How to Be Socially Confident as an Introvert
In the 21st Century, we’re more connected than ever.
Yet, the majority of us have trouble with social interaction. Technology and social media has made us socially awkward.
It’s harder to socialize since we’ve become so bad at it.
For most of my high school years, I was socially awkward.
It would be difficult for me to continue a conversation.
I didn’t know when to speak and what to say.
There would be awkward pauses and uncomfortable glances between me and the people I was talking to.
When I was 13, I got to go ice skating with some girls — one of which was my crush at the time.
Due to my nervousness, I didn’t say a word. She was turned off, and I didn’t realize it!
Looking back, I realized I lost my chance of connecting with her. If only I had understood how to be more socially confident, I could’ve had a chance. It’s too late for that.
It took me 5 years since that ice skating hangout to fail, improve and refine my social skills.
I learned social cues, practiced speaking my mind and learned how to be more charismatic.
As a result, I made wonderful friendships that would hopefully last a life time.
I want the same for you.
Let’s start improving your social skills today — starting with the most important skill: presence.
The number 1 thing that improved my confidence was presence.
The reason why I was socially anxious is because you’re stuck in your own head. Your thoughts are drowning out your attention. If you want to be more confident, you need presence. Be in the moment.
Presence is the ability to be in the here and now. It is a state of mind that’s necessary for social interaction. The best way to be present is through meditation. By meditating, you improve your ‘focus muscles’ to be more present.
In a nutshell, meditation is just focusing on your breathing, on your environment and the present moment. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat that for 10–15 times.
Focus on the air rushing through your lungs, your chest and belly expanding, and any sensation that comes to your attention.
Good. You’re more relaxed now.
Next, try this exercise to be more present in your environment.
- Close your eyes
- Breathe normally
- Focus on the weight of your body on your chair
- Focus on the sounds you here
- Pay attention to them as they come and go. Don’t try to hold on to anything.
Do this for 5 minutes everyday and you’ll be 3x more present in 1 week.
“But I’m an Introvert”
Introversion isn’t a reason for social anxiety. Introversion is the desire to process one’s thoughts and emotions before speaking. This is why socializing favors extraverts, since it’s easier to socialize when you can speak without thinking.
Like other skills, social interaction is a skill. It’s a skill that everyone can learn. In fact, being an introvert means that you have insightful and fascinating topics to talk about.
But I know what you’re going through. It’s not easy to get the words out. Your mind is probably shouting thoughts to the point where you can’t listen to what people are saying. I’ve been in your shoes.
Perhaps, a reason why you’re anxious is because you’re worried about what other people think about you, which is a common thought. It’s been implanted in your subconscious mind since you were a little child.
Therefore, it’s perfectly normal to worry about what other people think about you. But here’s a question:
Would you rather live your life inauthentic to your true self, or would you rather express your genuine personality, and have people accept you for who you are?
Focus on Others
A hard pill to swallow is that people don’t actually care about us as much as we think they do. We only assume that’s true due to us projecting it onto them. If you’re worried other people are thoroughly judging you, it’s because you’re thoroughly judging yourself. So, get rid of the assumption that everyone else is against you.
Instead, focus on other people. When speaking to someone new, focus on what the person is saying, feeling and implying. Shift your attention on the person you’re trying to connect with. That’s all socializing is: connecting. Focus on giving them the attention, help and encouragement they desire.
“The rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.” — How to Win Friends and Influence People
Today, I was able to study and teach my classmates Business Law. I enjoyed it since I was confident in teaching. The reason why I enjoyed it wasn’t because I got to impress them, but because I was present and focused on giving value to them.
There wasn’t a single negative thought about being judged crossed my mind. I had something more important to focus on. As a result, we joked a lot, learned a lot, and bonded. I learned that the best thing to do is focus on the people you’re with, not the assumptions you have on what they’re thinking of you.
You Are Not Responsible for Their Happiness
You don’t need to please everyone. You don’t have an obligation to make everyone happy. They are obligated to make themselves happy. Instead of overanalyzing in your head how you can please others, save yourself energy and time. You could use it as an opportunity to genuinely connect with people.
The vice versa is true. They are not responsible for your happiness. Growing up, I’ve been a victim of pleasing people. I based my happiness and self-worth on other people’s views on me.
If a person hated me, I’d be sad.
If a person thought I was the best in the world, I’d be happy. It learned the hard way that this is not a healthy way to deal with happiness. Happiness should come from within.
It should never be conditional. It’s up to you to set your own self-worth and happiness. In short, make yourself happy.
That’s how you can go from socially anxious to socially confident in 4 simple steps. By being more present, accepting your introversion, focusing on others, and being responsible for your own happiness, you can get rid of social anxiety. If I can do it, I believe you can do it too!