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How To Be More Social If You Are Introverted

How To Be More Social If You Are Introverted

If you’re an introvert, then you know that your natural instincts don’t motivate you to go and socialize with people. However, you still love to spend some time with others when it’s appropriate — and love to have great friends in your circle. Introverts don’t like to socialize too much, but also hate to be lonely. Read on to discover three strategies that will help you be more social as an introvert.

Be Aware Of Friendship Preferences

Different people make friends in different ways. Some people are only interested in very close friendships, while others like having both close friends and casual friends. There is also the type of person who doesn’t like to have close friends at all, they only have fun friends and contacts, and confide in their family members.

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It will take you more time to form close friendships than casual ones. Knowing this, you need to pay attention to other people, and ask yourself if they have the time and are ready for the commitment of being a close friend of yours. That said, you may meet great people, but you couldn’t make friends with them unless your friendship preferences are compatible.

How To Be More Social Using Social Rituals

Because your instincts do not influence you to go socialize, you need to be proactive about it and set a couple of conditions that will help you be more social without thinking about it too much.

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A great way to do this is to set social rituals: a weekly ritual that reminds you to take an hour and follow up with people you know, and a monthly one that allows you to meet new people.

With your weekly ritual, which is nothing more than a reminder in your calendar, you take one hour to call, text, or email people with whom you have an active friendship, or people you just met and want to see again. This helps you do it all at one point, and enjoy the rest of your week knowing that you’re not ignoring people. This also helps you catch up with new people in your life.

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Your monthly ritual is some kind of subscription to a club or interest group that holds monthly events, where you can meet new people. You won’t be choosing a new club every month, you just find a good one and stick with it. To make it work even better, try and join the organizing team, this will almost force you to attend every time.

With these two rituals, you’ll always stay in touch with the important friends and potential friends, and really take control of the pace of your social life.

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Make Your Social Life Work By Itself

There is a shift in how you think about friendship that can radically reduce the effort it takes you to build a social circle. The shift is to go from focusing on individual friends to focusing on groups of friends. As you’re making new friends, quickly introduce them to each other, and start forming groups. It’s much easier than having to keep up with dozens of people who don’t know each other.

It seems like a small shift, but it completely boosts your social life when you try it. When you have friends that know each other, your social circle expands much faster. The people you know start to make plans with everyone in the group. They keep in touch with everyone else, so you don’t have to call everyone and manage everything.

If you have one group of two or three friends, you can keep it and concentrate on meeting new people and building other social circles. Whereas, if you have a dozen contacts who don’t know each other, you’ll have to keep reaching out and calling everyone to keep up.

To simplify your life, follow the two-step formula: explore new friendships + connect them with the existing ones.

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Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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