Imagine a person who always finds themselves on the sidelines, looking up and down at the people around, choosing their next target, thinking of some openers, mustering up the courage to approach them and eventually, backing out at the last moment by thinking, “Let it be, maybe I will give it a shot next time.” This was just a glimpse into the life of an introvert who goes through this activity every time he or she even thinks of making a friend.
A lot of people find it hard to socialize and initiate a conversation with someone new. A 2021 study found 42 percent of its respondents found it difficult to make friends because of their introvert and shy nature. Around 29 percent of adults cited family commitments as a reason and 28 percent of them said that they didn’t have any hobbies which didn’t allow them to meet new people.
But surely, how to make friends is a task which can be learned. Friends can make you emotionally stronger. One can train themselves to make friends by following certain steps. Dr Kamna Chhibber, psychologist at Fortis Healthcare, told Health Shots 5 easy ways which can help you make friends and be more social.
Start with connecting with individuals one on one, especially those with whom you are comfortable. Take small steps to engage with people. You don’t have to go into full-length discussions with them. Just make small talk and most importantly make eye contact. Maintaining constant eye contact can make you form strong and personal connections.
Look for groups based on activities you enjoy doing where the activity can be the basis on which you engage with others. Work your way towards larger interactions by first becoming part of groups. You could initiate by just listening to conversations and over time as you develop comfort, move towards sharing your own thoughts as well.
Remind yourself of the positive experiences you do have in social interactions to give yourself greater reinforcement to continue in your efforts to engage with people. Don’t look at the negative aspects of socializing and instead, remember the fun times you end up having after making a friend.
Steer away from judging yourself as that contributes towards the difficulty you face in engaging with people. Before you approach them, you think about all the possible negative things that the other person is going to think about you and you end up backing out. If you don’t judge yourself, even others won’t.
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Take the support of close friends or family to encourage you to move towards doing more activities and developing the comfort in sharing your experiences with others. Remind them to refrain from being negative or taunting towards your behaviors in social situations as that will lower down your morale for the next time.
Get out there and try out these 5 ways to make friends!