28 Tips for When You Don’t Fit In 16


In my teen years, I was shy. It was difficult for me to extend myself and make new friends. I remember early on, my mom had a talk with me and encouraged me to be a friend first. I had to stop waiting for others to come to me, and I needed to approach them. At that point in time, I picked a girl that I wanted to be friends with and invited her over. After that first hurdle, we became close friends. I then got to know some of her friends. Through high school, we all became close and are still friends to this day.

But, before any of that happened, I had to take a risk.

Years later, my friend told me she thought it was weird that I asked her to come over. She hardly knew me, but she took a risk and came anyway. I am glad. I would have missed those friendships through a critical developmental time in my life. The risk paid off.

Fast forward several years:

It has always been difficult for me to make new friends. I am naturally an introvert and it doesn’t come naturally for me to extend myself. It takes diligent effort and energy for me to reach out to someone new. I have made huge strides in seeking others out and trying to make new friends, but it doesn’t come easily or naturally.

Several months ago, I tried to approach a woman that I was interested in getting to know. I started asking about her and her interests, and immediately felt shut down. She made it pretty clear that she wasn’t interested in getting to know me. At first, I was hurt and then frustrated.  I had approached her out of sincere interest but also because I had noticed she was new and might have needed a friend. Instead, I felt like I got the cold shoulder. The sad thing was that I had heard that she felt she didn’t fit and that no one cared about her. Hmmm.

Don't stay in the chrysalis - Balm to My Soul

I felt sad about that interaction and for that woman. Change is always hard, and making new friends and truly feeling a part is a necessary and important part of human interaction. We have had a change recently, and it has made me evaluate this question again: What do you do when you don’t fit in?

I think there are times for each of us when we feel we don’t fit. Cliques, groups, or a new change can leave you feeling a little out of the game. This can happen when you move to a new area, when you start attending a new class or church group. It can happen when you have a life change like getting married, or having a baby, or having your babies go off to college. All of a sudden you are faced with new groups, new people, and change. 

Here are some quick tips and helps, from my own experience and from helping others, for when you feel that you don’t fit in:

28 Tips for When You Don't Fit In - Balm to My Soul

1. Smile.

2. Use positive and open body language.

3. Say hi first.

4. Remember and use first names.

5. Use the power of open-ended questions.

6. Listen…please stop talking about yourself for a minute.

7. Smell nice.

8. Be sincere.

9. Be interested.

10. Use eye contact.

11. Follow up on events you know they were involved in.

12. Bring them cookies.

13. Send a kind note.

14. Give a sincere compliment.

15. Ask them for a small favor.

16. Offer to help them with something.

17. Set boundaries.

18. Stop comparing yourself to others.

19. Put yourself in their shoes.

20. Say a prayer.

21. Attend social functions, even when you feel uncomfortable.

22. Try again.

23. Give it time.

24. Celebrate differences in others. You can learn a lot.

25. Find a good hobby to enjoy.

26. Serve someone else.

27. Take a break from social media. It’s not real life, I promise.

28. Recognize your own strengths and abilities and accept the good you have to offer.

 

It is a truth that we need one another. Let us not forget:

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved - Balm to my Soul

 If you struggle with feeling like you fit in, try some of the above tips. If you see someone new or alone, reach out to them. We all can use practice in kindness. It not only helps others, but makes us better.

We can all use practice in kindness. Click To Tweet

There are so many more ways to work on fitting in. I would love to hear what you do when you have felt that way. Leave me a note!

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Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul.I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!
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About Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul. I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!


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16 thoughts on “28 Tips for When You Don’t Fit In

  • Reply
    Ana Lynn

    Oh Elizabeth, I have been like you too, and to a large degree I still lean more towards being an introvert, but I’ve begun to open up since meeting Frank. I love the tips you shared and now I am reminded of that quote: No man is an island. We may all need time for ourselves away from everybody, but in the end we need others in our lives as well.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Post author

      I know it, Ana. I still sometimes crawl into my turtle shell (mostly when I am worn out or particularly insecure) but I think even most of my friends wouldn’t know that I am an introvert. Isn’t it funny? We do need others – no man is truly an island.

  • Reply
    Jamie

    Great tips. Especially in today’s world you kind of have to be careful about the friends you make. I have just a few that I’ve known for years and then the rest I just can acquaintances. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Jen

    Is there such a thing as an introvert/extrovert? Because I can be both. Sometimes I am good on my own and other times I can be outgoing. Your list is spot on and the Mother Teresa quote is wonderful. She was such an inspiring and amazing woman.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Post author

      You know, Jen, I too have thought I can be both. The way that I know I am an introvert is that although I can be excited and outgoing at a party, I come home exhausted. I have heard that extroverts thrive on the energy of others. I love that Mother Teresa quote. Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Julie S.

    Love this πŸ™‚ Especially the last one – it is so important to recognize our own strengths in all situations. Of course, bringing cookies can be quite fun for the person you’re trying to fit in with πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Sarah Ann

    Beautiful words of encouragement! I have struggled to connect with new friends for many years and it has been such an area of sensitivity for me! It’s a blessing to know I am not the only one that has this struggle and it’s refreshing to hear your story of trying to connect with new friend. I’m sharing this today!

  • Reply
    Susan

    As a military mom that has moved 25+ times in my life I know how tough it can be to make friends and how lonely it can feel without friends. Your tips are practical and so right on spot. Thanks for sharing at the This Is How We Roll Link Party at Organized 31.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Post author

      Thank you, Susan. It is tough. I had one comment about not needing friends, and it made me sad. I think we do need one another, even at the times when we think we do not.