Are you spending the night in reading this article, because you don’t have any plans? I know what that’s like, and I’m here to let you know that you aren’t alone. Thousands of people watching this probably wish they were sitting next to someone like you. Being socially awkward might seem like it’s a big part of who you are, but here’s a small secret. It’s only big because it’s what you focus on. In reality, there’s more to you than what you give yourself credit for. Here are five ways to make friends when you’re socially awkward.
Start with What Feels Familiar
Why show up at a bar you never go to, when you can use your everyday settings? If you study in school full-time and work on the weekends, you can make friends with your classmates and co-workers. Cliques often prevent people from getting to know each other, but there are ways to overcome these social walls. It starts with an open mind. Judge someone for the content of their character, not based on the music they listen to, nor what they wear. Read: The Importance of Self-Esteem: What Is It & How to Build Self-Esteem
When you start with something familiar, you’ll all feel comfortable, and maybe strike up a conversation about a common interest. If you’re worried about being out of place, don’t be. People don’t admit this a lot, but the truth is: life can be incredibly boring, seeing and hearing the same things every day. Maybe you’re exactly what someone needs to spice things up. Different interests come in handy when others can learn a thing or two from you, and vice versa.
Don’t Listen to Self Doubt, It’s a Lie
And it robs people of happiness and open doors. Instead, practice vulnerability. I know how hard it can be when rejection is feared. But you never know until you try. In fact, you can never succeed if you don’t try. Telling yourself you’re not good enough to talk to someone will only prevent you from building connections with others. Make a list of all of your strengths and talents, and tape it to your mirror. Each day before you leave for school or work, read it to remind yourself that you’re special.
Be Friendly and Polite, It Goes a Long Way
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But etiquette is timeless, classy, and makes you an approachable person. People are usually turned off by selfish, self-absorbed individuals, who only talk about themselves. If you’re shy, you might be scared to lend a helping hand or comfort, someone, when you see that they’re having a bad day. But compassion is a way to someone’s heart. So the next time the person who sits next to you in chemistry fails a test you aced, take the leap and offer help. It’s hard for people to resist light, during dark times.
Let Time Be Your Ally, Not Enemy
Overnight success is a myth, and so is the whole scenario of meeting someone who just gets it. If it were always that easy, we wouldn’t have room to grow. Know that the best friendships take time. It’s okay to move slow, and don’t compare the friendships you’re forming with someone else’s. Everyone’s story unfolds differently. Instead of stressing out about why you haven’t made matching bracelets or had sleepovers yet, embrace the present for what it is, and practice vulnerability.
Realize You Don’t Have to Be Perfect in Order to Be Accepted
Expect yourself to make mistakes, you’re only human after all. Remember, people don’t need perfection. They only need to feel understood and loved, in order to make connections. See the best in others, and be encouraging of their dreams. But have the guts to let someone see you fall down sometimes. Tell them about the fears that keep you up at night. They’ll be relieved because chances are, they have them too. Good friendships always add value to both parties. Accept that both of you have strengths and weaknesses, but when you come together, a special bond is formed.