Extroverts dominate the media. Social media is overflowing with party pictures and videos of social gatherings. As an introvert you probably have found yourself sitting at home by yourself, browsing those pictures and wishing to be someone else.
Think about it: Would you rather be Iron Man, a charismatic extrovert who can handle any social situation? Or would you rather be Captain America, who spends his free time drawing and being by himself?
Introverts enjoy being by themselves, but since humans are social beings staying on your own for too long can cause loneliness and a feeling of insecurity whenever faced with a social situation. But the barrier to become more social is often high.
Here are a few tips on how to be more social while still reaping all the benefits of being an introvert.
#1 Talk To People You Already Know
I get it – for introverts talking to new people is scary. So the best way to start is to just talk more to the people you already know. Instead of just greeting your colleagues in the morning, get a short conversation going. After a few days, eat lunch together. And after a few months, maybe invite them to a BBQ.
Talking to people you already know is less awkward than talking to strangers, but it will still force you to leave your comfort zone.
Avoid topics that could cause negative feelings, like religion, politics, diseases and so on. Do not focus on yourself while making small talk. Ask questions, let the other person do the talking and listen carefully to their words. This way you take the pressure off of your shoulders to keep the conversation going.
Do not act. Just be yourself and don´t try to change yourself just to fit in. This is easier said than done, but it will only benefit you in the long run.
Increase the amount of time you spend with other people slowly. If you just decide to live the life of an extrovert from today on, you will burn out quickly. Introverts NEED time alone to recharge. A slow and steady increase is still progress!
#2 Get A Social Hobby
Sports like soccer or martial arts that you have to practice with others are great hobbies if you want to become more social. If you are still in school, look for a club you think you could enjoy. If you are no longer in school, ask at your local library or look up some teams online. It doesn´t have to be sports, but the spirit of a team that has to “fight” an opponent is often better than that of a chess club.
Plus, you will be meeting people who already have similar interests, which will make it easier to break the ice. If you don´t know what to say you can just start talking about the sport or hobby you are both interested in.
Don´t worry, everyone feels awkward at the beginning. You will get more comfortable soon.
#3 Compliment Strangers
Talking to complete strangers who you know nothing about is the hardest part of socializing. It may take you months to be comfortable enough to talk to strangers on the bus or at the check out line at the supermarket.
I found that the best way to socialize with strangers is to deliver a genuine compliment. If I like someone´s hair or clothing, I say so. Only compliment things that the person you are talking to has control over. Complimenting someone´s bodyshape or freckles is not a smart move because the other person could hate those features. It´s best to focus on compliments about clothing, hair or tattoos.
Again, it is important that the compliment must be genuine! Fake compliments are worthless.
Your goal is to make yourself be seen as human, not a creepy stranger. So don´t talk to someone who clearly wants to have nothing to do with you. Maybe start with someone who is getting paid to talk to customers, like a salesperson at a clothing store.
Don´t worry about people thinking you are weird. They will forget you within minutes or even seconds once you are out of their sight. That is because humans think about themselves 99% of the time.
What are you thinking about at this second? Right, you are thinking about how to implement those tips into your life. You are NOT thinking about that weird guy at the bus station last week. And believe me, EVERYONE is like that. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do.
#4 Embrace Time Alone
Being an introvert comes with a huge advantage! You can spend large chunks of time alone without getting bored by yourself. That means you can focus easily on building a business or creating art (or really creating anything you want).
Think of that ability as your own superpower. You can learn a new skill that will make you lots of money, because you don´t mourn the absence of others all the time.
Success can make you lonely but if you are comfortable with this loneliness, nothing stops you from becoming successful.
Stay strong, fellow superhero!