The feeling of loneliness can be a painful reality for some introverts.
Introverts value time, space and energy. Making “friends” as an introvert can feel like another thing to-do. There are several ways to make this “challenge” interesting, and even more adventurous. Below are some ways to make friends as an introvert, and maintain control of your environment without losing your energy.
1. Start a meetup group
Take the initiative and create your own community. Starting your own community gives you the chance to “hand-pick” the people you want in your circle. Carefully crafted, meetup.com gives you access to a wealth of new social connections without being stuck in somebody else’s group. Choose a hobby or interest you love, create an event, and cap it at 5, 10 or even 20 people. Find a number that makes you feel comfortable. Be sure to include questions for new members to answer and require that each person display their photo for approval. As the group leader, you are in charge of picking events you’d naturally enjoy.
2. Go to lectures
Lectures are a major draw for introverts. You can sit and listen to big ideas and concepts. You can look around the room, observe the curiosity of others, and simply enjoy a close-ended experience. There’s plenty of time to ask questions in an orderly fashion, and pinpoint others you’d like to get to know. Afterwards, it gives you an opportunity to strike up a conversation or engage with a group of people.
3. Go walking or jogging at the same time everyday
There’s something about taking a walk on a quiet morning and seeing other members of your community in their daily routines. You see familiar faces if you follow the same route. This provides a sense of security and comfort. As an active member of a running or walking group, you easily meet others with the same fitness goals. These types of activities have a clear start and end time, and everyone has something in common to discuss. If you don’t want to talk after a while, you can always change your pace without disappearing.
4. Take a cooking class
Who doesn’t love to talk about food? Cooking classes are a place to indulge, make mistakes and be silly. Letting go of control is challenging as an introvert. However, that is the point. After 2 hours of watching others flub the beef stew, conversation at the sit-down meal is more fun and just flows.
5. Enjoy being alone when you go out
Most people have experienced the random questions about time, directions, etc. when out alone. To make friends as an introvert, answer these questions with eye contact, and give details if necessary. It’s great practice for talking to strangers, and maybe making a new friend.
6. Have a drink at a hotel bar
Head to the local hotel bar, and meet out of towners who will talk to you just out of curiosity. Do it right, and you may even get a free drink in exchange for tips on the best sights and sounds they can check out.
7. Find a cafe, bar, beach, park, or bench that is “yours”.
It should be close to home, and take minimal effort. Visit it often, same time, same place. It will take about 3-4 visits until you appear as a regular to the staff, and about two to feel comfortable if you’re an introvert. Normally, after a first visit anywhere, introverts are more relaxed, and “know” the place. It certainly doesn’t take long!
These tips will give you a sense of empowerment as you make friends as an introvert, and create new social connections that can enhance your life. Don’t be surprised if you attract other introverts as your new friends, too.
Featured photo credit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ via flickr.com