How to Make Friends When You Are Shy

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There are good reasons why you want to have friends. Not only can friends increase your enjoyment of life, they can help to reduce feelings of loneliness. They can even reduce the level of stress in your life and improve your health, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Friends can be especially helpful when you are going through a stressful time, need someone to talk to or are experiencing a bout of anxiety. But if you’re shy, you may have trouble making friends. There are steps you can take to make friends despite your shyness.

Step 1

Volunteer. When you join a volunteer organization, there are often opportunities to meet other volunteers. Because the focus of volunteer groups is on helping others, you may be able to make friends while endeavoring to do good in the world.

Step 2

Join a group. If you have an interest such as in a hobby, investigate whether there are any group meetings that are open to new members. If you enjoy pottery or reading mysteries, for example, there may be others in your area who share your interest and have monthly meetings at a coffee shop or elsewhere. It may be easier for you to strike up a conversation with people who have similar interests.

Step 3

Spend time in bookstores and libraries if you have an interest in reading. Bring a book to read, or find one there. You may run into someone who has read the same book. If so, be prepared to ask questions about the book and about the person’s response to reading it.

Step 4

Take a course at a local community college or other school in a subject that interests you. Others in the class may have the same interest. Linger after class, and see if anyone strikes up a conversation about the subject. Join in the conversation and see where it leads.

Step 5

Reach out in friendship to people you meet. When you’re shy, it may seem to require an extraordinary amount of effort for you to speak up and offer to exchange email addresses, but it’s the initial effort that can lead to long-lasting friendships. If you don’t want to exchange email addresses, ask the person to meet you for coffee at some later date.

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