I’m an introvert which oddly enough, most people don’t believe anymore. However, I’ve stressed this multiple times in multiple blog posts. One of them is quite popular if the number of readers is concerned. Even if people accept my introversion as valid, they have one question: How are you so social? Let me answer that in one phrase: Fake it, till you make it.
First things first though, there’s nothing wrong with not being actively social. However, as a human being, you’re required to talk to people and learn the nuances of conversation and meeting strangers. In hindsight, I wish I had this skill back when I was in school. I missed out on a lot of great people. I’m making my progress in those circles too though. I am a firm believer of “the more, the merrier”. If you think otherwise and if you are happy with your life, it’s up to you. This is to those who feel left out because of their inhibitions. I was one of those people, and I want to help my tribe here.
It was back in 2014 when I decided to change how I interact with people. The change was to, in fact, interact with people. I was going through a bit of a rough patch, and I changed a lot about myself at the time. It was a “take your life in your hands” moment.
One of the crucial things I decided on that winter was that I was going to make an effort to talk to people, make conversation, learn how to do small talk which sounds counter-intuitive, go out more, meet more people and so on. You get the idea.
It was easier said than done, though. I liked staying alone, or when I faced the actual reality, I was afraid of other people. I thought of all the “what-if”s that run through an introvert’s mind when they think of socialising. In fact, I was caught in a feedback loop to the extent that I was a naysayer of hanging out altogether. It was pointless to me because I was afraid of it. I can’t stop but laugh at that notion. The things we do in denial.
So, What Did I Do?
I faked. I knew that everyone knew that I was faking. In fact, I was obvious about it. The thing is that people don’t care if you’re pretending because even if you are, you’re in the moment. You’re not sulking at some chair in the corner; you’re there, talking and laughing awkwardly.
I pretended to be confident and said “Hi” to strangers. The first ten attempts or so were me doing a very accurate Ross from Friends impression when it comes to his way of saying “Hi”. However, I learned. It is a skill. You can get it by practising. You may or may not be natural, but you can pick specific things up over time.
I am an introvert, and I love my zone, but my life has improved considerably since I became more open to outside interaction. Introverts don’t necessarily have to be shy, that is a limitation we put on ourselves. Also, I am an INFJ; we look like extroverts in our behaviour anyway. But this is the best I can give you when it comes to being social. Fake it till you make it.
In fact, the more you fake, the easier it gets. Until you have to stop faking, that is.