The terms "networking," "small talk" and "new people" are an introvert's biggest nightmare. Living in a world that is predominantly extroverted, it is a challenge to maintain an active social life while still finding enough "me" time.
Fortunately, the 10 tips below are ways even the extreme introvert can play both fields and settle into the gray area.
10. Rethink your social circle
You don't have to have hundreds of friends in your contact list to feel like you have an active social life. It's quite often the opposite situation that gives you a handful of supportive and genuine friends with whom you can create any type of social life you want.
Similarly, these friends will understand your need to step away or pass on a night out. Less is sometimes so much more.
9. Don't play the popular guy or girl
If being the center of attention gives you hives, there's no need to put yourself in social situations that cause serious awkwardness and discomfort.
Falling by the sidelines doesn't mean you're a freak or boring. It means you're not pretending to be someone you're not for the sake of entertaining a group of acquaintances. Find your social niche and start small.
8. Skip the small talk
Unless there is a serious reason for it, there is no need to use weather as a conversation icebreaker. Even then, just don't. Instead, ask questions and be interested in what the other person is saying.
Starting off with small conversations in small groups will quickly loosen you up and air out the awkwardness you may have felt initially. Thankfully, questions lead to a million different topics, so you'll never feel stuck for words.
7. Be yourself
Sometimes, your introverted personality leads you to laugh along when nothing is funny (to you), or lie about your job, favorite band or your thoughts on Miley Cyrus.
Just be honest; hiding behind some thought-up personality just so you can fit in is a lame way to make friends, especially when you're older. Understand that everyone respects honesty and individuality -- introverted or otherwise.
6. It's okay to say no
When you're feeling overwhelmed and need some alone time, feel free to share that information without shame or guilt.
It's easy to get carried away in social circles and activities, but if you're doing them just because everyone else is, you're breaking number seven and your own plans of snuggling up with your dog and catching up on "Game of Thrones."
5. Connect to other introverts
This seems like a logical suggestion, but so many introverts feel the need to be surrounded with extroverted people because that is what society essentially favors.
You are entitled to be proudly shy. Take ownership of that and reexamine what it really means in your life by connecting with other like-minded people. You won't be sorry.
4. Find your social edge
An introvert's comfort zone is home, in every sense of the word. Venturing out of that comfort zone in search of adventure and friendship can be extremely overwhelming and downright scary, but it doesn't have to be.
You shouldn't jump in to the social world with both feet. You should, however, find your edge and explore. Maybe go to a bar with your closest friend or meet one new person and grab lunch.
Yes, great things happen outside of your comfort zone, but it's up to you to find a way out, comfortably.
3. Talk it out
Communicating your fears and apprehension as an introvert can feel therapeutic. You may confide in a close friend or even a fellow introvert, and open up. We are all here to connect on some level, and everyone's personality is a chance to learn something new and share even more.
No matter what you decide to speak about, keep it on a level you're comfortable with. Starting is always the biggest step.
2. Turn the tables
If clubbing with your friends isn't your thing (and you swear you gave it your best shot), try switching it up a bit. Suggest a new venue or activity of which you're more fond, and see where that goes.
Chances are there are friends in your group who will take you up on your offer. They will try something new, and you will feel more relaxed; it's a win for all.
1. Never apologize
Being an introvert isn't a condition for which you have to apologize. It's your personality, and it's awesome. If you carry yourself with the same amount of pride and self-confidence you see in your extroverted friends, you'll soon come to realize that the only person judging you is yourself.
What matters the most is being honest and true to you, no matter into which kind of social circles you walk.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It