Don’t change yourself. Gain a skill set that allows you to engage in social situations instead.
It’s important to realize that you can’t change your subjective experience of introversion. If you’re an introvert, you’ll probably be one for the foreseeable future. What you can do is gain a skill set that allows you have better social interactions, feel comfortable with engaging, and making others feel welcome to connect with you.
Know that not being shy and expressing yourself better are both skills you can improve.
You’ll likely be an introvert for a long time. That’s okay. You’ll also likely be more quiet at social situations. That’s also completely fine. But learn to feel comfortable with that when there are other people around. Throw yourself into group conversations and resist the urge to run away. You don’t have to say anything, but listen and maintain eye contact.
Not only will you feel less anxious, but presenting an open body posture is also a positive social cue to others.
This goes back to the point above. Listen to what others are talking about and try to further the conversation, hopefully to a topic that you find interesting. People are generally open to sharing more if they feel that you’re sincerely engaged in what they have to say. Bonus points: if they’re doing the talking, you don’t have to do anything.
Because nobody else does. Feeling super embarrassed because you just shared that awkward story about seeing your grandparents naked? Nobody. Else. Gives. A. Shit. So stop feeling embarrassed over nothing. Either laugh it off on the spot or pretend that nothing has happened. But please, for heaven’s sake, don’t say “AWKWARD!” and do the awkward turtle. It doesn’t help.
1. We choose our words carefully so others don’t have to wade through a river of words to understand what we are saying.
2. We have imagination and rich inner worlds.
3. We are more likely to access our innermost thoughts and creative ideas because we embrace solitude.
4. We are capable of great focus, which comes in handy when completing pretty much any task that requires extended periods of concentration (advanced mathematics, writing, art, science, etc.).
5. We tend to process greater volumes of information in any given situation. It is for this reason that we tire more easily from overstimulation. For real-Google it!
6. We embody the old adage “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason”. Everyone likes to be listened to.
7. According to my research, most introverts tend to carefully think things through before acting, which has obvious advantages. Personally, I don’t fit into this category because I tend to take a more intuitive, emotional approach to decision making (anyone else out there like me?).
8. We can be quite observant of both environmental and social subtleties. While others are yammering away, we’re taking everything in and processing it in our ever-active minds.
9. We are well-loved by landlords and the elderly for our quiet, peaceful nature (ever seen an advertisement for a loud, wild, party-loving tenant? Didn’t think so).
10. No longer banished to the world of trolls, hobbits and prudish librarians, we can now bust free from stereotypes and show the world who we really are.
11. We, not the extroverts, do the heavy lifting required to change civilizations and societies for the better.
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myths #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them; it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.