– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound
Sorry to break it to you, but being an introvert isn’t an excuse for sucking at conversation. All too often we introverts let ourselves skip social engagements by pretending we weren’t born to interact with other humans. But that’s just a crutch and leaning on it keeps us from standing on our own two feet.
Accepting and embracing the fact that we’re introverts is key. But so is recognizing that we live in an extroverted society where regular socializing is crucial to our friendships, love life, and career. And, believe it or not, developing social skills can actually make the process a lot of fun.
If you find it impossible to strike up a conversation with a stranger, it’s simply because you haven’t tried it enough. Granted, it’s way easier for extroverts to practice this skill because not only do they enjoy blabbing about whatever crosses their mind, they’re addicted to doing so. While introverts recharge by reading a book, watching a movie, or going on a hike, extroverts get their energy by talking to people.
But just because it’s harder for us introverts, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Socializing is really just a habit, so as soon as you start doing it, it becomes routine. And if you do it long enough, you’ll feel weird if you stop (the same thing goes for hiding at home, of course).
Now, by no means should you burn yourself out. We all have our limits. But you’re capable of far more than you give yourself credit for. And—if you want to—over time you can expand these boundaries further than you ever would’ve guessed.
If you’re not currently socializing much, you’ve got to start somewhere. And the easiest way is by doing the very thing your mother warned you never to do: talk to strangers.
Why strangers, you may ask? Because they’re the perfect people with whom to practice, since you’ll be anonymous and probably never see them again. And perhaps the best thing about strangers is they’re everywhere in a virtually unlimited supply. Whether you’re walking to the bus stop, buying groceries, or browsing at a book store, try saying something to that person passing by and see what happens.
The secret is that once you’re able to talk to complete strangers, every social situation will open up for you like a morning glory at sunrise.
So throw away that introvert crutch, strike up a quick chat with some rando, and stride confidently into your new future!