These past couple of weeks, I’ve met people from all walks of life. Despite being a self-confessed introvert, I must say that meeting these like-minded people energized and uplifts me.
I sure learned a great deal about them. I’ve learned more about how startups work, met entrepreneurs, interacted with creatives (illustrators, photographers, videographers, graphic designers, etc), learned of the life story of a travel blogger who travels for work. I even made friends through this travel blog, which I am very grateful for!
It’s an exciting period for me. I came across lots of opportunities in my area of interest. I’m in talks to collaborate with companies that I am very thrilled to work with. The prospect of this just excites me!
I’ve had the privilege of living the life I’ve always wanted – from exploring new places to trying new food establishments. Essentially, I got to be a tourist in my own hometown, Singapore.
If you’re an introvert (like me) and yet still want to expand your network and meet new people, here are 8 tried and tested tips you can work on.
How to make friends as an introvert
1. Be proactive.
First and foremost, you will never go far meeting new people or maintaining existing relationships if you refuse to take the initiative. Drop a message to an old friend. Somebody’s birthday coming up? Wish him/ her happy birthday! Know of somebody going through a rough patch? A short note would most certainly make his/her day a tad better.
2. Attend events/ meet ups. Stay in hostels!
Have an interest in typography/ scrapbooking/ soccer? Join an interest group! Be it food, travel, yoga or beauty, there’s always a community out there for you! Don’t be afraid of going alone. Going on your own opens up opportunities to meet new people. I would take part in Lululemon’s yoga community classes, even if no one would go with me. The community is uplifting – everyone is so kind and friendly that you don’t ever feel alone.
3. Don’t be afraid to strike up new conversations.
So what if you don’t know anyone? There’s nothing to lose about saying hello. Avoid awkward conversations by asking general relatable questions, such as learning more about the person you’re speaking to, the reasons you both are in the same event, and interests they have. Don’t be afraid to share about your life and common interests too. The enthusiasm of finding out you are actually more similar with this stranger than you thought is contagious.
4. Tap on your existing network.
If throwing yourself into the unknown intimidates you, reconnect with old friends/ seniors. Ask how they are doing, catch up over a meal. It’s always nice to hear stories from different perspectives, or seek an opinion about something you care about from someone totally out of your realm.
5. Be open, be spontaneous!
So a stranger plucked the courage to strike a conversation with you? Be friendly, be interested. This can happen whether you are online or offline. I recently connected with Expat Edna when she came to town. She has the most exciting life story ever! I also met a reader from Germany who came to Asia for a visit. I enjoy listening to people’s stories.
Nothing puts people off more than a grumpy face. I’ve had people commenting I have a nasty-looking face, but since the beginning of this semester, I put in the effort to appear welcoming. These days, the comments I hear are mostly positive, even from people I barely know. So a smile does really work wonders on your outlook in life as well as on others’ impression of you.
7. Be interesting.
Had an extraordinary experience? Find the opportunity to share it! That helps in starting conversations. My past experiences travelling to 55 countries under $7000 gets people wanting to hear more. So did my experience couchsurfing in Europe and driving a campervan in New Zealand!
8. Share your knowledge.
Know someone in need of tips on studying abroad or advice on travelling to Prague? Don’t be afraid to share about your experiences and things to look out for! You wouldn’t be blowing your own horn if the things you share are beneficial to him.
Are you an introvert too? How do you connect with people?