“Everyone shines, given the right lighting.” – Susan Cain
Social lives are important to each individual person. They’re how we connect with other people and create and build friendships, as well as expand our horizons. Most people learn how to socialize at a young age, and are quite good at it. Other people become social butterflies, and go above and beyond in terms of socializing. However, there are a few people who don’t socialize well and don’t know much in terms of fixing that.
Those who have a hard time socializing tend to run into the issues of having trouble maintaining friendships and fostering good relationships with other people. Social introverts tend to lack confidence (because they’re constantly worried about other people’s perception), which makes it hard for them to take the plunge and interact with people without feeling self-conscious and coming off as awkward.
On the other hand, “many times, people confuse introversion with being anxious, depressed, antisocial, or not fun, and that is not at all true. One of the biggest challenges with being an introvert is trying to control other people’s perception, which isn’t always easy…” says Tyler Turk, CEO and Founder of Crated With Love.
The best way to turn that around is for social introverts to find ways to gain their confidence again. It’s possible!
Here Are 4 Behaviors That Help Introverts Reverse Social Anxiety
1. Ask friends for help
Even the most socially awkward people tend to have one or two good friends who will be willing to help them get out of their comfort zone and learn how to socialize. Friends can point out where you need help in certain social areas – if you’re feeling too awkward talking to other people, or your jokes tend to fall flat, or if you just have a hard time getting out of your house during the week.
“By understanding the world of the extrovert, you can be more mindful of their social needs. It can be a difficult needle to thread, but work on developing personal strategies that don’t exhaust you but also don’t result in you being perceived as rude,” says Dr. Alice Boyes.
Whatever you need, friends are a great way to help point out what areas need work and help you build up your confidence without judgement.
2. Don’t give up
Even if something goes wrong, like you say something embarrassing or you make a mistake in socializing, don’t give up. Sure, it’s a little uncomfortable, but in the end, no one is going to remember that one embarrassing thing you said a few months ago.
Everyone has times in their lives where they embarrass themselves. If you give up trying to socialize just because one thing went wrong, you’ll never gain your confidence back. “Decide that becoming confident is a priority for you and realize that building confidence will require you to step outside of your comfort zone,” says author Joanna L K Moore.
Take a deep breath and roll with the punches, because people will always remember the good things more than they will the bad.
3. Be yourself
This one might seem like a no brainer, but being yourself is actually the most important thing when it comes to being confident and gaining a bit of social skill. If you try to be someone else, you’re only going to feel comfortable when you have that mask on.
“You’re probably more focused on the perceived downsides to being an introvert, so find out why it’s good to be an introvert. There is usually a positive and a negative side to any personality trait, so look for the positive ones,” adds Moore.
Starting off by being who you really are is going to make it so that everyone who hangs around you already likes you for your true self. Plus, you won’t have to be pretend to be someone else and mess up. You’ll always find people who like you for who you are, and those are the people that will give you the confidence you need to be social.
4. Practice makes perfect
When you try to become better at socializing and gaining confidence, you need to make sure that you go out and practice as much as you can. Take a friend to help you so that you don’t feel pressured to talk to too many new people at once. But, if you go out to a bar or a social event of some kind, practicing your new social skills will make it easier and easier.
The easier it is to be social, the more confident that you feel. It’s kind of a feedback loop – when you’re not good at socializing, you don’t feel confident, and if you don’t feel confident, you don’t get better at socializing. Practice does, in fact, make perfect, and the more you socialize the more confident you’ll feel.
Social introversion can cause a lot of problems in someone’s life, especially if they lack confidence, but the best thing is knowing that it doesn’t have to be this way. Confidence is something that everyone can learn, even if it doesn’t feel like it! Once you learn confidence, being more social comes right along with it.
“Being an introvert in an extroverted world can be hard enough without struggling with shyness, too. But it is very possible to become a confident introvert. And as you accept your introversion, as well as the other parts of yourself, the confidence will come and your shyness will subside. You will become a confident introvert,” concludes Moore. Don’t let yourself give up.