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Social Outposts – A Strategy for Introverts to Meet New People

Social Outposts – A Strategy for Introverts to Meet New People

    I have a confession to make – I’m an introvert, but I like meeting new people.  That may sound contradictory, but hear me out.  Unlike extroverts, meeting lots of new people all the time is tiring for me – it doesn’t energize me the way running, playing guitar, or even writing does.  I love social contact with close friends though, and I enjoy meeting new people … in limited quantities.

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    Why does this matter?  I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and at one point switched apartments every 6 months for a few years.  Each move has come with it’s own cultural challenges, and in addition I’ve always lost most of my circle of friends.   As an introvert, I needed to make an effort to get out and meet new people – and it recently occurred to me that I had unknowingly stumbled across a strategy to easily meet people without realizing it. I call it using social outposts.

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    What Is a Social Outpost?

    Online, people talk about social media outposts – Facebook and Twitter for example. These are places where your online persona extends out of your blog, so other people can meet you and get to know you through different social media avenues.

    Long before I knew anything about social media, I was doing the same thing with my hobbies to meet new people. I was using real life social outposts by going where people similar to me gathered, and using those meetings to showcase that aspect of my personality and form connections.  Let’s take a look at some real life examples I’ve used.

    Sid’s Social Outposts

    • Open Mic Nights.  I’ve performed at tons of open mic nights. I play guitar, write songs, sing – and even occasionally read my (terrible) poetry.  It doesn’t matter how good or bad I am – by putting myself out there and going to open mic nights consistently, no matter what happens I always am able to form a connection with other musicians when I move to a new city.  Some of those turn into friendships that have lasted years.  Even if I don’t perform, I can always strike up a conversation with someone who has just gotten off stage by complimenting them, commenting on their playing style or song choice.   There’s nothing sinister going on – I’m genuinely interested in music, and by putting myself in a situation that matches my interests, I can find common ground and meet people.
    • Clubs and Meetups.  It seems so cliche that I almost didn’t include it on the list, but the fact is I use these types of meetings to meet people like myself.  My favorites include hiking meetups since we’re spending hours out in the mountains and valleys with no distractions.  If you’re into running, there are running clubs everywhere, and if you aren’t really sure what you want, you can always check out Toastmasters.
    • Networking Events.  I’m a software engineer and love technology – so you’ll always find me at technology related networking events. I don’t know how popular this is in other professions, but for whatever reasons, software engineers love getting together to talk about their latest gadgets or websites we’ve built.  A great way for me to show part of my personality, and easily meet others with similar interests.
    • Organized Classes.  I like playing volleyball, basketball and tennis – but I know there’s always room for me to improve.  I have previously organized basketball and tennis meetups, but when I don’t want to go through the trouble of organizing them, it’s easy to find other people to play.  I just find the local tennis courts and sign up for classes – it’s an outpost where I know I’ll meet other people to get together with for tennis.  You don’t have to sign up for sports classes – acting classes, dance classes, and cooking classes are all options.
    • Concerts.  One of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles was going to concerts.  I spent thousands of dollars attending all kinds of concerts, from big name acts to local bands performing in coffee shops.  By connecting with people on fan forums online and then meeting up in person at the show, I formed friendships quickly with dozens of people.  Very often they would be the same age as me, have similar hobbies and similar income levels.  We’d hang out, meet up for lunch or dinner and if nothing else, would meet up a few times a year to attend different concerts together.
    • Regular Hangouts.  A final note, if you can’t find anything in your new town related to your hobbies or interests, just get out of the house and go to a regular hang out – whether that’s a coffee shop, bar, or happy hour.  Typically my regular hang out will end up being something I wanted to do anyway – such as being a regular at an open mic night, or taking my laptop somewhere so I can work on my website somewhere I know other web developers congregate.

    So, that’s how as an introvert I’m able to quickly meet people whenever I move to a new city – and how I can keep growing my circle of friends. What do you think? Do you have any social outposts that you consistently use to meet people?

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why we procrastinate after all

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    So, is procrastination bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How bad procrastination can be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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    8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

    Procrastination, a technical failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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