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Is it possible to change introversion? - Page 2

post #21 of 44
Basic step 3: this one is hard, but is SO important: You have to learn not to have high expectations of how people will respond to you. You can NOT take people's lack of a response to you personally. YOu don't know what that person is thinking/feeling, and so often it seems like you failed to interest them but you just never know.


This point is spot on.
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommahhh View Post
I'm feeling really bad right now.

I have always been introverted. I was very shy and quiet as a child. Meek (yuck). Low self esteem. I always have one (maybe two) friends at most...never a group of friends. I don't know why! I don't get it. I imagine a lot of people from highschool wouldn't even remember my name, even though I totally know who they are. This is how I grew up.

I tried hard to break out of that mold in college and at work. Well, I've never been able to really get away from it. I'm introverted. I feel awkward around people I don't know well. It is SO hard for me to make friends. I know my true personality....I am kind, I am smart, I have a dry sense of humor, I regularly make friends laugh, etc. But I don't know how I appear to other people who don't know me. Aloof? Snotty? Bored? Boring? No clue. But whatever it is, it isn't working.

For the most part, I'm able to just ignore it all. I work from home. I avoid putting myself in positions where I'll feel uncomfortable (or be ignored....I'm always ignored). But now that my DD is in a school that fosters community and events, I am trying to get out there more. It is not going well. AT ALL. I've attended a few events with the other moms. I force myself to go talk to them, try to get to know them. Some of them have even been to my house. But it always ends up like yesterday.......

They had a garden party at the school. I get dressed up and go. There are moms wandering around the yard. I try to be friendly and open. I'm smiling. I smile and say hi to various moms. Ask how they are doing. They say hi, fine, and move on. So now what?! I'm basically left standing there feeling awkward, while moms are in little groups of 2 or 3 chatting happily together. They all know each other I suppose. I don't know how to break into these groups. I've tried (at the last party). I forced myself to walk up to a group and smile and be outgoing. They said hi, but I felt really weird and awkward. Nobody included me in the conversation (and I wasn't sure how to become involved....I've tried that before and I usually am talked over). So I just listened, but I felt totally stupid, like I was eavesdropping on friends.

Anyway, at the party, I felt so sad suddenly. Watching all these happy, normal mothers. And I'm standing there like I'm in grade 8 all over again without a single friend. I have a friend who can make friends with anyone -- I've watched her make friends with a stranger at the park and those people go on to be good friends with her! I have tried learning her technique, but I don't understand what she's doing that is different....people just seem to respond to her differently. They basically ignore me. And I feel "less than". So I can imagine my DD will eventually wonder why all the other moms at school are friends, and her mommy has no friends.

AHHHH I'm feeling so sad today.


I haven't read the other replies yet.

I don't think there is anything wrong with being introverted. But I do understand how it can make socializing difficult.

Two of my very best friends in the world are introverts...they are smart, funny and I cannot imagine NOT having them in my inner circle, which by the way consists of the two of them. I'd rather have two, real genuine friends than a bunch of acquaintances...and I HAVE had a bunch of acquaintances as friends before.

Some people just have charisma. Your friend may be one of those people.

Have you talked to your friend about this? Could she help you? Does she have any tips?

The best advice I can give you is to get that book by Dale Carnegie, How to Make Friends and Influence People. My dh had to take a course on this ( the company made all their engineers take this course) and I flipped through the book when he brought it home. It was all stuff I had figured out by 9th grade...and yes, if you "do" these things, it works. And at first it is uncomfortable, but gradually will become less uncomfortable. But...I am a talker and a bit impulsive, so even though talking to new people makes me nervous, I will still do it...someone who is more introverted might feel much more uncomfortable or not know what to say. ( I tend to ramble, spout nonsense and ask lots of questions... ) I am not really introverted, but I guess I am a kind of a shy extrovert who talks too much.

My husband and both of my sons are introverts, too. I annoy all three of them when I talk to strangers wherever we go.

I dearly, dearly love all the introverts in my life...and honestly, they talk more than I do when they are around people they are comfortable with.

