How To Befriend a Shy Introvert
by ALETHEIA LUNA
Perhaps even the most outcasted? The truth is, in the Western world, quietness has never been seen as a virtue.
Instead, it's perceived as a strange, unfriendly phenomena, and frequently misunderstood as being cold and aloof. It seems that most people just don't seem to be up to the challenge of befriending and gaining the trust of a shy introverted person.
Our world is about quick fixes, instant gratification and speedy convenience. The shy introvert doesn't deliver that. But for those who have glimpsed the pearl inside the oyster, the shy introvert is the source of intrigue and fascination, but also frustration. How is it possible to befriend such an insular, secretive and quietly mysterious type?
Below you will find some tips, tricks, and do's and don't's from the perspective of a shy introvert.
The shy introvert can be understood as a highly reserved person who shows signs of sensitivity, cautiousness, distrust, fear and timidity in social situations. This can be for a number of reasons, for instance; upbringing, environment, culture, or genetic disposition. Yet it's a great error to assume that because the shy introvert is not friendly, open, or willing to talk to you at length that they are:
1# Uninterested or indifferent.
2# Disliking of you.
3# Boring, dull, or rude.
In fact, many shy introverts harbour secret desires to know and be known, yet lack the confidence and skills to do so. This is not to say that they don't try. As a shy introvert in school I managed to befriend multiple shy people, including a painfully shy schizophrenic girl who barely moved or blinked when you talked to her, out of fear. Whether you're a shy introvert yourself, or socially uninhibited, befriending the shy introvert requires only persistence and patience. There is no fixed procedure or guide. But there are some essential no-no's.
Some additional tips and tricks you could use in your pursuit of trust and friendship with your shy introvert, are:
1# Increase your level of eye contact when you suddenly seem to click or mutually bond over something (e.g. similar music tastes, favorite book, etc.) This creates an unconscious association of intimacy and similarity when your shy friend looks back at you. Do this enough, and you'll find your friend associating feelings of happiness with you whenever they look at you - these feelings are clear in the eyes.
2# Slowly increase the length and time of social interaction through the weeks. You could start with 5 minutes a day, at least once a week, to half an hour a day, every 2 days a week, and so forth.
3# It's useful in any life situation to have knowledge of body language. If you haven't any preexisting knowledge, try learning a bit about body language. Sol has written some excellent articles on the subject here, here and here. Knowing how your shy friend feels about you, as manifested in their body, gives you an amazing advantage. You can change your approach to them if it isn't working, and become more likable and effective, increasing your chances of gaining a loyal friend.
4# If you've found yourself bonding over some similarity with your shy friend, chances are the topic will be brought up again. You can hook their interest and continue your mutual flow of communication by finding out something new to bring about the topic to the conversation. Try finding a piece of new information to add to the discussion that you don't think they've heard before.
5# If you believe it to be wise or appropriate, tell your shy introvert something you've told few others before. Let them know this plainly so they can appreciate your trust in them. Sharing a secret is the perfect way to stimulate immediate intimacy, and may very well find you becoming close to your shy friend quickly.
Approaching, befriending and gaining the trust of a shy introvert can be like planning a strategic infiltration of foreign ground. But by following these suggestions you will discover a more thoughtful, patient and lively way of initiating friendships. Sometimes the most challenging things in life bring about the most meaningful results.
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About the Author
Aletheia Luna is the author of "Old Souls: The Sages and Mystics of Our World" and "Quiet Strength: Embracing, Empowering and Honoring Yourself as an Introvert" and is the cofounder, editor and author of popular self-discovery websiteLonerWolf.com As a transformational mentor and holistic writer, she has helped to guide thousands of people all throughout the world on their paths of self-acceptance and wholeness. You can follow her work and private updates onFacebook and Goodreads. Published with the author's explicit written permission.