“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson, an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet, emphasized the importance of being social and contributing to society. This quote is relevant because we can’t add value to the world if we keep to ourselves and live anti-social lives.
Being introverted means being around others is mentally draining. An introverted person needs alone time to recharge. On the other hand, a shy person becomes anxious or nervous when meeting people they are not immediately comfortable with. Being introverted and shy are not the same thing, though a person can be both. Neither of those personality types should be anti-social though, because humans are social beings and we need to spend time with others, otherwise we end up living a lonely life.
Here are some tips to become more social as an introvert:
- Go to social settings: A workout group, a special-interest group, a class, etc. Surround yourself with people regularly. The more you do this, the easier it is for you to become social.
- Greet people: Don’t worry about starting conversations. Just focus on showing up and giving greetings. It’s ok to be quiet. No one is going to expect you to talk much and that’s ok. Greeting others with a smile lets them know that you’re friendly and you want to be part of the group.
- Don’t plan the entire conversation: Many anti-social people who get anxious end up rehearsing an entire conversation in their head before even talking to anyone. You’re not the only one who does this and you don’t need to do this because the conversation will never go the same way you rehearsed it. All you need to rehearse is your introduction. A one-liner stating your name and what you do.
- Find extroverted people: When you’re ready to start engaging with others, find the person who exudes energy. If you try to have a conversation with another introverted or shy person, your conversation will not go well. Extroverted people love to talk, and chances are, they might even approach you before you approach them.
- Remember FROG: A great way to continue a conversation is to ask questions. Ask a FROG question. FROG stands for Family, Recreation, Occupation, and Goals. And if they give a short reply, you can follow up with “why do you say that?” or “tell me more.” Jump onto the right follow-up question to keep the conversation going. Make the conversation about them, and not just about you.
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. This quote emphasizes the importance of being social and making connections with others. In summary, being introverted or shy doesn’t mean you have to be anti-social. By taking small steps like going to social settings, greeting people, not planning the entire conversation, finding extroverted people, and remembering FROG, you can become more social and add more value to the world.
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