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If you are an introvert, putting yourself out there may take more effort, but if you want to know how to be more outgoing, read on!
You may experience social anxiety or prefer not to be in social settings. Yet, being more outgoing is often beneficial. It helps you make social connections and build meaningful relationships with other people.
It can help you to network to create new career opportunities leading to career advancement. You may also find that networking and participating in social activities is fun for you.
So here are some of the best tips to help introverts put themselves out there and learn how to be outgoing today.
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1. Identify Social Activities That You Like
Socializing as an introvert can be quite challenging. However, if you find activities you enjoy, it might be more bearable, or you may find yourself going all in.
For example, if you like reading, join a book club. Or, if you like sports and physical activities, join a team, a gym, or a sports club. Don’t worry about being great – just go to have fun and meet people!
It’s also important not to worry about being “the new person” there because most people will be new.
2. Prepare Some Questions to Ask
The right questions can help you break the ice when meeting someone for the first time or keep a conversation going in a social situation. The right question to ask depends on the context. Therefore, you do not want to be robotic about them. Rather, have an idea of some questions at the top of your mind that can be helpful.
For example, here is a great question to break the ice: “Hi, my name is… May I ask your name, please?” Telling them something about yourself opens communication and encourages them to share similar information about themselves.
3. Deal With Social Anxiety
Often, introverts may experience a degree of social anxiety. You may fear being scrutinized or judged when engaging in activities such as meeting a new person, attending social gatherings, public speaking, etc.
It can interfere with your ability to interact with others and your day-to-day life, including work and relationships. For some people, social anxiety is mild, while for others, it can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, trembling, and sweating.
On the other hand, there are several strategies you can apply by yourself to manage and overcome social anxiety. They include practicing mindfulness, challenging negative thoughts, gradually exposing yourself to various social settings, and seeking support from a loved one.
4. Own Your Personality
Acknowledge and appreciate your introversion. Understand that introversion is not a flaw or a weakness. Rather, it is your personality trait, and it is ok to be that way. Focus on your strengths and cater to your needs as an introvert.
For example, introverts are generally deep thinkers, which makes them excellent problem solvers. They are also typically good listeners and loyal, which makes them great companions.
However, you may find that excessive interactions wear you out. Therefore, it would be best to focus on building a close-knit circle of friends and family that allows deep connection.
Also, schedule ample time for recharging after social interactions. Don’t schedule too many social activities within a short time, as it will drain you.
5. Develop Your Social Skills
Equipping yourself with social skills can help you to navigate different social situations. They can help you build and maintain healthy relationships and succeed professionally and personally. Developing social skills takes deliberate effort and time.
Some crucial social skills include empathy, effective communication, active listening, non-verbal communication, rapport building, assertiveness, networking, and conflict resolution.
There are different strategies for building your social skills. Pay attention to how outgoing people interact and behave in social settings, including their choice of words, tone of voice, and body language and identify aspects you can emulate.
Practice active listening, such as focusing on the other person without distractions, maintaining eye contact, and asking the right questions. Ask your family and friends for feedback about how you show up socially and how you can improve. If need be, hire a coach to help you develop social skills and to practice them.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Understand that as you practice to be more outgoing, there will be good and bad days. It will take time to get comfortable and more engaging in social activities. Therefore, give yourself grace and be patient with the process.
Handle one social activity or interaction at a time. Do your best and keep in mind there is no one right way. Celebrate the successes, evaluate the challenges, and keep learning and improving.
7. Put Yourself Out There
Deliberately look for opportunities to interact socially. Join social groups, attend local events, honor an invitation to spend time with friends, or sign up for a professional networking event.
You do not have to attend each and every event that comes to your radar. Rather, set a goal for how many events you would like to attend each month and schedule them.
8. Start Small
Find ways to step out of your comfort zone that are not too scary for you. For example, say hi to someone at the escalator, attend an event briefly, or start a conversation with someone you see often but normally don’t talk to. Then, build on the level of difficulty over time.
It is ok to be nervous and feel uncomfortable in social settings, don’t let it stop you. You will become more comfortable with time and practice.
9. Practice Small Talk
Small talk refers to casual and polite conversations. It typically involves conversations that are not too deep, personal, or controversial, such as weather, current events, common interests, etc.
Small talk is an essential social skill that you can develop easily. It helps you break the ice and build rapport, paving the way for deeper connections or simply enabling you to make acquaintances. It creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere for people to feel comfortable with each other.
Here are a few tips for practicing small talk:
- Start practicing with low-stake settings—For example, with the barista, cashier, or someone waiting in line with you.
- Make the interaction brief with a few pleasantries.
- Ask open-ended questions rather than yes/no questions. They give room to keep the conversation going. For example, “Hi, how are you today?” “Your T-shirt is from my favorite band; what do you like about them?”
- Listen actively and show genuine interest in the other person. It helps you to make a connection.
- Find common areas of interest that you can discuss.
- Practice small talk with your friends and family.
- Prepare ahead of time. Think about potential small talk topics or questions that might be appropriate in different settings.
10. Show Genuine Interest in Others
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Dane Carneige -How to Win Friends and Influence People
Showing interest in others will help you establish stronger connections and build better relationships. Cultivate a genuine desire to learn and understand other people. Listen actively, ask open-ended questions, show empathy, and follow up on them after a conversation.
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Encourage them to talk about themselves and resist the urge to continually talk about yourself. Let them share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences uninterrupted. Respect other people’s opinions and way of living even if you do not agree with it. At the initial levels of your engagement, avoid arguments and criticism. Appreciate them for their time, insights, and perspectives.
11. Bring Along an Extroverted Friend
If you have been invited to a social event or feel a certain social setting is overwhelming, tag along with an extroverted friend with an outgoing personality. They will offer comfort as you know them well while challenging you to interact with others. They can introduce you to others, and you may find a few you want to connect with.
They can also demonstrate how to engage and interact with other people. However, plan a separate ride back home, as chances are you will want to go home sooner, and they may want to hang out longer.
12. Consider Busier Social Settings
For example, volunteering at a local event, a community service project, or a networking event where you are either a mentor or a mentee. Such events enable you to engage with people, but since you are busy, your level of anxiety will most likely be lower. It also provides seamless opportunities for engagement where you do not have to overthink what to say or how to behave.
Visualizing can be a powerful and effective tool for overcoming social anxiety and developing social skills. Use Visualization as a mental rehearsal to prepare for social situations, feel more comfortable, and achieve positive outcomes.
You can also use it to train your mind to feel relaxed, calm, and positive even in challenging social situations. Visualization works best if you take the envisioned action in the real world.
Go Make it Happen!
Becoming a more outgoing person does not mean that you have to change your personality to become extroverted. However, you can find ways to work with your personality, strengths and weaknesses to build social skills, gain confidence, and put yourself out there more.
Start by identifying social activities you like and incorporate a few into your social life. Mentally rehearse by identifying questions to ask, practicing small talk, and visualizing positive outcomes. If you struggle with social anxiety, seek support from a therapist or a mental health expert.
Be brave and put yourself there as regularly as you are comfortable. Be patient with yourself and understand that it will take time and practice for you to get used to being in social settings. If need be, bring along an extroverted friend or choose a social setting where you are busy so that you are not overwhelmed with trying to fit in.