According to Psychology Today, extroverts make up 50 to 74% of the population. The remaining 16 to 50% belongs to the world’s introverts. You can usually identify the two on sight. Extroverts are the social butterflies; quick to make new friends, chat with strangers, and take risks in new environments. The social introvert, on the other hand, prefers their solitude, quiet, and “me time.”
In some cases, that includes losing hours at a time to your favorite video game.
There’s no problem with that, but sometimes acting like an extrovert has its advantages. Here are 10 ways you can break out of your cocoon and become a social introvert butterfly. With these tips, you can start getting social even when you’re offline.
1. Small Steps Before Giant Leaps
Taking a giant leap outside of your comfort zone can cause social anxiety to kick in. Instead, take your time by making slow steps forward.
To start, recognize your habits. Do you usually go to the same places and do the same things with the same people? Try something new instead.
Try going to a coffeehouse or party where there are people you don’t know. Instead of sitting with friends, chat with someone new.
If that’s too big of a step, go out with friends but strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know well.
This small step can keep you in your comfort zone while helping you learn how to be outgoing.
2. Speak to Strangers
I know; this one kind of goes against the rules we’re taught as children.
Talking to someone you already know well is easy. Chatting with people you don’t know, on the other hand, takes you a step outside of your social introvert habits. Once you learn how to speak with strangers, you can talk to just about anyone.
Conversational skills can even benefit your career and networking.
Talking to a stranger at a bar can help you develop advanced social skills in the future. Try a one-on-one conversation with someone first. As you grow more comfortable, you will eventually find your way into small groups.
The next time you get coffee, try starting up a conversation with the barista.
Ask about their favorite drink to make or how long they’ve worked there. Asking small questions can help lead you into bigger, more meaningful conversations.
3. Keep Calm
Chatty, energetic extroverts can sometimes feel overwhelming to a social introvert.
If you find yourself in a conversation with someone who speaks a lot, take a breath. Remind yourself that you have just as much to say as they do. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, recognize the opportunity in front of you.
This is a chance to learn how to speak up. Find an opportunity to make it a two-way conversation. Remember, you have opinions and stories to tell, too!
4. Act Out
According to this research, introverts and extroverts have different verbal styles.
Start learning from your talkative sociable opposites. Their behavior and habits can teach you how to be more social and likable. For example, you can:
- Smile a lot (feel free to train in front of the mirror if you need practice)
- Speak up and slow down so people can understand what you’re saying
- Ask people questions and actively listen to keep the conversation going
- Ask for advice, which makes people feel important
- Ask open questions instead of “yes” or “no” questions that can stall a conversation
Acting as an extrovert can help you become more social with every conversation.
5. Silence Is Okay
There’s nothing wrong with preferring silence. Chances are you’ll experience a few moments of silence during these conversations. If you do, remind yourself they’re normal.
Eventually, they’ll stop feeling so awkward.
6. Quit Controlling
Censoring yourself because you’re worried about how people will judge you won’t get you far. Chances are people don’t care as much as you think they do. After all, they have their own problems to deal with.
Instead of controlling yourself, try to enjoy the moment instead.
Try meditating to learn how to stop questioning and controlling everything you say and do.
7. Discover New Hobbies
Find people in your city who share the same interests you do.
It’s easier to defeat your social anxiety if you can share a passion with someone. Meetings or clubs give you the chance to meet new people who share your hobbies and experiences.
If you have a thing for games and puzzles, try Breakout Games. This is a chance for any social introvert to work as a team with other puzzle lovers in the area.
8. Set Simple Goals
You won’t end your social anxiety overnight, but that’s okay! Focus on setting small, realistic goals.
For example, you can strike up a conversation with one new person every day. Speaking with someone new can help build your momentum and confidence with every conversation.
9. Get Help From Friends
Your outgoing, sociable friends can help introduce you to new people.
Having your friends nearby in new social situations can give you a sense of familiarity and comfort.
Make sure you don’t hide behind your friends, though. Instead, focus on your smile and remind yourself to remain confident. This is your chance to step forward and speak up without feeling alone.
10. Make It About Them
If you’re nervous about having the attention on you, turn the spotlight in the opposite direction.
Start by asking questions. Show genuine interest and keep the conversation going. Use active listening as the other person tells their story.
Taking the attention off yourself can help you interact with someone and become more familiar with new people. Over time, it will become easier to open up yourself and answer their questions, too.
Break Out of Your Cocoon: How to Stop Being a Social Introvert
Ready to break out of your cocoon and become a social butterfly? With these tips, you can work past the label of “social introvert” and soar through new experiences instead!
Check out the Gaming section of the blog for more ways to play with new friends!