This post may not be terribly helpful, but I just wanted to let you know that you are okay...and yes, you can work on your social skills and improve them, but that being introverted is not a bad thing. There are people who will love you the way you are.

P.S. My two best friends who are introverts...the first one seemed INTIMIDATING to me and I have no idea what possesed me to invite her to our playgroup! We just happened to be leaving a party at the same time, I had heard her say she had children and even though I had been watching her all night, I had not approached her...I was sure she was waaay too smart and cool to talk to someone like me. But there at the door while we were putting on our coats to leave I blurted out that she was welcome to come to our playgroup, told her where and when and I am soooo happy she came! She was nervous about coming to the playgroup...she didn't know me at all...didn't know any of the other moms either. But she decided to take a chance and come. Turns out that even though personality-wise we are very different, we have tons in commen! We have both moved numerous times since then, but we stay in close, close touch with each other.

My other friend...she didn't like me at first. She really, really didn't like me. I had decided I wanted to be friends with her because we had kids the same age and her son was in my son's class. She gave me some seriously withering looks and did not want to be my friend! (She told me later she had felt like she already HAD a friend and did not want me horning in! ) I was shocked she was so cold towards me, cuz at that time people usually liked me...I was friendly and nonthreatening. The more stand-offish she became, the more determined I was to make her like me! I finally invited her and her friend, all of their kids over to my apartment for my world famous hot dog and boxed mac and cheese lunch and eventually won her over. I don't think she is even still in touch with the other woman, but now 15 years later she and I are BFFs. And I don't even live in her town anymore...I've moved twice since then, but we keep in touch very regularly.

P.S. I am not normally THAT persisitant. I KNOW there are people who do not like me and usually I am mostly okay with that. I am not everyone's cup of tea.

Off to see if I am the only sort of extrovert who has commented.
post #23 of 44
I an introvert for recharging and have a mild case of social anxiety.

This thread has really been helpful. I can chat your ear off once you know me but until then, I would rather blend in.

Anymore advice on when you are in situations you have to be in and feel awkward? (Like a school event).

OP- Feeling ignored or not heard are the two that really bother me. *hugs* Sometimes I just have to remind myself that those who love me, are my family and they are what help me feel heard.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeress View Post
Anymore advice on when you are in situations you have to be in and feel awkward? (Like a school event).
Decide that it's okay to be awkward.

Okay, that sounds sort of silly, but really, is there anyone you know or any characters on tv/in books that are sort of sweet but kind of socially awkward, but you just love them anyway cause that's just sort of their thing?

I've accepted "socially awkward" as just one of my personality traits, something that anyone who meets me is going to pick up on. But being socially awkward doesn't have to stop you from being social, anymore than being clumsy means you should be scared to walk down the street.
post #25 of 44
That's why "The Office" is my favorite show. It makes awkwardness seem normal and funny!
post #26 of 44
Btdt. You can't really change it... I tried for years and I just felt like I was trying to be someone I'm not... so I now just accept myself the way I am... hard but the only way... Yes, its a pain not having many friends etc, but no amount of anything I did on my part changed it so I just stopped worrying about it... And I won't go to parties, or anything like that.
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post #27 of 44
I'm posting here mainly so I can come back and read all the pointers.

Your post.... describes me. From the sound of it a lot of introverted mamas on this thread are comfortable with it. I am not. I look forward to reading the responses, book suggestions, and that thread for introverts
post #28 of 44
I'm an introvert too...and feel uncomfortable at parties, etc, unless I find someone who I have something in common with. I have a good friend who's an extrovert, and the big difference I noticed is that she's great at asking questions about things she can't possibly be interested in. I'm not. I suck at coming up with a question, unless I really want to know the answer. She meets people easily and becomes good friends with them easily. I don't know if it's possible to learn how to do that. I've tried to be like that, but it doesn't really work for me.
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmk1 View Post
I'm an introvert too...and feel uncomfortable at parties, etc, unless I find someone who I have something in common with. I have a good friend who's an extrovert, and the big difference I noticed is that she's great at asking questions about things she can't possibly be interested in. I'm not. I suck at coming up with a question, unless I really want to know the answer. She meets people easily and becomes good friends with them easily. I don't know if it's possible to learn how to do that. I've tried to be like that, but it doesn't really work for me.
Always link it to the person. Say they start talking about computer stuff. Ask, "What got you interested in computers?" Reading a lot about varied topics helps with factual questions, but if you know nor care nothing about the topic, just link it to the person. People love to talk about themselves.
post #30 of 44
Some random thoughts to add:

There's nothing wrong with being an introvert, or even with being quiet. Those extroverts need someone to listen to them!

