Making friends in a world of introverts and extroverts

The stereotypes of introverts and extroverts aren't always that easy to understand. (Photos: Caitlin Dutt; Design: Vincent Jiang)

Introverts and extroverts. If you put someone in one of these boxes, you probably assume they are either too independent or too egotistical for their own good. However, if approached in the right manner, you will see that those in either category have balancing attributes inside of the. They just need a friend to help them bring it out.

Although introverts keep mostly to themselves, they do in fact enjoy social interaction. They just choose to do it exclusively with those dearest to them.

One of my closest friends is extremely soft-spoken when in a crowd, but when watching an episode of Rick and Morty with friends, he non-stop laughs and voices his thoughts about the show.

The trick is to engage your introverted friends with what they enjoy. It sounds simple, but it is often overlooked that most introverts do not have a phobia of speaking their mind.

When making conversation, ask the first question, engage them on what they know and it will build their confidence. Do not be afraid of asking personal questions, as introverts spend the most time with their own thoughts. They understand themselves more than anyone else, so if you start by making the conversation about them, the rest will come.

Also, introduce them to your friends. Introverts make for some of the most loyal friends you or anyone can ask for, so if you are lucky enough to gain their trust, help them out of their shell.

Extroverts require guidance in an equal yet opposite way. They often project an invincible outer shell, but are still human on the inside. The common stereotype is that most extroverts egotistically put themselves in a higher class than others. I assure you this is not the case.

Another close friend of mine is the life of the party. He has a vibrant sense of fashion, an outspoken opinion and can riff and crack jokes with the best of them. However, I discovered that he had a longstanding battle with depression.

Although his personality was genuine, he used that to expertly mask what was really going on in his mind.

This is not a rare case. When befriending an extrovert, it is naïve to assume that their emotions are rock solid. They may need a friend to assist in confronting their demons.

If this is the case, proceed with care. You may be met by resistance from said friend, but trust me when I say it is purely habitual. Your friend is indirectly thankful for your efforts, it just takes the same patience, as with introverts, to see the results.

It is also possible that your extroverted friend has a boisterous opinion and is simply outgoing as opposed to masking their emotions. In this case, the main obstacle you may encounter is their blissful social ignorance.

Again, this is not by choice, but mostly by their tendency to innocently forget to let others have a say.

In this scenario, make your values and opinions clear. As the loudest in the room, friendly debate is humbling to them when presented correctly. You may be met with resistance here, but if your end goal is finding common ground, you will be fine.

When making new friends, go with the flow and you’ll probably enjoy yourself. Be fearless, but also let them know if you’re uncomfortable, and if they’re your real friends, they’ll understand.

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