I am an INTJ, and making and maintaining healthy friendships is really difficult for me. I wish that making new friends would come easy for me, but I have found that meaningful friendships take a lot of work.
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of choices when it came to my friends. I had only one cousin close to my age, I went to a tiny private school, and the church I attended didn’t have many kids my age either. I was surrounded by “friends” but I didn’t really choose any of them to be my friend. Looking back, I realize that this warped my view of what a true friendship looks like, especially during high school. I wish I had known about my personality type and how having friendships as an introvert looked like.
When I went to college, I was overwhelmed at how many people my age I was surrounded by every day. I am not an outgoing person at all, so I felt lost right away. Slowly, I began to learn about friendships, and with a few bumps along the way, I found a small but amazing group of friends that I wouldn’t change for the whole world. I may not have the most “friends” on Facebook or followers on Instagram, but I do have a few strong people in my life that I can always count on. To me, that’s all that really matters.
Most of my friends have since scattered across the country. So now I’ve been learning about what it takes to maintain healthy friendships as an introvert. I absolutely loathe talking on the phone and unexpected video chats send me straight into anxiety mode, but I have found ways to stay connected while still giving myself space.
So I thought I’d list a few ways that you can stay connected with a friend as an introvert.
Schedule phone calls & video chats
Introverts need time to prepare for social interaction, even if it’s only a phone call. Honestly, there’s nothing more terrifying than hearing your phone actually ring! However, when I write in my planner that I’m going to talk with a friend at a designated time, I can mentally prepare myself and enjoy the conversation a lot more.
Send handwritten cards/letters
Call me old-fashioned, but I love sending and receiving snail mail! A sweet card/note is much more personal than a text. I appreciate the time and effort that goes into writing and sending a card. This small act of kindness has made my day and has pulled me out of a dark funk several times. On the flip side, I’ve been able to cheer up a friend and encourage them when they needed it most. Nothing strengthens a friendship more than that!
Join a book club
My best friend and I joined Reese Witherspoon’s book club in January and it has been so fun! We share a love of books, and now that we live in separate states, being in a book club has helped us stay connected! If you and your friend don’t love reading, then find another hobby or interest you both like and make a club of your own!
Share prayer requests & pray together
If you’re not a Christian, then you can’t understand the tremendous impact prayer has. But sharing prayer requests and praying for one another is an extremely effective bonding experience. I cannot tell you how encouraging and uplifting it is to know that I have friends that pray for me.
So with those tips from a true introvert, I hope you can also find a balance as you maintain friendships. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Feel free to discuss in the comments!