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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

     

    More by this author

    Paul Sanders

    A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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