Recently, I noticed a young man in his late teens dining solo outside a local pizza parlor.
He was eating lunch from McDonald’s. His bike was lying next to him on the ground. There were groups of people around him chatting away and laughing.
I wondered then if he was lonely or if he was choosing to be alone.
. . .
It made me question why some individuals make friends so quickly and are constantly surrounded by people while others have difficulty establishing friendships and are always alone.
Could the latter be due to their physical appearance, personality, or social class?
There is a popular misconception that shy, quiet people may be dull and uninteresting. Hence, we do not even bother to reach out to them.
However, if we make an effort to get to know them, we may be surprised to learn that they might turn out to be real gems.
We must not judge a book by its cover. But, of course, it is easier said than done.
. . .
How to Befriend a Shy Introvert
What can we do to make shy people feel more included?
- Approach them with a friendly smile and a hello.
- Engage them in a conversation about their interests. When they begin talking about themselves, their shyness may dissipate.
- Introduce them to one friend at a time so as not to overwhelm them.
- Invite them to an event. They may surprise you by attending the event and even enjoying it. Although they might not actively engage in conversation in a group setting, perhaps, they might make one or two witty remarks.
. . .
Quieter individuals tend to be more perceptive and observant of others around them, making them wonderful listeners.
Unfortunately, even though less social people have so much to offer, they are misunderstood and underestimated.
I always encourage my kids to include the quieter individuals in any event we are hosting. It is easy to overlook the shy introverts, but we must remember to include them whenever possible.
If this is an individual that enjoys being around others, a little kindness will go a long way towards making them feel better about themselves.
Even if you assume the person is lonely, when in reality, they prefer to be alone, there is no harm in being kind to them. It costs you nothing to be kind.
For example, at my daughter’s birthday party a few years ago, she invited an introverted classmate. Although he mostly kept to himself and only interacted with a few of his own friends at the party, I glimpsed him laughing at the silly antics of other guests.
. . .
I do not profess to be an expert on the subject. However, as human beings, I believe we must all try to accept others and be more open-minded to friendships with different people.
There are so many people in this world with so much to offer. We can improve the quality of someone’s life by reaching out to them for a possible friendship.
Let us try to be more inclusive in our day-to-day interactions. It is such a simple thing to do and can make the world a better place.
To quote the 14th Dalai Lama:
. . .
This post was previously published on Know Thyself, Heal Thyself.
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