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How to Make Friends as an Introvert

by Amanda Ford

Introverts are not necessarily shy people. In fact, many introverts are astute, capable and even comfortable in social situations. The thing is, for an introvert, social situations require a tremendous output of energy. Introverts are drained by being around other people and need to be alone in order to recharge (extroverts, on the other hand, find other people energizing and being alone exhausting). This doesn't mean introverts are anti-social misanthropes. Introverts need--and want--friends too, but because of the way social interactions affect our emotional well-being, we introverts have special considerations to keep in mind when making friends. Read on and learn how to make friends as an introvert.

Don't feel bad about being an introvert. According to David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, authors of a famous book on personality types entitled "PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME," introverts make up only 25 percent of the population. As an introvert, you might be in the minority, but you aren't alone. And you certainly are not weird.

Focus on quality, not quantity. While extroverts like to have lots of friends and spend time in groups, introverts tend to prefer a few close friendships that they sustain with one-on-one time.

Stop telling yourself that you'll never have or that you are incapable of developing good friendships. This is according to Lee Ann Lambert, author of the book "LIVING INTROVERTED" and blog of the same title. Just because your friendships will seem different from extroverts friendships doesn't mean that you won't have friendships. Remind yourself, "I am a good friend. I can have good friends."

Give extroverts a chance. Introverts have a tendency to look at extroverts as shallow, overly chatty and mindless. This is, of course, not true of all extroverts. While extroverts may not take the same slow, thoughtful approach to life that we introverts do, they do have many wonderful traits and lessons to teach us. Not to mention they can make very fun friends.

Join groups of people to meet others who share your interests and passions. Small talk can be particularly torturous for introverts, which is why friendships built upon common purpose can be more successful than friendships built around activities like meeting for a drink and chatting about the details of the day.

Give yourself plenty of time to recoup. In an article entitled, "Caring for Your Introvert," in the March 2003 issue of "The Atlantic," writer Jonathan Rauch wrote, "After an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing." Respect your own socializing limits by scheduling alone time on your calendar.

Embrace the reasons why it's great to be an introvert. Without question, American society values the character traits of extroverts much more than those of introverts. It can make it hard to view being an introvert as a gift rather than a liability. So what does make introverts great? As a general rule, introverts are introspective and self-aware. We think before we speak, are highly observant of the world around us and don't impose our views, ideas or ways of being upon others. Introverts make great artists, are big thinkers and can be the most caring, sensitive and loyal of friends.