It can be difficult for introverts to make friends, or at the very least, they can struggle to be confident in social situations. This is completely understandable given that collaborative skills are not their strong suit.
When it comes down to it, most introverts have a different set of strengths from extroverts and this results in a differing set of needs when it comes to being socially confident. So here is a 19 tips for non-extroverts on how they can become more socially confident:
Take a step back and observe others before joining the conversation
Introverts often feel much more energized if they have an idea of what is going on around them, so before diving into conversations with people you’ve never met, try to tune in to their energy for a few minutes. This will allow you to better understand how involved (or not) they would like their involvement in the conversation to be.
Go ahead and ask relevant questions!
An introvert’s quiet demeanor might make someone think that they don’t want to be asked about their life or experiences, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Introverts simply take longer processing and organizing information before verbalizing it, which can sometimes lead them to forget about follow-up questions. If you are struck by something they say, don’t be afraid to ask them more!
Make an effort to become more comfortable around others
Introverts tend to be very good at analyzing people and situations, but this can sometimes make it harder for them to truly let loose. They may find themselves worrying about what the other person thinks of them or replaying what was said over in their head trying to determine if they were awkward or not. So instead of focusing on playing back every conversation in your head after you have left, force yourself out of your comfort zone and try reconnecting with those you spoke with later online through social media or messaging apps.
Take a class or join an interest group
One of the best things about college and universities is that they offer so many opportunities for you to meet new people with similar interests. Sign up for a class, find out if there are any clubs you can join, head over to the gym at your university; all of these places give you an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who might become kindred spirits as well as friends!
Meet new people online before meeting them in real life
Although it may sound counterintuitive to use social media as a way of meeting new people, it would be wise to take advantage of this medium if you tend to be anxious about meeting others face-to-face. Join groups or forums related to your hobbies or interests and get to know people from all over the world who share your passions before finally meeting them in person.
Utilize networking events
Networking events can be a great way for introverts to make new friends and contacts, but only if they go in with the right mindset. Rather than thinking of it as an opportunity to sell themselves, think of it as a chance to learn more about the other person and what they do. Ask questions, be genuinely interested in their responses, and you’ll find that networking becomes much less daunting!
Ask for help or advice
Although introverts are great at problem solving and analyzing, they may struggle with social interactions that require a bit of small talk. If you need a helping hand to break the ice, don’t be afraid to ask someone who has been standing alone in the corner for a few minutes. Chances are they have been hoping someone would come along so they wouldn’t have to stand there awkwardly anymore!
Accept invitations out of your comfort zone
Accepting invites out of your comfort zone can be hard, especially if you know the energy will not be something that is suited to your personality. However, it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes forcing yourself into an uncomfortable situation can lead to surprising benefits. You may meet a new friend or learn something new about yourself, so don’t write off those invitations just yet!
Be honest with yourself and others
Introverts are not naturally as social as extroverts, but this doesn’t mean they cannot be just as social as anyone else with effort and practice. If someone invites you somewhere or asks for help doing something, never say “yes” when your heart says “no.” Say what you really think and feel, and people will respect you for it.
Practice being more social!
The most important tip on this list is to be proactive. Introverts tend to have a lot of thoughts and feelings, so don’t sit around thinking about what you should do. Act! Start with one step–maybe it’s asking someone about their day or sharing something you are passionate about. After that first step, keep going until you find yourself enjoying your time out just as much as your introverted friends back home!
Use your natural strengths
Introverts are often great listeners and have a knack for paying attention to detail, so put these skills to good use! When you are in a conversation, make sure you are actively listening to what the other person is saying and try to ask follow-up questions. This will not only make the other person feel appreciated, but it will also help you learn more about them.
Take time for yourself
Although it may be difficult, it’s important for introverts to take some time for themselves after social interactions. This way, they can recharge their batteries and reflect on the conversation they just had. Spending some time alone after socializing will help you feel more energized and confident for your next encounter.
Fake it ’til you make it
Introverts often worry about how they are coming across to others, so one way to combat this is by pretending to be more extroverted than you actually are. This doesn’t mean changing your personality, but rather putting on a brave face and acting like the person you want to be. Eventually, this will become second nature and the real you will shine through.
Prepare for social encounters
One way to reduce anxiety before social events is to mentally prepare yourself for what could happen. If you know that there will be a lot of people there, try to picture yourself confidently chatting away with everyone. If you know that you will be meeting new people, think of some questions you can ask them to break the ice. By preparing yourself beforehand, you’ll feel more confident when the time comes.
Take care of yourself
It’s no secret that introverts need time alone to recharge, so make sure you are taking care of yourself both mentally and physically. Get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly. These things will help you feel your best both mentally and emotionally, which will in turn help you be more social.
Don’t compare yourself to others
It’s natural to compare ourselves to others, but this is especially harmful when it comes to our social lives. Don’t compare yourself to extroverted friends who seem to effortlessly make friends everywhere they go. Instead, focus on your own strengths and work on building relationships that are meaningful to you.
Make a list of topics to talk about
To keep the conversation going with someone new, it can be helpful for introverts to have a few things in their back pockets that they can bring up when necessary. Come up with a list of interesting subjects ahead of time so you always have something interesting to say!
Practice being assertive
One way to combat feelings of awkwardness or uncertainty is by practicing feeling confident even when you don’t feel comfortable. If you are walking down the street and see an acquaintance who wants to chat, resist the urge to just walk away and instead find a way to politely decline. This will not only help you come across as more confident, but it will also help you feel more comfortable being assertive in the future.
Have an escape plan
Finally, always make sure you have an escape plan in case things get too overwhelming. This could be anything from having a friend you can text to meet up with, to having a list of places to go when you need a break from socializing. Knowing that you have a way to take a step back if needed will help ease any anxiety you may feel before or during social events.
Overall, learning how to be more socially confident can be very difficult (and it’s definitely a journey, not a destination), but it’s worth it in the end. These tips are by no means an exhaustive list, but they will help you get started on your way to feeling more comfortable in social situations. With a little practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to overcome your shyness and start enjoying social interactions to the fullest! And most importantly, have fun and enjoy yourself.