Are you finding yourself staying at home more often, enjoying music more than you ever have before and driving yourself crazy with all the over thinking you’ve been doing? Being an introvert isn’t bad at all but don’t use it as an excuse to stay put in your comfort zone. As the perceptive insight goes, “The funny thing about introverts is once they feel comfortable with you, they can be the funniest, most enjoyable people around. It’s like a secret they feel comfortable sharing with you. Except the secret is their personality.” If you identify with that sentiment, and are looking for a new group of buddies or are simply eager to network for some professional advancement, read on because today we’re talking about expanding that social circle in a way that doesn’t scream awkward.

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Use the social media bug to your advantage

If there is one thing social media has got down pat, it is connecting people. The key is to build that connection over social media, where your inhibitions are relatively low but eventually you emerge from behind the screen—that is, use Facebook or Twitter to reignite old friendships or acquaintances and make plans to nurture those relationships offline.

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Give your relationships structure via a professional organisation

Myth tells us that introverts don’t like to talk. Reality tells us that introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and you won’t be able to shut them up. If you’re familiar with the latter we suggest that you join a professional group that exposes you to people who are likeminded, whether that means in terms of your career path or your hobbies and interests, ranging anywhere from a book club, an investment banking group or a painting class. This way, you will genuinely be interested in the people you meet which will encourage you to foster relationships with longevity whether that turns into a dinner date or a job opportunity.

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Be smart about who you connect with

In other words, connect with connectors. A great way to expand your social circle is to connect with someone who is a gateway for you to meet many others. What makes this easy is that more often than not “connectors” are easy to connect with. They might not have the time or frankly the interest to invest in deep meaningful relationships, but they love to get to know more interesting people and would be more than willing to add you to their vast circle.