So you’ve decided you want to be more outgoing. But there’s a problem: You just don’t like socializing most of the time do you?
It’s such a hassle. You’d like to talk to new people but they’ll probably wonder what the hell you want or why you’re approaching them. They’ll likely just ignore you and you’ll feel embarrassed.
For you, going out isn’t worth it. Even if you go with friends, you mostly stand quiet off to the side. You see people you’d like to talk to, but never bring yourself to do it.
So what’s the point, right?
You’ve just decided you don’t like socializing all that much. So it’s OK that you’re not that good at it. Except you know, deep down, you really DO want to be able to talk to new people and even make new friends.
So what the heck do you do?
First, Realize Introversion May Be Part of the Issue
Introverts get energy from being alone with their thoughts. Extroverts get their energy from being social. So for an introvert, it takes energy to be social.
That’s part of the reason you feel so “drained” after being around people a lot. This is natural and it isn’t going away. You don’t “become an extrovert” if you’re born an introvert. Being introverted is part of your genetics.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to be more outgoing, because you can. You can learn to be the most social, charismatic and talkative person in the room if you really want to; it’ll just wear you out much faster than it would an extrovert. (IMPORTANT: Realize it’s not necessary to be THAT social to make friends or be liked)
Remove Some of the Pain Associated With Being Outgoing
As mentioned above, being outgoing might bring up feelings of rejection, embarrassment and stress. It makes sense you’d swear off being more social.
But imagine for a second you’re a very socially skilled person. You CAN go into just about any setting–a bar or club, your work, a birthday party or networking event–and you know how to easily start talking with strangers. They enjoy talking with you and engage you back.
Now, if that were your reality (and forget for now if you think it’s possible or not), do you think you’d enjoy going out more and being outgoing?
I’m thinking you might. See part of the reason you don’t enjoy socializing is all the pain you have associated with it. There’s so much anxiety involved with the process that you’re wasting buckets of energy worrying about:
- How well you’re doing
- If this person likes you
- If you’ll be rejected or not
So it’s NOT that you don’t like socializing or being outgoing. It’s not that it just “isn’t for you.” It’s that you just aren’t that good at it yet. But add the right skills and take away some of your anxiety and you’d get a lot more enjoyment out of it.
If you want even more suggestions on how to improve socially, check out my free conversation tips newsletter.
Consider If You’re Rationalizing Because of Fear
You’re saying, “yeah, I don’t really even like socializing. I’m just that type of person.” But I’m betting the real reason you’re latching onto that “story” is you’re trying to let yourself off the hook. That way, you don’t have to go talk to people and you don’t have to fail at it again.
Truth be told, you’d really like to be good at socializing. It’s just, you’ve failed at it so many times with half-hearted efforts, telling yourself you don’t like it is easier than really trying to improve.
DO Stop Believing You Don’t Have Anything to Say
Don’t worry, Journey won’t mind, because mind blanks make being social a chore don’t they? You want to go up and talk to people or keep conversations going, but you have nothing to say. It’s stressful and not fun.
Here’s the thing, usually when you’re not sure what to say, it’s because you’ve been embarrassed socially in the past. So you have too high a standard for what needs to come out your mouth. You think, “people will criticize me if I say something silly or stupid.” (I’ll tell you from experience, most of the time this isn’t true or isn’t as bad as you imagine.)
So no matter what pops in your head to say (most of which would probably work fine), your brain instantly STOPS you from saying it.
- “NO, that’s not good enough.”
- “They won’t like that.”
So while there’s lot’s going through your head you could say, you automatically censor it and it feels like you have nothing to say. What’s happening is you’re being too self-critical.
Also, you’ve got OTHER voices in your head saying,
- “I’m not coming off well right now.”
- “Oh no not again! I hate when I seem awkward like this and don’t know what to do.”
Or any number of other self-conscious things. In other words, your anxiety in the moment drowns out all original thought that could be useful in that situation.
- Develop better social skills and increase confidence talking to people so you feel more comfortable engaging new people.
- Then you’d get more pleasure from those interactions because people would start to engage you back.
- Then you’d enjoy being social and outgoing more because there’d be less anxiety and pain associated with the process.
- So you’d want to go out and socialize more and it would be a positive cycle that fed on itself.
But how do you start that cycle?
You push through the crap right now, that’s how. You get yourself out there and practice being more social even if you don’t feel like it. You take baby steps even though you don’t think you’re good enough.
In other words, you get there step by step. You have to start somewhere.
Now as I mentioned above, you don’t have to start practicing in bars and clubs. Those are actually the worst places to get better in my opinion. Look for opportunities you already have around you, like work and such.
And again, there’s plenty of advice and suggestions in the free conversation tips newsletter if you’d like to check that out too.
Just remember, nothing worth accomplishing comes easy. It takes a bit of effort. But in the end, gaining the skills that let you enjoy being social, meet new people and make any situation an adventure… In my opinion that’s one of the skills MOST worth accomplishing in life.