If you’re quiet by nature, then it’s only natural you might feel a little daunted by the prospect of introducing more sociability into your life. But expanding your group of friends doesn’t have to be overwhelming or something to dread. If the idea of approaching people you don’t know seems intimidating, check out these three top tips for climbing out of your shell and making new friends fast.
1. Use new apps
Sharing everything on Facebook, checking-in to each place you go and Instagramming the best moments of your day doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll feel close to the people already in your life. Technology may have changed the tools we use to reach out to others, but it can also create a dangerous illusion of being connected.
We have a deep psychological need to feel like we truly belong and are part of a real community, so if you want a little more control over your social life, it’s worth checking out the latest in social networking apps. They’re making it easier than ever to see what’s on in your city and meet like-minded people, whether you want to catch up for a few drinks downtown, take a look at the latest art exhibition or dance the night away at a new club. These apps are particularly useful if you’re shy because connecting with people who’re already looking to make new friends makes it much easier to build relationships quickly.
2. Get to know your friends’ friends
Asking your friends to introduce you to their friends or acquaintances is a simple, no-stress way to expand your social circle or make useful networking contacts. When catching up for drinks, getting together for a meal or throwing a party, encourage your friends to bring a plus-one so that you can get to know some new people. Making a habit of saying yes to invitations you might normally turn down is also a great way to mix with others – while it might seem intimidating to go to a party where you don’t know anyone, it’s a perfect opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone and branch out socially.
When meeting a mutual friend, the fact that you both know the same person is a great icebreaker and will help you to feel comfortable. Remember that people are naturally drawn to others who seem welcoming and approachable, so smiling, making eye contact, standing up straight and looking happy to chat can make a really big difference. Focusing on the person you’re talking to will also help turn your attention outward and keep you feeling relaxed and able to be yourself.
3. Choose the right environment
Expanding your social circle is a lot easier if you’re in the right environment – a great atmosphere will make you feel at ease and encourage you to reach out to new people. Conversely, if you’re intimidated by crowds or don’t like loud parties, it’s unlikely that you’re going to feel comfortable enough in these situations to put yourself out there.
When looking to make new friends, a location with a built-in activity like a karaoke bar or cabaret is a great option. Initiating a conversation with someone new is a lot easier when the focus is on an activity and you don’t have the pressure of engaging in a personal conversation right away.
Becoming a regular somewhere is another great way to improve your chances of meeting someone new. Going to your local coffee shop, taking the same train to work each morning or joining a cooking class may help you to strike up a conversation in an environment you’re already comfortable in.
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the best way to build confidence and stop shyness sabotaging your social life. There’s nothing better than getting together with the right people, so start making socialising a real priority. After all, the best time to bring great new friends into your life is always now.