Introvert needs some tips on making new friends and dealing with large groups

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Hi,

I just recently started college a few months ago and, as usual, am struggling to make new friends. Are there any particular advice for introverts who’re trying to make friends. I’ve always been told to just ‘loosen up’ or ‘break out of my shell’ which is just vague and extremely unhelpful. Every time I’m around large groups of people I naturally get really quiet and people think I’m weird or something. Then I get really self conscious and get even more quiet. If you could help that would be awesome!

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33 Comments

  1. Hi.
    one of the great traits about introverts is that we are much better at building friendships in one to one situations and prefer fewer closer friendships. why not use this to your advantage. begin to build friendships one at a time. perhaps approach someone who you would like to be friends with when they are on their own – start by just saying hello and see how they respond.

    to help you to feel more confident, you could think about a couple of topics that you feel comfortable talking about and try bringing them up during the conversation. you could always try asking for help with something, maybe something to do with your studies. most people like to feel that they are being helpful – and it will give you a legitimate reason to spend more time with the person while they are helping you – you could always return the favour later on and offer to help them when the opportunity arises.

    hope that helps šŸ™‚

  2. Very nice, Trish! I always find that as an introvert my friends are going to come along on an individual basis and be accumulated in a natural way over time, rather than in droves of shallow friends like certain other types of people get. For introverts, it’s more a matter of mutually noticing things you have in common with someone or someone you “click” with, whether that’s a lab partner, a fellow hiker, that sort of thing. When I was in college I always wished I had one large group of friends who all knew and liked each other, but instead I had some true, deep friendships that were all individuals I knew in different circumstances. One friend I had all the way through college was a guy I met at orientation. We were both quiet and had some fun conversations about the things we observed around us. Another good friend was a girl who was in all of my classes starting in the fall of our sophomore year (and we’re still friends). Still others I met in various places I hung out each day between classes.

    As for getting quiet in a large group, that can be tough for us, but mostly we just need to relax and be genuinely interested in what’s going on. If you watch an extrovert who comes to a large group of people he doesn’t know, he’s often just really relaxed, interested in what’s being said, even jumping in to ask, “Who’s Jon?” if everyone starts talking about Jon (which I would NEVER do myself, being MUCH too considerate to hijack a conversation). šŸ˜‰

  3. I just read an interesting series of posts on interversion vs. shyness and some strategies for overcoming them. These are geared towards business networking, but really the types of events described could be social too:

    Part 1 http://www.redfeathernetworking.com/2012/02/through-looking-glass.html
    Part 2 http://www.redfeathernetworking.com/2012/02/overcoming-shyness-from-cocoon-to.html
    Part 3 http://www.redfeathernetworking.com/2012/02/introverts-making-connections.html

  4. Even I face such kinda issue when I meet people or a group for the first time. I would suggest you to be active on social media.Its a platform where we have to speak up our mind before our friends and their peers.Its not so easy for the first time but slowly you’ll improve.

  5. One of the reasons I’m shy is my general appearance. Although I would probably be introverted even without acne on my face. It’s certainly a struggle, but I find taking smaller steps to be really helpful overall. Thanks for your help.

  6. yeah, you just really need to loosen up. Don’t over think so much and just be yourself. There are still so many good people around whose very willing to be your friend. šŸ™‚
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  7. The best advice I can give you is I think that you need to decide what kind of friends you are looking for first. Make it very clear to yourself who your ideal friend is. What does he/she look like? What do they like to do in their spare time? Etc, etc…Once you have an image of exactly the kind of person you would like to be friends with, you will have a much easier time befriending someone since you will have some “criteria” to qualify them to.

    Leon
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  8. I never got the whole “loosen up” thing either. People used to tell me to relax in order to make more friends and my response, invariably, was “I’m as relaxed as I’m going to get”. And I was. Loosening up isn’t something introverts really do, I think, at least not all at once. Feeling comfortable around people, at least in my case, is just a matter of being exposed to them several days a week for an hour or so at a time and it’s a long process.

    But as far as meeting people goes, I’ve found that simply showing up to classes or hanging out around the student center to be pretty ineffective. I’m too good at burying my head in a book or in my writing and that usually gives off the whole “leave me alone” vibe. What works best for me is joining clubs in which I have an interest. Personally, I like fitness clubs, running clubs, rock climbing, etc. Those tend to attract some pretty outgoing people which is perfect for me, because they don’t ever seem to mind that I’m naturally quiet. But any club should work just fine. Clubs work well for me because socializing is a secondary function (no immediate pressure to strike up a conversation out of the blue) and you automatically have something in common with every person there. The good thing here is that college campuses are overflowing with clubs so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one you want to join.

