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How To Make Friends If You’re An Introvert (part 1)

How To Make Friends If You’re An Introvert (part 1)

Most introverts don’t know how to make friends, and in this world where even extroverts are spending more time behind a screen, socializing is getting tricky. You Need a Plan!

If you’re an introvert, you probably can’t figure out why it’s so easy for others to meet and make friends with new people, while you feel as if there is a wall between you and the fun experiences that others are having. If you like spending time alone doing stuff you love, does it mean you’re not allowed to socialize and have fun with people when you actually want to? Let’s see…

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    So, What’s Wrong with Introverts?

    The answer is simple: Nothing! Introversion is just a way you live your life—it’s neither better, nor worse than extroversion.

    Recently, some scientists discovered that there is a correlation between introversion and an area of your brain called the amygdala, and they found out that the more reactive and attentive to details you are, the more likely it is that you’ll behave in an introverted way. Here is what that means: on one hand, you probably notice more stuff, ask yourself a lot of questions, and have a strong curiosity, which is good. On the other hand, you probably get stressed too much around people, especially if you don’t know them that well.

    This second fact means that your brain reacts too much to new situations, which stresses you out! Your emotions go wild as if you’re about to get attacked by a group of bears, and that’s the part of you that you need to take care of and improve.

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    Why Many Introverts End Up Lonely

    As we’ve established, introverts detect more social noise (and pressure) than extroverts. If you’re an introvert, then you would avoid social situations because they drain you of energy, as they get your mind racing  in trying to process everything. In the meantime, an extrovert would arrive at a busy party and talk and move in a relaxed way as if they knew everybody.

    The thing is, most people think that if they want to make friends, they have to go out more and just go where people go to socialize. That’s a good idea, but it doesn’t work for introverts most of the time, which just leads to more isolation, and more avoidance. You might find yourself thinking “I tried to go out to parties, and I made no friends, I just got stressed out and left”, and that leads many people to just give up and stay lonely for a long time.

    How to Make Friends in a Way that Suits Your Introverted Nature

    Fortunately, there are ways that you can make friends and socialize as an introvert, and here are two of them:

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    Avoid The “Social Burnout”

    Being social doesn’t mean being social all the time, so don’t spend too much time with friends if it feels stressful to you. While extroverts can spend ten days in a row doing nothing but hanging out, you need time to breathe. Give yourself that desperately-needed “me-time” to recharge your batteries, then meet friends when you’re ready—that way you can enjoy both time with friends, and doing what you want do alone.

    Reveal the Quiet Leader in You (in a cool way)

    When introverts think about how to make friends, many instantly believe that they should make friends with popular, go-out-all-the-time people, but the reality is that you would be much happier with cool, interesting friends that are more low-key, and like to go to quiet environments. Most of these people have no idea how to make friends—I say LEAD them!

    What you can do is decide where you like to go out, when, and how often, then start connecting and inviting introverted people that seem interesting and fun to you. This is a mini version of what I call “Build Your Scene”. It’s basically a set of techniques and principles that help you design your social life, and how to invite people to meet you in a way that would make them love to do it, and other introverts are more likely to say yes to your plans, because it will be compatible with their style.

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    These two mindsets should get you on the right track, and in part two of this article, we’re going to dive into more specific techniques for meeting people and making friends, in a way that is compatible to your introverted nature.

    Stay tuned,

    Paul

     

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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