There’s this common misconception floating around about introverts, and how they’re all a bunch of lone wolves who loathe all things social. While it’s true that introverts typically aren’t the joiners of the group (which, BTW, is totally fine), they’re still human, and introverted humans crave interaction just as much as extroverted humans do — just, maybe not in the same way. So if, for the majority of your life, you’ve been sitting on the sidelines solo, and you want to experience life a little differently in the upcoming year, there are little ways introverts can be outgoing, too. It just takes a little practice, and maybe a little more energy than you might be used to expending. So grab a cup of coffee, have an emergency escape route planned, and let’s get social(ish).
Personally, I’ve definitely gone through phases in my life where I’ve considered myself more extroverted than introverted, and vice versa, but I’ve recently noticed that, the older I get, the more introverted I am. And, speaking from experience, it’s not that I don’t ever have the urge to go out to dinner with a group, or get dressed up and go dancing with a friend. It’s just that, when it comes down to it, I know which types of social situations I’ll feel most comfortable in.
Now that I think about it, that really is the trick to becoming a more outgoing introvert: getting comfortable with, and being able to identify, that gut feeling — the one that says, if I attend this event, I’ll a) go with the intention of staying for more than an hour out of genuine enjoyment, or b) end up hanging around in sheer agony just as a common courtesy toward the hostess. Trust me, there’s a laundry list of invites I’ll kindly RSVP a hard “no” to, because I know deep down I’d be putting myself in an awkward situation. You just have to keep in mind that being outgoing doesn’t mean forcing yourself to seize every opportunity to be social. It’s about feeling confident in social situations and surrounding yourself with people who bring you joy.
According to Jor-El Caraballo, a mental health expert and co-founder of Viva Wellness, introversion doesn’t refer to how someone feels about other people; rather, it’s a measure of energy. "It’s not that introverts aren’t outgoing or don’t like people — it’s more that their focus in relating to others is just different," Caraballo tells Elite Daily in an email.
Many introverts "need time away from people to recharge," he adds. In other words, if you’re an introvert who wants to become more outgoing, the best thing you can do is establish balance in your social interactions. To find your own balance, here are some expert tips on how to become a more outgoing introvert in the new year.
Start By Socializing In Small Groups
Typically someone who is "outgoing" is associated with large groups, but because introverts tend to feel shy and awkward in big group settings, Caraballo tells Elite Daily that it’s a good idea to ease into these types of new social experiences, rather than dive in with everything all at once.
"Since introverts typically don’t do well in large groups, try to arrange meet-ups of one to two people at a time instead [of] trying to start with a large group, and then slowly add on more people [as] you feel comfortable," he suggests. "This will help you slowly get more comfortable with larger groups, rather than draining your energy all at once."
Share A Piece Of Yourself With Others
Many introverts spend a lot of time on their own, and some of them spend that time creating. If you’re an introvert who’s also an artist, whether you write poetry, paint pictures, or play music, one of the best ways to connect with more people is to share these talents with others (as long as you’re comfortable doing so, of course).
"When someone who is introverted gets charged up, they often appreciate sharing that with others in some form or another, whether in writing or in person in a one-on-one or small group conversation," Michael Alcee, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in Tarrytown, New York (who also tells me he identifies as an introvert), tells Elite Daily.
So grab a cup of coffee with a friend, bring your notebook along, and let them peruse the pages. This is an excellent way to establish deeper connections with others, and it opens up the opportunity for more similar experiences together.
Know Your Limits, And Honor Them
If you’re a true introvert at your core, then merely attempting to be even mildly outgoing is, oftentimes, a huge step outside your comfort zone. Don’t be alarmed if you get overwhelmed, or need to take a break from a social situation. Just remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind." In other words, surround yourself with people who know who you are and what you’re about, and who will understand if you have to dip out early, or get some air by yourself.
"Put some healthy introvert time limits on [your plans], even if that means making an excuse that you have something to go to next," Alcee says. "It’s important to recognize that you don’t have to be outgoing in order to feel fulfilled, but instead look at it like this: This is less familiar territory where you can possibly discover and grow in unexpected ways."
Ask For Directions Sometimes Instead Of Depending On Your Phone
Listen, GPS and Google Maps are wonderful and all, but asking another human being for directions is definitely a thing people did once upon a time. And, according to Samantha Morrison, a health and wellness expert for Glacier Wellness, it’s also one of the easiest ways to become more confident and comfortable approaching others.
"Even if you know exactly where you’re going, all you have to do is stop a friendly-looking stranger and ask for their help," she tells Elite Daily. "Most people are happy to help, and it will only take 10 seconds, then it’s over."
Strike Up A Conversation With A Compliment
"An incredibly easy way to expand into a deeper topic [is what I call] the compliment-to-conversation technique," editor-in-chief of the career blog PowerSuiting.com, Wendy Toth, tells Elite Daily. The gist is that, when you compliment someone on something specific, like their bag or bracelet, there’s a good chance they’ll share a little detail about it, like where they got it, or who gave it to them.
From there, Toth says, you can take that little nugget of information and run with it. "Ask a follow-up question," she suggests. "If they say, ‘Thanks, it was a graduation gift,’ you can say, ‘Oh, where did you go to school?’ And boom, you are off and running."
Go To Events That Speak To Your Interests
I can only speak from my own experience, but I can almost guarantee that, if you try to be outgoing in a setting where you feel outcasted, it’s probably not going to pan out. Instead, empowerment coach Kenzie Bond recommends "starting out slowly with a few existing interests." In other words, try opening yourself up in an environment you feel comfortable in, surrounded by topics and activities you enjoy.
"As an avid reader, I began attending book signings in my area a few years back, and it quickly turned into a full-time hobby — and I have met several famous authors along the way," Bond tells me of her own experience. "For an introvert, it is the quality of the interactions that count, not quantity, and creating a social life on your terms — not what society deems normal — is the key to a more fulfilling 2019."
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