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How do I make friends if I’m shy?

Author: Angela Ziegler

Socializing and making friends comes more easily to some people than it does to others, and many people are apprehensive when it comes to getting to know new people. In my case, I’m pretty shy and I find it very hard to carry on a conversation with someone I don’t know very well. Because of this, I don’t have very many close friends who I feel totally comfortable with. When I try to talk to new people, I feel awkward and self-conscious, and so I spend a lot of time by myself. Sometimes, I do want to socialize with people, but because of my shyness I find it difficult.

In the past week or so, I’ve been reflecting a lot about why I find it difficult to connect with people and make friends. Here are three things that I realized (in no particular order). I’m not speaking for everybody, because this is just what I have learned from my own experiences, but hopefully somebody can take something away from this.

1. Ask people questions, and be interested in their answers

You may have heard this advice before: people like to talk about themselves, so all you have to do is ask them questions about themselves. But whenever I do this, it doesn’t really feel like I’m actually connecting with the person I’m talking to. I think this is because you have to make sure that you’re actually genuinely interested in what someone has to say.

When you ask people questions, they don’t really have to be deep or complicated: all you have to do is make sure that you are actually engaged in the conversation. Ask questions that you actually want to know the answers to, so that you’ll genuinely listen to their answers and feel like you’re getting to know people better. If you are engaged in a conversation, it also gets easier to think of more questions to ask, too!

2. Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect friend

This is a little bit embarrassing for me to admit, but one reason why I never really wanted to get close to anybody was because once I started spending more time with someone, I would eventually find things about them that would annoy me. But the thing is there’s no such thing as a perfect friend who never gets on your nerves and is always fun to spend time with.

Nobody is perfect, and when you spend enough time with somebody, you will eventually see their flaws. Just because someone gets on your nerves sometimes, it doesn’t mean that you have to throw away the entire relationship because it’s not perfect. My family members also do things that annoy me, but I still care about them. So why should I stop being friends with somebody just because they aren’t perfect all the time?

3. The more time you invest into a relationship, the more you get out of that relationship.

Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason why I don’t feel like I have very many close friends. With any sort of relationship, whether it’s platonic or romantic, you have to invest time into it to get anything out of it. I spend a lot of time on my own, because I like to work on my own projects and do my own thing most of the time. But that meant that I never invested any time into any of my friendships, and I became more isolated. In turn, that made me want to spend even more time on my own, because I didn’t feel as much fulfillment when I did talk to other people. But if you do decide to invest more time into your relationships, you’ll also get more out of those relationships. Sometimes you have to just set aside some time to devote to others if you want to have a meaningful connection with them.

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