If you’re not a naturally outgoing person, you may wonder if that’s something you can change. In this article, we’ll help you realize that it really is.
The good news is you don’t need to become a different person or deny any parts of yourself on your path to becoming more outgoing.
There are many benefits to becoming more outgoing, such as greater opportunities to make friends, network, and see new places.
In this article, we’ll offer some useful tips on how to be more outgoing that you can apply even today to help you get out there.
Introversion vs. Extroversion
People often identify as either an introvert or an extrovert.
In general, introverts are those who find peace and comfort in their own company and like to be alone or in a small, close, and trusted group when they need to rest and recharge.
Extroverts are typically considered more social and outgoing. They have fun in social events and recharge their batteries through their social interactions.
Most people are not completely introverted or extroverted but a mix of the two. There may be times in your life when you enjoy being around others and feel an energy boost when you socialize. Sometimes, you’d rather rest by yourself because being around people can be tiring.
Both introversion and extroversion are perfectly normal, and one is not superior to the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so it’s important to find a healthy balance between socializing and spending time alone in order to maintain your optimal health and well-being.
It seems that extroversion is more widely praised and accepted, and introverts are often seen as shy or antisocial, but this doesn’t reflect the truth. As with anything in life, moderation is healthier than excess.
How many articles do you read that claim to help extroverts become more introverted? Not that many!
Yet if you always need to be around people and socialize to feel happy and good about yourself, you may struggle with your feelings when that opportunity is not available.
There’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert, but if that means you’re uncomfortable with being alone and the emotions that come with it, then that’s a sign there is some inner work to be done.
Equally, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert.
Still, humans are hardwired to be social. We thrive in communities because they help us feel a sense of belonging and meaning.
Further, loneliness, a natural human condition but one that can be detrimental to your health, is something that affects you if you’re at the extreme introverted end of the social spectrum.
Why do I find it hard to be outgoing?
Being an introvert isn’t the only reason why so many of us struggle to be outgoing. Many people struggle with a social anxiety disorder – a common mental health issue in which anxiety symptoms arise in social settings.
Social anxiety, though one of the most common mental health issues, can be incredibly challenging. Nobody enjoys anxiety’s symptoms – the sweating, the rapid heartbeat, the self-doubt, and the looming sense of panic – so it’s often just a lot easier to avoid socializing altogether.
Still, as mentioned earlier, a moderate amount of socializing and fostering social bonds is crucial to health and happiness. Moreover, not socializing because you have social anxiety is an avoidant behavior and does nothing to improve your anxiety.
If you want to work on your anxiety and eventually overcome it, make sure you reach out for support, such as therapy or counseling.
Still, there are some things you can do outside of therapy to help you quell your social phobia. You can dip your toe into socializing in some self-administered mild exposure therapy.
One may find it hard to be social and outgoing if they hold a poor opinion of themselves.
For example, if you think that you’re ‘not good enough’ or unworthy of love and friendship, then those beliefs will prevent you from even trying to connect with others.
If you perceive some major flaw in yourself, either in your personality or your appearance, you may convince yourself that others will be turned away by this flaw, which can also prevent you from even trying. The problem is that worry or fear is self-perpetuating because we get onto avoidant habits that prevent us from learning that our fears are not true.
You could benefit from speaking to a therapist or counselor if your self-relationship is unhealthy. They can help you get to the roots of your issues and help you create some deep shifts and changes to overcome your fears and negative self-image.
How to be more outgoing as a person
1. Make a plan to meet up
If you’ve got a friend whom you haven’t seen for some time or you’ve just met a new person, perhaps a new coworker or a neighbor, reach out and ask them to meet you at a coffee shop or grab some lunch nearby. Sure, this may be the exact thing you struggle with, but you don’t have to make a big deal out of it, and neither do they.
A coffee or lunch takes 30 minutes to an hour, so set a time limit and make some plans for yourself after. This helps you frame the experience and helps you relax into it.
Making time to invite friends and hang out or simply chat is a great way to make new friends and maintain your existing friendships. It is also a great first step on the path to becoming more outgoing and improve self confidence.
2. Let go of the fear of judgment
You may be reluctant to ask someone for coffee, especially if you don’t know them very well. You may worry that you’ll be shy and awkward or that you’ll run out of things to say.
Remember that if you’re completely shy and incredibly awkward, that’s okay. Don’t believe your negative self-talk when it says that you’re not able to engage.
Don’t fear the other person’s judgment. If they do cast some judgment on you for being awkward, that’s their problem. If they’re worth hanging out with, they’ll have some compassion and make an effort to move the conversation along.
3. Be curious
Sometimes we get so focused on ourselves, on the way we speak, move, the things we say, and even how relaxed we look, that we forget to be curious about the other person. Yet this interest is just what you need to actually engage with the conversation and take your focus away from shyness.
If you’re meeting someone relatively new, be curious about their life. They may not want to share everything, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Getting to know someone can be awkward at first, but if you’re curious and listening, you’ll help forge a stronger social bond with that person. The more you do this, the easier you’ll find it to talk to new people.
