Socializing is an activity that I often struggled with as a child and one that I continue to struggle with. This discomfort with getting to know others is not exactly something that can be easily fixed. My main reason for this is that people are different, and there are varying ways people interact with each other, so when introverted people ask for advice on how to make more friends, one of the least helpful things to say is, “well just try harder, and put yourself out there.” An introverted person is more inclined to keep to themselves, which is not at all a weakness, but when giving advice to this personality type, it is counterproductive to push them to do something that’s not a part of their personality.
There are also varying levels of introversion and extroversion, which is even more of a reason to not put everyone under one umbrella of friendship-making and write those off who do not fit the standard of socializing.
Growing up, it was hard for me to “put myself out there” because I was made to feel like my lack of inclination toward matching the energy that others had in social situations was undesirable, which led to self-doubt. It has taken me a long time to realize that there’s not anything wrong with me; I’m just more reserved than others might be, and I’ve learned to open myself up to all different personality types because in the end, everyone has unique personality traits that are interesting and enjoyable.
Extroverts should maybe open themselves up to all different kinds of people, not just those who can match their level of social enthusiasm. I do not classify myself as an extrovert, but I’ve found that if I open up to other people, even those who I don’t hear a lot from at first, whether it be in a class or an extracurricular, and allow them the chance to engage with me, then I’ll find that every person I meet has wonderful personality traits that I can relate to and learn from.
Friendships don’t always have to be a game of “who can out talk whom?” Waiting around for more reserved people to speak up and not making an effort to engage with them at all won’t give them an opportunity to show who they really are. Dismissing introverted people as those who cannot communicate as well as more extroverted people and seeking friendships with those who are louder and more abrasive does not accomplish anything. Everyone can communicate in their own way, and there should not be a standard for socializing.