Questions and Answers

“Questions and Answers,” Liahona, Aug. 2000, 31–33

Questions and Answers

Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I am a shy person, and I need more of a social life. How can I develop good friendships?

Liahona’s Answer

The Lord wants you to be confident and to have friends. As one of our readers wrote, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’; [it is designed] to revolutionize and civilize the world, and cause wars and contentions to cease and men to become friends and brothers” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 316).

Since the Lord wants you to have good friendships, He will help you develop them. You can make developing friendships a matter of prayer. Tell the Lord how you feel and ask for help and comfort. Ask for courage.

Perhaps the easiest step you can take is to put a smile on your face. People are naturally attracted to individuals who smile a lot. If your expression tells people you’re happy, they will want to be near you. Be pleasant, be interested in other people, give sincere compliments, ask questions, be helpful, offer to serve if the opportunity arises. Remember, the best way to make a friend is to be one. You will be happier if you are trying to be genuinely interested in others—rather than trying to get others interested in you. Help other people feel good about themselves. Don’t ask what you can get out of a relationship but what you can give.

Several readers suggested that a good way to make friends is to become involved in activities, such as seminary or institute, where you can be with other young people who share your goals and standards. By attending seminary or institute classes and activities, you put yourself in a situation where you can meet new people. But don’t just attend. Get involved. Volunteer to help with activities—especially those that focus on service. Friendships will usually develop quite naturally.

Finally, don’t give up. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, forgive any unkindness, keep smiling, and try again. There are plenty of others—at school, at church, at seminary or institute, in your neighborhood—who would be delighted to have a friend like you.

Readers’ Answers

Pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him to help you. Participate in your ward or branch activities. As you interact with others, soon you will see that you have left shyness behind.

Irene Marinho Mendes,
Arsenal Branch, Rio de Janeiro Brazil Niterói Stake

Being timid is not a defect. You need only to be yourself and to be honest. Only in this way are others able to become aware of you and of your good example.

Francesco Pezzoli,
Bergamo First Ward, Milan Italy Stake

Pray that you’ll be a better friend to others and ask Heavenly Father to help your weakness turn into a strength (see Ether 12:27). Involve yourself in Church activities. Be true to your friends; respect them for who they are, not what they have. Treat people with kindness and learn about them and their interests.

Cristina G. Dungan,
Agoo Third Ward, Agoo Philippines Stake

When I joined the Church, I didn’t know anyone, and everything was new. In seminary, I was able to make true, sincere friends who helped me prepare for my mission.

Elder Eduardo Moreira,
Brazil Goiânia Mission

Before going anywhere where there are lots of people, we need to offer a prayer. The Spirit can help us overcome our shyness and make it easier for other people to approach us. We’re never alone when we have the Spirit with us.

Sofía Beatriz Rioja Pantoja,
Sarco Ward, Cochabamba Bolivia Cobija Stake

When we try to live the principles of the gospel, it becomes easier to talk to others. After accepting the gospel, I overcame my shyness and made good friendships through reading the scriptures and attending institute. Reading good books, magazines, and especially the scriptures and the words of the living prophets makes us feel good. Attending institute gives us the opportunity to meet other wonderful people.

Darmeli Soares Rech,
Fátima Ward, Joinville Brazil Stake

At first I was a bit uncomfortable and felt out of place at Church activities. But as I met other people, I started feeling more a part of things. I realized I wasn’t as shy as I thought. When I showed I was sincerely interested in others, they were interested in me, and we had lots of fun together.

Mauro Germán Soldán,
Lanús Second Ward, Buenos Aires Argentina Avellaneda Stake

Shyness may spring from the fear of not being accepted or from a low sense of self-worth. We need to remember that we are children of God and that He loves us—even with all our flaws. We need to pray and seek guidance in overcoming our weaknesses.

Take the first step and show a genuine interest in someone by starting a conversation. And don’t forget to learn people’s names. Help them feel important.

Rosibel Valle de Ochoa,
Tegucigalpa Ward, Tegucigalpa Honduras Stake

If you are shy and need good friendships, the first thing you should do is pray and fast and let God know your needs so you can be comforted. Pray that bashfulness and shyness be removed from you. Remember, Luke 1:37 says, “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

Periah Sefulu Sauvao,
Lemoli First Ward, Upolu Samoa Faleasiu Stake

It was always difficult for me to interact with others. But when I returned from my mission, I was inspired by the knowledge that I am a child of God and thus can become like Him. I set the following goals: (1) I will always look people in the eye and greet them with a firm handshake, and (2) anytime I feel insecure about interacting with someone, I will stop, pray, approach that person, and strike up a conversation. I know I can overcome my shyness, because the Lord has promised He will “go before [my] face. [He] will be on [my] right hand and on [my] left” and will bear me up (D&C 84:88).

Aguinaldo Alves,
Alvorada Ward, Maringá Brazil Stake

The Savior is our best example. Thinking about what He would do has really helped me make friends and has given me unforgettable memories. He was sensitive to the feelings of others and showed His love abundantly.

Carla Sofía Leal Saravia,
Arturo Prat Ward, Santiago Chile Lo Prado Stake

I used to be shy, so I know how it feels when nobody talks to you. Since I’ve been a member of the Church, I’ve developed a desire to make everybody at church—member or not—feel welcome. I try to talk to anyone I see at church for the first time and help him or her feel at ease. Because of this habit, I have overcome my shyness and made a lot of friends, both young and old.

Haydee B. Sebastian,
Santiago Second Ward, Santiago Philippines Stake

Photo illustration by Steve Bunderson