Sitting on that bench in the garden, with a book in her hand, on a pleasant day, is the girl that turned down an invitation to a party, so that she could spend some time with herself. That’s probably her way of enjoying life. She is not a social butterfly but is expressive in her own way. And no, she wasn’t being indifferent or unfriendly when she declined that invitation with all due respect. She isn’t exactly a solitary reaper and she does like to hangout with her few close pals who understand that she is an introvert; busy with her own thoughts and feelings, which become a reason for her minimized contact with other people. However, her friends know how to get her to open up, talk and share about what she feels. You may also try to get your introvert friends to interact more and make them feel comfortable enough to speak up, by trying these few ideas.
When they’ll know you like them, they’ll automatically start to open up and feel safe and happy around you. Once an introvert starts feeling appreciated and accepted for whom he/she is, then it becomes easier to talk for him/her.
Hangout at places they feel comfortable at:
Introverts tend to like quiet places more than loud and crowded ones. If, they are, at a place, where they aren’t comfortable they’d obviously want to leave rather than staying. So, as they enjoy quiet places more, a library could be one of the perfect places to strike a conversation at.
Involve yourself in hobbies they adore:
Hobbies that introverts have are very different from those extroverts have. An introvert’s hobbies could include solitary activities like reading, writing or playing an instrument etc. You may spend time participating in hobbies they enjoy and share a common topic to talk about.
Ask them questions and know what they like:
Sometimes, it is hard for introverts to break the ice and start talking. Asking questions in a light-hearted manner might help them to get to open up and talk about what they like. Noticing as to what they like to talk about at length could be of help too. You could thereafter ask questions related to topics that you found interested them.
Try to be comfortable with silence:
No matter how many questions you ask or conversations you start, it’s hard to change someone’s basic nature. You need to be okay with how they naturally like to be; i.e. quiet. So, try to cooperate to make them feel comfortable and accepted.
Start a conversation while you’re doing something else:
Talking face to face may make initial conversations quite confrontational and that can be avoided by talking to them while doing other tasks simultaneously like driving, cooking, shopping etc.
Try not to interrupt, they hardly speak:
Introverts rarely speak and they like to think things through before they say something. Stopping them and going about telling your point might interfere with that thought process and they might end up shutting themselves down.
Make them feel heard:
Listening, to them without interrupting wouldn’t be enough. Make sure they don’t feel ignored because they might end up not expressing their feelings and you might be left wondering as to what happened.
Acknowledge their feelings when you’re about to do something they don’t like:
When doing things that they don’t like, be considerate. For example, when taking them to parties, understand and cooperate if they feel drained and want to leave early. They might not be in their comfort zone.
Introverts tend to be good writers as writing is a solitary and creative activity. It gives them time to process their thoughts and ideas. It also helps them control how and when they respond. That’s why they tend to respond better when talked to via mails as opposed to calls.
Talk to them one-to-one and bring their ideas to a bigger group:
Sometimes, it is difficult for introverts to open up to people even one-to-one and talking to group is a level up that. So, talking to them, understanding what they say and presenting their idea to the group and create a platform for them to speak and will not make them feel like they have been put on a pedestal, where they are being attacked.
Balance out social activities with quiet times:
A nice and quiet walk after the hush-hush of a long day with friends can really help them in recharging and balancing out the sapped energy.
Be there for them:
The last thing, an introvert would want, would be to not have his/her friends there to share things with. Introverts tend to have smaller groups and fewer friends as compared to extroverts. This makes those few friendships very special and important to them.
Let the conversations be slow:
Go slow. Wait when they take a pause. Don’t act hyper when they don’t speak for a long time. Be patient.