Lifestyle Opinion

Know New Friends: Overcoming An Introvert Lifestyle To Connect With Others

Hey, Introvert. Yes, you. The cute one sitting behind your laptop or scrolling through your social media updates. The world knows you are there.

Hey, Introvert. Yes, you. The cute one sitting behind your laptop or scrolling through your social media updates. The world knows you are there. I have it from a good source that people actually want to get to know you. There are companies who want to know about your product or service. There’s a girl group who needs one more fun person with your exact hairstyle to make their next trip complete. I also know that pit in your stomach that causes you to panic when you think about what it will take to make new connections and how you really want to be left alone. After all, headphones only come with two ear pieces for a reason. Well, today’s the day when you stop running, open up, and make the connections you need to be a part of the next big social movement, close the next big deal, or connect with a new friend.

End Procrastination

There are people who want to get to know you. Ha. I can hear you thinking, “who me?” Absolutely you. They’ve probably invited you to an event but you had a hot date with Netflix and your pajamas. Go online now and scroll through the events page and find an activity that interests you. Click attending and GO. No one to attend with you? No worries, if it’s a public event like a poetry night, you can make friends when you get there.

Eliminate Team Me

I hate rejection. I totally remember raising my hand in class waving it the teacher frantically when I knew the right answer willing her to pick me. If I had a penny for every time I didn’t get picked for the kickball team and went to go play foosball, I wouldn’t have to take out student loans.  That’s probably when I developed my ‘team me’ approach to life. I recall the time when I was about to throw myself a birthday party and realized my list was too short. I didn’t have a social group that I could call on when it was time to celebrate my favorite team, ME. We are best when we operate on the principle of people first. John Maxwell said, “your success, fulfillment, and happiness depend on your ability to relate well to different kinds of people.” Commit to considering others who may want to join team me.

Ask Questions. Listen to the Answers.

Now that you’ve decided to get out of the house and connect with others, what are you going to say to them? It depends on the situation. If you are trying to make business connections, an article posted on Forbes.com titled “The Best Questions To Ask At Networking Events” suggests you ask some of the following questions:

  1. How did you hear about this event?
  2. What is your favorite thing to do?
  3. How did you decide to do what you do?
  4. How can I be helpful to you right now?

If you are trying to make social connections, there’s a neat website called adultsocialskills.com. They provide tips and suggestions for connecting and following up. I enjoyed the article How to make friends.

Stay In Contact

The entrepreneur life is designed for extroverts. The worse thing I could have done, as an introvert, was to become an entrepreneur. Come on, I’m team shy. Not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s simply terrifying for me to say it. As an entrepreneur, I had to learn to talk to people, strangers no less, from sun up to sundown. It didn’t matter what neighborhood they were from. I had to locate a commonality and use that thing to connect us. The trick is once you make that connection, you can’t let it go. Honestly, you never know what will happen down the road where you end up calling on the person who you met. Get their social media contacts. When there is an event, invite them. Don’t worry, you aren’t bugging them. If they didn’t want to connect with you, they would have given you some sort of excuse when you asked for their social media. You can’t be afraid to follow up.  Also, don’t just ‘like’ their pictures on Facebook and Twitter. Make a comment and interact.

Lastly, don’t be the person who is embarrassed to say I’ve done nothing to improve my communication and networking skills. Get out and make some friends, people who have something in common with you. Introverts unite! We can do this.

 

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