If you’re reading this, and you’d like to become an extrovert, I can’t help you. More than likely you will probably end up passing your days in your parents’ basement, munching on Corn Pops and Lean Cuisine TV dinners, holding onto your World of Warcraft buddies as your last hope for finding friendship in this cold, cruel world. You will never know what it is like to be alive…to love, to fight, to conquer…and you will most likely die alone…unfulfilled…and lonely.
I’m totally kidding. :)
No, I’m not here to tell you you’re going to end up all sad and lonely; I’m here to offer some tips and strategies you can implement into your life immediately to get some more results with your social life. And whether or not you’re extremely shy, nervous in front of others, or already pretty confident and are just looking for the next level, you should benefit from what you’re about to read.
Knowing how to become an extrovert is only the first step.
You can know how to do anything, but knowledge in itself doesn’t lend to results. It takes implementing what you learn – actually doing it – to create lasting change. Knowledge isn’t power. Acting with knowledge is everything.
So, without further ado, here are the 5 tips for becoming an extrovert and being more sociable with people:
Tip 1 – Understand There is Nothing Wrong With Being Introverted
First, realize that being an introvert is not necessarily a bad thing. I used to be quite introverted, and found myself staying in most nights when I was younger because I simply preferred to. I really enjoyed writing and getting in touch with my creative side during these times. If you are passionate about an activity that brings joy and peace into your life, setting aside time to yourself can be a beautiful thing.
Many people who are shy make the assumption that they’ll never be happy unless they can be comfortable going out and socializing on a regular basis. They feel that they’re a failure of some kind for being alone during specific nights. This creates a completely unfair judgement of oneself and just leads directly to unhappiness.
So it’s cool to stay in and spend time alone every now and then! The key is to do it with balance – if you’ve locked yourself away four weekends in a row, it’s time to step your game up. Which brings us to…
Tip 2 – Join a Social Group that Holds You Accountable
Plenty of blogs and articles in the self-help arena suggest joining clubs, classes, and programs that you are interested in to become an extrovert. I think this is an awesome idea; connecting with others with similar interests is a sure-fire way to get out more and socialize more frequently.
But there’s another key step to this tip. You need to find a group that holds you accountable. Don’t just join a group where members fade in and out over time, coming and going as they please. Join one with a level of accountability. A perfect example of this is a book club. In a group like this, if you’re not reading the chapters and showing up week to week, you’re going to get left behind and be penalized for slacking off. In this situation, you’re motivated to not only meet new people, but to stay consistent with your commitment to getting out of the house.
Tip 3 – Maximize Your Time When You’re Being Social
When you’re out among friends, classmates, or co-workers already, leveraging your time gives you an increased amount of options for further socializing. The most convenient method of doing this is by creating or joining activities others have planned in the future.
Here’s an example: if you’re at work and winding down for the day, ask a co-worker or two what they’re doing for the weekend. Explain what you’ll be up to if you have plans. As you get a better sense of what they have going on socially and they understand what you’re up to, you open up the discussion for joining one another at a later time. You’d be surprised how many times you get invited along just by asking someone else what they plan on doing over the weekend.
Being proactive in these situations instead of keeping to yourself will give you more chances to get out of your shell and meet some new people.
Tip 4 – Socializing is a Learnable Skill
A big reason most introverts shy away from social scenarios is because they’re not quite sure what to do to be comfortable in front of others. This is probably the #1 stumbling block for shy people who want to be more sociable with others but are terrified of doing so. In their minds, being at a party or social event can be far too daunting because this fear seems like a gigantic, unmoving, unfixable problem.
Instead of looking at it this way, think of being extroverted as learning a new language. If someone asked you to go directly to Tokyo at this very moment and converse with as many people in Japanese as it takes until you get accurate directions to the Hanazono Shrine, you would probably feel like the task was ridiculous. Where in the world would you even begin?
But if someone rephrased the request by asking you to spend a few months learning the Japanese language step by step, getting yourself accustomed to their culture, and then going to Japan to find the Shrine, it would be much easier, yes? Breaking the goal down into specific parts made it more manageable.
Now take the same approach with socializing. Instead of focusing on the fact that you might not know what to say or do in social contexts, think of one aspect you can work on. Maybe you’d like to practice smiling – so you remember to smile when you can throughout the event, noticing how much better you feel when you do so. Instead of going home and beating yourself up for feeling awkward, you get to reflect in the progress you made because you were focused.
The concept of learning anything is a never-ending process. It is much easier and beneficial to focus on one specific aspect of what you are working on at a time than to concern yourself with the whole enchilada at once.
Tip 5 – Shift From Getting to Giving Value
A key concept in transforming from an introvert to an extrovert is understanding the importance of value. Human beings naturally enjoy being around people who they feel have a high degree of value. They will invest more time with them because they receive something from hanging out with them. Sounds simple, but what does this mean in social context?
Think of it as what you’re bringing to the table. When people are typically labeled as “boring” it usually means they don’t have much of anything to bring to the table. No engaging stories, no interesting information, and no ability to affect others’ emotions. When someone walks away from a “boring” person, they walk away feeling no better than they were when they met.
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you suddenly have to become the most interesting man in the universe. You just need to shift your thinking whenever you find yourself communicating with others. Take your attention off of yourself, and the emotions you’re “getting” when spending time with another person, and put it onto what you’re giving.
Are you giving 100% of your focus and concentration to what that person is saying? Are you giving information you’ve come across that could potentially help the person? Are you giving away specific compliments to make him or her feel better?
If you give enough, you will have a plethora of opportunities to get out more and have your value sought after. Your options will widen significantly, and you will find yourself becoming an extrovert.
Live your life, kids. You only get one!
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