Being an introvert can often times be lonely. We like our solitude but sometimes you do need to have a circle of friends that can understand that but still be there for you. It can be even more difficult for those of us that are introverted but are also shy - because not only do we enjoy regaining our energy by being alone, but it can be hard for us to put ourselves out there in a outgoing way.
So how can we, as introverts, make meaningful friendships but also maintain the time we need alone to recharge and refresh? I personally (Angela) consider myself an ambivert, on any Meyers Briggs scale, I tend to run 51% Extrovert and 49% Introvert, so I can pick and choose when I want to be alone or with people when my mood suits me. But when you're new to town, and you don't really know anyone it can be a challenge to make new friends.
I put together a few things that have helped me make new friends as both an Introvert, but also as someone who tends to be very shy in large social groups.
- Be committed. If you REALLy want to have some friends, even if it's just one or two, you need to be committed. And that means committed to trying, putting yourself out there, showing up when you say you will and being committed to putting the effort into a new friend. It can be hard, especially when it's easier for us to turn into a hermit and never leave our house. But we have to really make a conscious effort to do what we need to, to get what we want.
- Learn how much you can tolerate. If you're a super introverted person and being around people all the time is stressful, figure out how much you can deal with. Is it once a week for social events? Twice? Figure out how much time you need to recoup after a social event and how many you can actually deal with in a week. Once you do - put them on your calendar and SHOW UP. Don't skip because you're "just not feeling it", actually go. You won't make friends by sitting on your couch.
- Think Small. Part of what has been so successful for The B Hive Apiary is that we keep our events small. We did this because I am an introvert and shy and going to a large event is scary and useless for me. I wasn't making any friends that way - instead I was feeling overwhelmed, intimidated and left out. Find events that are super small, no more than 10-15 people that you can attend. The small group setting allows you to not feel swallowed by a big group but also allows for you (and others) to feel more welcomed and conversation is easier.
- Ask for help. Sometimes making new friends can be as simple as asking someone you know for introductions. When I first moved to Austin, it was my coworkers that were my primary friend circle. But I also asked friends from back home who they knew that they could connect me with. Through them, I was able to make a few other friends. There's no shame in asking for help when it comes to making friends and introductions.
- Join network groups in your field. If you're a growing entrepreneur or professional woman, you're bound to be working on growing your business or career. Find a small networking group (using that word small again) like a MasterMind group to connect with others in your industry. Mastermind groups are a great way to connect with other people, with an already established common interest. It eliminates the challenge of small talk!
- Give yourself goals. If you're feeling lonely and need to make some new friends. Give yourself a goal to make a new friend (or two!) by a certain time. Figure out what it takes to actually achieve that goal and do what needs to be done to get there. For those of us who are motivated by deadlines and to-do lists, make it a priority!
Making friends as an introvert can be a challenge, especially if you're shy. But it's not impossible! And The B Hive Apiary is here to help! If you're in Austin, TX or Seattle, WA let us know! We're happy to connect you and get you out there making new friends!
If you're looking for a networking group for kick-ass professional women - check out our online Digital MasterHive! It's a masterminding group for women anywhere in the country! www.thebhiveacademy.com/digital-masterhive