Introverts, unite! We all love spending time with ourselves (and Netflix) but as much as being an introvert can have its benefits, it should never come between you, the wide world, and new friendships. Armed with these 11 tips, you’ll feel confident enough to let your inner introvert loose on the world and hop on a Contiki!
How to make friends as an introvert
Making friends, no matter the social setting, can always be a bit tricky, and doubly so if you’re an introvert. Luckily, making friends is kind of what Contiki is all about (as well as travel, of course), and we’ve created a list of some easy tips that’ll help you make lasting connections across the globe!
1 – Make small talk
This sounds like awful advice – who actually likes making small talk? Not many people. But, what it is good for is starting a conversation. As you start chit-chatting about the weather and your jobs and all that, you’ll naturally find pathways into conversations that actually interest you both! You’ve just got to trust the process a little.
2 – Find an extrovert
Opposites really do attract, and one of the best ways to make friends as an introvert is to attach yourself to an extrovert! You can rest assured that they’ll do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of conversation and introductions to other people. It may seem counterintuitive to approach someone with an opposite personality trait, but it’s a blessing, we promise!
3 – Find common ground between you and others
If you struggle with social situations or you’re just used to your own company, making new friends on a trip can feel overwhelming. A great way of breaking the ice with a stranger (after small talk) is to pick up on common interests you may have. Notice someone who’s reading a book that you’ve read, or who’s listening to a band that you like? There’s your in. You’ll be so busy spending time chatting about your shared interest that you won’t realise how relaxed you are.
4 – Remember you’re all in the same boat
Though it may seem like everyone else on your trip is teeming with excitement and energy, there’ll be a lot of people just like you who are travelling alone and feeling nervous. Sometimes all it takes to meet new people is to be the first one to take that small step forward. Sit next to someone on the coach, pay someone a compliment, laugh at a joke. You’ve got this, you’re not the only one.
How to prepare for travel as an introvert
Being in an unfamiliar environment or entering new social circles can often trigger introverted behaviours. It helps to come prepared!
1 – Travel with a friend
Strength and solidarity in numbers – especially when it comes to new experiences. You’ll feel more confident and more powerful with a familiar face by your side – especially if it’s someone who you’ve known for a long time, and trust. You can encourage and motivate each other to venture out of your collective comfort zone without feeling so exposed.
2 – Bring something from home
Travelling can take up a lot of time and energy and can make you feel a little unsettled. If this feeling arises, it’s a good idea to pack some of your fav comforts to keep you grounded. A favourite book, pillow, iPad or fluffy socks (no shame!) – you’ll be able to wander out of your comfort zone knowing that a slice of home is easily accessible at any point.
3 – Talk to your Trip Manager
If you’re an on a Contiki trip and you’re unsure how to make friends as an introvert, one of the easiest things you can do is to chat to your Trip Manager. If you flag them up about any social anxieties or preferences you may have, you’ll likely feel less pressured during any social interactions – which may mean you feel more relaxed about your trip overall. It’s always good to have an ally!
Your Trip Manager will reach out a few days before your departure date with some essential trip info, so that’s a good time to flag any worries you might have with them and make an initial introduction!
4 – Fake it ‘til you make it
Nothing like a little placebo effect to sort things out! Becoming hyper-aware of your behaviour will only perpetuate a cycle of negativity and keep you cooped up inside yourself. Instead, try repeating positive affirmations and statements, even if you believe them to be untrue i.e.: “I can do this,” or “I love being social.” Sometimes, it’s easier to feign confidence, as it can trick your brain into actually feeling capable of these things. And who knows, after a while you might just start to believe it…
How to keep mindful of yourself
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and making new friends is all well and good, but it’s important to make sure you’re keeping space for yourself as well and being mindful. Keep these tips in mind so you can continue with having a fun and magical time.
1 – Know when you need a break
As an introvert, your social energy can run out quite quickly, and though it’s tempting to hop on all the activities or stay out late with your new close friends, it’s important to recognise when you might need a break. This goes for extroverts and introverts alike, actually – make sure you’re allowing yourself some me-time to reconnect and recharge. Long drives on the coach or a few quiet nights here and there are the best times to make the most of this.
2 – Set realistic goals for yourself
Rather than putting pressure on yourself, try setting realistic goals each day. It could be as small as getting through one afternoon without looking at your phone, or aiming to say at least ‘hello’ to every person that you meet. You can feel proud of your achievements and know that you’re totally capable of pushing your boundaries – but you also won’t feel guilty if you need to take a step back and opt out of some activities.
3 – Be in the moment
You’re not going to be able to enjoy yourself if you continually consider the “what if’s” and worry that other people are watching you or noticing you. Relax and be in the moment, learn to take each day as it comes. That way you’ll have so much more fun!