Dear Introvert Friend: (Why And) How To Connect With People You Don’t Know, Easily 2

Dear Introvert Friend: (Why And) How To Connect With People You Don’t Know, Easily

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Estimated Read Time: 25 min

Although introverts are people who don’t have issues (and even enjoy) being alone with their thoughts, I encourage my introverted friends to connect with people they don’t know despite the anxiety or difficulty they may experience. This is because I discovered that I (who is also an introvert) became happier, more refined, and driven when I started connecting with and opening up to more people who didn’t know:

I said:  

“To my fellow introverts:

Being alone has its perks, but without sufficient social interaction, your mind begins to amorphy while your brain atrophies (maybe not literally).

Once in a while, you need social interactions to organize your “thinking”. Social media does not suffice. Meet real people. Look into their eyes. Feel the tension. Touch them.”

“People organize their brains with conversation. If they don’t have anyone to tell their story to, they lose their minds. Like hoarders, they cannot unclutter themselves.”

– Jordan B. Peterson (Canadian clinical psychologist)

Our ideas and personalities improve when we interact with more people because they provide valuable feedback; it’s like how a mirror helps us put ourselves in order. We often learn from the accolades and boos we receive. Charles Cooley puts it nicely 

“I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.”

– Charles Cooley (American sociologist)

Besides, society only exists because people decided to work together – it is often said and is true, that we are social beings.

There can be no society if people don’t connect. The concept of money, religion, and all other social constructs are predicated on this. 

Needless to say, it is very hard to be happy or succeed in life without having sufficient social skills and consequently interactions with members of your society.

In this post, I will attempt to answer as many questions as I can about why and how to connect with people you don’t know, easily.

I will begin by exploring the internal world (projected as questions), then move on to the challenges (and related questions) of the external world.

Let’s dive right in:

Why do I feel drained after hanging out with someone?

Unlike extroverts, introverts (like us) get easily drained by socializing, especially when we find ourselves in a new environment with new (and often many) people, and activities.

This feeling of being drained is called Social exhaustion, introvert burnout, or introvert hangover. And it is worse when we are around people who don’t resonate with us – i.e. who have different interests or behaviors that do not align with ours.

As a result of the social exhaustion, we may 

  • Feel like detaching from other people
  • Experience headaches or migraine
  • Experience emotional meltdown
  • Feel low on energy
  • Feel depressed
  • Get irritability
  • Get Anxious

Social exhaustion can occur when we

  • Go for weddings, birthdays, carnivals, or some other big event
  • Attend a family reunion or holiday parties
  • Go to a new school, or start college
  • Start work at a new place
  • Etcetera…

Social exhaustion is not an illness or medical condition. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with us. It’s just who we are – we are just people who easily get drained by social overstimulation.

How can an introvert deal with social exhaustion?

When social exhaustion happen or are happening, it is best to

  1. Leave the place: It is not a crime to leave an event before it is over. If it increasingly feels like torture with little or no reward at the end, then exit. Remember, you’re not in jail.
  2. Say No: It is okay to decline an invitation especially when it does not align with your interests or values. There is no need to feel guilty about it. If they didn’t expect a “Yes” or “No” from you it wouldn’t have been called an invitation; it would have been an arrest warrant.
  3. Get enough sleep: If you are planning on attending an important event, it helps to have sufficient rest so that you will have sufficient juice to survive the event.
  4. Take breaks: If you are at work or school, block out time to do something refreshing. This could be taking a walk, listening to music, or something else you find energizing. And when you’re not working find a place and time to be alone. You can try reading or simply taking a nap.
  5. Find someone who understands: Many people don’t get introverts – they assume introversion is anti-social – hence don’t vibe with them (which consequently causes the headaches, and energy drain the introvert feels). However, talking with people who understand – be it family, close friends, or a therapist – will rejuvenate you.
  6. Meditate: Meditation helps relieve stress and anxiety. Meditation can involve listening to relaxing sounds, taking a walk in nature, or sitting still in a quiet environment and practicing deep breathing.
  7. Practice Journaling: Writing down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings reduces depressive symptoms and anxiety. It also helps you identify the places, situations, and people that drain you. Hence, it helps you resolve the past and plan for the future (so that you don’t keep wondering why every time).

Why do I feel regret after talking to people?

There are countless reasons why this could happen, however, regrets only occur when you feel the conversation was not worth it or has triggered an unexpected negative response.

For example, you can feel frustrated when you try to talk to someone who just won’t listen to you, or who finds it hard to understand you. In other cases, you may get attacked, or ridiculed for your ideas. 

There is always the danger of being misunderstood, criticized, shut down, or attacked, but there is also the opportunity of finding someone who resonates.

Therefore, it is best not to say things that can put you in trouble, especially if you’re talking with strangers or people you haven’t known for long. For example, telling people you are gay in a country where it is stigmatized and illegal may be something you will live to regret.

