According to research, introverts make up between 16-50% of the population, which means that most people probably identify not as an introvert, but as an extrovert. Extroverts obtain their energy from social interactions, and usually have no problem making friends. For an introvert, however, knowing how to enjoy social experiences with others in public can seem like more of a chore than a leisurely activity.
As an introvert myself, I can attest to the fact that getting out into the world and engaging in frequent social interaction often seems like unnecessary rocket science. Where do you go to meet friends? Should you just go up to random people and start talking? How does this whole friendship thing work?
Introverts might not be the life of the party, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less worthy of having enjoyable life experiences with other people and relationships to go with them. Introverts can get lonely if they don’t seek out relationships, and come out of their shell to let others in. So, fellow introverts, maybe this list will come in handy for you if you want to get more social in your life.
Here are 5 ways to be an extroverted introvert:
1. Frequent coffee shops, book stores, or other low-key places close to home.
It’s no secret that introverts get stressed out in loud environments, so go to places where you feel secure and comfortable. Coffee shops and book stores are paradise for an introvert, because they offer a peaceful atmosphere full of others who probably like to have deep conversations, like yourself. Try to pick places within walking distance from your home, so you don’t put yourself too far out of your comfort zone. Also, you might recognize some of the people frequenting these businesses from your neighborhood or apartment complex, which means you will at least see some familiar faces.
Having quality interactions with others doesn’t have to be difficult; just smile, listen to the other person, and be yourself. People are friendly for the most part, and most love engaging in meaningful conversation.
2. Go to meetups in your community.
If you go to meetup.com, you can find a bevy of events in your area, ranging from yoga in the park to book clubs to hiking groups, and much more. If you feel overwhelmed or anxious going to a meetup where you won’t know anyone, bring a friend or relative along for support. Or, choose an event with a smaller group of people, so you can get to know others in an environment where you thrive. Most of all, choose activities or events that interest you, so you will have things in common with people already, making for stress-free, easy conversation.
3. Take a class that interests you.
If meetups or coffee shops aren’t your thing, why not sign up for a class in your area? If you check local newspapers and websites, they will likely have ads for a variety of classes, ranging from pottery to painting to cooking to yoga. While most classes cost money, the extra expense might be worth it if you can have fun while making some new acquaintances in the process. Plus, you might even walk away with a new skill under your belt, and any introvert gets excited over the prospect of learning something new.
4. Join a yoga or meditation studio.
If you want something relaxing that doesn’t involve a lot of talking, yoga and meditation studios make the perfect place to meet new people. Just being in the room with others who wish to develop themselves and become better people can uplift and motivate you, even providing newfound confidence in yourself. Yoga and meditation teach you to look deep within yourself, silencing your mind and allowing you to become the silent observer of yourself. These skills can teach you to look at yourself differently, increasing your self-esteem when it comes to talking with others.
Plus, if you’ve been practicing yoga or meditation for a while, you can share stories with others about how your practice transformed your life, and they can share their experience with you. Inspirational stories can provide hours of conversation, so give it a try. A little yoga or meditation never hurt anybody.
5. Go jogging or running on your favorite trails regularly.
If you like to exercise outdoors, you can find tons of other people to connect with. Hiking, biking, running, and jogging are all popular activities, and most places have paved trails winding through a city park that you can check out for your exercise routine. As you start to build up a routine, you will probably see a lot of the same faces, and can strike up a conversation about your common interest of exercising outdoors. Maybe you can even set up a weekly meetup group with some of the people you come across, which will give you a regular opportunity to connect with others and form deeper bonds with them.
As an introvert, talking and connecting with people in public places can seem like solving an intrinsic, baffling puzzle, but you will get better with practice. An unfortunate amount of people today feel lonely and disconnected from others, but sometimes, you have to make the first move.
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You don’t have to be the world’s greatest conversationalist, or tell the funniest jokes, or have the most charismatic personality. You just have to make the effort, stay true to yourself, and let go a little bit. Everything else will fall into place as long as you believe in yourself, and believe that you are worthy of loving, supportive, caring people in your life.