I am a shy person. What is your advice to help me make friends in church?
Being a shy person can feel like a huge disadvantage. Especially when you know you are called to live and love in a church community and that very thought freaks you out! All those social settings, conversations, vulnerability. And what if they mention me from the stage!
Being shy is not to be equated with being an introvert. Introverts do like to engage, but they prefer doing so on an intimate, meaningful level. Shyness must not be misunderstood either as social disinterest. Shyness is not so much about avoiding people but more about avoiding the anxiety that comes with potentially being judged by people, having no words to say, feeling insecure, placed in the spotlight or possibly being rejected. So if you struggle with shyness, you undoubtedly have to contend with some level of anxiety and apprehension in social gatherings.
How can I learn to grow a new inner confidence when being in social settings and around different people?
Remember who you are
When You gave your life to Jesus- He placed a spirit of confidence in you. Your self worth comes from Him and no one else. And He broke the power of fear from deep with you- you just need to understand and activate that freedom. So trusting in His Word and speaking prophetically over yourself every day will empower you hugely.
Here are some tips to help you EXERCISE that knowledge that you are born not to shrink back in the shadows! You have much to offer in conversation and friendship and in building the culture of church life. Be convinced in your heart that there are already others in the church that God had set apart for you as a friend. And just agree with yourself that you will CHOOSE to go on some new adventures with God in exploring the fullness of who you really are.
Join a Group.
Don’t be afraid to try a few until you find the right one. It’s a perfect place to practice your conversational skills and develop deeper friendships.
Think about stepping outside of yourself and what you can give to another person!
- a smile
- a compliment. May be make it specific – so it shows that person you really SEE them.
- buy them a coffee at church
- dare to invite someone out for coffee or round for dinner and open up you home or apartment. That’s where true friendship is birthed.
Be positive in your conversation
It is attractive to others and makes them fee safe.
Use the power of listening to others to engage with them.
People instantly warm to someone who listens with great body language and without interrupting!
Become an expert at asking questions!
It will win people to you, especially if you are genuinely interested and nod and comment on their answers! What do you ask them? About their week, what they do in their spare time, how they found Jesus, what they love about church, where they live, where they love to go on holiday- explore their world for common interests and experiences that you connect with.
Learn to partner with the Holy Spirit.
Within you resides a powerful force, a confident partner in your life. The Holy Spirit can lead you to places and people you never thought possible. Lean into Him. Trust in His ability to work through you. He will equip you to overcome. When you come into church on Sunday or for any meetings or Groups- pray beforehand. Come feeling prepared within yourself. Believe in faith that the Holy Spirit will lead you to the right people.
Don’t be tempted to box yourself in and agree with the status quo about yourself. Many people I know speak a testimony of how doing life in a church community has brought huge freedom and confidence in their life. I am believing the same for you!