Most days, you find yourself alone, lost in your thoughts, and completely zoned away from reality. You’ve departed into your own little world, a space only for you to occupy, and only for you to maintain. All your waking hours are spent here: every single activity and pastime, every thought and every word… just here, just you.
It never really felt lonely, even if others barely set foot into your space… or even if you never stepped out. This isn’t just any little world; this is your little world of introversion, a place where the grass is always green and the sun is always shining—your comfort zone, your safe haven, if you will. That’s how it’s always been for the longest time: you are happy in isolation and living in blissful solitude, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Well, that’s until you realize that there will inevitably be situations where you’ll be forced outside your bubble. Perhaps you were required to work in a group? Or you took an interest in someone? Or even just interacting with someone as a requirement of daily living? Regardless of what it is, you’ll need to learn how to build your bridges, and create relationships that you’ll timelessly cherish.
Stepping Outside the World Within – The Approach
Of course, any friendship starts with an approach—this could mean the other person asking to enter your space or the other way around. Try not to worry too much about how the conversation is going to go, allow it flow naturally. Start with some pleasantries, or maybe a short introduction. At this stage, you only have one main thing to keep in mind: always be yourself, as you are trying to befriend them, not a false image of you. Don’t worry about them judging you, especially in a negative light; everyone can be a little uneasy when first meeting someone new, and they would surely feel the same. However, try your best to give them a good first impression—a little bit of courtesy, a sharp smile, and a display of confidence will put you right on track.
Exploring the New World – The Conversation
Now, it’s time to start breaking the ice. Try looking for a common interest: it can be a hobby you both enjoy, a bucket list item you both have, or a topic you’re both passionate about. Allow the other person to tour your space, find things they’re interested in, and to get to know you better—after all, your space is simply a reflection of you! Also remember that friendship is a two-way street, and that you should be doing the same as well. You can do this by asking questions, giving feedback, or even through good body language. The last one is especially important, as non-verbal communication can actually convey more than the words you say. Make an effort to put the feeling of shyness aside! Small gestures such as an open stance, facing the person you’re speaking to, and maintaining good eye contact, can go a long way in appearing more friendly and approachable.
Bridging Across – The Future
Let’s say that you’ve broken the ice, gotten to know each other, and your conversation eventually came to a close. Your first interaction with them may have ended, but your acquaintanceship definitely hasn’t! Congratulations, you managed to approach them and leave a first impression. That being said, you should have already made an impression of them too; use that to define how you want your relationship to go. Would you like to be closer to this person? Do you think it’s best if you limit interactions with this person? Take time to define these boundaries and make sure to enforce them. At this point, you should welcome this person into your space, but only up to where you’re comfortable. Don’t just let them lurk wherever they wish—a healthy relationship is one with clear lines and good communication. Of course, you shouldn’t hesitate to visit their place too!
Great job! The hardest part of forming a friendship is already behind you. As you continue to have interactions and go through experiences with this person, your relationship with them will only naturally grow, and your bond with them will only strengthen bit by bit. With that, your journey towards building bridges from your little utopia has only started—from here, you’ll gradually be more comfortable with letting people into your world, as well as visiting others’ versions of their own utopia. But most importantly, you’ll finally be able to share your little world full of wonder and talent with the rest of the world.