Good thing I had a post ready to go for tonight, because man-oh-man, I am one cranky girl. I tried to handle it the healthy way first: yoga class. I’m still glad I went, but I’m also still cranky. So now I’m handling it my tried-and-true way: eating Graeter’s ice cream (aka the best ice cream ever + from my home town) and watching Sleeping Beauty. Ahhh.
Now without further ado… here’s the post.
This is the 3rd post in a series about being an introvert and making friends. If you missed it, you can go back to Part 1 and Part 2. All inspired by Rachel‘s posts about making friends as an adult!
A few years ago, I made some big life changes, and I found myself without friends in my day-to-day life. (I do have a dear friend in Denver, who I’m not overlooking… but she is far away, and for some reason, she won’t come to Atlanta to hang out every weekend.)
I didn’t really know how to fix my situation. I knew I wanted some chicks to hang out with, but I’ve always found girls to be harder to talk to than guys! I lucked out, though, and ended up making some great friends over the past year or two.
So along with Rachel‘s posts about making friends, I’d like to add my own thoughts. Tonight’s topic is where to look for potential friends. I hope I’m providing idea to introverts, but also providing insight for extroverts!
First, I think it’s important to broaden your horizons: expand the pool of potential friends. Let go of looking for friends who are a lot like you. In high school and college, we gravitate toward people we’re comfortable with. We’re all the same age, we’re all in school together—naturally, you have a lot in common with these people. But in the world of work, your coworkers might be very different from you. You might feel like you’ve got nothing in common with them. But that’s OK!
Once you let go of that initial “I don’t fit in with these people” reaction, you might find that you have tons in common with the least expected people.
In my case, 2 of my closest work friends are about 15 years older than me. (My husband is 17 years older than me, so why should I care about this anyway?) One of my friends has 2 teenage sons. We’re in completely different places in life. But it works! We get along great, we find each other easy to talk to, and it turns out that we have lots in common in our personal lives. Whoodathunkit? We go to lunch, and we went Christmas shopping together. It’s a great friendship—and I would have missed out on it completely while I was looking for a 26 year old to be friends with.
Now that we’re being more open-minded and not discriminating about age or whatever else, it’s time to also look for friends outside work.
Yes, you need friends outside work! Otherwise, you’ve put all your eggs in one basket. When you move on to another job, you’ll be leaving all your friends. No bueno.
I think this is a hard thing for a lot of women, shy or not. Once you’re out of school, where on earth are you supposed to meet people? You don’t exactly go to a bar to pick up friends.
For me, I found friends at the yoga studio. For you, maybe it’s a pottery class, Zumba, graduate academic classes, or a kickball league. Whatever. Just go do something you enjoy, and you’re bound to run into other people who enjoy that same thing. Notice that all of my examples are something where you show up week after week. You’re likely to see the same people many times, and that helps a lot—especially for us introverts.
For an introvert like me, it took literally months of yoga classes before I started actually making friends. That’s OK. It’s just how I am. Maybe this week, you smile at someone new. Next week, you compliment them on their tattoo/hair/shirt. Then maybe you notice that you both frequent the same coffee shop after class. This is when I have to really work up the nerve to start a conversation. But luckily, we’ve got built-in conversation, because we just took the same yoga class together… whew.
With some potential friends identified—and a few weeks of smiling shyly at them, if you’re me—it’s time to get to know people a bit better. Again, for shy girls, it’s just too hard to walk up to someone and ask them
out to hang out. If you’re not shy, jump on in… but shy girls (and guys, too), stick around for the next post in the series. I have some ideas for you us!
Let me know what you think. Introverts and extroverts alike, where have you had luck meeting new friends?