Why Introverts and Empaths Struggle to Make Friends (and What They Can Do)

Published by
Kirstie Pursey

Introverts and empaths often struggle to make friends. For an introvert, a friendship has to be meaningful. They aren’t interested in having large groups of acquaintances as they find this kind of social activity shallow.

As an introvert or an empath, it can be tricky to make friends and find people who feel the same way about friendship.

However, there are ways to make friends with similarly minded people. Here are a few ideas to try if you would like to develop more meaningful friendships in your life.

Find people with common interests

One of the easiest ways to make friends is to join a club or group around an interest that you have. You can pick anything you enjoy doing: reading, hiking, yoga, knitting – whatever interests you. The benefit of joining a group with a common interest is that it makes starting conversations easier.

You can easily talk about the activity you are engaging in and thereby avoid the kind of small talk that introverts and empaths hate.

Going to a group can be rather overwhelming for an introvert or empath. You might like to take an existing friend or family member along for support. However, make sure you reach out to others while you are there in order to make the most of the experience.

Consider volunteering

Volunteering offers a good way to make friends as an introvert. Because you will be focused on an activity, there is no need to come up with any superficial chat. Working together with others on a meaningful project can help you bond with others more closely, too. You can volunteer for any work that you are interested in. Personally, I enjoy working with a local conservation group.

Many empaths like to involve themselves in groups that help nature or animals. But you could also consider charities that help the homeless or older people, vulnerable adults or children if you want to get even more social with your volunteering.

Re-establish lapsed friendships

Many of us have known people we once got on with really well but lost contact with because of changes in circumstances. You already know that this person is someone you like spending time with to see if you can pick the relationship up again.

These relationships can be very rewarding as you already have lots of common interests and memories so they soon slip back into the meaningful relationships they once were.

Take it slowly

Try not to let any shyness or anxiety stop you from getting out and meeting people. Start off with small arrangements, such as meeting up for half an hour for a coffee or perhaps a ten-minute chat on the phone. You may find you enjoy yourself so much when you get there that you end up staying longer, but planning for a short interaction can help you get over your anxiety.

Don’t force friendships, but try to allow them to develop naturally. Also, don’t try to make too many friends at once as you may then find yourself overloaded with too many social engagements. This might make you feel guilty if you can’t meet them all or burnt out if you do. Most introverts have a very small group of close friends; as little as one or two suits some people best, while others like a slightly larger circle.

Have a plan

If you meet someone you’d like to stay in touch with, plan how you will indicate this to them. If you are at a weekly or monthly group it’s easy enough to say ‘see you next time’. Otherwise, perhaps you could give them your email address or Facebook details.

Keep the right balance for you

Don’t overload yourself with social activities as this will burn you out. Seek friends at your own pace, planning a social activity once a week or once a month depending on your personality. Only you know the social activity levels that are right for you. Empaths also need to make sure they are not exposed to too much negativity or superficiality as this can be draining for them.

Don’t take rejection personally

If a friendship doesn’t work out straight away, don’t blame yourself. The other person may be an introvert, too, or already have as many friends as they need. It might be that they are too busy to have time for more friendships at the present time.

Just because someone doesn’t want to develop a relationship with you doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you – it’s much more likely to be about their situation. Try to enjoy the groups you have joined for their own sake rather than only for making friends and soon a friendship will develop that is perfect for both of you.

There will be people out there who are the perfect friends for you, so don’t give up. Many adults find it difficult to make new friends once school and college are over, not just introverts and empaths. Stick with it and be patient. The perfect friends for you will come along in time.

Let us know the best ways you know to make friends as an introvert or empath.

View Comments

  • Some good points there. Sounds largely like me. A small group of friends which I'm quite happy with. I've actually come to being very happy with how I am.
    One of my good friends is diagonally opposite to me. She is an extrovert with too many friends that she can handle. It even burns her out!
    Also being introverted has its benefits. I'm a very deep thinker, and lately I've been into reading about NDE's (Near Death Experiences) and cosmic consciousness. I'm also very interested in Science and am amazed at how Quantum Theory is getting closer, and seems to be agreeing with these areas! I absolutely LOVE that!!

  • you can also try to hang out with extroverts.My best friend is an extrovert and me, I am an introvert but hanging out with her has helped me a lot because an introvert with an extrovert is the perfect combination you learn to feel people who are completely different than you and that's so beautiful :)

  • I've tried volunteering for things that interest me. It's rare I get a response, and when I do it's usually, sorry, we're all filled up with volunteers.

  • Good ideas, thank you. I’d think hanging out with an extrovert is draining, especially since they don’t really understand you and that you’d rather stay home reading or doing some sort of quiet activity than go to a party. It can be exhausting being friends with an extrovert.