Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 24 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis de Sales
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

How to help your introverted child make friends


JHDT Productions | Shutterstock

Calah Alexander - published on 09/18/19

Help your child see what a gift this character trait really is!

As an avowed, life-long extrovert, having a shy child isn’t something I was prepared to deal with. And for a while, it wasn’t a problem. My oldest, Sienna, is a natural extrovert who’s always made friends anywhere, anytime. But my second child, Charlotte, is much more introverted.

It isn’t that she doesn’t want to make friends — she does. But she’s a  dreamer, always carrying a book in her hand, and she lives a highly imaginative life. This makes friendship harder particularly right now in the tween years, with most of the other 10- and 11-year-olds making the transition to curiosity about hair, makeup, heels, and all the stuff that captivates the junior-high girls they look up to. So the struggle to find friends is more real this year than it’s ever been.

If you have a kid like Charlotte, or a child who struggles socially, here are a few things that may be helpful …

1Talk to his/her teacher

Last year, Charlotte’s precious teacher actually came to me with reports of which girls she got along with the best. It was invaluable information, helping me talk with her about forming intentional friendships with girls beyond the limited circle I knew — mostly younger siblings of Sienna’s friends.

This year she’s not in the same class with many of those girls, but I’ve been relying on that same information to help facilitate after-school study sessions and weekend sleepovers. It’s been so much more helpful than my own attempts to blindly guide her toward friendships with girls she doesn’t share similar interests with, so I encourage you to seek out the teachers or mentors who see your child in social settings on a daily basis and get their input when trying to help your own child.

2Foster intentional friendships

Most friendships this age spring up by proximity. Kids in the same classes or activities gravitate toward each other not necessarily out of a sense of camaraderie, but of proximity. For extroverts, this isn’t really a problem; I can speak from experience that extroverts have little trouble forming friendships with people who share little in common. But introverted children are different. They can be intimidated by different interests, or they can simply be uninterested and disengaged in pursuits that don’t spark their curiosity. Neither of these reactions is wrong, which is why it’s imperative for parents to help their introverted children foster intentional friendships. Making a space for social time outside of school is one way to ease the academic and peer pressure so that kids have a chance to get to know each other apart from circumstances, and to build relationships that don’t depend on them.

3Emphasize quality over quanitity

Introverted kids usually grow into introverted adults — which is a good thing! A world full of extroverts would be a loud, chaotic one with few deep, meaningful friendships. Point out to your introverted child that a few good friends are worth more than tons of casual friends by explaining the difference between circumstantial friendships and intentional friendships. Find some Bible verses that talk about the worth of a good friend, and help your introverted child see that being introverted is actually a gift that can lead to a rich and meaningful life.


Read more:
5 Successful dating tips for shy girls


Read more:
How to help your introverted child handle emotional stress

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
Philip Kosloski
What are the corporal works of mercy?
Philip Kosloski
When did Christians start praying the Hail Mary?
Cerith Gardiner
Quarterback Philip Rivers' retirement announcement reflects his s...
Philip Kosloski
What are the spiritual works of mercy?
Bret Thoman, OFS
Need healing? An exorcist recommends this 12-word prayer
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.