A lot of introverts don’t know how to make friends. Or, perhaps, a better way of putting it is that introverts don’t know how to make REAL friends. You keep searching for the kind of friendships that feel natural, fun, and fulfilling. But something is getting in the way.
Instead of having the friendships you long for, you attract people with whom you can never truly connect. They’re too loud and abrasive. Or you don’t have anything in common. Or you simply can’t form a deep connection with them.
It’s so painful for introverts when we can’t find or accept the connection we crave. Superficial friendships leave us feeling more lonely than when we are by ourselves.
Anaïs Nin explains it well:
“I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps but other people emphasize my loneliness.”
Go here to read my list of the top 100 introvert quotes.
How to NOT make friends as an introvert
One major reason introverts struggle so much to make friends is because we follow the wrong advice. Maybe you’ve fallen into this trap, too.
You do a quick Google search on how to make friends, and what comes up is article after article written by and for extroverts. The advice in these articles can usually be summarized in three annoying sentences we’ve all heard too often:
“Just put yourself out there more”.
“Get out of your comfort zone.”
“Go to Meetups.”
It’s not that this advice is all bad. It’s just that it doesn’t address the challenges introverts face when trying to make real friends:
- Massive energy drain from socializing
- A slower, more thoughtful way of communicating
- A need for alone time, which we often feel guilty about
And the list goes on. The truth is, introverts are different than extroverts in both obvious and subtle ways. Why would we follow the same one-size-fits-all social advice?
As an introvert myself, who has lived in and made new friends in six different cities, I can tell you what works for introverts.
Find the right social container
I’m not talking about Tupperware here. What I mean is that introverts need to find the right environment to hold us up and allow us to shine. Just as a bouquet of roses looks lovely in a simple, but elegant vase, introverts flourish in more graceful social containers.
Before I give you specific examples, I’ll tell you where introverts tend to wilt:
- Crowded and noisy places with no opportunities for one-on-one conversations.
- Parties where everyone already has their established cliques and you’re the odd one out.
- Social activities where there is no way to escape and take a breather.
If you want to make friends you actually like as introvert, seek out social activities that are conducive to meaningful conversations. The more interested you are in the activity, the more you’ll have to talk about.
Here are three social containers that are great for introverts because they tend to be accepting and engaging:
If you feel different and weird, the best way to make friends as an introvert is to find others who don’t fit in. Artists tend to be fringe-dwellers, and because of this, they’re more open and accepting. Find your tribe at poetry slams, music open mics, dance events, and paint nights.
If you’re into New Age stuff like Law of Attraction, manifesting, mindfulness, yoga, and meditation, find gatherings of likeminded souls. Hippies are often very open to connecting on a deeper level. Plus, they appreciate activities that rejuvenate, rather than overwhelm introverts.
Nature is so healing for introverts. Plus, social activities in nature allow room for (non-awkward) silence and freedom to wander off as needed. Bike trips, hikes, and nature walks are all great activities for introverts.
I recommend challenging yourself to go to just ONE nature Meetup. Once there, focus on making just ONE meaningful connection. Quality is much more important than quantity when it comes to making friends as an introvert.
All of the above will make a big difference as you strive to make friends as an introvert. But let’s be real.
You can go to all the right places and still not make a single friend if you miss this one crucial point…
The hidden roadblock to making friends as an introvert
A lot of introverts tell me that no matter how hard they try, they just can’t seem to find their ideal friends. These innies have been focusing on making lots of outer changes while missing a key piece of the friendship puzzle.
Just like romantic love, friendship is all about ATTRACTION. We attract specific types of people into our lives by sending out invisible messages about who we are.
Are you sending the right messages, dearest?
Here’s a question that will help you find out:
In what ways are you not allowing yourself to be fully YOU?
There is some part of yourself that you have been holding back and hiding. Reconnecting with that part of yourself is the key to connection.
Like most introverts, you’ve likely spent years focusing on how you could add extra padding to your persona so you’d be more loveable. But all those extra layers made it impossible to form deep friendships.
The true task of connection is shedding the excess and revealing the truth of who you are.
As Rumi put it:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
What is holding you back from revealing the true you?
What can you do TODAY to let go of that block and BE YOU without apology?
It might feel scary to be fully yourself, but it’s the key to meaningful friendships.
If you haven’t already, read my free Introvert Connection Guide for step-by-step tips on attracting your ideal friends.
Also, check out my book, The Irresistible Introvert, which shows you how to shed your masks, confidently embrace who you are, and reveal your inner charisma.
You deserve to be supported and loved.