There are a lot of stereotypes around introverts, they’re seen as shy, quiet, and reserved. Whilst that can be true for some cases, introverts can also be as loud, outgoing, and rambunctious as any extrovert in the right social setting. It might just take them a little bit longer to recharge the batteries afterwards.
Introverts feel most comfortable in their own company, or the company of a select few, rather than a big crowd. Avoiding situations that make them uncomfortable or drain the tanks completely is self-preservative, however, it can become difficult to meet and make new friends.
We’re here to remind you that being an introvert isn’t a life sentence! There are so many ways to make friends as an introvert, even when you prefer a quiet night in and your own space! It’s all about meeting the right people, in the right places.
How do I know if I’m an introvert?
You might be someone who can handle certain social interactions (maybe even enjoy them!) and you’ve therefore classified yourself as an extrovert. But being able to hold your own in a larger group doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t possibly be an introvert. Have you found it takes you longer to reset the batteries after a social event or meeting new people? Perhaps you feel like you’re running on empty by the time you get back to the sanctuary of your front door.
There are a lot of signposts to look out for when you’re working out which camp you fall into. You probably won’t fit every single one, but don’t panic, you aren’t an outcast or an outlier! Most people find they have a few characteristics from both groups.
Extrovert and introvert personality types were founded by the great 20th-century psychologist, Carl Jung, in the 1920s. In fact, Jung founded 8 personality types, both made up of extroverted or introverted traits, which were whittled down and combined to become the introvert/ extrovert characteristics so widely used today. The 8 personality types were:
- Extroverted thinking
- Introverted thinking
- Extroverted feeling
- Introverted feeling
- Extroverted sensation
- Introverted sensation
- Extroverted intuition
- Introverted intuition
Introverts make up around 40% of the world’s population. Though it can present itself differently in each individual, the baseline characteristics and behaviour patterns tend to be the same.
- Need peace and quiet to concentrate
- Non-impulsive and take time making decisions
- Feel comfortable spending time alone
- Don’t enjoy group work
- Prefer writing over talking
- Feel tired after being in a crowd or large social setting
- Have fewer friends but close relationships
- Use their imagination to work out a problem
- Retreat into their own mind for a rest and reset
If you’re still not sure which category you fall into, why not take the Myers & Briggs’ personality test? This test, designed by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, in the mid-20th century, categorises your answers to a series of questions and determines your personality type based of Jung’s characteristics. Consultants, counsellors, coaches, therapists, and psychologists can be certified administrators of the MBTI instrument, but you can take a free online test now to determine which personality type you fall into. Just head to mbtionline.com and get started!
How do you make friends as an introvert?
Now you’ve determined that you are, in fact, an introvert, making friends doesn’t have to be an uphill struggle! Knowing what situations you feel comfortable in and meeting like-minded and understanding people is the best way to forge long-term friendships as well as avoiding unnecessary stressors.
Pick a hobby
Hobbies are a great way to find new friends as generally, you’re all there for the same reason! Meeting people with common interests means starting conversations just got a whole lot easier. Doing something active or physical that requires a bit of concentration can also take the pressure of long continuous conversations and allow you a bit of respite in your own mind to recharge at the same time.
Look at who is already around you
If you’ve already got a small circle of close friends, then have a think about who is around you that you might like to get to know better. Perhaps you’re interested in meeting friends of your friends and extending your circle that way? If you’re worried about making the first move, ask your friends to set up the introductions for you. Or maybe there is someone at work or your extracurricular activity that you’re interested in getting to know better, ask a colleague, leader, or friend to set something up and take the pressure of getting to know them.
Quality over quantity
Having a huge group of friends that don’t really know you and only make you anxious and stressed isn’t worth it. Go for quality not quantity and form your inner circle of a select few who know how you tick. Don’t be pressured to make friends with anyone and everyone just because other people seem to have tonnes of friends!
British Anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, suggested that your tightest circle should make up 5 of your nearest and dearest, and extend to 15 good friends, also known as Dunbar’s Number. Any more than that and you will struggle to maintain meaningful connections and the relationship won’t be as strong.
Don’t be afraid to try something new
Make sure you aren’t isolating yourself or stopping yourself from trying new things. Challenge yourself to try one thing– starting small- that has always interested you. You don’t even have to talk to anyone the first time you go, just challenging yourself can be a huge confidence boost. Show up again, enjoy yourself, and see if you fancy connecting with someone you recognise. If heading out into the world is a bit much, finding friends as an introvert can be a bit tricky. Why not try online groups or forums to start chatting with a few people? Once the awkward early interactions are out of the way (and done form the comfort of your own home) meeting them n person won’t be so draining or daunting. Just be wary of meeting people you don’t know, take someone with you or let someone know where you’re meeting them just to be on the safe side!
Realise your strengths
Remind yourself that just because social settings aren’t really your cup of tea, it doesn’t mean you should neglect all your other values and qualities. For example, you could be a really great listener, or have excellent problem-solving abilities as you take time to work through the problem. To your closest allies, you’re probably a very loyal and committed person as well as have a fantastic imagination. Just because the hustle and bustle of parties or society doesn’t get the good vibes flowing for you, don’t beat yourself up!
Practicing affirmations to remind yourself that you are capable will help to boost your self esteem and get you feeling confident in yourself. Just an affirmation each morning can change your mindset and alter how you think about yourself, so you can seize every opportunity with confidence and positivity.
The bottom line is, being an introvert isn’t a negative trait or a life sentence for loneliness! If a small circle of close friends and a quiet night in prioritising alone time is what makes you tick, then that is all the counts. Making friends as an introvert can be a daunting and often overwhelming activity, but if you’re looking in the right places and opening yourself up to making new connections then you’re already halfway there. The right people will recognise your strengths and understand where you might struggle, just like you will do for them, so be honest! That’s the best way to forge firm friendships.
Now that you’ve followed these steps to make friends as an introvert, we’re encouraging you to share a Morale boost every day with those in your network. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, supporting your inner circle and their mental health should come easily. We’re on a mission to improve people’s mental health, so by sending out a daily affirmation yourself you’re not only supporting the wellbeing of your closest friends but your own mental health in the process.
Make sure you’re subscribing to our social media too, we’re always posting mental health top tips, positive vibes, and team Morale updates.
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