to connect but are in the same boat as you are – they may not have found the opportunity, or they may be busy, or they just don’t know where to start. You can make the first move and show that you are interested in learning more about them. You will be amazed at how you’re not alone in your desire to make new friends.
6. Meet new people in new places.
Sometimes, you may feel the need to expand your small circle. Take time out from your regular routine of life to try new things, activities or events. There may be a new event in town, a new restaurant, or a trendy festival that sounds like fun. This is a great opportunity to consider expanding your existing social circle and meet someone new. Strike up conversations while you’re taking in new experiences. Social clubs or special interest groups can be another great way to meet new people. You’ll encounter other singles interested in meeting new people who share similar interests, such as stargazing, birdwatching, outdoor adventures, book clubs, board games, and so on. There are also classes you can try out where you get the bonus of learning a new skill, such as a pottery class, computer programming, woodworking and more. Meetups are great for helping you find such groups near you.
7. Find people with a common purpose
Another really effective way to meet new friends is to attend events where people gather with a common purpose. Social networking events like Secret RSVP events are attended by other singles looking for friends. Because the people who attend our events are genuinely interested to meet other singles in-person, it is easy to form authentic connections and friendships. Our events are designed to help singles get to know one another in a relaxed and pressure-free way, allowing everyone to leave our events with new potential friends. Each event is designed to allow both introverts and extroverts to thrive and feel comfortable through hosted activities. You’ll feel at home with other singles while playing proprietary Secret RSVP ice-breaker games, common card games, and fun team-building challenges. These events are designed to build comradery among singles, with everyone leaving the event with a new friend or two they can start building meaningful friendships with.
Other great places to find people who share a common purpose may include volunteering. Identify what cause you are passionate about and sign up for opportunities to serve others in those areas. This is a great way to meet new people who care about the same things as you do.
8. Don’t stay away from those you think are not like you.
In today’s cancel culture, it can be tempting to make judgments on the intentions of others without first taking the time to understand where they may be coming from. A true friendship is one where there is a safe space for you to be whom you are, to express yourself as the unique person you are, and be comfortable enough to disagree. This is where you will be able to learn new things and perspectives from others’ point of view, challenge your own beliefs and thinking, and expand your knowledge. Friendships that dive into a deeper level can be very refreshing and fulfilling because you get to embark on a journey of discovering someone else’s world through their upbringing, culture and experience. As an introvert, you would thrive in learning more about others because you naturally have great listening skills.
9. Be aware of your body language.
As an introvert, it is extremely important to watch your body language. Body language refers to the subtle behaviors and non-verbal cues that arise from our subconscious minds. They can have a bigger impact than the words we speak out loud, and can show up as arms folded across the chest, pursed lips, body positioned away from others, and crossed legs. Such behaviors can be unintentional, which makes it even more important for you to take note of whether you have appropriate body language in your social situation. Your body language can attract people to you, or push people away. It’s the unspoken, secret superpower you have under your belt! The more welcoming your body language is towards others, the more they will also be more open with you! This is the natural law of attraction, and the best part is, you are in control.
Here are some examples of positive body language that convey the message that you want to be friends:
- Give a firm handshake when you first introduce yourself – it projects your confidence, and invites people to know and trust you.
- Make eye contact when talking because no one likes having to fight for attention.
- Sit or stand up straight – don’t slouch because your posture projects how confident you are about yourself as a person. It can also be misinterpreted as a lack of interest.
- Turn your entire body to face them because people are naturally drawn to people who show interest in them.
- Don’t fold your arms across your chest – it will make them think you are disinterested, difficult or trying to hide something.
- Smile because you want to appear friendly.
- Project excitement – you can do this by using hand gestures occasionally to emphasize your words, laughing or cracking jokes because everyone loves spending time with people who are fun.
- Practice active listening – ask questions and ask follow-up questions to indicate interest in learning more about them.
10. Be patient – let things happen naturally.
Finally, be patient. Making new friends can take time, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen immediately. Just start by taking the first step and putting yourself out there and eventually you’ll find the perfect friend (or friends!) for you. When it comes to making friends, it’s important to use your strengths and don’t be afraid to go deep into discovering more about others. If you’re a shy person, there’s no use trying to force yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable. Instead, look for opportunities to meet people who share your interests and whom you can get to know at your own pace. Once you’ve found a few new friends, don’t be afraid to try new things together. You may also find new opportunities to expand your social circles together or even start a meetup group with the people you meet. With a little effort, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make friends as an adult. Start small and go one step at a time and don’t stretch yourself too thin. Remember, introversion is a matter of preference, and introverts prefer a balance between meeting new people and spending time recharging in their own personal time and space.