As someone who lives their life in front of the camera, it might surprise you to hear that I am actually an introvert. I relish in time spent at home and I would rather curl up on the couch and watch a movie or give myself a manicure on a Friday night than step foot outside of the house. On top of being introverted, I also have a mild case of social anxiety which has often impeded me from attending large events or making an effort to join in on group hangs (hello difficulty making friends). However, because the type of work that I do often requires me to show up to events and actually interact with people, I have had to find ways to channel my anxieties into positivity so that I can show up and be my best self when the occasion arises. Today, I wanted to share a few tips for introverts* that have helped me feel more confident and extroverted in hopes that if you deal with these feelings, that they can help you too!
*For the record, I do know that a lot of introverts don’t deal with feelings of social anxieties or shyness. This post is simply intended for those that do share some of these feelings and experiences with me. I’m also not a doctor so want to point out that these are tips that I have come up on my own as coping mechanisms. If you are dealing with severe social anxiety, I urge you to talk to someone you trust or contact your doctor.
1. Start Small, Go Big: Working in an industry that thrives on throwing events can be difficult for introverts, especially when I’d much rather be at home making dinner than out making small talk. But no matter what industry you work in, there is always going to be an event that you must show face at. If I know I have a big event coming up that I need to attend, I like to practice by hanging out with a friend that I am 100% comfortable with a few days beforehand. Not only does meeting up with a friend help me to relax before the bigger event, but our conversations more often than not, leave me feeling inspired and ready to take on whatever comes my way. And who knows, maybe one of the conversations I had with my friend will be a great conversation starter at my next big event.
2. Just Say Yes: One of the hardest things I have found about being introverted and dealing with shyness and social anxiety has been to just agree to go to whatever I am invited to. Since starting my blog I have become much better at becoming a “yes” person but sometimes it still plagues me to agree to go to events I know I should but sometimes just can’t. If you find that you have been shying away from invites as of late I think that the best thing you can do is just say YES to the next thing that pops into your inbox. While it might not be the answer to all of your problems I have found that the more I say yes the easier each event becomes.
3. Ask The Questions: It’s one thing to show up to an event that you were nervous to attend in the first place but it is another to get up the courage to strike up a conversation. To deal with thoughts like “what do I talk about“, “what if there are awkward pauses“, etc, etc…I make it a point to try to direct most of the attention to the person I’m talking to by asking them questions. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m asked a question I will gladly answer, but generally people LOVE to talk about themselves. If you hate attention being on you I say ask, ask again and ask some more, I promise you by the end of the conversation the person you were chatting to will think they’re your new BFF!
4. Let People Know Your Feelings: I know that it can sometimes be difficult to share your feelings and emotions with others for fear of being judged, but in my opinion, there is something to be said about vulnerability. In my experience, I have found that expressing my anxieties, fears and emotions have always done me a better service than keeping them all bundled up inside. Letting my guard down my with friends is a given, but sometimes I find that opening up to those I’ve just met can also feel empowering. I’d say that 99% of the time if I’m speaking to someone new and simply tell them I am a little shy or nervous they become so understanding and are more than willing to try to take some of the pressure off myself. Sometimes, they will even share that they too deal/have dealt with the same feelings in their lifetime.
5. Know When It’s Time to Relax And Say No: Just as it is important to say yes, it is equally as important to know when it is time to say no. One thing that all we introverts have in common, whether or not we are shy, is that we get our energy by spending quality time alone. In my experience, if I have a few days (let’s be honest, even one day) where I have to attend events, I will always find myself feeling mentally, and sometimes even physically, drained. As an introvert, we have to know that it is OKAY to say no if whatever we’ve been invited to is not going to inspire or feed our souls in some way. Let’s be real, sipping a glass of wine and curling up with my dog is often times much more appealing than anything that is going on outside of the house.