If you want to know how to stop being an introvert, then we need to talk.
Being an introvert often means that you don’t enjoy yourself at social gatherings and don’t open up to people easily.
It’s understandable if you feel like your introversion is an obstacle that prevents you from having fun and making friends, especially if you are a teenager or young adult.
You see how easily your peers socialize with each other and secretly envy them. But if you want to become more social and outgoing, it’s not your introversion that you need to get rid of.
I’m here to tell you one simple truth you probably didn’t expect to hear: you can’t stop being an introvert. You can, however, become more social by improving your communication skills and working on your self-esteem.
What is introversion? And what it is not
Introversion is not a flaw or mental disorder – it’s a personality trait you are born with. In fact, introverts’ brains are wired in a different way.
First of all, they process external rewards differently than extroverts and are less motivated by chasing these rewards. This explains why introverts are less interested in having big social circles, getting everyone’s attention, and attending loud parties.
The quiet ones also rely on the parasympathetic neural system, which makes them more relaxed, contemplative, and cautious.
These features of the introverted brain explain why you recharge when being on your own and engaging in relaxing solitary activities. You can handle a limited amount of social interaction, and when you have too much of it, you feel exhausted.
Therefore, introversion is not about a lack of social skills, unlike what many people believe. Neither is it a synonym of insecurity. Introversion is all about the way you get your energy.
Want to know how to stop being an introvert? Try this instead
As we said above, you can’t just get rid of introversion. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t become more social and open to communication.
All it takes is to follow a few strategies. You won’t cease to be an introvert, but you will learn to connect with other people easier.
1. Accept your introversion
Even though you might really want to stop being an introvert, you can’t. Any attempts to reject the true nature of your personality will only make you unhappy.
The only result you will achieve is to do things that are unnatural to you, hang out with the wrong people, and, finally, live a life that is not meant for you. Sadly, most introverts go through this stage of life when they ruthlessly strive to become extroverts.
You can’t become open and relaxed with other people if you can’t accept who you are. It doesn’t make sense to try to become or pretend to be an extrovert. Therefore, the first step is to accept your introversion and the fact that you give your energy away during social interaction.
This will help you keep your life and mental well-being in balance. Exhausting yourself with constant socializing just because you desperately want to stop being an introvert is not the answer. Believe me, I’ve been there.
2. Study your responses to different social situations
Every introvert responds to typical social situations differently – some have more ease with communication than others. So it’s a good idea to study your responses and figure out which situations or activities make you most uncomfortable.
For example, you might struggle the most with meeting new people. Or you could experience difficulties with having small talk. Analyze yourself and your typical behaviors, and you will learn a lot of useful information about yourself.
3. Get out of your comfort zone step by step
It doesn’t make sense to force yourself to go clubbing every Saturday just because your peers do. If you don’t enjoy yourself in certain social settings – even if they look super fun to most people, then it’s better to try something else.
The best way for an introvert to become more social is to find like-minded friends. It’s not as difficult as it seems – all you have to do is to follow your hobby or interest.
For example, if you have a telescope and love stargazing, you can join a local amateur astronomy club or community. If you love painting, you can enroll in painting classes.
Commit to start a new activity or join a community, and you will soon meet like-minded people. You will be amazed by how easy it is to talk to people who share your interests!
4. Work on your self-esteem
As we said, introversion is not equal to insecurity, but many quiet people suffer from low self-esteem. It’s because in our society, introversion is not a popular personality trait to have, so they feel a lot of pressure from their families, teachers, and peers during childhood.
All this leads an introvert to feel inadequate and having all sorts of insecurities later in life. Thus, if you want to stop being too reserved around other people, you need to feel good about yourself first. A good place to start is to confront your inner critic.
This nasty little voice in your head often says ugly things about you, but you don’t have to believe it. Whenever you feel inadequate and beat yourself up for something, confront your inner critic and tell yourself something positive instead.
Keeping a journal is a useful practice for overcoming self-criticism and low self-esteem. You can write down your positive qualities, achievements, and the things you are grateful for and re-read your list whenever you feel not good enough.
5. Improve your social skills
Once again, examine your behaviors in social situations. You may ask your family members or friends about the things that you could improve for better communication. For example, many introverts are known to send confusing body language cues.
When you struggle with maintaining eye contact, the other person feels like you are not interested in what they are saying. The same happens when you ask no questions at all. Many introverts experience difficulties with these aspects of communication.
But the good part is that you can always improve them – it just takes some patience and practice. The next time you go to a social event, set a goal. You don’t need to start big – for example, your goal could be to ask the person you just met 5 questions or maintain eye contact for at least 3 seconds.
However, remember that overwhelming yourself with too many social activities is not a good idea, so always keep in mind your natural psychological need for relaxation and alone time.
Even though you may really want to know how to stop being an introvert, the truth is that you want to stop being shy, insecure, or unsocial. It’s not the same as introversion.
The bright side of the story is that with some commitment and practice, you can improve your self-esteem and social skills while being an introvert. Staying loyal to yourself is what matters most of all.