Don’t like to be the center of attention or go to places with huge crowds? Are you at your best when you spend some time alone? Would you say that you are a good listener and someone who lives to observe in a group or social setting? If yes, then most likely, you are an introvert.
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What I Wish Everyone Knew About How To Be More Social.
First of all, you should know that there is nothing wrong with how you are naturally. But if you are looking to discover where you fit into the spectrum of extrovert vs introvert or are just looking for ways to present a better exterior when you are in a social gathering, here are a few helpful tips.
The more you embrace your right to be exactly who you are and take pride it in, the more successful you would be in the world of dating, parties and even interviews. You would do a lot better in group settings if you come from a place of self-acceptance and not from a place thinking “I should try to be social even though I am an introvert”. If you are worried that people will judge you, it is probably because you are judging yourself. Just like you don’t pay a lot to attention to the small details of other people, others also do not pay much attention to what you are doing. Most people are too occupied with themselves and their thoughts to look too closely at others.
So, if you don’t feel confident in public thinking that others will judge you, change the way you think about yourself, and you will be fine. Remind yourself that you too have flaws, just like every other person, and that’s OK!
2) You Don’t Have to Perform.
One of the reasons why people dislike social events a lot is because they feel like they are ‘on-stage’. Sometimes we feel like we have to perform in front of others. In their mind, people are looking at them and judging them. But keep in mind that no one expects you to perform. All you need to do is be friendly and casual. People are more likely to like you if you are not trying too hard.
Be friendly, take the initiative and try to talk to people. However, don’t force yourself you be funny, witty or energetic. Keep in mind that you are not there to impress anyone. Trying to impress people takes a lot out of you are ironical, makes one more unlikable.
3) Watch Your Subtle Avoidance Behaviors
We often do all we can to avoid feeling uncomfortable, such as refusing to go to an event. This refusal to go to a social event is the most obvious example of avoidance behaviour. But some types of avoidance are not so obvious, but prevent you from properly engaging with others. Here are a few examples of subtle avoidance behaviour and ways to overcome them.
Playing with the phone:
When you reach your event location, put the phone inside your pocket, or turn it off till the time you leave.
Attending social events with others and let them take the lead in conversations:
Try to go to a few events alone, or go with friends who would push you to open up and start conversations.
Sit in a quiet area:
Instead of isolating yourself and avoiding people, challenge yourself to talk to at least 4-5 people during the event.
Subtle avoidance behaviour usually come up due to fear. Once you start feeling more comfortable in social settings, you will slowly stop using them as well.
4) Don’t Feel Forced to Stay the Entire Night.
While you should try to accept as many invitations as you can, don’t feel the compulsion to still till the very end. The most important thing is to break the pattern of not attending or declining invitations. Just showing up is enough to accomplish that. However, if you don’t feel comfortable or don’t like the event, feel free to leave sooner.
According to studies, for people who suffer from social anxiety and depression, it is better to leave the event once your anxiety somewhat subsides. So give it at least 20-30 minutes and then feel free to go if you don’t like it. Of course, This will help you realize that your anxiety is unpleasant but bearable and you are capable of coping with social situations. Repeatedly exposing yourself to an uncomfortable situation and waiting till your anxiety subsides can go a long way in helping you overcome social anxiety.
5) Plan Conversations Ahead of Time
Be prepared with topics that you would prefer to discuss before the next event you go to. It would also be a good idea to reframe your perspective on the role you plan to play there. Studies suggest that introverts should take on the role of making others feel comfortable, which would, in turn, help them get comfortable.
Most people feel scared to speak in public because they think that people will judge them. To get more comfortable, think of what you can give to the audience. You should realize that not every person will appreciate what you have to give, but even if one person is benefitted by what you say, focus on that.
6) Befriend an Extrovert
It is a well-known saying that ‘opposites attract’. That is why extroverts and introverts are drawn to each other as friends, colleagues and partners. Use this fact and make friends with someone who is an extrovert. This way, you will be plugged into the party chatter.
However, avoid trying to approach them all as it might burn you out. Choose someone who you think you will be most comfortable with you.
7) Ask simple questions and bring up topics you like
Begin with specific, easy to answer questions that would lead to an exciting conversation. For example, you can ask ‘What are the things you like to do during the weekend?’ What project are you currently working on?’
The best part about taking a more significant responsibility in your social interactions is that you can pick and choose topics as well as people who you find interesting. Thus, the risk of getting bored or losing interest is lowered.
8) Once you get comfortable, go deeper.
Of course, no one is fond of small talk. It is just a formality that you can quickly breeze through, before moving the conversations to a more exciting place. Only a single meaningful conversation is enough to fill your ‘social bucket’.
Shallow small talk can leave introverts feelings physically and mentally drained. So ask an interesting open-ended question and open the door to an honest and passionate conversation.
9) Be more Present to feel Less Awkward.
To sum up, the best thing that you can do using the tips as mentioned above is to alter the way you think. The most important thing is to be fully present in the conversation you are having. If you are paying attention, it means you want to hear what others have to say. The more you get into this mindset, the less awkward you will feel.
Keep in mind that all introverts are not the same. Some feel shy when they meet new people, whereas others experience social anxiety in different situations. Irrespective of which category of introvert you fall into, there is no right or wrong way to be. Simply choose the tips that suit your situation the best and implement them if you want to learn how to be more social.