So, be careful what you say, where, and to who you say it to.

Why do I feel bad when I talk too much?

Feeling bad for airing your thoughts and opinions may be due to worries that you’ve said the wrong thing, or that people will start seeing you in a way you don’t feel comfortable with.

This worry (i.e. the bad feeling) is called social anxiety. And like most anxieties, it stems from an inaccurate interpretation of the world.

How so?

  • Almost everyone is obsessing about themselves – how they looked, what they said, etcetera – and not you.
  • And even those who pay attention often forget all you said. They only cling to some of your points and overall intentions. 

Anxiety is born from overthinking, and the more you give fewer thought to it and simply focus on delivering your points, the less effect it has on you.

How do you stop saying things you will regret?

If you don’t want to regret what you say, then only say 

  • the truth
  • something good, or 
  • something useful

If what you’re about to say is not true (or, at least not a lie), good or useful, keep it to yourself.

It is okay to tell the truth even when it is not good but useful. It is also understandable to speak the truth when it is neither good nor helpful. But lies (or unverified information) should be avoided even if they sound plausible.

It is also important to remember that you cannot control how people react to what you say or do. So, even if you get attacked for what you said, you do not need to apologize or try to appeal to the other person(s) if you’re sure it is true, good, or helpful.

Do introverts need community?

Every human (including introverts) needs some level of social interaction, or else they’ll fall into the pit of loneliness and depression

Community helps fulfill your inner cravings for connection and provides a sense of belonging. It also helps you stick with your goals and achieve them. On top of that, you can find support or a bigger goal within the community.

The key is to find and join a community that aligns with your values, interests, and goals. Then get active in the community.

How can an introvert find a community?

We’re all part of our communities – countries or states. However, due to how large they are, we easily get lost, and inactive; hence do not reap the maximum benefit from them.

So, it helps to find smaller communities with more specific values and goals. And we can find such communities in

  • Advocacy or interest groups.
  • Exercise studios
  • Religious places
  • Support groups
  • Sports leagues
  • Book clubs
  • School
  • Gym
  • Etc.

Though it is easy to find these communities online, it is not enough to only join the social media groups of these communities. You must be an active participant in its physical events, or else the point is missed.

Why are romantic relationships important (even for introverts)?

While it is expedient to have friends, a romantic partner can play a more significant role in your life.

A romantic partner helps you open up in ways friends just can’t. 

Because you are more emotionally attached to their views/remarks, they can mold you into a better person (supposing you date someone who has your best interest at heart).

  1. Having a romantic partner teaches you to act less selfishly, agree to compromises, and make sacrifices as you start considering them in your decisions in order to keep things going.
  2. Loving and getting loved in return literally makes you a happier person. When you are touched by someone you care about, the hormone Oxytocin is released, And oxytocin is essential for our optimal functioning and happiness.
  3. The knowledge that you are not alone, both in the good times and in the bad is reassuring and provides a strong sense of safety and stability.
  4. Being with someone interested in your growth and success provides an extra oomph necessary for holding on and winning, as they challenge, encourage, and hold you accountable to do more.
  5. Having a shoulder to cry on is as important as having a cheerleader.
  6. It is harder to fall into depression when in a happy romantic relationship.
  7. Research has found a link between long life and being in a happy stable romantic relationship. Happily married people have been observed to live longer than their unmarried counterparts
  8. Being in love helps you to understand yourself better as your lover continually gives remarks about you; be it your appearance, attitude, or behavior.
  9. It is common to see friends learn a thing or two from each other, whilst abandoning other undesirable habits. This is also true for romantic partners.
  10. Being in love teaches you to pay attention to what and who is in front of you. This mindfulness, driven by love, helps you to develop a better appreciation for the world around you.
  11. If you’re an introvert, chances are that you don’t go out much. However, having a partner might inspire and motivate you to go out more often, especially if they are the outgoing type.
  12. Getting a partner helps you make babies. seriously!

The key thing is to take your time to examine the person you are falling for, before falling completely.

Who is the best partner for an introvert?

Someone with similar values and interests is always a great fit. Introverts can happily date extroverts or other introverts as long as they understand and respect each other.

Is it OK to have no friends?

It is not healthy to be entirely without friends. Even though many introverts find it hard to make best friends (or even close friends), they usually have someone they speak with from time to time.

The thing to note is that there are levels of friendships, and not everyone has friends in the top of the hierarchy, but this does not mean they don’t have friends. It just means they don’t have very close friends.

Living in complete isolation for a long time can take a toll on our mental health (the pandemic gave us a free global trial with the lockdowns, and the results were bad as expected). And, even though many introverts didn’t feel that much sting from social isolation, they still felt something was missing. 

