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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    How to Be Social Even if You're an Introvert

    When you are a self-proclaimed social misfit, it can be difficult to shake off the idea that your one true hope for ever finding companionship is lying dormant within you. You may have heard stories of emotionally isolated individuals who suddenly after years of introversion find themselves connected with friends and family, but these tales don’t often apply to those of us who struggle with a deep social discomfort.

    It might appear easier to adopt the role of spectator in life than to accept invitations to parties and conversations that often fail to become comfortable or fruitful. Yet, by avoiding the pain of social rejection, you are compromising your ability to experience real connection. So, how can a social outcast go from hidden hermit to popular counterpart?

    One surprisingly effective way of connecting with others is to acknowledge the discomforts and strangeness of general social situations by voicing them aloud. By embracing the “weirdness” and awkwardness of first impressions and small talk with others, you can show both yourself and those around you that fear does not need to keep you outside the group. Open dialogue about the annoyance of typical conversations can quickly break the ice, providing you with the support of those who have likely fought those same battles before you.

    Another approach may include accepting invitations to activities, gatherings or events that intrigue or even frighten you, doing basic research beforehand can help to allay any fears of going deep-sea snorkelling or ceiling painting if they are not activities that normally captivate your interests. This not only allows you to be adventurous and try something new, it increases your faith in your capacity to handle uncomfortable social circumstances, empowering you to make further climbs up the ladder of popularity.

    Getting out of your comfort zone and interacting with people can involve the humble task of merely listening. Though on the surface this appears relatively risk-free, listening closely enough to appreciate someone else’s perspective requires bravery and practice. Seeking people who hold different and contrasting beliefs, listening closely and empathizing, shows your dedication and respect for the person speaking – qualities that can win over every soul. Eventually, this trust will also form between you as individual and will lead to mutual regard and understanding.

    Lastly, genuine good deeds cover a lot of guilt and squeamishness when approaching social situations with unfamiliar faces. It takes time, courage and bravery to escape the gate of terror into large crowds, and such a feat can often only be achieved by encouraging yourself with acts of kindness towards others. Being charitable and understanding through donations, volunteer work, word-giving etc can create a virtuous cycle of positivity and confidence in your own capacities.

    At the core of all advice, however, remains one fundamental truth, reminding you that while making friends and finding social acceptance may be difficult, staying alone is far worse. After having learned some new coping strategies and taken positive steps towards being social, you soon may be able to call yourself not a misfit but simply…fellow human being.

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