There's also nothing wrong with having just a couple of close friends.

You can't 'fix' introversion, because that's more about how you gain your energy. I'm an introvert. I regain my energy by being alone. Dh's mother's day gift to me was to take the kids away for a whole afternoon so I could putter about the house by myself.

There's a difference, then, between introversion and social awkwardness. I'm a professor and in some of my classes I do a lot of group work. This last quarter my most socially awkward student was also my most extroverted student. My socially most successful student was a real quiet guy with really really good social skills. He wasn't noticeable at first, but he was good with people in small groups. I have no doubt he'll be much more successful than my extrovert.

The good news is that social skills can be learned. They may never be natural, but they can be learned. In addition to the great advice you've gotten about starting conversations, I'd add the skill of introducing yourself.

"Hi, I don't think we've met. I'm Lynn." Usually they'll follow up with their name. Try to use their name once in the conversation, even if it's just to say "Nice to have met you Alicia."

If it's someone you've met before and you don't remember their name, then say "I'm sorry I don't remember your name. I'm Lynn." (well, only if your name is Lynn ) Usually they've forgotten yours too, so you're doing them a favor. I'm TERRIBLE at linking names with faces, so I've had to learn to do this.

And I agree with setting your sights 'low'. Don't go to a party/event with the idea of making your next bosom friend. Instead, go with the idea of introducing yourself to 2 new people and having a 3 minute conversation with one of them. That's doable. And because social skills are skills, the more you practice, the easier they become. Pick one or two skills to work on for a few months.

Finally, find a small group that you can work with on a project. It's always easier to get to know people if you're doing something. And if it's a small group, you'll feel more comfortable sooner.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
There's nothing wrong with being an introvert, or even with being quiet. Those extroverts need someone to listen to them!

There's also nothing wrong with having just a couple of close friends.

You can't 'fix' introversion, because that's more about how you gain your energy. I'm an introvert. I regain my energy by being alone. Dh's mother's day gift to me was to take the kids away for a whole afternoon so I could putter about the house by myself.
I think a lot of people confuse introversion with people who don't like to be with people or aren't very good at being with people. That is not the definition of an introvert.

There's a really good book, "The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World."

Here's a bit from the author's website. There are many, many famous introverts even actors & tv hosts (Did you know that Barbara Walters & Johnny Carson are introverts?)
http://www.theintrovertadvantage.com/being.html

There's a link to self-assess if you are an introvert:
http://www.theintrovertadvantage.com/SelfAssessment.pdf
post #32 of 44
hmm..
I scored 19 on that quiz..

I have been going back and forth the past few years wondering if I'm intro or extroverted

I feel like I *need* my quiet time, but I am very comfortable in social settings and will start up conversations with strangers if I overhear a cool topic or something, so I was never sure. I do come home and dump everything on my husband about what happened at a get-together, but I don't know which energizes me..

I guess I better reread the definitions.
post #33 of 44
When I was in University I hit the bottom of social anxiety, I had trouble buying a roll of stamps at the post office and I said enough of this @#$%! I started takling to people, the bus driver, asking the waiter how they were doing. I swear it took 20 years for me to figure out that the answer to "Hi! How are you?" isn't "Hi?..." It's "I'm well, and yourself?" Just as you would give your child scripts to follow in social situations you can use them yourself.

When I am not trying I am told I come across as very intimidating and therefore unaproachable. Put yourself in situations where people will "small talk" to you. Play at the school for a while after school on nice days. As was mentioned earlier ask people about themselves, or better yet, their kids. I have found since having kids I make friends easier than since I was a kid. Most of them will not be keepers, they will be aquaintances who you chat with at the park or meetings. And mostly skip the parties. It is work, being social if you are not inclined that way, but occasionally it is worth it (occasionally.)

