How To Be Less Introverted

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Your extroverted friends are headed out again and you’re invited but you simply can’t make yourself go… 

You despise being left out, but the truth is that you are the one who made the decision, right? Your friends tried to convince you otherwise, but you were steady and resolved that you weren’t going.  Afterwards, you regret that you ended up alone, and you decided that you were going to change.

So you googled “how to be less introverted”, right? That’s how you found this article.

How To Stop Being So Introverted

True introversion isn’t a personality trait, it’s the way you recharge and renew your personal energy levels.  In actuality, there is no way to become less introverted (because how you recharge is how you recharge and that doesn’t change); but rather, there are applicable ways to challenge your anxieties and strengthen your stamina levels so that you can last longer in social settings.

Introversion Or Social Anxiety?

It’s such a common misunderstanding. People sometimes label themselves as introverted to explain what they believe is happening to them and how they behave… but in fact, it may not be introversion at all, it’s likely social anxiety.

So, ask yourself this question:  is it that you are stressed out when you have to engage with people and interact with larger groups of people? Or, does being in groups drain you of energy and to recharge yourself, you need quiet time alone or with one or two other people? 

These two situations are completely opposite; the first one is a social anxiety and the second one is true introversion.  

No one ever looks in the mirror and says I wish I had bigger muscles, then poof, they appear.  Nope, it starts with push-ups, sit ups, and the regular building of those muscles, step-by-step.  The same is true for dealing with introversion.

Let’s start with identifying which situation you are facing: social anxiety or the inability to handle social situations for longer periods of time.  

Ask yourself, “what am I afraid of?”  If you have even one response to this question (fear of anything), then it’s social anxiety and not introversion.  If you can’t find a fear in response to this question, but instead you feel drained just thinking about the situation, then chances are it truly is introversion. 

The corresponding action depends on the response… 

How To Deal With Social Anxiety

If the response was fear of something, follow that line of thinking, “I am afraid of…”.

Now that you can name the fear, you can work to face it head on. 

Are you insecure about your looks? Then work on your image; get a new haircut, update your wardrobe, treat yourself to a spa day and refresh your face, skin, muscles. Are you afraid to talk to strangers and to speak in front of people? Join a local Toastmasters group and practice.

There was a time in my late teens when I was so afraid of public speaking that I would burst into tears every time I stood in front of a group of strangers.  My mother enrolled me in a Toastmasters group for teens, initially, I hated it. Looking back, it was the best thing she could have done for me. The group was understanding and encouraging. The cheered me on and told me to speak through the tears and the trembling voice, just keep talking.  In time, I conquered the anxiety and today, though I may experience a slight quiver in my hand before I speak, I can speak to groups, both large and small, with no tears and no problems.

Find out what the fear is that you face, then look for solutions to face it boldly.

How To Be A Social Introvert

If the response was that you at once felt drained thinking about the social event, then there are a few easy applications that can help you maintain your energy levels for longer periods of time. 

If you can expect an upcoming event, say going to dinner and a club with friends on Saturday night, then plan Saturday morning differently. Allow yourself to sleep in that morning, have a late breakfast, read a book, listen to your favorite album, or watch a movie, and stay in your pajamas until later in the day when it’s time to get ready to go out. 

Power up your energy levels in advance so that you have the stamina to endure through the night out with your friends.

Perhaps you need to conquer this because of your career.  Of course, in order to advance in the world of business, you need to be able to work with teams of people successfully, you may be required to network with outside organizations in order to achieve your business goals, or maybe you just need to be able to keep up with your highly extroverted boss.  This is the exact situation I’ve found myself in countless times over the years.

Try to structure your day at work so you get enough down time to recharge for the inevitable go-time that is to come. Get out of the building for lunch and go somewhere quiet. (I used to love going to the library.) Use headphones when you can to create a sense of disconnection. Even a 5-minute walk down to the coffee shop in between busy meetings can be enough of a break to let you recharge.

A little planning can, and will, go far for us introverts.

Why Do You Want To Be Less Introverted?

This might seem like an obvious question, but why do you want to be less introverted? 

What are the motivations behind your desire to be less introverted? 

All improvements in life begin with an evaluation of the situation.  What do you want to achieve? What is the goal? What is the benchmark?  What is the purpose?

Begin with asking yourself these critical assessment questions to find your “big why.” 

Then, ask the next set of assessment questions: Goal 1 identified, ask “why do I want to achieve this?” and “what are the steps I need to take to get to this goal?”  Continue with this process of leveling questions until you have reached a point where there are no additional questions to ask because all the answers have been given. 

Here’s an example:

Problem:         I am not able to speak in front of groups of people

Question:        Why do I need to speak in front of groups of people?

Answer:           Because my job requires public speaking

Question:        What is keeping me from speaking in front of groups of people?

Answer:           I’m afraid.

Question:        What am I afraid of?

Answer:           I’m afraid of the judgement of others.

Question:        Why does the judgement of others matter to me?

Answer:          Because I’m insecure about myself and I want people to like me.

Question:        How can I overcome this fear?

Answer:          Join a local support group at the Toastmasters club and face my fears.

Becoming A Confident Introvert

Facing fears with determination and confidence that you will be able to make the change is the biggest challenge you will have with anxiety. 

The biggest hurdle you face is between your ears (meaning, your mindset).

Being more organized and prepared to charge yourself up before a big event will open all kinds of doors for you as an introvert.  True introverts have the skill to evaluate, analyze, and understand situations better than others so much of the time. If this is you, then step back and look objectively at why you searched for this article.  What were you looking for? What did you hope to uncover? Take the answer to these two questions and, using the responses as your launching pad, take the leap.

Introversion is not a curse, it’s a defining characteristic of what makes you wonderfully unique. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s mold. We need your light, your unique gifts and personality, just the way you are. Face your fears and shine brightly!

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