If you are shy, you probably know how frustrating it can be to try and make friends. This is particularly true if you have to move to a new school or town and you don’t know anyone.
Thankfully, some excellent ways to make friends when you are a little shy will work no matter what environment you find yourself in.
Meeting people can be fun, and you will be relieved when you see how these tips help you navigate social situations and connect with people. If you are ready to learn how to make friends when you are shy, you must keep reading!
Making Friends When You Are Shy
1. Introduce Yourself Creatively
As a shy person, it can seem impossible to walk up to people without getting nervous and forgetting what to say. Thankfully, you don’t have to introduce yourself. You can start chatting with small talk to get to know them. If you want to make it more comfortable, you should practice simple conversation openers.
Ask the person sitting next to you in class where they got their shoes if you like them, or you can simply ask them how they’re doing. These openers put the ball right into the other person’s court so that you don’t have to manage the whole conversation immediately.
Once you start talking with someone new, you will feel much more comfortable and forget that you are nervous. They might even remember that they don’t know your name after a few minutes, and then you can introduce yourself after you’ve already become friends.
2. Manage Anxiety
Remember that social anxiety is all about how you view the experience that you are about to have. If you let these interactions become too important and too upsetting to your mental well-being, you will clam up and just hide from people all day.
Remember that everyone on earth says awkward things at times or doesn’t start a conversation off well. You are not the only person who sometimes gets nervous when talking to new people. It just might feel that way to you due to your nerves!
Don’t force yourself to try and make friends or have conversations when you feel anxious. Try practicing deep breathing and reframing your perceptions of the people around you. Chances are, they are as nervous as you are, and they will be nice to you when you start to talk to them because they will be relieved that you took the first step.
3. Talk to Someone Else on Their Own
If you’re standing in the cafeteria or the hallway and you feel overwhelmed by nerves, look around and see if anyone else is also alone. This might be another shy person who will want to talk or at least to have company. When you approach the person, ask if it’s okay to sit with them just in case they want to be alone. If they say it’s okay, sit down and try the conversation starters you have learned.
Sitting with people who are also alone can help you find new friends who will share your worries about large crowds of people who might have a lot in common with you. If nothing else, you will probably have made someone else’s day, and they will be grateful for your company.
While it might be hard when you are nervous to remember to smile at people, this is one of the best ways to be approachable. Sometimes our uneasy feelings show on our faces all too well and make us seem unfriendly. You will want to remember that you might be chasing people away with your lack of a friendly expression.
When you smile, you will also feel better and more relaxed, and you will see that other people will respond to you in a friendly way as well. If someone does not smile back at you, don’t worry about it. They might just be having a bad day, or maybe they are also socially nervous. Focus on the people who respond to your open and friendly expression and decide if you want to talk to them some more or not.
5. Ask Open Questions
When you have started talking to someone, it can be scary. You might be tongue-tied and worried about what you should say next. You can ask the other person how their summer was or if they have lived in this area for a long time. This requires more than a yes or no answer.
When you ask questions that require more than a yes or a no answer, this fosters continued conversation that can help you get to know someone better. This will also make you more comfortable sharing with this new person as you start finding common ground to chat about.
Being Shy Doesn’t Have to be Stressful
Being shy shouldn’t be a source of anxiety. Not everyone is outgoing, and that is okay. You will find that practicing your conversation skills will help you feel more comfortable as a shy person, and you will get better at meeting people with whom you can become friends.
Make sure that you are smiling and open to trying to talk to people, and you will see a change in the ease with which you make friends.
If you are struggling to feel accepted or are dealing with depression or anxiety, there is help. You and your parents can reach out to us today if you feel overwhelmed by social situations, school, or family life.