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Making friends as an introvert is so much easier when you’re young. Whether in school or at university, you’re around people your age all day long. If you’re surrounded by a decent group, you’re bound to find a friend after a while.
For some reason, no one tells you how difficult it gets to find new friends after graduation. Especially for an introvert who’s moving away for work!
When I moved to France for my first job, I was totally unprepared for that. I got along quite well with some colleagues, but I really, really missed hanging out with people on the weekends.
Unless you’re the type of person who socialises quickly, making new friends as an introverted adult is not that easy.
Based on my own experience and other people’s tips that I’ve tried, I want to talk about a couple of ways to make friends as an introvert, even if you don’t know anyone at all.
See making friends as a goal
If you want to make new friends as an introvert, you have to acknowledge that it probably won’t happen all by itself. There are people who seem to just walk through life and make friends in every possible situation. But as an introvert, you’re probably not one of them.
There’s no use to just sit at home and wait for people to magically appear on your doorstep. It won’t happen – and if it does, it’s probably just the postman.
Instead, see it as another goal. If you set the long-term goal to make friends as an introvert, you can work on actually making it happen. And let me tell you, you’re much more likely to meet new people if you’re actively looking for them, rather than hiding out in your comfort zone!
Join local clubs
Joining a local club really is the easiest way to make friends as an introverted adult. After surviving the initial anxiety about not knowing anyone, it’s a great way to meet kindred spirits. The important thing is to carefully choose the club you join!
If you’re not the best at sports (like me), chances are you won’t feel quite comfortable during classes. I’ve done yoga classes for two years, and I barely ever talked to anyone. I was just too self-conscious about my yoga skills!
Even if this doesn’t seem logical, the rule still applies: the less comfortable you feel, the less likely you are to actually make new friends as an introvert.
Instead, join clubs you’ll feel at ease in. I joined two different ones last year: a photography club and a German conversation group. So far I’m loving both, and I’m much more social in them than I ever was in my yoga classes.
Participating in an activity you’re passionate about increases the chance of meeting like-minded people. It’s so much easier to make connections with strangers who have the same interests as you!
Get out of your comfort zone to make friends as an introvert
As an introvert, you probably hate talking to strangers. But if you want to meet new people, you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone!
If you hear about local events or activities that will require social interaction, just go. Even if you feel really awkward, even if you’re tired from work, and even if you don’t feel like it. I’m pretty sure that every town has some sort of activities: you just have to find them!
Last year, I got invited to a language café in my town (by a member of my German conversation group!). Once a week, a bunch of people meet in a bar and speak different languages. At first, it sounded pretty geeky to me. For some reason, I imagined a bunch of seniors sitting there and speaking German… But I forced myself to go there anyway.
I joined a table of people I’d never seen before in my life (so awkward!) and spent 2 hours speaking English to complete strangers. As it turns out, most participants are my age, there are tons of people, and the whole concept is super fun!
This just shows that you can never know in advance how something will turn out. The only thing you can do is try. So if you want to make new friends as an introvert, get out of your comfort zone and participate in an activity!
Shift your mindset
Social events can be very uncomfortable for introverts. I’ve you’re anything like me, you’re probably freaking out in advance, thinking that you won’t have anything to say to the people there.
One tip from Susan Cain that I really liked was the following: Instead of worrying about what to say, ask yourself how you can make the people around you comfortable.
You don’t have to seem overly outgoing to make new friends as an adult. Just be your own, kind, introverted self and focus on other people. After all, it’s so much nicer to talk to someone who actually listens, rather than someone who’s worrying about what to say next!
Don’t be afraid to make plans
Talking to people during events or activities is all nice and fun. But if you want them to become potential friends, you have to make plans of your own!
As an introvert, the thought of making plans with someone you barely know might freak you out a little. What if that makes the whole situation awkward? But the thing is, it’s always better to fail than to not try at all. Even in this situation.
Instead of inviting people to your house right away, start small and suggest grabbing a quick drink after an event. In my experience, it’s the easiest way to make plans with people you don’t know too well, and it requires minimum effort from both sides. And if it’s fun, the rest will probably play out on its own!
Here you go, these are my tips on how to make new friends as an introverted adult. What is your experience with that? Do you find it hard to make new friends as well? Please let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to share this post with other introverts. 🙂