Living in a Westernized country makes it a bit challenging for introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs) when it comes to meeting people and choosing friends. Unlike extroverts who can easily attract people and get them to be on their side and influence them, introverts have to do trial and error. They have to learn their own way in mastering the art of finding and keeping friends. The criteria for those friends also vary, from shared interests to how each person wants to feel every time he or she meets them.
It can be overwhelming for some to have to do this, and when these friendships don’t work at some point, some of them feel there’s no need to look for more because the activity can sap their energy. Of course, other people don’t understand this many of them accuse the introverts of many things. It’s easier these days to find friends through the Internet, but it’s also tricky because of bullying and all other crazy things going on these days, and so it’s much better to take a cautious approach, even when personally meeting people at parties and other social gatherings.
Another thing I most consider is the budget. It may seem crazy I know, but it has for many years been one of the major reasons why I haven’t seen my own friends for a long time. Also maybe I don’t know how to approach meeting them in the right way after being away and avoiding texts and phone calls. But lately I’ve realized that it’s equally important to enjoy life as much as saving up for a future purchase, travel, or for retirement.
To demonstrate what I mean, finding friends for introverts is the same as digging for gold or diamonds. The mine workers use equipment to dig the ground and then separate gold flecks from the earth. Same with diamonds. And even when these are found, they had to be polished or refined so they can be made into jewelry and sold all over the world. Overall, it requires a lot of workers and hours of labor, electricity, water, all this effort to find them. With the introverts, they have to sort through people and see which ones they like to talk to. Mostly it’s through one person as going into a group immediately is just too much. Then after a few weeks or months, they would know whether this person is good to hang out with or not. The problem lies in getting relaxed and just seeing one group of people because not all the time they will want to hang out again because of other stuff going on in their own lives. If you let it slide, then sadness would creep in.
And so I’d like to share ways to handle the tricky roads of friendship and sadness that I would like to apply in my own life too.
1.) Schedule at Least Once a Month to Meet Friends
You may have friends that are still single while have others that are married with or without children. I understand that we all have different schedules but it’s always good to personally see and catch up with them, aside from texts, social media, and calls. This is definitely a wake-up call after my partner had two friends who died in different circumstances.
2.) Meet up in Places You are Happy to Either Spend Money or Bring Snacks to Share
It’s common to meet people in cafes and restaurants, but if not really keen to spend money, why don’t you try asking if you can go somewhere where you can bring your own snacks to share? Whether it’s with another friend or with a group, and when it happens to be a sunny day, a picnic at a park is one of the best ways to go. There are places that offer free outdoor movie screening in some seasons of the year, so you can take advantage of that also. If it’s in a friend’s house, offer to bring a bottle of juice or wine, chips and dip, or veggie sticks and dip, any food that everyone’s happy to indulge.
3.) Positively Psych Yourself Up
Sometimes it can be stressful to meet people you haven’t seen for a long time, especially those who have been trying to reach you for ages and maybe by this time have given up. You might have even given various excuses to not see them. The best way to approach is to call that friend, apologize at first for not seeing them for a while, and just wondering if they are still keen to see you. If they respond with a “Yes, I’m still keen to see you,” then respond immediately. Otherwise, if they do the same way you did to them before, put this in the Lesson Learned box and move on. Just remember the Golden Rule the next time you want to start new friendships again.
4.) Forgive Yourself for Not Being Consistent with Meeting Friends
This is very important when your friendships have gone astray. Forgive yourself for not being consistent in this matter. I know it’s not easy because other people have managed navigate the friendship road successfully, but remember that each one of us have priorities that may have changed. Just pray about it, ask for forgiveness from God and from the people whose messages you didn’t respond to, and also forgive them when their response is not favorable or what you expected.
5.) Continue Doing Things You Love
There’s no point grieving over a “friendship that could’ve been” if the other party is not keen anymore. The best thing to do is to start over, continue doing the things or activities you love to do and keep at it. Eventually, you will find friends that have same interests as you. Just keep your heart open.
If you find yourself making mistakes, be gentle with yourself and try and try again. Who knows, your efforts might pay off in the long run.