I like to refer to myself as ‘socially kind’ when I think about how I approached being social for the past two years.
Really- all I do is prepare myself to be kind when I’m outside and it has worked wonders for my self-esteem and my relationship with people around me, especially my colleagues.
It sounds simple, right? It actually is- the concept I mean, but I’m not so sure about the execution part after all not all introverts are the same, and what took me a year to figure out may take you months or a couple of years.
That’s why I put down a list of 11 Tips from my personal experience That I really think will help you ‘be more social as an introvert’. and I mean by this: while being your proud introverted self.
Without further ado, let’s get right to the tips …
9 Tips To Help You Be More Social as An Introvert
Be aware of the moment.
This is my number one piece of advice- I can’t stress enough how important it is to be mindful and present while you practice being social. When I am with a group of people, the only way I experience my surroundings is by observing and listening.
Just give these people you’re with your full attention and you’ll be able to pique on what they’re saying and actually unconsciously contribute to the conversation.
The thing about us introverts- is that we’re too focused on our internal state and how we feel uncomfortable around people and ‘ugh I hate making eye contact!’ that we create this big block in our head and it makes us unaware of our surroundings.
We need to focus on the moment.
Have good intentions at heart.
So we’re driven by our internal state, that’s cool and dandy. Why not use this drive to help us be more social?
If you leave the house with the intention of making a person smile or making someone feel nice on any given day, you’ll be more inclined internally to be social that day. you’ll find ways to talk to people and you’ll anticipate leaving a positive impact on whoever you’re socializing with that day.
I’m a teacher and on Parent-teacher conference day, I leave the house with the intention of making some parents proud that day because their children deserve it.
This internal state of preparation with good intention gives me that energy boost to have good conversations with the parents and actually enjoy them!
I used to dread Parent-teacher conferences. the kind of dread that comes in the form of anxiety so you can get the impact of this change in internal state on my mental health.
Smile with your eyes.
A really cute way of making someone feel good around you is by smiling with your eyes. When I say that, what I mean is that when you look at someone’s eyes while smiling, it gives the impression of positive energy, making them feel good around you. it’s inviting and makes others comfortable around you.
They’ll want to talk to you and you’ll just listen and contribute when needed.
This should be a habit; it’s important to acknowledge people and show good intentions before approaching someone you don’t know.
I know this may be difficult for some introverts because we have the tendency to avoid people.
This is a habit that should be repeated enough until it becomes automatic and you won’t need to force yourself to hold your hand and wave.
I nowadays wave automatically, and what I believe this has done to me is that it gave me a mental push to approach others or expect to be approached because a wave is usually followed by a smile and someone will be grateful that you acknowledged their existence and they’ll approach you or at least wave back.
Waving back is socializing you know.
There’s no reason to avoid people. If you know you’ll get overwhelmed if you talk to the person you want to avoid, just be aware. wave, and find a way to directly and politely tell them you’re late or you need to run errands after saying hi.
I speak on my behalf when I say that avoiding people saved me the awkwardness of the moment but it never left me feeling good about myself. I believe that’s because we’re social animals, and deep down we’ll feel good if we made a move to be more social and just be nice to others.
Prepare yourself for small talk
It’s inevitable if you want to be more social.
We introverts are so hung up on the idea that we hate small talk and we neglect the fact that it’s how people start to get to know each other and be more social.
I’ve found that if I sit down for a while and contemplate on what kind of small talk topics I should expect for the upcoming event, I’ll be more comfortable having small talk.
Now, don’t imagine that you’ll spend the rest of your life preparing for small talk. No, you’ll come to enjoy having it with the right people and you’ll manage it when the wrong ones-your boss or landlord maybe?
There’s no reason for me not to talk and socialize with others when it’s needed.
This is how I practiced confidence to be more social. I’m not mentally retarded, I’m not doing something to be ashamed of, and most importantly I have ideas and opinions that won’t see the light if I don’t deliver them. So why not socialize?
It’s more like a prep talk between logical me and my anxious me that’s holding back my confident me. Too many me-s.
The keyword to catch here is ‘needed’.
Don’t talk for the sake of talking and call that socializing. Don’t gossip. Don’t blame. Don’t complain. Don’t talk about things that you don’t find meaningful. You’ll struggle to be confident when you talk for these reasons.
You don’t perform for people, you connect with people. and that’s how you convince your anxious self to release your confident self.
Be mindful of your tone.
As much as possible, speak in a clear and positive tone of voice.
Even if you feel uncomfortable or even secretly intimidated, be mindful of your tone of voice.
Be in a situation where your tone is not congruent with your mood. You’ll notice how it’ll prevent people from dismissing you and you’ll find people willing to listen and engage with you.
Stand for your principles.
I feel like this is a rule of thumb.
If you have to stand for something, stand for your principles.
I think that being ready to stand for what you believe in will you give you the courage to talk to people and even lead conversations.
This Tip follows on the topic we brought up in the 6th tip. Talk when needed.
Be firm if needs to be.
This one is a delicate matter, especially when you have social anxiety.
I know you want to be more social, and in doing so you may let people verbally bully you or take advantage of you or just do something that you don’t stand for.
Don’t be okay with that. this will only make you less social and even traumatized in the long run.
Instead, be firm with whomever you feel like wants to walk all over you just because you’re kind and quiet and introverted.
Your gut won’t lie to you, so if you get the feeling that the person you’re talking to is trying to mock you or thinks little of you, you be firm with them and talk clearly and maintain eye contact. Don’t be too kind with such people and expect to meet a bunch of them on your way to being more social.
Think of them as society’s misfortunes, be firm when talking with them, otherwise ignore them altogether.
I really hope these tips from my personal experience with becoming more social will help you on your journey too.
Remember to learn from your own experience and reflect on what happens during any social situation you go through without self-condemnation.
Be kind to yourself above all and remember that being social doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and it takes you to be willing to put yourself out there with the help of tips like the ones I listed.