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It’s a tale as old as time — extroverts are always the life of the party and can attract new and exciting people wherever they go. In contrast, introverts are seen as dull hermits who are afraid to leave their homes and have a hard time connecting with others to the point that they usually don’t have many friends. But is learning how to be more social possible at all? Is it something most of us are born with — a sort of talent — or can it be taught through a few life-changing tricks?
How to Become More Social and Outgoing: The Struggle Is Real
Something important to remember:
Even though most people believe that we need that X factor to make others like us, becoming more social and outgoing is definitely possible. Those skills have little to do with charisma and more with proper time and effort invested into connecting with people.
Of course, a naturally charismatic person may have an easier time making friends, both in their childhood and later on. However, if only the likes of George Clooney were able to win over people, nobody else would ever get married, have babies, and live fulfilling lives.
The trick is:
Beating self-doubt, as well as the various misconceptions society has made humans believe in.
For example, introverts can easily fall into the trap of believing that others are judging them at every corner. What’s more, some may make their comfort zone their hideaway and avoid stepping out of it, consequently flushing their social skills down the drain.
But know this — even extroverts can struggle with figuring out how to be more social on a daily basis. That’s why the following tips for introverts might as well be universal. We all have to wrestle our self-doubt and negative thoughts from time to time. The solution is to take these lessons to heart and keep repeating them whenever our confidence forsakes us.
How to Be More Social as an Introvert: Defeat Self-Limiting Beliefs
Some of the biggest pains in life are all those self-limiting beliefs we’ve let define us throughout all these years.
It’s not necessarily our fault that we’re limiting ourselves. Sometimes, it all comes down to the society we grew up in, our parents and friends, or, to be more precise, their influence on us.
But self-limiting beliefs are useless if we want to figure out how to become more social and outgoing. No matter where we go or how we feel, if there’s a limit, it’s an obstacle that’s preventing us from stepping out of our comfort zone and improving our social skills.
What are some of these self-limiting beliefs? We’ve already mentioned one; some people believe that others are far more interested in them than they truly are.
That’s a self-centered thought we ought to eliminate right now, as it’s downright false. People on the street don’t care how we look or who we are unless we approach them and give them a chance to get to know us. We cannot presume they don’t like us right off the bat!
Similarly, some wallflowers believe that extroverts are born with excellent social skills and that they cannot change who they are. But the thing is — we evolve throughout our lives. Each day is an opportunity to learn, do, and BE more.
Believing that we’re not good enough or that others will always be better is a huge excuse. It’s what we use to justify not trying to change.
Yet, it’s on us to make small steps and improve ourselves so that we can be seen in the best light possible. We can start by recognizing how irrational our self-limiting beliefs are and switching them out for positive, reassuring thoughts.
Be More Curious
Although most of us focus more on making ourselves appear more interesting to others, it seems that being curious is what will help us connect with them. Various studies have shown that curiosity is a skill many social butterflies use to their advantage. Apart from helping them learn more about others, it may allow them to relate to them, deepening a somewhat superficial connection a lot faster.
And honestly, is anyone surprised? Introverts often suffer from social anxiety, so answering random questions of strangers is troublesome. But if we engage them the right way — by responding to their interest with our curiosity — it’s far less likely anyone will get bored.
The more we ask someone about their life, the better the first impression will be. Nobody likes it when there’s a lull in the conversation, and the person who they’re talking to is only nodding and yawning. So it’s best to fight the anxiety of talking to strangers by showing our genuine interest and deepening the conversation.
It may make us vulnerable at first and possibly a bit more anxious, yes. But all those follow-up questions are going to lead to new topics and ideas that’ll deepen the connection.
So how can one become more curious, you may ask? Well, we have to put ourselves out there and be more assertive.
At the very least, we can fake it until we make it. Asking open-ended questions is an excellent approach; it will make the other person truly think about what they’re going to say. Additionally, we can always broaden our range of interests. Trying new things, going to new places, and conquering our fears is going to give us more topics to ask others about, and consequently, allow them to see how much we have to offer.
Practice Making Good Conversation
Good conversations don’t pop up out of the blue — we’re the ones that create them. Therefore, if we want to learn how to be more social, we should aim to improve our conversation skills on a daily basis.
Every single situation in life is a chance to come out of our cocoons and relax in social settings. What’s more, there are some neat tricks we can use to keep the conversation going and make the connection stronger:
Honesty is the best policy at all times, especially if we’re trying to make new friends or acquaintances. Even little white lies could endanger the conversation, as most of them are easy to sniff out and may pose problems later on (we won’t be able to remember them all!).
Look for cues that’ll break the ice and listen carefully
In order to learn how to be more social, we have to become keen observers. Anything can be used as a conversation-starter, from what the other person is wearing to how they did their hair that day.
But we also have to make sure we’re listening to what they’re saying. Just asking random questions and not following up on a topic is a surefire way of coming off as insensitive and self-centered.
Value silence and know when to break off the conversation
A huge part of being social is:
Knowing when it’s time to call it a day. Continuing the conversation, even when it’s supposed to end, is only going to drive people away.
Likewise, we shouldn’t force it either; if there’s a lull, we should use it as a break until we find another topic. It should never be a convenient excuse to kick ourselves for failing yet again.
