I really enjoy talking to and learning from people but I don’t think anyone would describe me as a socially outgoing person. I want to cultivate friendships by inviting people to our house or to events but I shy away from being the initiator. The problem is, I think most people crave this friendship and social interaction but are in the same boat as I am and shy away from being the initiators. Well I have found something that has helped me break out of my shell, maybe it will help you.
The secret, for me, was finding one other couple/person to form the foundation for the event. Once you have the foundation you can invite whomever you want to the event knowing that you will have fun no matter what, even if only you and the other person/couple show up. This takes the fear of rejection out of the equation. It also makes the event likely to be more successful as it takes the social pressure off the other people you are inviting. For instance you can say, “Trever and I are hosting a dinner on Thursday and wondered if you wanted to come.” The fact that the event is already going to take place makes it easier for you and the invitee because it is not reliant upon their answer. Most people are more than happy that you even thought of them because most people crave these interactions and friendships just like you.
To find social event foundation partners simply approach a friend that you would enjoy going to an event with. Express your desire to be more social. They will likely share your same desire. If they do, ask them if they want to plan a simple event together that you can invite other people to. The event becomes a win for both people and because you have an “event foundation” it takes the pressure off when inviting additional attendees. After you have the foundation, extending invitations becomes incredibly easy.
I have a friend named Trever, he and his wife Pam team up with me and my wife to host dinners in the evenings. We try to plan one event every few months, but take breaks around holidays. We invite a number of people in the neighborhood and we always have a good time. We usually pick a dinner theme (Italian, Japanese, etc.) and then invite 2 to 3 additional families, some of which may be new to the neighborhood. Each person brings a dish to share and we enjoy getting to know each other. We have used this method to get to know a number of families that we might not have otherwise. Trever has been a great friend in helping me be more social.
I recently found another partner for lunches. I have a friend named Kyle who I have had lunch with in the past. We had some email interaction and he mentioned that he would like to be invited next time we did a lunch group. Using the method I listed above I mentioned that I wanted to set up a lunch but just needed to schedule the event. He readily agreed that he would be interested so he helped me set a date, time and location. Once the event was scheduled it was fun to send invites out to other people who had mentioned they would also be interested. Everyone we invited either came to the event or mentioned that they were grateful we thought of them and to make sure we invited them next time. From this simple foundation we have now formed a group that meets for lunch on the third Friday of every month and anyone in the neighborhood is welcome.
Remember, most people want these friendships and interactions, you just need to overcome your phobia by getting a good friend to establish an “event foundation”. Hopefully, by hosting more events your courage will grow to where hosting your own event will not be a big deal at all. Good luck!