Are you an introvert and want to become social?
I have to admit something. I have to admit that I am a natural introvert and a very social person.
“What? How is that possible?” you might ask yourself. Well, it is possible, but not easy. And it hasn’t always been this way. I remember a time when I was so afraid of any social contact that I couldn’t leave the house. Talking to strangers was impossible. The thought of going to a party and meeting people made me want to throw up.
I spent my high school time alone. I don’t exactly remember how many friends I had, maybe five or six. I was definitely not one of the popular kids. Since then, things have changed.
Today, I can talk to anyone in any imaginable situation. I can confidently say that I’m a social person. But that doesn’t mean that I’m an extrovert. I still spend the majority of my time writing and reading. The only thing that has changed is that I learned to embrace my introversion while opening my eyes to the world of extroverts.
Accept the fact that you are an introvert
Most introverts hate themselves. This is a bold statement to make, but I know that it’s true. I know it from my own experience and from coaching hundreds of natural introverts.
But why do we hate ourselves so much? We do it because we think that we are not what society expects us to be.
Whenever you switch on the TV you see young and happy people partying, dancing, smiling, chatting and socializing. And whenever you see this, you ask yourself the same old question: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like them?”
The media makes us believe that we have to be a certain way in order to be happy. We all need to become social and be extroverts. But that’s not true. I’m the living proof. The truth is that the more you reject your inherent personality, the more you will suffer. Instead, accept the fact that you are an introvert. Don’t deny it and don’t fight it. Once you have accepted what you can’t change, you are ready for the next step.
Explore environments where you are comfortable
Self-acceptance leads to change. Now that you have accepted that you are a natural introvert, you can learn what it takes to become social while being an introvert.
But don’t worry. I won’t give you the advice to “just talk to people”. We both know that it’s easier said than done. Telling an introvert to just talk to people is the same as telling an extrovert to sit in a room for ten hours doing nothing.
Going to the biggest club in your city and talking to the bouncers, the DJ and 120 party guests won’t work. Believe me, I tried it. You need to start small.
The best thing you can do to become social is to explore environments where you are comfortable. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but as an introvert, you probably love to read, write, and play computer games.
Instead of going to a club where you feel like an alien, you can visit a library, a bookstore, or a gaming conference and try to socialize there. I promise you that it will be way easier for you when you talk to like-minded people than when you force yourself to interact with people who are the complete opposite of you.
Don’t pretend to be an extrovert
No matter if you follow my advice, or if you decide to jump in the shark tank that other people call club… there is one thing I have to warn you about.
Don’t even think about pretending to be an extrovert. It won’t work. People will see right through you and it will drain your energy.
Being a social person is not the same as being the life of the party and jumping around like a squirrel on caffeine. I wish I had known that when I tried to improve my social skills by talking to people. I tried to be the life of the party. As a result, I started to hate myself for wearing this mask.
Being social means talking to people, no matter how you do it. It’s okay to be in a state of low energy when you socialize. You don’t have to be loud, you don’t have to smile all the time, and you also don’t have to high-five everyone.
Having a relaxed conversation is far better than alienating people by pretending to be someone you are not.
Put yourself in situations where being social is your only option
Talking to people in places where I feel comfortable helped me a lot to develop social skills. However, there was one thing that helped me even more.
Traveling is one of my biggest passions, but as an introvert, I absolutely hated the idea of traveling with a group of friends who want to spend 50% of the time partying and 50% getting rid of their hangover.
So I traveled alone.
The interesting thing about traveling alone is that you won’t stay alone for a long time. Sooner or later you are in a situation where being social is your only option. You have to ask someone for a direction, or you get approached by people in your hostel.
It is very hard to travel alone without talking to anyone.
One of the best tips I can give you is to put yourself in situations where being social is your only option. Once you are in these situations, you won’t even think about whether or not you should be social. It’s the only thing you can do.
Will this transformation happen overnight?
I am sorry to say this, but it won’t. Being social is a skill you need to develop and developing skills takes time.
But one tiny step a day will lead to 365 steps a year. If you continue to talk to people in environments where you feel comfortable and put yourself in situations where being social is your only option, you will soon become one of the few introverts who have the ability to socialize wherever and whenever they want.
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