How to be a bold introvert

12 Jun

So you’ve dragged yourself out to a party that you didn’t want to go to because you would rather sit at home and finish your latest self help book on “how to be social”. But instead your friend has persuaded you to come out. You’re sat in a room full of people talking, laughing and joking but you have absolutely no interest in what they’re talking about. You try the small talk thing but fail to find enough trivial topics to talk about in 10 minutes. Next you try the laughing technique, by laughing at everything someone says…running the risk of looking awkward. But none of it feels right. You crave real communication and honest conversations but the environment stops you from getting that.

So what do you do in this situation? You could try and compete with the outgoing extrovert in the room. By shouting on the top of your voice and talking to 3 or 4 people simultaneously whilst dancing to the music…but there’s one problem the idea of being the centre of attention scares you right? So let’s rule that option out.

OR you could become a bold introvert! you could just be quiet and sit there peacefully observing the party. I know you secretly would quite enjoy doing that. But if you are feeling a tiny bit gregarious on the night and I mean the tiniest bit…you could try and spark up a conversation with someone.

But how do you actually become a bold introvert?

1. Detach yourself from the negative stigma that surrounds introversion

People often try and say that introverts are anti-social loners. But no…there’s nothing wrong with you…it’s just a different preference in communication. Yes introverts experience social anxiety but so can extroverts. Being an introvert is not definitive. You can have extroverted characteristics and still be introverted. No one is completely one or the other. But we all have certain characteristics that we’re most comfortable with. So detach yourself from the ignorant comments that introversion is a problem that needs to be fixed. It’s not. Your brain is just wired differently.

2. Harness your ability to build rapport with people

Introverted people are more likely to be in tune with their emotional feelings and those around them. They’re empathetic and compassionate which can be very positive when building new friendships. One to one conversations are commonly preferred amongst introverts because you can take the time to get to know someone on a deeper level. If you find yourself in a social setting try seeking out a person and start up a meaningful conversation. If they’re interested they’ll reciprocate if not they’ll move on. Keep doing this until you find someone you connect with. 

3.  Communicate in a way that you feel most comfortable

Use your unique skills of soft speaking and careful thought. Speak slowly and clearly. Don’t always try to match the pace and style of the other person. Converse in your own way.

4. Be unapologetic 

Be unapologetic in the fact that you may not always want to interact with people. Become unrestrained by the social constructs of this world that say you need to be more talkative and gregarious. Just be you. And be bold doing it. If people don’t feel comfortable with your quietness that’s their problem. Never feel like you need to put on an act to please others because they haven’t taken the time to understand your introversion.  

The truth is…a lot more people are introverted than you think. Many successful leaders display introverted characteristics such as Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and Bill Gates. So instead of feeling ashamed that you’re less sociable than everyone else, start recognising that you’ve been gifted with the ability to connect with people, be creative and become excellent leaders. 

So how do you become a bold introvert? Well it’s simple. Stay true to yourself and be bold doing it.

How do you cope in social situations? Do you try and act in a way that’s pleasing to others? Or do you not care?

**The issues presented in this post were inspired by the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain**

Book available at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-power-introverts-world-talking/dp/0141029196 

Ted Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4  

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