Have you ever thought of joining Toastmasters or some other thing that would force you to speak in public?
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess's mom View Post
Put yourself in situations where people will "small talk" to you.
I swear, the only reason I know how to make small talk is because I took a job waiting tables . I know, ?!?!?!

It does teach you social skills fairly quickly, and you get relatively instant feedback in the form of the size of your tips.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by neveryoumindthere View Post
hmm..
I scored 19 on that quiz..

I have been going back and forth the past few years wondering if I'm intro or extroverted
Introversion/Extroversion is a continuum. I'm an introvert, but not an extreme one. I definitely recover best by myself, but I also need to interact with other people. it's a fine balance.
post #36 of 44
I am barely an extrovert, plus I am an ENFP and out of all the extroverts, they need the most alone time in order to stay centered.

I LIKE people, I like talking to people, but if I don't get time alone, quiet time alone, I get cranky and snippy.

I know I fulfill some of my social needs through the computer now, so I don't have to go out there and find someone to talk to as often.

And yes, all the extroverts need someone to listen to them talk! That comment made me laugh, LynnS6!!! I often tell my dh "You don't need to say much, just listen to me, nod your head and say uh huh now and then. I NEED to talk to you!" I also have to specifically tell him I do not need for him to tell me how fix anything. I just need to TALK about it. I'll figure out how to fix it on my own.

There really is a lot of good advice on this thread.
post #37 of 44
I love the tips on this thread - I'm an intro, in a more sociable/extroverted job at the moment, but I'm not sure if that helps or not. If I'm in a social situation that's not work I'm hopeless unless I already know lots of people there. I can go and introduce myself, make small talk for a few minutes and then....

And I completely agree about needing time to be alone (if only other people could understand!)
post #38 of 44
I know how you feel. I just came from Hershey Park with my two daughters, m-i-l(and her ex-stepdaughter) and totally felt like the odd one of the group. Not really comfortable around people I don't know, and HATE small talk. I was the one asking how are you, how's your dad, work, etc just so I wouldn't seem anti-social, but of course no one asked me how I was doing. It's just so frustrating. My DP isn't even here, and I'm the one dealing with all of his relatives. I just want to go home. I'm soo totally out of rhythem and can't relax because I have too many worries on my mind. It's extremely hard for me to make friends, and oh well enough complaints. Try to hang in there.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklefairy View Post
I used to think that I was "just introverted" but have discovered that low self-esteem and poor social skills are not the same thing as getting energy from time spent alone. I've learned to identify when I need time alone (and have worked with my kids to help them to identify that need in them) and catch myself in the negative self talk loop. I have to actively work to remember to interact appropriately (not interrupting others, saying, "hi" instead of just starting a conversation).

I thought I was introverted until I realized that I just suck at meeting new people. With people I've gotten to know or in gatherings with a clear purpose, I thrive on interaction.

Your best bet will be to volunteer for things like set-up or clean-up. You get to know people a lot better when you're working together and then that gives you the basis for other conversations.

My favorite people are the ones who are really good at getting to know people and make new friends and such and are sensitive to us shyer and more cautious types. Y'know the type, friendly with everyone and still manages to make you feel like the time they spend with you is valuable? I'm not often in the position to do it, but I try to model my behavior on theirs when there's a new person around.

And if all else fails, here's a survival guide. (Note, the linked article is UA-compliant and SFW, but other writing on the site may not be, caveat lector.)
post #40 of 44
I believe you can but accept that you are introverted. You don't have to become extroverted to change. You can find a balance after you find acceptance.

I find acceptance in that I prefer to keep few close friends and the meaningful distance relationships with others. Its a happy medium for me.

Even if you want to be extroverted there is something about your self acceptance that doesn't allow it. But think about if you really truly deep down inside wanted to be extrovert you'd be that. I don't think extroverts really think on I want to be this way they just "ARE".
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