4. Get outside your comfort zone
It’s called the comfort zone for a reason. It’s safe, it’s familiar, and there’s never too much pressure to do anything that doesn’t suit you. Many of us live large portions of our lives in our sanctuaries, never venturing too far beyond them.
However, leaving the safe haven in favor of adventure and novelty is a great way to grow and develop as a person – as a whole person, in mind, body, and spirit – not just a means of becoming more social.
When you do things to get outside of your hiding place, like going to an event alone, asking a new acquaintance to join you, or taking up a hobby, it can be daunting at first.
You may feel nervous and unsure, but this is a crucial crossroads on your journey. You can choose to turn around and retreat to your safe harbor, or you can push forward and see what happens.
If you want to be more outgoing, push forward. The more you do this, the more likely you are to receive positive feedback from doing so. This positive feedback can build your confidence and make you even more willing and excited to keep going.
5. Take up a hobby
It’s hard to be outgoing, socialize, and meet new people if you don’t go beyond your comfort zone and try new things.
The idea of going out there and taking up a new hobby, starting a class, or joining a local club may seem daunting at first, but it’s a great way to practice your social skills, meet new people, and build momentum with your social confidence.
The great thing about taking up a hobby is that it doesn’t drop you right into a conversation or social setting that requires you to share everything about yourself.
For example, if you like to play sports, then when you meet up for training or a match, you get to focus on the game itself.
Sure, other people will be around, and you’ll work in a team (if team sports are your thing), but you won’t need to focus on yourself so much. Instead, you’ll be focusing on what you’re doing.
This removes a lot of self-consciousness and overcome social anxiety at the same time.
6. Try relaxation techniques
You may be reluctant to get out there and socialize because you fear that things will go wrong. Maybe you worry that you’ll feel anxious or stressed and feel deeply uncomfortable.
Perhaps you’re worried that you’ll do or say the wrong thing and feel embarrassed. These are all-natural fears and worries, and believe it or not, we all have them.
In your downtime, learn and practice some simple relaxation techniques to use when you feel stressed or anxious in a social situation.
There are many simple yet effective tools available to help us manage feelings of stress, and some of them are so subtle that nobody will even notice you’re doing them.
One technique is to use self-administered acupressure. Acupressure, the cousin of acupuncture, is a type of traditional Chinese medicine said to relieve stress and anxiety by applying pressure to specific energy points located throughout the body.
Two of these pressure points are located on the hand and wrist, making them easy to find and activate when you’re out.
The union valley point is located between the index finger and the thumb. Squeeze this point with light to moderate pressure for a couple of minutes with your opposite index finger and thumb to activate.
Another point is located about two inches below the inner wrist. Apply the same pressure to this point for a couple of minutes to reap its benefits.
Deep breathing is another excellent method of calming our stress response and making us feel more grounded in the present moment.
Next time you feel stressed or on the verge of panic in a social situation, or you simply don’t want to be where you are and wish you were at home, try some deep breathing – in through the nose, down into the diaphragm, and let the breath fall out naturally, again through the nose.
Focus on the breath for three to five minutes.
7. Don’t sweat the small talk
Some of us simply can’t stand idle chatter and may not see the point of engaging in one. We prefer to have deep conversations and share big ideas rather than exchanging pleasantries in the break room about recent events, the weather, or where someone grew up.
If that describes how you feel, remember that simple conversations are often a prerequisite for getting to know someone and usually comes before those bigger conversations.
If you hate casual conversations, try to shift your perspective. You don’t have to identify with the depth of a conversation you have with someone.
Understand that small talk is rarely about the topic of conversation and more about the social interaction that’s happening between the people having it.
There is proximity, body language, attitude, and energy in that interaction, and these are powerful forms of non-verbal communication. Thus, it’s helpful to view small talk as a way to improve your conversation skills or perhaps as a testing ground for a later friendship.
Practice making small talk with a more open and accepting attitude, and you may notice a world of difference in your interactions.
8. Use open body language
We pick up on non-verbal cues and communication as much as the words people say.
The way you use your body, your ability to maintain eye contact, your posture, facial expressions, and tone of voice all convey to those around you how you feel and how open you are to the conversation.
You can become more outgoing by opening up your body language and inviting people into your space.
If your arms are crossed, you prevent eye contact, and you have a flat facial expression – then others will be far less likely to approach you. You’ll also feel less likely to engage with your environment because you’ll create a psychophysical barrier around yourself.
Open your body language by standing tall, maintaining eye contact, and expressing genuine interest through your facial expressions and tone of voice. This will do two things to help you become more outgoing – people will feel more comfortable with you, and you’ll develop a greater sense of self-confidence.
Don’t beat up yourself if you feel like you’re not a naturally outgoing person. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your own company, and many people who identify as introverts have a deep, rich, inner world.
Have some self-compassion and understand that you’re still a wonderful person, whether you’re outgoing or not.
Let your quest to become more outgoing be a matter of expanding your horizons, not a means of changing yourself because you feel like you’re not good enough.