If you don’t have a nice circle of friends, that are fun and who also encourage you to get ahead in life, then you’re either shy about meeting and making friends, or you’re not exactly sure about how to do it. On the other hand, perhaps you’re already trying to meet new people, but you’re getting the results you want, because you’re not using the best strategies that could easily bring great people into your life.
In this article, I want to share with you how you can stop shyness from sabotaging your social life, and how to start meeting friends.
How to Stop Being Shy – Competence over Confidence
If you want to “beat” your shyness by learning to build confidence, it can take you a long time, because shyness is deeply wired into your emotions.
Instead of trying to change your shyness, I recommend that you focus on learning how to do what shyness is preventing you from doing.
Social Competence is key. The more you know about how the social world works, and how to socialize, the less discouraging mistakes you’ll make, and the more friends you’ll have.
Here are a couple of tips you can use:
Tip #1 – How to get comfortable in a social situation
If you’re shy about going to a party, or to a social gathering, then a simple switch that can help is to go EARLY. If you do this, you’ll give yourself some time to get used to the surrounding and feel comfortable gradually before it gets crowded with people.
If you know the host, then you could offer to help out. That might allow you to be more comfortable by having something to do.
Tip #2 – What to do when people invite you, but you are nervous about accepting
Do you find yourself in the situation of declining people’s invitations, but regretting it afterwards, because you know you want to go?
What you can do in this situation, is to accept the invitation, and have a back-up plan. This allows you to leave the place if you get too nervous and can’t handle the social pressure. You can tell the person that invited you that you don’t know how long you can stay, because you’re expecting a call from someone and you may need to leave to help him or her out with something.
This allows you to either stay if you feel comfortable, or leave, if you don’t. Either way, you win.
Tip #3 – How to clearly express your opinion, if you’re not used to it
Expressing your opinion is important, but if you’re not used to doing it, it can feel scary. One way to overcome this is to use humor. Offering ideas in a light or even silly manner is less intimidating.
The more you focus on HOW to socialize, the quicker you’ll find answers. I suggest that you stay open to new ideas when it comes to social skills like keeping conversations going, meeting people, and building your social circle.
How to Meet New People and Make Friends
When you ask the average person what they do to meet new friends, they often tell you that they leave it to chance, and that “you can’t really control these things.” However, when you look at their social life, you find that they’re not happy with the few poor friendships they have.
If the people around you aren’t fun, interesting to YOU, then you need to do something about it. If you leave it to chance, it may never change.
Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
Tip #1 – Meet people who are already looking for friends
Instead of trying to meet people who already have too many friends in their lives, connect with people who are also looking for friends. These can be people who just came to the city (think expats events), or people who go to meetups meetup.com. Also, see if there is an internations.org group in your city.
Tip #2 – Don’t go befriending the sharks!
If you’re shy or don’t have a lot of social experience, don’t go make friends with people who are a thousand times more socially apt than you are. Instead, you can find great people who are soft spoken, introverted who would love to make friends with you.
Moreover, because you’ll be hanging out with cool, interesting, introverted people, there is no risk of embarrassment if you make a mistake. It’s ok if you make mistakes, because that’s what helps you to learn.
Tip #3 – Learn To Get People Interested In Making Friends with You
There are certain behaviors that make some people more attractive to friends than others. It’s not just luck. There are things that these “wanted” people do that makes everyone wants to spend time with him or her… and it’s not about money, or looks…
It’s a combination of being interested in what the other person says, sharing similar stories that happened to you (or you just heard of), introducing people that you know to each other, and focusing on what value you’re giving away…
These are just some ideas to get you started…
…but if you want to really MASTER this, to a point where you have a nice circle of highly interesting and fun people, that not only are incredibly fun, but also support and listen to you, then I recommend that you start setting up your Action-Plan to meet and new friends.
The best time to start making new friends is now.
Featured photo credit: A gorgeous little girl playing peekaboo via Shutterstock