Updated: Apr 5
4 New Approaches You Can Start Today
I’ve been an introvert all my life. Growing up, I never understood what an introvert was. I suffered from social anxiety for as long as I could remember, I used to hate school as there was so much social interaction involved. When I left school and went to college the issues stayed with me. I struggled to meet people, had no social life, and was really lacking in confidence. Entering the workplace was such a daunting experience, as I always felt like I could never connect with people. I remember spending my lunch breaks walking around outside, just to avoid social interaction.
I made the decision that I needed to recreate a life for myself, I was sick of always being too quiet and having no friends. I started to really work on myself and gained a better understanding of who I was as a person and what being an introvert was all about. All my life I thought I was just shy and awkward, but I wasn’t. I started to learn that I loved one-on-one social interaction and had a genuine interest in connecting with people and learning about their lives. I learned that group interaction was something I didn’t enjoy as much, as I preferred connecting with people on a deeper level. Group situations can’t be avoided and shouldn’t be, I realised that I didn’t have to be the funny/outgoing one that society told me I should be. I was enough the way I was.
I'm honored to welcome Daniel Findlay to our community as a guest blogger on social skills. Many introverts consider this a "no go" area or perenial weak spot, but Daniel provides solid tips for each of us to raise our game.
I want to share some ways that you can improve your social skills as an introvert:
1. Getting out there and socializing
Introverts often spend a lot of time in their heads, and they might overthink things. Before going to do something, take the time to sit and process your emotions. It’s key that you don’t push your emotions away, as understanding your them helps you to understand yourself better. I used to always think I wasn’t an interesting person and I never took the time to sit and process this properly; the reason I thought I wasn’t an interesting person was that I was judging myself based on what I was seeing on TV and reading on social media. This created fear. When I got out there and socialized, I realised there were many people just like me; there’s so many people like you out there waiting to meet you too.
2. Attending a social event
Introverts can sometimes come across in the wrong way – maybe you do not
appear as energetic or as enthusiastic as you really are. You don’t always know
how to show it. Deep down, maybe you are happy, and you are having a great
time, but you find it difficult to show it facially. I always used to come across as too serious and unapproachable. This was again due to me fearing people getting to know me and making the conclusion that I wasn’t interesting. To come across as more open and approachable, really work on smiling as much as you can, I’m not a naturally ‘smiley’ person and I found this challenging at first, but smiling is important, as it’s a positive signal which shows people, you’re approachable. Also, become aware of your body language; people who are more closed off will be less approachable. It can be as simple as working on your posture and making sure you’re standing with open body language.
3. Being in larger group
Even though I’m confident in who I am today, I still prefer one-on-one social interactions to groups. The reason I prefer this is because I love having conversations with people and I find in larger groups people interrupt and there’s not much of a conversation flow. I also find larger groups drain my energy. It’s important to remember that there is never pressure for you to perform in social situations. It can be so tempting to try and compete with the more extroverted members of a group, but you don’t have to. It’s totally acceptable to stand there and just listen. I’d encourage you to ask questions and try to get involved as much as you can, but don’t try and be something you aren’t.
4. Managing energy in social situations
It's important for introverts to manage their energy in social
situations and remove that expectation that they must feel energized and at
their best all the time. It doesn’t have to be at a constant level. Something
that I like to do is to take regular breaks when socializing. When I’m in a group,
I’ll go away and take a few mini-breaks for myself – whether that be to the toilet,
or for a walk – just a few minutes so that when I come back, I feel more
recharged and ready to socialize again. I always used to question why I felt so tired in social situations and used to give myself a hard time over it. When I started to learn more about myself and introversion, I started to realise that some people get energy from being around people and others get their energy drained. This was key to helping me gain a better understanding of who I was.
Awareness is key to all aspects of socializing as an introvert. You need to take the time to understand your emotions and challenge those limiting beliefs you have carried with you all of your life. I went from having no friends in my early twenties and no life outside of work to now having a great social life and successful business. It’s important that you don’t stop yourself from doing things because you tell yourself you’re an introvert. This is so untrue, I went from anxious introvert to confident introvert in the space of a few years, you can do the same.
Social situations used to cause me so much anxiety and working on my social skills and confidence has opened so many more opportunities for me. I now understand that I don’t need to change who I am to fit in socially and neither do you.
I’m hosting a free webinar on 24th March on how to improve your social confidence.
Here’s the link to register https://mailchi.mp/danielfindlay/daniel-coaching
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I am pleasantly surprised to see that you responded to my contribution! Thank you for your knowledge and insight! I am enjoying your work and am glad that the subject of introversion is being explored and shared on a bigger scale. I sure wish I had known these things about myself years ago! -CG 2/10/2022
Bio: Daniel Findlay
Daniel Findlay is a social skills coach and trainer who specialises in helping individuals improve their social skills, so that they can feel more confident in social situations. He is a qualified coach who works with both individuals and companies around the world. He combines social skills with traditional coaching and looks at areas such as: Confidence, self-esteem, productivity, so that people always get a transformation when working with him.
He has coached people from over 50 industries and is considered a leader in this field. Daniel believes everyone should work on their social skills, as it benefits everyone in society.
Daniel got into social skills after suffering with social anxiety and confidence issues growing up.
When he’s not coaching people, he likes to spend time with his family and keep fit. He also loves traveling and was fortunate to travel solo around the world. Daniel is an introvert who enjoys spending time alone and values self-care.
Join his free social skills webinar this month https://mailchi.mp/danielfindlay/daniel-coaching
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The Questions Introverts Ponder
The Answers Extroverts Need to Hear
Introversion often feels so alone and many of us assume no one else could feel this way. Contained in this book are many of the questions that have been asked, often by introverts trying to understand this personality trait that can at times govern our lives.
Hi Steve! I just wanted to say I'm incredibly thankful that I came across your blog. I currently have your [Q&A] booklet up on my work computer and every single line resonates with me. I've struggled my entire life with introversion, but your guide is helping me realize that I need to embrace it instead of feeling embarrassed! Anyways, your content is awesome and I'm planning on sharing some info with my team. -GK 2/8/2022
I also hear from many introverts struggling to share their introversion with family, friends, and co-workers, either out of fear or just not having the words. I hope this booklet may serve to educate others to better understand the many strengths and talents we have to share.
I hope you will find this booklet an informative read and reference book with a splash of light-heartedness and inspiration as well. I invite you to start with the questions you are most curious about and share from there.
Guest Blogger Nancy Yang shares her unique tips on Branding for Introverts!