Introverts are consistently urged to leave their comfort zones to try new things and meet new people.
Typically, this means they should develop social skills adaptable to an extroverted society.
And when introverts fail to hone their soft skills, they mourn being socially isolated and alone.
Rarely are introverts encouraged to make friends with like-minded introverts. Instead, they are pushed to get along better with their extroverted counterparts.
Ultimately, making friends with like-minded people allows you to gravitate toward those who share similar ambitions, goals, and values.
When you find your tribe of like-minded individuals, friendships happen naturally.
Researchers at Wellesley College and the University of Kansas contradicted a long-held belief that opposites attract in favor of the idea that like-minded people are genuinely drawn to each other and have better relationships.
The takeaway from this study was that people who last as partners or friends came into the relationship with similarities already intact. Essentially, commonalities attract and keep people together.
Terra Brown, an organizational expert, outlined the benefits of being around like-minded people as:
- You feel safe being yourself.
- You can talk openly about your thoughts, dreams, and problems without fear of judgement or misunderstanding.
- You have people to inspire and motivate you.
So instead of introverts attempting to develop dissimilar friends to fit in, they should focus on attracting like-minded people who illuminate and support them.
As a result, introverts are encouraged to discover and cultivate sustainable interests that lead to a higher quality of life as they attract like-minded, value-driven friends along the way.
Life coach Natalie Hahn said:
When you are in misalignment with your values, you know it. You feel it in your body. You know it in your head. And you are an expert at rationalizing why – why it’s OK, why you’re wrong, why you don’t deserve what you really want. The human brain is a beautiful, powerful tool. And we can get it to rationalize anything, including relationships that destroy our sense of well-being and joy.*
Filling one’s comfort zone with like-minded people flies in the face of conventional wisdom that suggests that diversity, in all forms, is a worthy cause.
As an introvert, countless times, I wanted to be around attractive, engaging, and popular people, hoping their allure would somehow rub off on me.
Once, a coworker asked me to join her and her girlfriends for a night out after work. She said they always had a good time, and I would also.
I was advised to wear a form-flattering dress and let my hair down.
On this fateful Friday night, I met Kelly and her friends at a popular restaurant that had a live band.
They were all attractive women. And I must admit that I cleaned up well that night.
The ladies were warm and made me feel welcome within their inner circle. As they drank glasses of white wine and Tequila shots, I watched them as I drank cranberry juice.
They discussed work, relationships, and upcoming trips.
I wanted to talk about a current book I was reading about how the streaming service Spotify got started. Or the new biopic about Elvis Presley, but it didn’t feel like fodder for good conversation.
Suddenly, I felt like a fraud and alone. On the surface, we looked comparable, but in reality, we were nothing alike.
They were friendly people, but they were not my people. I was not edified or enlightened by the experience.
We finally agreed to call it a night and go home.
I extended pleasantries and thanked them for inviting me.
All I could think about on my way home was the relief I felt about going to my sanctuary and promising never to engage in unwanted activities again.
Don’t get me wrong. These women were friendly enough. The challenge is adapting to people and situations that don’t serve a purpose.
I read a book about Spotify because I constantly look for ways to improve my intellectual property initiatives.
I liked the Elvis Presley biopic because I admire how a fellow introvert transformed himself into one of the best performers ever.
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My kind of people would have brought up similar topics, and we would have discussed them at a coffee shop or someone’s home.
I believe like-minded people create a culture of creativity among their ranks most suitable for them.
Based on my experiences, I believe that introverts make friends with like-minded people by:
Letting your interests guide you
It is admirable to try anything once that sounds fun and interesting. However, a productive life is steeped in creating value in the marketplace that brings you a sense of accomplishment. For me, intellectual work is play.
Most achievements begin with a problem that needs to be solved to which the solution provider often has an emotional attachment. Interest in the problem guides the process and attracts people with similar passions.
As you begin this intellectual journey, you often meet new friends.
Developing the necessary skills for optimal outcomes
Developing relevant skills to facilitate the journey will be essential as you pursue your interests. Whether it’s learning to build an application, website, or social media marketing plan, you will meet people within these learning environments.
Based on these collaborations, long-lasting friendships can emerge.
You are pursuing an objective, and friends are an outgrowth in your journey.
Building your base of power
Social media has allowed everyone to become content publishers. As your interest takes you on intellectual explorations, you begin creating intellectual property that documents your solutions to compelling problems.
Along the way, supporters that resonate with your work may reach out to you to comment or support your mission.
The ones who join your cause also become like-minded friends.
Being presentable when in public
Attractive and professional people are viewed differently than those viewed as disorderly.
You should ensure that your clothing choices reflect your brand.
Mark Zuckerberg can sport a hoodie and jeans because he communicates a casually introverted personality. Every industry has a uniform that is understood within those ranks. It is critical to embrace the notion that presentability attracts or discourages like-minded people.
Letting the game come to you
Too much attention is given to chasing friendships. By taking an aloof “wait and see” approach, people will move towards what they magnetically are drawn to.
Letting the game come to you means waiting for the opportunity and timing to take their rightful places.
At networking events, I used to pass out a stack of business cards and thought I was networking because I was out of cards by the end of the night. Nothing ever came out of these superficial exchanges.
In later years, I would allow networking conversations to ensue spontaneously, and if the conversation led to a follow-up, I would either provide or request a business card.
Empowered and self-confident people don’t overextend themselves in any potential alliance.
By introverts remaining focused on their goals, friendships will often emerge.
Because people can make or break one’s long-term success, an introvert’s inner sanctum must be constantly protected.
And the best protection is to engage with like-minded people.
To do otherwise is an unnecessary risk.
And that’s a risk not worth taking.
Brown, T. (2017, Oct. 20). Why you should surround yourself with like-minded people. Earn/Spend/Live. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3ANCKga.
*Hahn, N. (2017, Apr. 13). The Importance of aligning your values with your relationships. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3wY06P7.
Lynch, B. (2016, Feb. 23). Study finds our desire for like-minded others is hard-wired. The University of Kansas. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3qhtA6x.