Do you ever get nervous in social settings? Do you have a hard time getting out of your comfort zone when it comes to networking?
Well, if you can relate at all to being an introvert, meeting new people can be challenging.
To tell an introvert to “just be more social” or “don’t be so shy” is a huge ask, so we must first understand that each and every one of us is wired differently. For some, jumping into a conversation with new people or speaking up in a discussion comes naturally. For others, simply introducing themselves can make them want to crawl in the corner. That’s why, for an introvert, social anxiety can completely alter one’s ability to take advantage of networking opportunities and getting to know others.
Psychology Today brings up a good point that “When we think of people as being introverted, we often wrongly assume that they are people who don’t like people.”
In fact, those who consider themselves to be introverted, really do enjoy others, but often times find themselves thinking things like:
‘I want to be more social, but I just don’t know where to begin.’
‘I don’t know how to break out of my shell.’
That’s why I’d like to share with you some tips for meeting new people - think of it as an introverts guide to putting yourself out there! :-)
Start small and ease into it:
There’s no magic switch to help introverts to become more outgoing. So, the best way to get out of your comfort zone is to practice with regular or everyday interactions. For example, if you’re out for a jog and you see another jogger headed your way, this is an excellent opportunity to offer up a simple wave or nod, acknowledging the other person. When you continue to see familiar faces during your daily runs, making it a habit to say hello each time will help you to see those interactions as refreshing and positive, as opposed to feeling awkward or uncomfortable. You can’t go wrong with a warm smile! :)
Let’s say you are out walking the dog and bump into another dog owner. This is a great one because the fact that both parties have dogs is a no-brainer conversation starter. You can talk endlessly about your dogs, ask the owner questions about their dog, chat about local dog parks - you get the idea.
Activities, like going for a walk or walking the dog, are things you may practice daily, so incorporating these quick interactions with other people will help to build long-lasting habits of being comfortable casually chatting with others. So, here’s something to take with you: the next time you are at the market and ready to check out, as you approach the cashier, make it a point to ask that person how their day is going. This small gesture will not only brighten up someone else’s day but help you to get comfortable making that first move in putting yourself out there.
Incorporate the activities you already enjoy:
For an introvert, getting out of your comfort zone is not about forcing yourself to do something that makes you completely miserable but rather doing something that gives you that boost of encouragement to do things differently. If you are the kind of person who enjoys art or culture, think about trying a community art class or learning a new language. Getting involved in your community is a great way to not only meet new people but also engage in an activity where everyone is focused on the same central goal.
If you are taking a beginners class on learning a new language, you will be surrounded by others also starting at the same level. So, simply surrounding yourself with new like-minded people will help you see yourself as an equal, and not be so uncomfortable with trying something new.
If your regular routine is to go to the gym, pop in your headphones, and head to a workout machine, think about changing it up every once in a while by taking a group exercise class. Make a deal with yourself that once a week, you will commit to a group fitness class or any class you’d like.
It may be scary at first, but you have to remember that everyone in that class is in the same boat as you or was once in the same boat as you. Some may already be regulars while others are trying for the first time - but simply being there takes courage and that’s already something you have in common. And no matter the type of class, I say commit to something on the same day every week because naturally, you are going to start noticing those reoccurring faces. When you get used to seeing familiar people, it will be that much easier to strike up conversations before and after the class!
Don’t forget about your strengths:
The goal here is not to change someone from being an introvert to an extravert, so don’t force yourself out of “me time” or activities you enjoy alone, those are still important. If you’re an introvert, it’s totally okay to own that. Introverts tend to be a bit more reserved, so, for example, if you are a good listener and offer great advice, let people know!
Offering up a helping hand by being there to listen is a great way to connect with others. It builds trust and allows people to feel like they can rely on you. Over time, this will help to open the doors to more meaningful relationships, all while staying true to yourself.
Your strengths can be used as a catalyst to both forming new relationships and also building existing ones, so, start with your close friends and family. Asking questions, listening, and simply being present are great ways to engage. It will not only help you come out of your shell but also give you a way to practice, so that when you’re in new situations at work, social gatherings, etc., you know exactly what to do, with ease.
With that being said, I highly recommend making a list of your strengths. And don’t be afraid to ask the people closest to you because they may be able to shed light on the qualities and traits you’ve never realized.
If you feel like you are forcing yourself to participate in new activities just for the sake of feeling like you should participate, it might be time to rethink how certain social situations make you feel. Forcing yourself to socialize can be draining.
That’s why it’s important to be patient. New habits take time, but with patience and consistency, these networking tips can really help to open the door on becoming the best version of yourself. If you think of networking as a way to be there for others and attract more fulfillment and meaning in your life, you are definitely headed in the right direction.
But remember, take it one day at a time. And if you need a little help with daily rituals, then I have something very special for you. You can enjoy our powerful success and daily affirmations guide that I’d like to offer you for FREE right here.
I sincerely hope you enjoy these tips for introverts and welcome prosperity into your life with these daily affirmations.
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.