We can never know anyone’s true story through just a few minutes of conversation. Therefore, even if the person says something we don’t like, we shouldn’t judge them immediately. Everyone is unique, so we cannot all agree on everything. We mustn’t even expect it!
Besides that, we ought to choose our words carefully. “Read the room,” as they say; for a good conversation, it’s best to avoid insensitive jokes and comments that may offend someone and make them ignore us.
Plan it out — but don’t cram everything in one conversation
Going the extra mile and coming up with topics before a social event, for example, isn’t at all creepy. It’s pretty smart, as we’ll always have a few topics to choose from and switch back and forth. We shouldn’t get too analytical, though; sometimes, it’s best to let the conversation flow naturally.
Broadening our interests by keeping up with the times is essential as well. Interesting tidbits we hear on the news could serve as excellent conversation enhancers!
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Our comfort zones may seem reassuring most of the time and are the source of our confidence. However, if we never step out of them, we are never challenging ourselves. Consequently, we cannot grow as people or learn how to be more social. At best, we’ll just be stuck in the same old routine, doing the same thing every single day.
Of course, stepping out of one’s comfort zone is ultimately quite scary. Our first thought will be to abort the mission so that all the discomfort we’re feeling disappears. But really, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Everyone, even the most confident among us, is scared of failure, and that’s the real limit here. Yet, to beat that, we have to accept that, from time to time, we’ll fail at something.
The solution isn’t to run away from it all — it’s to keep doing it until we succeed, always learning from the previous attempt.
Our comfort zone isn’t a safe haven. It’s what’s stopping us from living life to the fullest. But if it’s too much to leave it completely, we can always go step by step, researching something we’re afraid of and doing it each day.
We can also visualize who we want to be and how the experience could change us. After a few serious attempts, it’ll become our reality.
Developing your confidence is a big part of stepping out of your comfort zone.
Start Talking to Friends of Friends
A massive part of figuring out how to be more social is to use what we already have. If we’re still not ready to strike up conversations with total strangers, we can rely on friends of friends to practice our social skills.
The great thing about talking to friends of friends is that we already have one common topic: the mutual friend. We can always break the ice by telling funny stories about that person to help the other one relate to us. Then, once we have already gone through a few of those, we can start adding our own experiences into the mix and letting the other person share theirs.
In the end, we ought to keep in mind that a friend of a friend is a pre-approved acquaintance. Since we already love our mutual friend and believe their judgment, there’s no reason this person cannot become a part of our life. If we already have one thing in common, and they have shared interests with our mutual friend, there’s a good chance we’ll get along splendidly. All it takes is to keep an open mind and just try it!
Get Better at Inviting People
To learn how to be more social as an introvert, every individual will eventually have to practice inviting people. Social gatherings are the bread and butter of any extrovert’s life. By mimicking how they’d tempt others into meeting them, introverts can grow their confidence and eliminate some self-limiting beliefs.
But how do extroverts do it? Well, they don’t overthink it. Overthinking can only make the matter seem more important than it truly is. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t care much about the person we’re inviting. It just means that the more value we give to the phrasing we use and the timing, the less likely it is that we’ll be successful.
The gist of mastering the art of inviting people is to avoid making the situation stressful. We shouldn’t anxiously craft invitations in our minds and evaluate how each could be perceived. Likewise, we ought to avoid pressuring them to say “yes.”
Even if someone says no, it doesn’t mean they don’t like us or want us gone forever. They may not be up for it right now or are doing something else. Because of that, we have to remove expectations from the equation — it will help us handle rejection better.
In general, a person isn’t interested in hanging out if we’ve asked three times already, and they’ve said “no.” Until then, we can try various approaches. We can make it casual and not designate a time or a place right away — it’s only a suggestion. Later on, we can make it more specific by finding an event that both would enjoy. It’s trial and error, so we have to keep practicing until we’re comfortable enough to invite anyone anywhere.
Find Events You Are Interested in and Keep a Schedule
The final step in learning how to be more social is to get out of the house. Finding exciting events and going there with friends or even alone will get us from our comfort zones fast.
Yes, it’s scary at first — asocial people get rather uncomfortable in unknown situations. But after a while, it becomes commonplace and as if we’ve been doing it all our life. Challenging ourselves will let us grow, and those events will serve as a solid backdrop to meeting new people with shared interests.
But how will we find those events? Luckily, technology is on our side. There are various apps we can download to browse current and upcoming events in our area. Some of the most popular ones include Eventbrite, Gravy, and Go Do.
The main appeal of using these apps is that we can set a variety of filters to eliminate events we aren’t interested in. Additionally, they’ll allow us to keep a busy schedule and make our social lives richer.
We can pick events we want to check out, share our preferences with other friends, and even hear about happenings that’ll let us experience something new. These could become an invaluable source of social gatherings where we can practice everything we’ve learned so far — and change our lives forever.
We humans often let our flaws and failures define us. Yet, when learning how to be more social as an introvert, we have to remember that social butterflies are made. We hone our social skills — we aren’t born with them.
Luckily, practice makes perfect. We don’t have to settle for what we already have. If we’re ready to take a leap of faith and invest time and effort into changing ourselves for the better, the world will pay attention — and applaud us for our bravery.
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