Tuesday, September 27, 2005

How to go from Introvert to Extrovert

Some of us are introverts and many are extroverts. Being a cronic introvert will make one a social outcast and a person who is an extreme extrovert will be considered a pain in the ass by others. So I guess the best way is the middle path that is neither a introvert or an extrovert but someone who adapts according to circumstances.
Stevepavlina has writen this wonderful article called Steps needed to change from an Introvert to an Extrovert which explains the steps needed for changing one's behaviour to get the most out of life which I am listing in a short format.

Blocks to becoming an extrovert

Undervaluing extroversion - Spending time alone and with people are equally important. If you’re very introverted, you may undervalue the positive role people can play in your life, such as knowledge, friendship, growth, laughter, and so on. The optimal outcome is to strike a balance between the two. You don’t have to give up the introvert activities you enjoy. In fact, when you balance them with more social activities, you’ll probably find them even more satisfying. Steve says - "After several nights of being around people, I really look forward to a night by myself to read, meditate, write, etc. And after lots of time alone or with my family, I’m itching to go out and be around other people".
Underdeveloped social skills - Social skills can be learned like any other skill set. One reason introverts shy away from social activities is that they don’t feel comfortable because they don’t know what to do, especially if the unexpected were to occur. Being able to start up a conversation with a stranger AND feel completely comfortable doing it is a learnable skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Embrace the fact that you’re a beginner, and don’t compare yourself to others.
Envisioning yourself as the wrong kind of extrovert - If you find the extroverted people around you shallow and perhaps even annoying, why would you want to be more like them? You wouldn’t. When I was a kid, I really didn’t want to be more like the extroverts I knew. Even as an adult, my vision of an extrovert was an in-your-face salesperson who only wanted to build a shallow relationship with you so they could sell you something. It seemed very fake and phony to me. And of course that vision prevented me from ever wanting to be like that. But you needn’t choose such a limited vision for yourself — you’re free to form your own vision of a positive way to be more extroverted.
Hanging out with the wrong people - Why would you want to spend more time with people you don’t like? If becoming more extroverted means spending more time with people you’d rather avoid, you’ll have no motivation to do it. Again, you’re free to break this pattern and form a social group that you’d love to be a part of.
Overvaluing online socializing - Online socializing has its place in your life, but it’s a pale shadow compared to face-to-face, belly-to-belly communication. Voice and body language can communicate a lot more than text, and emotional bonds are easier and faster to establish in person.

If you have some of these blocks and want to get past them, the first step is to acknowledge them and consider how they’re holding you back. Then begin to work on them just as you would any other challenge in your life. Focus your intentions, set goals, make plans, and start taking action. It may be awkward and clumsy at first, but just accept that, and get moving anyway.

Suggestions for becoming more extroverted

Envision the type of extrovert you’d like to be. What’s your ideal outcome? If you feel too introverted and want to be more extroverted, start by working on your vision of your outcome. Chances are that if you’ve been making little progress in this area, you have a somewhat negative vision of extroverts.
Think of relationships in terms of what you can give, not in terms of what you can get. If you seek to build new relationships based on mutual giving and receiving, you’ll have no shortage of friends. Identify people with whom you’d like to build a relationship, and start by giving.What can you bring to a relationship that will be of benefit to someone else? When you figure out what that is (and it’s probably many different things), you’ll have an easier time attracting new friends into your life.
Find the right social group for you. Consciously consider the types of people you’d want to have as friends. There’s no rule that says this has to be your peers or co-workers. I actually find myself more interested in making friends with people who are much older than me as opposed to people my own age or slightly younger. Don’t be afraid to stretch beyond the most obvious peer group and hang out with people from different ages, neighborhoods, cultures, countries, etc. You might find the variety to be a lot of fun.
Play from your strengths. It’s interesting that many introverts have no trouble socializing online. In that environment they’re able to play from their strengths. But you can also use your strengths consciously as leverage to branch out into more face-to-face socializing. If you socialize online, see if you can’t use that strength to build new local relationships. While people have done this in global forums like online games, I think it’s easier to try it in local forums. For instance, there are message boards for people who’ve recently moved to Las Vegas.
Join a club. It’s old advice, but it still works. The advantage is that you’ll find people who share similar interests, which makes it easier to build new relationships. One good club can fill your social calendar. If you join a club and find that it’s not right for you, quit and join something else.
Develop your social skills consciously. You can learn to become better at building rapport, introducing yourself, keeping a conversation going, asking someone out on a date, feeling socially comfortable instead of nervous, and so on. You don’t need to be shallow and manipulative about it, but genuinely build these skills because it will greatly enhance your life. A small basic set of social skills can go a long way because you’ll get to reuse them every time you meet someone. Whatever skill you’d like to develop, try doing a Google or Amazon search on it, and you’ll probably find plenty of articles and books.


Anonymous said...

although im sure this post was well intentioned, introverts dont chose to be introverts, and can't train themselves to be extroverted. There is a lack of understanding of what an introvert is and why they have introverted tendancies.

Anonymous said...

Yes, nice idea in theory, but introversion is something fundamental in the brain, not something superficial that is so easily changed. Additionally, this article is greatly lacking in any real substance. Introverts learning how to better socialize in an extroverted world is a reasonable goal. Going from introvert to extrovert is by no means a reasonable goal. In fact, it's not even very logical.

Anonymous said...

everyone needs social skills no matter if u choose to be introverted or u just are. social skills are best learnt being social and around people.If u want to be more extroverted or social then study other extroverts and act kindly and listen. because no man is an island to himself we all need to feel like a part of society. that we mean something, that were important. anyway great blog, it was a good read.

Anonymous said...

it's good how you say that perhaps a middle path between extroversion and introversion is best. what annoys me is that often people equate introversion with lack of social skills.

sometimes i'm bored with social events because i just know what's going to come next. i know how i'm supposed to act and what is supposed to happen and i have a suspicion he likes me, she likes me, he doesn't, etc. but, i'm bored because it's so predictable. it's not always that way for me. and it's logical to argue that not socializing means you have less chance to learn social skills, but just because you're introverted doesn't mean you haven't picked up social skills.

whereas i've always wanted to call myself an introvert, there are times when i feel perfectly extroverted. in other words, around certain people, i tend to chat on and on and on...

so perhaps we should just forget about the words "introvert" and "extrovert" because they were probably made up by some kid who felt rejected when some other kid did not talk to him (and then grew up to become a noble psychologist)

Anonymous said...

this article is about making frineds not becoming extraverted

Anonymous said...

I haven't found any blog talking about an extrovert who became an introvert. I wish I could find. Anyway, the blog was fine.

Wayne said...

I'm successful at work being a manager of people, doing some sales activities, and client relations. However, I'm a 70% introvert according to Myers-Briggs. People are astounded by that when I tell them as they believe I am an extrovert. I already do everything the author says to do and mostly I do it well...however I don't ENJOY most people which is why I'm an introvert at the core. With the exception of the good friends that I do have, I find the average person uninteresting, unintelligent, and not that funny. Also, I don't need a person to like me to feel good about myself, which is I think at the root of extroverts...the need for constant validation.

I agree with the last poster that introversion is treated as a disease by extroverts. But I don't want to strike up a conversation with every extroverted (lonely?) cashier, doorman, co-worker, etc. that passes briefly into my life.