We live in a very extroverted society. People are expected to be sociable regardless of how draining it is. For introverts who prefer their own company rather than social niceties and ambiverts who exhibit both introverted and extroverted traits, living in modern society is exhausting. If you identify as an introvert or an ambivert, what can you do to become more extroverted? Here are seven easy steps for you to follow to make surviving this extrovert-centric society a little bit easier.
1. Make It a Performance
Many of the most talented actors and performers in the world identify as introverts, but they make their living putting themselves out there in front of thousands of people every single day. Countless famous individuals, from Nicole Kidman to Lady Gaga, admit to feeling shy or preferring to avoid social situations. So how do they manage to be in the limelight all the time?
To them, it’s a performance. It’s another persona that they can step into to take some of the pressure off themselves. The Lady Gaga you see at a concert is not going to be the same person as the Stefani Germanotta that you meet if she invites you over for lunch. Take the time to create yourself an extrovert persona that you can step into when you need a bit of extra help with the social necessities of the modern world.
2. Be Observant
Unless you never leave your house, you’re going to be surrounded by energetic extroverts in your daily life. Take the time to observe them — study their mannerisms and how they approach different situations, then figure out how you can adopt these behaviors in your daily life. This step isn’t a fool-proof method, but learning to mimic the behaviors of the extroverts you interact with in your daily life can give you enough bricks to build up your performance persona.
3. Smile More
Imagine two people standing in front of you. One has their arms crossed over their chest, their head down and their shoulders hunched. A frown crinkles their features, and they won’t meet your eyes. The other is standing with their head up, shoulders back, arms hanging loosely at their sides and a smile on their face. Which person seems more approachable to you?
Body language is essential when it comes to learning how to become an extrovert. Your posture, position and expression can sometimes say more to someone than the words that come out of your mouth. Practice smiling more, whether you’re giving a smile to your Starbucks barista or a random person walking down the street. Take the time to learn how to read body language in others as well.
4. Become an Active Listener
Introverts have a leg up here, as they tend to be excellent listeners already. Practicing active listening — paying attention to the conversation rather than letting it flow over you — as doing so can make it easier to engage with the people around you. You can use this information to move the discussion forward or determine if they want to end it and move on to the next person.
This step ties in with our last step of learning to read body language. You can tell by watching people whether they’re interested in a conversation or just standing there because of the rules of social engagement. Think back to the two people you imagined a moment ago. Which one of them wants to continue the conversation with you, and which one wants to escape to the safe comfort of social media?
5. Put Down the Phone
This one can be challenging for introverts. As soon as a situation gets uncomfortable or too populated, we retreat to our phones, returning to our hard-earned wallflower status. If you want to be an extrovert, the first thing you need to do is put down the cell phone. Leave it in your pocket or purse, and actively try to engage with the people around you. Don’t be a wallflower — instead, put yourself in the middle of the room or the center of the action, and make yourself available for conversation.
6. Take Baby Steps
The transition from extrovert to introvert isn’t something that will happen overnight, especially if you’re an inherently shy individual. This transformation is something you’ll have to approach with baby steps — and expect to take one step forward and two steps back at the beginning. Don’t let it discourage you. Your brain is wired for introverted tendencies, and it takes weeks — at the very minimum — for your mind to write new pathways to let you be more extroverted without ending up exhausted.
7. Recharge Afterward
Step seven is the most crucial one for introverts who are beginning the long journey toward extroversion. Take the time to recharge after every encounter — your mental health is more important than being social at an office party.
You may find that over time, you need less and less time to recharge as your brain begins to rewire itself, but until you reach that point, your recharge period is essential. Spend some time on your own, get a hobby or surround yourself with people who refill your introvert batteries instead of draining them.
Find Your Extroverted Side
Rewiring your brain is never an easy task, but it’s necessary if you want to learn how to be more extroverted. Be patient with yourself, and take all the time you need to recharge afterward. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy being an extrovert.
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