What is an introvert? Introverts are individuals that do not like big gatherings and prefer small get together and one-on-one activities. We do have fun socializing; it’s just that we prefer quieter parties than loud ones. Also, we may need quite some time to recover after any social activity.
When I tell people I am an introvert (well, that’s what the Myers-Briggs test says), people give me confused looks because I am the head of my department.
I have always been a marketing geek. My ideas were termed revolutionary and inspiring by many experts in my industry. But one thing that always held me and flourishing my career back is my introverted nature.
Marketing does sound very appealing. You may envision a glamorous scene from ‘Emily in Paris’ with creative men and women working together to create phenomenal marketing campaigns and transform the clients’ businesses. But for me, despite being highly interested in marketing, going to a job every day was quite a task.
I had everything that it takes to be a good professional in the marketing industry, but my personality doesn’t quite fit in the loud and glamorous world of marketing. That’s when I think it’s about time I start polishing my social skills. I wasn’t going to let my introversion come between me and my career.
I tried a few things to work on myself and improve my social skills. Here’s penning down some of the tips that I followed to polish my socializing skills.
Well, no, these tips aren’t going to make you an extrovert magically but can surely help you get your ideas out there in front of people.
I’d be honest with you; you cannot become social overnight; instead, it’s a process that takes time, a lot of practice, and mental patience. It’s a process of enriching your inner personality and takes place in small steps.
Initially, never try to take sudden big steps. Don’t just accept an invite to a music party you’re not comfortable visiting and then make yourself miserable afterward. Trust me; you will only scare yourself.
To become more social, you first need to learn and practice expanding your comfort zone. For instance, if you tend to do something alone or with an old friend, only try going a step further. Visit someplace where you know there will be a lot of strangers and try making small conversations with them. You don’t necessarily have to engage in lengthy discussions with them.
Start with passing compliments like ‘nice tie, man.’ You can even start communication with staff or the restaurant, or your local barista. Eventually, maximize your interaction with unfamiliar people. These regular small talks can help you feel comfortable communicating with people you don’t know.
Don’t get intimidated by the ones that talk too much
Well, just like us introverts, extroverts exist too, and some of them can be chatting. It can be their way of expressing themselves. For introverts communicating with these people becomes difficult because we are not tailored for long discussions that contain unnecessary details. However, we cannot always avoid them. So the best you can do at that time is keep yourself calm and try to obtain the meaning of what they are trying to say.
If things get frustrating and you think you can no more handle the conversation, learn to excuse politely. No, you are not being rude; you are just looking out for yourself.
Be open about what you think and need
Every introvert has different sensitivities and tolerance levels. It’s incredibly crucial for you to express what you need or think to the people you’re socializing with.
For instance, if you like the company of certain people but cannot handle the stress of continuous hangouts, let them know about it. Stop making excuses or pressure yourself to go out. Make them understand that you want to spend time with them but not continuously or for a very long time. The people that cherish your presence will surely understand it.
Act as likable people do
The positive feedback from others is the motivation you need for becoming more and more social. There are some common traits of likable people. Try to incorporate some of them into your personality and see the magic happening.
- Smile a lot. Everyone likes an honest smile. If you are hesitant to do it, first train yourself in front of the mirror every day;
- Speak clear and in an audible tone, so people don’t have to struggle to understand what you’re trying to say;
- When people talk to you, try to follow the conversation by asking them questions. It will make them feel that they are being listened to and that you are interested in understanding their views or ideas;
- Do you know what is the best way to make someone feel important and validated? It’s asking for advice;
- Try to ask open questions so your conversation does not get stuck in ‘no’ or ‘yes’ responses.
Indulge in a social hobby
Try to find people or a group with similar interests as you in your area. For instance, if you like to play guitar or any musical instrument, check for an open mic or musicians’ classified events. Expanding your social circle with the people who share your passion for the same interests will help you become comfortable with them.
Having frequent interactions with them will make you eventually feel less intimidated in large gatherings.
It’s because you know you have interesting things to discuss with them, and you don’t have to deliberately come up with topics to keep the conversation going.
Plan your conversations ahead of time
If you do have to spend time or interact with people that you don’t share similar interests then, you have to plan your conversations in your head before communicating with them. This will help you and also make them feel less awkward.
In any business setup or workplace, make sure you have everything planned before a meeting or presentation. Make key notes and jot them down on paper so that you can remember them. Try to speak in a clear tone and give direct and researched answers rather than beating about the bush. Because the more unresearched answer, you will give, the more questions will come up, and it will give you a hard time.
Try to be friends with extroverts in your workplace
It may sound absurd, but it’s also a fact that opposites attract. This is why extroverts and introverts are often drawn to each other as friends, partners, or even colleagues.
Why not use this for your in advantage? Make sure that you are on good terms with extroverts in your workplace or have a good interaction with at least one of your coworkers that’s plugged into office chatter.
Keeping up with office conversations can be challenging for your introverted self. But, you also should always keep yourself informed on what’s happening and what people are discussing in your office.
A friendly coworker can always keep you informed of the office conversations and what’s happening in after-hours office events.
However, be strategic about who you want to interact with. It’s essential to interact with the one whose company you enjoy the most.
Go out for work events and leave early
Try to get as much involved in your office matters as you can. You need to be active in your presence in after-work events or functions, even if that means that you have to push yourself to go out. However, you can always leave early.
People who interact with you regularly probably know that you are an introvert and how hard it is for you to come out of your home for events or parties. You can get appreciation by showing up at these events, and people don’t mind if you graciously excuse them and exit.
People are just pleased that you went, so don’t sweat if you are ready to leave after just a drink.
Always ask easy-to-answer questions
Questions are always a great way to start a conversation. However, make sure the questions you ask are specific, easy to answer, and lead to something interesting.
Also, bring up the topics that you are interested in talking about and have sufficient knowledge about.
Have enough downtime
As an introvert taking part in social activities or even general socializing can be exhausting. If you keep pushing your limits, you will burn out early. So make sure you give your brain enough time to charge up for the social activity ahead of time. Also, give your brain and body time to refuel or recharge after any event.
Schedule your downtime, and make sure you follow the schedule as you follow your social plans. That way, you will get the most of the event when you participate and not curse yourself after that.
Humans socialize, and that’s how society works. But, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with not interacting or socializing with people much.
You cannot allow yourself to push more than your limits to socialize because you will get mentally drained after it. Also, you cannot afford not to socialize at all. The key is to make a balance between your downtime and social plans.
The above-stated tips helped me socialize as an introvert and hopefully will help you too.
Happy introvert-ing in an extrovert world. Why not start it with a comment below?