In fact, the socialization gives us the tools to fill our evolutionary roles. They are our building blocks. ~ Dr. Warren Farrell
Sometimes it isn’t easy to balance introversion with the desire to socialize with friends and family.
On one hand, you simply want to stay behind closed doors in the comfort of your home and read a book, watch your favorite TV show, surf the web or immerse yourself in your craft. On the other, you need and want to connect with other human beings because it makes you feel good.
One of the biggest misconceptions about introverts is that we don’t like interacting with others. The truth is, we love it, it’s just more mentally taxing for us, and we also find it hard to survive without access to our solitary space for extended periods of time.
In addition, while women who are introverts are often considered an attractive, mysterious challenge for men, for the introverted man things appear to be more difficult. Men are supposed to show strength and initiative. Thus social skills are vital not only for professional success but for personal relationships as well. Simply put, men need to make an effort to show themselves as alpha.
Thankfully, social skills are something anyone can learn because it mostly requires you to put yourself out in the open and just practice.
However, there are some additional things we can all do to make things a lot easier:
1. Try going out when you don’t feel like it
If you are an introvert, it can feel incredibly tempting to decline every invitation for going out. And you can, of course, do this, forever and always. But it’s not healthy to be a recluse, especially if you’re giving in to anxiety.
As psychologist and author of several books on human well-being Kim Chronister says: “The remedy for ridding oneself of anxiety is exposure. One simply needs to do what is uncomfortable over and over again until the nervousness mitigates. Go to the meet-up even if you are anxious, accept the next invite, and repeat.”
2. Try to practice some conversation starters
One of the hardest things about socializing as an introvert is the tense feeling of uneasiness that often takes over. Combined with the fact that our introversion generally makes us less experienced in conversation that means we often stiffen up having no idea which direction to go after “hi.”
Ironically, most people, including introverts, are easily able to converse in a natural way once a conversation gets going. It’s just breaking the small-talk that is difficult. That is why some basic conversation starters can help immensely with breaking the ice. You can keep yourself from getting stuck by practicing simple talking points like “What’s your favorite T.V. show?” or “What do you like doing in your free time?”
3. Set yourself some simple, manageable goals
Try focusing on setting a simple goal. Maybe you can try meeting one new person every day – or even just one person in any social setting.
This can be of enormous help for building your confidence, and gathering the momentum you need to create a sensation of steady growth within you.
4. Emphasize your strengths
Do you have an honest and kind nature? Are you a good listener? Don’t neglect those qualities with your attempts to become an extrovert overnight. Let your genuine character strengths shine. After all, they are what people will ultimately appreciate about you after you break the ice.
5. You don’t have to be in the spotlight
Some people are most comfortable and succeed in the role of group entertainers, while there are others who look silly, even pathetic in their attempts to do so. If you feel that being the center of attention is too uncomfortable for you, you don’t need to force yourself in that spot. Just be part of the group and try not to retreat to the corner (trust me, you’ll regret your decision later, at home, if you choose to do that).
6. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends for help
Ask yourself who your most outgoing friends or acquaintances are. You can join them and go to events you otherwise might not feel comfortable attending and begin meeting new people, with the help of their naturally extroverted personalities.
Remain smiling and confident, and don’t feel intimidated if your friends bring the house down while you calmly sip on your drink.
7. Express yourself stylistically
If you find difficulty in expressing yourself through words, sometimes you have to let your visual appearance do the talking for you. Pick the right clothes and shoes in synch with the impression you want to leave. Giving an upgrade to your style may be a costly investment, but it will help you get the necessary confidence to feel more at ease in your own skin.
8. Don’t feel bad about leaving when you feel it’s time
If you know this is going to be an all-nighter and you start feeling exhausted, then don’t hesitate to make a graceful exit. Once your social energy reserves are drained, drive yourself home or get a taxi.
Then go home and give yourself some credit for being social. You made it! And it will only get easier and more enjoyable from now on.
Can you think of any more socializing tips for introverts we might have missed? Let us know in the comment section below.