I remember during the Lockdown, I lived in complete isolation for months and didn’t feel like I was missing much. I took the time to complete my first two books, and even watched Game Of Thrones (seasons 1 to 8). It felt like a much-needed vacation at first, but after a while, I felt that void. 

My younger brother often playfully comments that I could be jailed and still feel like I’m having the time of my life. He says this because I seldom leave my room whenever I come home. Why? I don’t have any friends back there. I only started socializing in the university, and having concluded with school all my friends are now scattered throughout the country (world?). Which again debuffs the quality of the friendships. 

I have one good friend here where I’m currently serving (thank God for her), however, service is about to come to a close, and I will be forced to make new friends, or lose my mind writing on this blog.

Yes, lose my mind because, without someone to talk with, thoughts can quickly get cramped up and threaten to burst out of the dark caverns of the skull…

The skull?..

What is the purpose of connecting with people?

Connecting with people helps ward off isolation and loneliness. It also brings about a sense of belonging. But perhaps, the main purpose is that it helps us express ourselves and verify that life is not a dream. 

Maybe it’s the reason we like to verify if our friends (and even “haters”) saw us sipping a coconut on an island resort. Yeah, we are that vain, but what else should we do?

Which is more important: connecting or conversation?

Connecting is more important: You can get your message across with your voice, texts, drawings, hand gestures, eyes, or body language during a conversation but the emotional response necessary to turn ideas into actions is elicited when you can connect.

Needless to say, you can connect without uttering a word.

How do you make connections in a conversation?

There are four routes you can take in establishing a connection when conversing

  • Verbally: You can do this by carefully picking words that trigger imagination, exude confidence, commands peace, grabs attention, and so on. Coupled with a systematic and intentional delivery, words can sway opinions and provoke actions.
  • Visual: People can’t help but judge the book by its cover. Hence, your looks, dress, as well as demeanor are all scrutinized and factored in before you utter a word. This means you can express respect, interest, disgust, fear, confidence, trustworthiness, tactfulness, and all other attributes with your appearance and behavior before even proclaiming it.
  • Intellectually: Some people are connected when they find depth in your reasoning. This should not be mistaken for big words or over-complication of complex ideas. On the contrary, your ability to simplify a complex idea using simple words and relatable examples shows how much depth you have intellectually.
  • Emotionally: Your internal world is reflected in your tone, and body language. Most of our communications are non-verbal so if you have an emotional conflict with what you are saying, people will not connect because they too can sense it. In order words, cultivate a calm internal world to better connect with people.

How do you start a conversation with a stranger?

The first step is to get comfortable with rejection, or worse, being ignored. The next step is to talk about the shared interests, place, or activity.

For example, “Hello, my name is David. I saw you at the book club. I’m also a member of the book club and will love to connect with great minds like you”.

If I’m not a douchebag I should respond with excitement, not disgust or spite. If I ignore you, then it’s all good, you never needed me anyway, right?

Know when it’s you, and when it’s the other person. 

You’ll be surprised how many people will be excited to connect.

What do you talk about with a stranger?

You can talk about

  • The weather 
  • Food and Drinks.
  • Family and Friends.
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Country, state, tribe, etcetera
  • A show, music, movie, etcetera.
  • The environment, situation, or activities happening at the moment.
  • You can talk about what they are holding, doing, or intend to do afterward.

Conversation twists and turns, so there is no magic formula. You simply have to master a few icebreakers and be ready to enjoy the ride – paying full attention and enjoying the moment as it goes by.

Looking for a conversation starter? Why not try “Hello!”?

How do you start a conversation with someone you don’t know over text (girl or boy)?

It is always effective to start with what you share in common. 

Ideally, you won’t know their names 

So you can start this way

“Hello, I’m David, a writer. I got your from the Freelancing group and will love to connect with other writers. If this is okay with you, what is your name?”

And, when they tell their name, you continue 

“Nice connecting with you Kate, I have saved your contact. Please save mine as David”.

Remember to set the pace by being upfront with your name and short bio, then suggesting to them an expected response (”…what is your name?”)

You can continue by asking how their day went, what they’ve been up to lately, or what their plans will be.

(avoid apologizing at the beginning of a connection request; you’ve done nothing wrong).

How do you talk without being awkward?

Conversations are a two-way thing. If it feels awkward, it may not be entirely your fault. In some situations, the awkwardness is inevitable and the best way might simply be to acknowledge the awkwardness and move on. Awkwardness is not a dead end, but merely a speed bump.

