As an introvert, you may feel more comfortable in quiet, low-key environments and find socialising with people draining. Yup! This is me…Lol (Many of my friends have heard me say that I’m an unlikely candidate for the job God has chosen me for, but aren’t most of us?)

However, do you know connecting with others is vital for your overall well-being? It can bring new opportunities, perspectives, and experiences you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Here are some tips that may help you make friends ;

1. Be yourself:

Don’t try or pretend to be someone you’re not to fit into any community or group. Being your true authentic self is the ‘most original, stress-free and easiest you’ that you can be. Letting your true personality shine through will pay off in the long run.

2. Start small:

Try attending small social gatherings like meet-ups, book clubs and, of course, vision board hangouts to practice socialising in a low-pressure environment. The environment where no one is wrong, no one knows it all, but everyone comes as they are and they leave with lessons, joy and happiness. You may occasionally find one or two snubs in these environments. Lol. But that’s just an attitudinal problem, right? There will be people like you, and we know you’re smart enough to figure them out.

3. Find common interests:

It always makes sense to join groups or communities with people with similar values, passions or interests. Always look for these kinds of opportunities because it’s easier to start conversations with people when you have things in common.

4. Psyche yourself, reach out first:

I know that sometimes, when introverts join groups with people of like minds, they get there and freeze up. Three things are possible.

i. You remain quiet, pray silently that someone reaches out to you and strike up a conversation so you can feel comfortable responding…as usual. You don’t want to look like a fool if it’s a physical gathering, and you don’t want people not to respond to you if it’s an online gathering

ii. You just get overwhelmed by the number of people if it’s an online gathering or the number of eyes if it’s a physical gathering.

iii. If no one reaches out to you, you feel lost, unseen and you first enjoy

It is because it seems like the antidote to ii above, but then you also begin to feel like people intentionally pass you by when you see them accept others who leapt by saying something or typing something.

The only advice I have for you, fellow introvert, is >>> Kick comfort in the butt this year, psyche yourself and reach out. One of the ways of connecting with people before you even say anything is by smiling…try it and let me know how that works for you. A smile is a good conversation starter.

5. Take an interest in people:

It’s normal for introverts to forget somehow to let it be about other people because they’re so busy petting their feelings, fears and anxieties. Yet many introverts are caring and empathetic and can leverage such beautiful qualities to connect with people.

Read this quote aloud…

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get others interested in you.”

Dale Carnegie

One of the ways you can show that you’re interested in people is by observing something good about them and complimenting them.

“Oh, that’s a beautiful dress! You look so good”

Again, make sure you mean it. If my dress is not great and I know it’s not but you say it is not just because you want to connect, I may immediately flag you as insincere.

I mean, a dress is just an example, and maybe it’s not that deep, but you get what I mean…make sure you’re not fake. There are genuine things to observe about people that can get you interested in them.

6. Solve problems for people:

One way of making friends with people, probably the biggest, is by solving problems for them. A solution provider is always welcome everywhere that they go. They are always accepted because of the value they bring into the room.

7. Call people by their names, add titles where necessary:

Calling people by name is a way to show care and set the tone for healthy familiarity. You should mind your tone and mannerisms. When you call names, don’t be authoritative dismissive or it would have been better not to call the name at all. Show care and concern and you’ll come across as attractive. If you need to put titles, please put them where appropriate. Forget about your age, be respectful. If you’re older than someone but still want to glean some wisdom from them you cannot come to the yard with a ‘senior pangolo behaviour’ …I honestly don’t know how to interpret that in pure english. Lool..but I hope you understand.

Rudeness is when we are impolite. Our African culture has taught you to be mindful of respect to older people and some of us think only older people deserve polite treatment but that’s false and it’s okay for us to reeducate ourselves as adults. You can be rude to someone younger than you; if you come across as rude, the person goes far away from you with all their goodies and you’re left without a friend. Some of us act in ways that are contrary to our intentions…well it’s time to start acting the exact way you want to be seen and I doubt that you won’t know what’s nice to do and what’s not nice to do. If you want to connect with a person, find out what they like to be called or give them a worthy title and carry on with it.

8. It’s okay to take a break:

It’s okay to step back and take a break when you need it. Introverts tend to recharge their batteries by being alone, so don’t feel guilty about taking alone time when needed. I need almost 3 weeks to rejuvenate after my physical workshops or hangouts, and I don’t ask for permission before I go off grid. Now, don’t mind me and my savage ways…if you’re going to be away, It’s okay to mention to those whose friendships you care about.

Connecting with others takes energy, time and effort, but the rewards can be worth it. Try to be patient with yourself and focus on building meaningful relationships rather than just trying to make a lot of acquaintances

It’s better to have a few great friends than have a million surface-level acquaintances… especially in real life (Social media life is just something else, please, let’s not go there. Lol)

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