    As far as loosening up goes I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s usually code for “be less of who you are”- at least in my experience. Be nice, be approachable, involve yourself quietly in the group’s socializing by actively listening to conversations, go out to lunch every now and then if they invite you but don’t feel pressured to go all the time, and be sure you don’t isolate yourself; other than that, it’s always good to find those few people within the group with whom you think you can have a closer relationship. They’re out there even they’re a little difficult to find. šŸ˜‰ Hope this helped and good luck!

  9. Life is such a great adventure…I’m an extreme introvert and always have been. At 40 something it has truly become something that defines me. Don’t worry about getting out of your shell. Accept yourself.

    So…here’s the best basic advice to socialize. Let people come to you. Truthfully, they are too busy worrying about what other people are thinking about them to worry about you. Take solace in that. You are wonderful at BEING YOU.

    To meet people. Instead of trying to go to all these social events that don’t interest you…think about attending the IMPORTANT ONES that do interest you. What activities and passions do you have. Find or start your own group, perhaps something small that peaks your interest. MEETUP and other online social networks like green drinks, etc. are great places to find connection…something that is important to an introvert.

    Hang tight…life is such a great adventure and you’ve got so much of it ahead of you. Stop worrying and start enjoying.
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  10. I suggest joining a club where you can explore a hobby or craft. That way, you can interact in a different way because you will be sharing a passion with others. But I believe that being an introvert is not bad, some people (even me) are just like that and they are able to do great things with what they are. Just take things slowly and never push yourself to do anything you don’t want to do.

  11. Joining new people is mostly a hard thing to do but we just have to do it to make ourselves comfortable in a new environment. I guess you have to take a good study on the behavior of each of your new social circle and take it from there. It is important that you act and do the right things and speak the right things first before you show them your true color as not to sound “feeling close” to them.

  12. It’s difficult to blend in within a group with unfamiliar attitude but as we all know, we need to cope up in the changing environment and be able to go with the flow. I think all you need to do is to be yourself, try to make atleast one friend and the rest will just follow. Mix with their interest, learn from them but this doesn’t mean you need to forget who you really are.

  13. When people always try to stress me because they know i am shy person and an introvert.and when someone hurts me instead of dealing with him i get depressed and ask my self again and again why i can not deal with people and when will i be able to deal with people who always try to stress me.
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  14. Guy who sent this post in on

    Responders,
    Thank you all so much! This is all good advice. It feels good to be reassured by people who are similar to me and can relate to the same problems I’m going through.

  15. Congratulations on wanting to make new friends! I’ve always found that it’s best to go into social settings where people are having a good time such as nightclubs, parties, etc. where persons are more likely to be relaxed and less defensive if you’re looking to make new friends. Good luck.
    Ryan@ Whistler BC HomesĀ“s last post ..Luxury Ski Homes Market Report

  16. I can really relate with this. Well, by experience since you are newbie. Just hang around with someone youā€™re interested to talk to or even to a group of people. Just ask few questions and say hi. I think the first question you should ask about them is about knowing them, like where do you live? Whatā€™s your favorite sport? Something like that. Then, when the conversation starts and moves on, itā€™s a good sign that thereā€™s a good conversation. This is also a sign for a good friendship, which you will have a common interest.

  17. Start small with a couple of people and they will in turn introduce you to their friends. Also, in order to meet new people, you have to be able to chat about the mundane things in life in order to connect. More than that, launching into deep conversations with someone you’ve just met can put them off. As you get to know them, you can have the kinds of conversations you enjoy.

  18. These are great tips! I agree with what many people said, try making a few close friends instead of worrying about fitting in with a big group. If you are going to a party, try bringing along someone you already know so you feel more comfortable. Or try to talk to one person you think you could be friends with. If you don’t see yourself being good friends with anyone in a group… move on to other people. The good thing about college is there are so many different types of people. Good luck!
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  19. I’ve used hypnosis to combat my shyness. Search Google for anchoring and hypnosis. I have an anchor that makes me feel like someone I know who is really extroverted. Whenever I’m feeling shy, I just bring back that anchor. One other thing to remember is that you won’t have a heart attack if you try to be extroverted. šŸ™‚
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