Unless you’re naturally outgoing, making friends can be difficult, and if you’re someone who suffers from a social anxiety disorder, it can be even worse.
Even the most introverted or shy person needs friends around from time to time, but how do you overcome your social anxiety and find people to become your friends?
That’s why we want to offer a few tips on ways to make friends when you have social anxiety:
1. Find friends with similar interests
It’s hard to be friends with someone you have nothing in common with, so finding people who like the same things as you is important.
If you’re a student, joining clubs is a great way to find people interested in a certain topic or subject, and even adults can use meet-up groups, sports leagues, and structured classes like yoga to find like-minded people.
In addition to knowing that the people there have similar interests, being able to talk about the club, class, or event you’re at is an easy icebreaker that makes initiating a conversation that much easier.
2. Talk to people in similar situations
Seeking out people who are going through the same things as you, is yet another way to meet people you might get along with smoothly.
For example, if you’re new in town or at a new job, talking to other new people can create a strong connection because they can easily relate to what you’re going through.
Because you’re dealing with the same thing, it makes voicing your ideas, concerns, and observations much easier since you know the other person can put themselves in your shoes without much effort.
3. Go where you’re comfortable
Don’t put yourself in uncomfortable situations. If you don’t like crowded clubs, don’t try to meet or hang out with friends in a club where you’ll feel anxious and uncomfortable.
Instead, take control of the situation and go somewhere like a park or a coffee shop so you can focus more on the person or people you’re with as opposed to spending all your energy trying to convince yourself not to have a panic attack.
That will make it easier to have a good time and live more in the moment, which is usually a great way to get over a bout of acute anxiety.
4. Make it less about you
You might be worried that you’re not exciting or fun and that people won’t want to be your friend because of it. But the truth is that making friends isn’t about what you think about yourself; it’s all about how you make others feel.
So instead of trying to do things to make yourself look better, funnier, or more “interesting,” shift your focus to making the other person feel appreciated.
This decision will show them that you value their friendship and it will also show you that people enjoy your company, even if you might find that hard to believe.
5. Be yourself
If you try to please everyone and be who you think they want you to be, the only friends you’ll make are people who only care about themselves.
On the other hand, if you’re consistently true to yourself, then you’ll know that the friends you make are there for the actual you and not some character you put on in public.
Making friends doesn’t have to be hard
Social anxiety can like an insurmountable obstacle at times, but it’s something that you can overcome with effort, perseverance, and optimism.
You may not meet your new best friend the first time you go out, and not every friend you make will stick around forever, but if you focus on creating quality connections and being yourself, then you’ll find yourself with a solid group of friends before you know it.
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