How do you make friends when you’re shy?

Are you shy and find it difficult to meet new people and, in particular, to make friends? Do you often feel alone, misunderstood or rejected? Would you like to feel more at ease in social situations, but don’t know how? If you recognize yourself in these questions, this article is for you.

In this article, I’ll explain what shyness is, how it can affect your social life, and how you can overcome it to create lasting friendships.

Shyness: what is it really?

Shyness is a character trait that manifests itself mainly in a certain reserve towards others, a tendency to avoid social contact and a difficulty in expressing feelings or ideas.

It can be experienced as discomfort, fear or anxiety in social situations. It’s a natural disposition that affects a large proportion of the population to varying degrees, and can intensify or diminish over time or according to circumstances.

But shyness is not a disease or a defect. It’s a peculiarity that can even have its advantages. Shy people are often perceived as being more thoughtful, respectful and empathetic. The key is to understand that shyness is a part of you, a character trait, but it doesn’t define you entirely. You’re much more than that.

The effects of shyness on social life

Shyness can affect social life in many different ways. It can make it difficult to take part in events, form new relationships or communicate thoughts and feelings.

Some people will feel uncomfortable or anxious in certain social situations, which can lead them to avoid these situations. This leads to social isolation, low self-esteem and, in the worst cases, depression.

But shyness can also be a strength. It can enable you to develop attentive listening skills, great sensitivity to other people’s feelings, and the ability to think before you act. These qualities can be highly valued in friendly relationships, and can help you create deeper bonds.

Making friends despite shyness

The best way to make friends as a shy person is to seek out people who share the same interests as you. Whether it’s a sport, a hobby, a passion for art, music, movies, books, nature, or whatever, shared interests are a great way to bond. Indeed, these shared interests will provide easy and natural topics for conversation.

There are many places to meet people with similar interests. It could be at a class, a club, a discussion group, an event, a convention, an association, and so on. You can also use websites and applications specialized by interests and passions to meet like-minded people.

One skill is essential for making friends, especially for shy people: active listening. Active listening involves paying full attention to the person speaking, understanding what they’re saying, reacting appropriately and showing empathy. This will make the other person more willing to listen to you in turn.

Note that active listening doesn’t mean simply nodding silently. It’s about showing interest and engagement, asking relevant questions, and giving thoughtful answers.

Another essential skill is developing self-confidence. This is a gradual process that takes time, patience and practice. It’s useful to start with small, manageable steps, such as talking to a new person, taking part in a social activity, expressing your opinion, etc. Each small victory can boost your self-confidence and help you overcome shyness.

In this ocean of social interaction, shyness can sometimes seem like a raft drifting with the currents. However, think of shyness not as an obstacle, but as a character trait to be worked on. Everyone has the tools within them to build bridges with others, shyness or not.

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