To keep the conversation smooth, 

  • Ask about them – their wellbeing, work, family, interests, etcetera. 
  • Share a little about yourself. If the conversation is one-sided it might begin to feel like an interview; so ensure to also respond with how you’ve been and all…
  • Be calm and collected. Don’t let rude or unexpected responses throw you off balance. If you are not sure how to respond, ask them to rephrase, or if you are not comfortable with the response.
  • Add levity. Jokes, chuckles, and laughter are the spices of any conversation. So, don’t be afraid to share the funny observations you made. Just don’t make fun of them.
  • Share memories and stories. If a topic reminds you of something, you can always pause and say, “that reminds me of…”. By sharing such stories and memories you help them to know and trust you more.
  • Give compliments lavishly. It is seldom the case that someone over complimented another. Humans are wired to spot the errors and bad, so force yourself to acknowledge something nice when you see it. It may be their hair, shoes, perfume, smile, voice, etcetera. Keep it simple and honest. Don’t try to make them feel good by lying because they might sniff it and distrust you.
  • Replace criticism with empathy. If you noticed a scar, don’t say “what’s that horrible mark on your face”, rather say something like, “how did that happen?”. Seek to understand, not mock.
  • Do your thing. There are no rules.

How to get someone to talk to you first

The secret is to be genuinely interested in the person, and to let them know you are. One way to do this is to smile at them, another way is to do them a favor.

Smiling will most likely work if you are a female seeking attention from a male. It may not be much effective for a male seeking attention from a female unless of course, you’re very attractive or rich.

But, being nice works for and on anyone. You can help them pick a pen, or buy them a drink. It’s not that complicated.

You can make things easier by dressing nice, using a nice perfume, maintaining friendly body language, and getting physically closer to them, 

How to get someone to talk about themselves?

If you will love them to talk about themselves in a conversation, then

  • Ask Open-ended Questions. For example “How do you see your future?”, “
  • Ask “Why” as often as possible. “Why do you believe so strongly in this dream of yours?”
  • Ask About Specifics, Not Generalizations
  • Ask Follow-up Questions. For example, “And how did that make you feel?”
  • Ask for a Story. “What’s the silliest thing you have ever done?”
  • Ask for clarification, “What do you mean when you say special?”
  • Ask if they have more to share. For example, “Is there anything else?”

Remember to listen attentively, maintain eye contact, smile, don’t interrupt, and reassure them you’re listening by nodding and saying words like, “okay”, “hmm”, “that’s true”, and so on.

Interestingly, people usually feel much better talking than listening. This means they will most likely enjoy the conversation and think you are a good conversationalist (despite you hardly saying much).

How do I stop being a boring person?

Conversations get boring when it’s not a topic of interest to one or both persons 

So

It’s either you find people who share similar interests with you.

Or

You start learning about what is interesting to the person you want to start conversing with. (it’s hard to have an exciting conversation with everyone. It is okay sometimes to be boring).

To ensure your conversation doesn’t go dry

  1. Put your phone away in social gatherings and pay full attention to the people and things happening around you.
  2. Think positive thoughts, and say positive things. No one loves discussing the afterlife on a marriage occasion.
  3. Forget the perfect timing and go for it. Remember you miss all the shots you don’t take, so take that shot by saying “Hi”.
  4. Ditch pick-up lines and forget about “talking smooth” like in the movies. Be yourself.
  5. Know what’s popular and don’t be afraid to bring it up, or follow up when appropriate.
  6. Use impeccable words and don’t try too hard. Keep your words and sentences clean and simple.
  7. Gesture more to help understanding and ease the tension. 
  8. Work on your best qualities and flaunt them unabashedly. This is the moment you inform them you’re an astronaut or a fine dancer.
  9. Watch their responses and stick to topics that make them light up. Everyone has something they are interested in, and you can tell from what they do, and how they dress, or you can simply ask them.
  10. Try to be open-minded and respectful. Not everyone will share your views, and some views can be contrary to your values. Make peace with that.
  11. Toss the ball. Even if they repeatedly ask about you, find a way to quickly ask, “what about you?”.
  12. Smile, laugh, and say a few jokes
  13. Ask them to tell you stories about themselves, work, or some other interests
  14. Tell your stories too, and remember to keep them short and sweet.
  15. Embrace the silence when it comes, but don’t run off. If the person is still sticking around and looking pleased, maybe they are enjoying your company. 

Remember, conversations are a two-way thing. It is easy for two people to lift a couch, but near impossible for one person. So, if they don’t seem much interested in the conversation, don’t try to force it. 

Conclusion: Why being an introvert rocks, and how to be happier and successful as one

One of the major upsides of being an introvert is that you get to avoid all the drama of people whilst organizing and exploring the internal concert within (aka Introspection).

This means, you get to find the aspects you’re lacking and hopefully make improvements.

This ability to understand and refine yourself also helps you understand others better (and in some cases, help them). 

On top of that, your ability to talk less and listen more also makes you very attractive and respectable. 

However, you need to make a conscious effort to reach out and connect with others. This is essential for your overall well-being (mental, social, financial, and so on). And, I hope this lengthy post showed you exactly how to go about that.

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