How To Make Friends When You're Shy?!
How to Make Friends If You're Shy
When you're shy or feel like you don't fit in, it can be harder to make friends. Some people are talkative with anyone and everyone, and others feel more comfortable when doing things in small groups or by themselves. Consider ways to trust yourself and others in order to overcome your shyness. By staying positive and taking initiative, you are more likely to find the right group of friends that fit your personality and interests.
Be an active listener.Take a genuine interest in what others say and do. Being a good friend is about focusing on what others are doing and responding to what they say. Avoid distracting yourself with other things. Learn to focus on the person you're with.
- Keep good eye contact. This means making eye contact for about five seconds at a time. Any longer may seem like staring, which can make people uncomfortable.
- Show that you're listening by nodding (and smiling if appropriate).
- Validate what they're saying. Consider saying things like, "That's cool," or "That's really interesting."
Ask questions as a way to connect.Asking questions about someone's interests, work, or life will help you to get to know them, and to find out if you'll hit it off as friends. While you may want to tell them all about what's going on with you, focus on listening and asking questions. Use their responses as a way to find things that are similar in your life, work, or interests.
- If you tend to get nervous and draw a blank, make a mental list (or a physical list you keep hidden, like on your phone) with some go-to questions. Questions might be: "What kind of music do you like?"; "Are you into any shows right now? I'm looking for something new to watch;" "Do you have any pets?"; "Do you have any restaurant recommendations?"; "What are you getting up to this weekend?"; and so on.
- For example, you might ask about what movie they saw lately. They respond by saying that they say the latest superhero movie. Whether you've seen it or not, you can ask them things like: "Did you like it?"; "Are you into superhero movies?"; "What was the best part of the movie?"; "Are there other movies you've liked recently?"
- Once someone has started talking, avoid interrupting. This way you can focus on what they are saying and are giving them time to speak.
- When someone is telling a story or a concern they're having, be present and focus on what they're saying. Consider asking open-ended questions like, "And what else happened?" or "Can you tell me more about that?"
Find ways to have one-on-one conversations.When you're shy, talking in groups may feel overwhelming. If you're in a social setting with lots of different people, find one person at a time to develop a connection with. Find someone else who is by themselves or not interacting as much with others. Engage them in conversation.
- Be willing to talk first. If you're sitting or standing next to someone who's not talking, open up the conversation. Consider giving them a compliment or mentioning something that's going on as a way to start a conversation.
- Find spaces that allow for more one-on-one conversation. If you're at a party and it feels overwhelming, see if someone is willing to talk with you in a different location at the party where there are less people. Ask them, "I'm going to step outside for a minute. Want to come with?" or "I think I'm going to get another snack in the kitchen. Want to join?"
- If someone says no to your one-on-one time, it's okay. They may not be ready to hang out one-on-one just yet or may have some awkwardness themselves. Keep trying this with other people, and don't give up.
Focus on positive topics of conversation first.When first developing a friendship, it's important to make others feel comfortable with you. Try to find topics that are less negative. While it's important to be genuine, focusing on positive things can help others feel at ease.
- Consider positive topics. Get the person to talk about themselves. Talk about what's in your surroundings. Talk about a funny thing that happened. Discuss a recent movie or TV show.
- Avoid negative topics. Don't fixate on your poor health or illnesses in the family. Don't use this time to vent about your awful schoolwork or job with someone you just met. Avoid topics about death or destruction. Don't get caught up in technical jargon or small details that may not make sense to someone new.
Ask to join in.Don't be afraid to join in and tag along. While sometimes joining in may feel awkward at first, over time you may feel more comfortable and less awkward with the group. Being open and willing to try something new and different can help you get out of your shyness.
- Learn to say "yes" when asked if you'd like to come along. By saying yes sometimes, people are more likely to think that you enjoy being with them.
- Be okay when others don't ask you to join. If you're more shy, you may feel uncomfortable with doing the asking and instead you're waiting for someone to ask you. Don't assume that just because they didn't ask you that they don't like you.
- Asking to join others in an activity will help you learn to speak up for yourself and show that you're taking some initiative.
Practice conversations in group settings.Group settings of more than four people can be overwhelming for someone who is shy or anxious. Find ways to overcome this shyness by practicing to speak in groups or in front of other people.
- Consider taking a public speaking class. By practicing how to be comfortable in front of others you'll be less shy or intimidated around others.
- Try taking an acting or improv class. This will give you practice speaking in front of others and improv can help you sharpen your wit and be quick on your toes with conversation.
- Consider joining a Toastmasters meeting. This can help you learn skills for public speaking with practice. Find a location through their website:
- Practice talking more in smaller group settings first where you feel welcomed to speak. Use these opportunities to feel more comfortable in larger groups or among people you don't know.
Focus on feeling accepted rather than judged.The harshest critic is often yourself. You might feel like you're not good enough, not smart enough, or not welcome. Avoid making assumptions that other people have a negative opinion of you.
- Instead of walking into a room and feeling judged, redirect your thoughts to something positive. Feel confident that you can make friends and be social.
- Another way to take the focus off yourself is to tune in to your empathy and focus on the other person. If you practice becoming interested in the other person and use empathy to deepen that focus, you will become less aware of yourself and less worried about being noticed or judged.
- Believe in yourself. Friendships don't happen overnight, but you will find others who you can relate to and enjoy being with.
- You don't have to be perfect for others to like you. It's okay if you make mistakes at times. We're all human. Mistakes may help you to relate to others who are having a difficult time.
Take initiative.If you're shy, you may feel uneasy about speaking up or talking first with someone new. Remember that when you speak up and take initiative, the easier it will be the next time. Be clear and concise when you take initiative. Avoid vague or passive behavior.
- Learn to ask others out to do things. Don't always be a follower when you're trying to make new friends.
- Consider saying, "Want to hang out this weekend?" or "Want to eat lunch together?"
- When you ask people to do things, you'll find out which people are interested in being friends. Focus your time on people who are interested in hanging out with you, rather than getting hung up on those who don't.
Be helpful.By being helpful through your talents, skills, or kindness, you're more likely to develop friendships with others. Just make sure that those friends aren't only looking to you for something you can give. A friendship is both give and take. Make sure that your friends also give back and are there when you need them.
- Be willing to give yourself. Avoid being selfish or focusing only on your needs.
- Show others that you care. Be kind and generous with your time. If a friend is having a tough time, don't be afraid to console them with kind words or a hug.
- Showing empathy can help you overcome shyness. Sometimes just being physically present with a warm smile can make people trust you more, without even saying a word.
Be accepting and open.By accepting others, they are more likely to accept you. Be willing to see things from other people's perspectives. Shyness may make you feel isolated or alone. By opening yourself up to others, you are likely to find more friends.
QuestionWhat if you're a geek, and you're looking for a smart/nerd friend, but you can't find any at your school?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFind ways to connect with other classmates about different topics of interest. Focus on finding friends that are kind, friendly, and open to talking with you. Be open to starting a conversation about a variety of things related to school or outside of school. You may find that you have more in common than you realize.Thanks!
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