When we’re younger, we’re often labeled and put into boxes. You’re shy. You’re outgoing. You’re lazy. You’re an introvert or an extrovert. And once we get those labels, whether they’re from teachers or friends, it can be really hard to shake them.
This is especially true if you’re an introvert. You’ve been called quiet and shy. It can be intimidating to try and break past those boundaries.
There’s no reason why you can’t change. If you’re an introvert, you can become an extrovert.
The difficult thing is accepting that something’s going to have to change. You’re going to need to do something different and that means stepping out of your comfort zone.
So How Can You Become More Extroverted?
1. Join a group or club around something you already love
Advice people often get if they want to be more outgoing is to socialize more. That is good advice, but don’t make the mistake of trying a new activity at the same time.
If you’ve never played golf or basketball, and that’s the thing you’ve decided to do to put yourself out there, it’s going to be doubly hard. You’re going to be self-conscious and it’s going to keep you from making new friends.
Choose a sport or a hobby that you’re already good at and meet new people through that.
Being extroverted, doesn’t mean you have to go out clubbing to meet new people and build confidence. Start with an area that you’re already comfortable in and expand. Make the effort to be more outgoing and introduce yourself to strangers.
2. Practice Daily
One of the best ways to step out of your comfort zone is to talk to people you meet in your everyday life that you normally just nod and smile to.
When you order your coffee, ask the barista how they’re doing. If you’re buying groceries, take the time to talk to the person at the checkouts while you’re paying.
When you’re waiting in line, ask the person behind you something.
The point here is to practice. It doesn’t matter what you say. You could ask them if they know of a good place to get dinner nearby. It doesn’t matter if you already have a favorite restaurant or if you know the area well.
By speaking to someone new each day, you will naturally get more comfortable doing so. You’ll be able to hold eye contact longer. You won’t feel so strange smiling as you say Hello to a stranger.
3. Use Your Listening Skills
I don’t know about you, but as an introvert, I’m a good listener. I like listening to what people have to say so much more than I like speaking up and voicing my own opinion.
As you push your social boundaries and talk to strangers, remember how to be an introvert. Listen to what they have to say and ask them more about it. It takes the pressure off you and you’ll be a better conversationalist because of it.
4. Spend More Time With Friends & Family
The easiest people to test out your new extrovert skills on are you friends. They know you. They care about you. You won’t worry about stumbling on your words in front of them. You’ll know what to talk about.
Participate more the next time you’re hanging out with your friends or family. Practice what you’ve been learning and ask more questions, voice your opinions more.
Your friends and family are a safe zone where you can really grow and naturally move towards becoming a social, outgoing person.
5. Pretend You’re The Host
This is a great tip from Jack Canfield: Pretend Your Hosting.
The next time you’re at a party or in a bar, pretend that you’re hosting the night. You’ll move from group to group, table to table, saying a quick hello and seeing how everyone is doing. It would be weird if you didn’t, right? You’re the host!
It might sound strange, but it’s one of the most useful tips I’ve come across. Give it try!
Who do you know that you’d like to be more like? We all have that one friend who can walk into a room and talk to anyone. They never seem uncomfortable or shy.
What are they doing? Are they smiling as they greet someone? Are they holding eye contact with confidence? Are they good listeners?
Figure out what you like about the way they are socially and model that behavior.
Get Out There!
There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but don’t feel like that is your identity for life. With a little practice and some commitment, you can become more confident socially.