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I am a shy introvert. I am 28 years old and started a new career about four months ago, and I live alone in a small apartment in a nice area. I don’t live near nearby as I moved from Vermont to California for my career. I have trouble making friends I have always been shy, and I think maybe I lack self-confidence. I have made one good friend, Gabby, but she recently moved an hour away, so now I feel like I am starting from square one. Any suggestions?
Signed – Shy in Sacramento
You certainly have had lots of “changes” in your life recently and must give yourself more credit for such a big move away from your family and former life! It takes time, but start by taking baby steps with co-workers and maybe even neighbors in your apartment complex. I would start little things such as smile at a co-worker, offer to help your neighbor with something, and start a conversation with someone you know by asking a casual question.
If a co-worker or a neighbor invites you to a social event or an outing – go, go, go! And, go with confidence. Dress nicely and act confidently (not arrogantly, of course). Take pressure off yourself. Try to start simple conversations – ask someone an “open ended question” such as “How long have you lived in this area”? “Who do you know at this party”?
Compliment someone – if you see a woman with beautiful brown sandals on, tell her you like them! Remember, it’s not about perfection – none of us are perfect – and people are more tolerant than you think! Look for people in the group or party who are quieter as they may have similar traits to yours.
Try to remind yourself to start speaking with those around you – just casual friendly conversation and again, smile, and ask people about themselves in a non-threatening way. It may take a while to see progress, but you may surprise yourself as you start gaining friends. Think back to when you were growing up and how you made friends in the past…. Or even think back to how you met “Gabby”.
Go to the library or book stores. Get out and take a “smaller” class that interests you – such as a cooking class or a photography class. This will give you a chance to meet people with similar interests. Volunteer at a non-profit. You can help out, gain some confidence, do something positive, and meet other people who are doing the same thing!
You may want to consider http://www.meetup.com/ as that will get you started with events and what is happening in your area.
You can do this! Take baby steps and give yourself some time! Let us know how you do.
Readers – any suggestions for “Shy in Sacramento”?
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Until next time~