Dear Barb—Finding a Friend

Dear Barb:

Hi, I am an introvert, but this hasn’t been much of a problem in my life until recently.  I graduated from university and ended up getting a job in a new city where I don’t know anyone.  I have joined a few organizations in an attempt to meet new people, but the problem is I don’t know what to say or how to begin a conversation with anyone. 

I had always lived in the same town growing up and went through school with the same group of friends, so I have never been faced with this situation.  I do enjoy my own company and can easily spend time alone, but it would be nice to have a few friends to talk to or go out with.  When people approach me, I usually just answer their questions and that’s where the conversation ends.  I don’t know how to carry it on.  Do you have any suggestions for a guy like me? I’m in my mid twenties, fairly good looking, and just landed an awesome job.  Thanks, Tyler. 

Hi Tyler:

What a great question! Congrats on all you have accomplished at such a young age.  Individuals who are introverts share common characteristics such as that they are good listeners, focused, observant, committed to their goals, trustworthy and like spending time alone.  As you say being an introvert hasn’t really been an issue throughout your life, until now.  As you are realizing you will have to step out of your comfort zone and will need to discover ways to engage others in conversation.  The easiest way an introvert can do this is by asking questions.

An introvert does not like to be in the spotlight, so they will find it helpful to deflect the attention onto the other person.  Ask about their job, where they are from, or where they went to school.  These are easy openers to get the other person talking, and everyone likes to talk about themselves.  Being an introvert, you probably enjoy listening to other’s stories.  Another topic that will get people talking is what books they have read recently, or what movies they like.  This will give you an opportunity to possibly share some common ground, or learn about a new book or movie you may be interested in.  You could ask about restaurants or clubs in the area.  Share a bit about yourself and where you are from and possibly something unique about your hometown.  Initially this will be awkward to do, but once you realize that most people are receptive to opening up, you may find yourself with a few good friends, as introverts usually only need a few friends.  Thanks for your letter, Tyler.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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