When I go to home school events, I get so sad and frustrated because I don't know how to talk. I've known many of the moms for years, but few relationships have gone beyond aquaintance. One of them is my best friend. When she and I are one on one, I have no problem talking to her. Mainly, I think, because she is so friendly and open. But, when I am in the group, I just end up watching the other women talk. They seem so free and easy about it. I feel like I am interrupting if I say something. I listen to them to try and figure out how to have a conversation. I haven't been successful.
Part of my problem is my upbringing. I was never allowed to ask people questions. I was taught to never ask non-family members for help. If a friend of the family offered to do something for me or take me along on an activity, I was not allowed to accept.
I feel like I need to go to "Charm School". Does anyone know how to become an extrovert?
Circumcision is wrong, regardless of gender
I don't know that you can change your personality, but I hope some others will have tips on how to be more comfortable with others. I have a a good friend who is very extroverted has lots of other friends (all of whom are acquaintances of mine) - and while I don't expect to be just like her I would love to learn how to be at ease with people the way she is!
Fake it till you make it!
Or maybe a toastmasters club? Isn't that supposed to make youa better public speaker. I think the key is practice, practice, practice.
I think what happened was that in my youth, I wasn't encouraged by family to open up and explore my ideas. I was encouraged to listen to and obey my parents' ideas. Once I was finally comfy in my own skin (at around age 30), I was able to be as vocal or as quiet as I wanted to be, instead of being scared in social situations.
The greatest thing about life, IMO, is that we can reinvent ourselves anytime we want. I wish you luck on your journey!
Yes, yes. I'm fabulous. Moving on...
I'm going to "fake it until I make it". I just have to do it. I can do it.
to those in the same boat.
Circumcision is wrong, regardless of gender
I was extremely introverted as a child and young adult. I forced myself into uncomfortable situations in order to grow. I'm glad you've decided to "fake it 'till you make it." Some people are just naturally shy, and others are shy because they don't have the tools to go beyond what they find safe. Neither one is wrong, but if you want to change, it is possible.
I pretty soon figured out that people are just people and LOVE talking about themselves so as long as you ask questions and get people talking it's easy to keep a conversation going.
Jen Mama of 2 precious boys (9) (6) and still in with my Matt after 12 years together.
Domestic Violence Children's Advocate and Counselor
I've heard a good way to fake it is to "create" the person you want to be (or use a celebrity as a model) and then act as that person would when you want to be more extroverted. It's a form of visual imagery.
So, for example, if I was Madonna, I'd walk with my head high and I'd expect everyone to look at me - amazed - when I walked in. I'd smile, and say "hi" like everyone wanted to get to know me, etc.
The confidence you eminate should have some sort of effect, and if you do anything for long enough, it becomes habit.
Maybe next time you're in a social situation, concentrate on the other people around you and what's going on for them. I suspect part of your problem might be that you are thinking about yourself too much (and I don't mean that in a bad way) you know - worrying about how you're coming across, how to make conversation, etc. Trying to 'be like an extravert' will just make it worse imo.
And one more thing. I think this culture has done a great disservice to people like us by saying extravert = good with people/social situations and introvert = nerdy quiet shy person. I dont' think that's true at all. We just have different ways of dealing with people - and, like another poster said, we don't get energized by people the same way ex's do, but it doesn't mean we can't get on with and work with others as well as ex's do. So many introverts feel bad about themselves, and it makes me sad.
I think you can. Fake it, and eventually you will discover that it's ok to be more outgoing in social situations, you will get positive response from people and therefore gradually overcome your fears and discomfort, and you will get used to being more extrovert!
Fake it till you make it!
I'm not sure your temperament can actually change--you make always feel kind of shy, but speaking out is a skill and can be learned and you can gain more comfort with it through practice.
I was super shy and had no confidence in myself until after college. I NEVER spoke in classes, and if a professor called on me or I had to do a presentation I could feel my heart pounding in my chest--I was terrified! But with the encouragement of a couple supportive mentors I started venturing out more--speaking in public and realizing that I did have thoughts worth contributing (and that people did not pick apart everything I said). Then in grad school I won a teaching assistanceship and over the semesters I became more and more comfortable speaking out. Although I will still feel shy in new situations, once I warm up I often don't hesitate to speak my mind.
The more you put yourself out there (with supportive folks to cheer you on) in time you will feel better about it. But you may always feel shy at first, and that's ok!
And rather than thinking your introversion is a negative thing, read the book to see all the wonderful things that you have to offer (I don't the book in my hands and I don't want to paraphrase things too much and get them wrong). Even if there isn't an adult book similar to this, you can still get much out of it.
AFA friends go, the introvert usually prefers 1 or 2 really close friends over a vast number of acquantainces. And that is totally okay.
But you may not be dealing with simple introversion/extroversion traits. You could be an introvert who is also highly sensitive. This is where try as you might want to incorporate yourself into the middle of things, the very things you want also overwhelm you.
Try taking the test here
There is the Highly Sensitive Person book and workbook to do if you find yourself an HSC. And yes, you can be both introverted and extroverted and still be an HSC. Maybe you might find clues as to why you are having difficulties making a change.
I'm in the middle of discovering things about myself and about my spirited dd who is both a HSC and an introvert on the extreme end. I didn't realize how much until she started preschool and has trouble feeling comfortable even though she has been there a month and a half (she goes 2 days/week). She wants to make friends, she just isn't comfortable around them. She also has trouble participating in the group activities, but does just fine when it's just her or her and her teacher.
At home, you'd never guess she was an introvert, because she does just fine with the children she knows very well.
I too am an introverted HSC, but I've learned ways of compensating for them over time (I'm 37) and through my careers. I've had to come forth past my safety zone or get fired. So I adapted.
Accept your past for what it was, a crummy situation that need not predominate your current life. My family always discounted my feelings, sending me to "go read a book" because they hated my questions. I didn't stop asking though.
Learn as much as you can about your personality, learn to like the gifts you do have, and you will find tools you need to come out of your safety zone. Don't let people walk over you. Be persistent. When the next available opening comes up, if you felt you didn't finish, "as I was saying before..." so that you kind of key them into the fact that you weren't done speaking or had something to add.
And so what if you are interrupting something? That doesn't mean you don't have anything useful to add.
That did it for me!!!
ps- My problem was excessive shyness, not being an introvert.
Busy mom and loving it... dd (2/03), ds (6/05), dd (8/07), ds (12/09), ??? due 5/12
Basically, I've forced myself to speak up with other people, to make phone calls, to focus on other people, to try to remember things about them. It's uncomfortable at first, but it does get easier.
Shyness is different. That's where you're not sure what to do in social situations. What has helped me is to sort of rehearse conversations in my head, so I know what to do when situations come up. I started by observing what other people do, then I just tried to mimic them. If you feel like you would be interrupting, I'd say go ahead and interrupt once or twice and sort of observe the reaction. If everybody listens and is interested in what you're saying, you're not interrupting! If you get a negative reaction you should try to figure out what you're doing wrong.
If you have one or two good friends you can ask them to tell you honestly what they think you do differently.
Of course, ymmv - these are the things that worked for me.
And I second lemongrass' suggestion - I, too, read "The Introvert Advantage", some years ago, and I nearly cried, it described me to a tee. When I was younger, I thought I was socially awkward and hopeless, but this book made me feel that I'm actually perfectly alright, and don't need to change who I am to be socially active and make friends.
I have found since I've accepted my introversion, I have had more confidence to try new social activities, and have actually enjoyed them (then come home and had a cuppa and read!).
Good suggestions everyone. To the OP, I'm sure you are fine as you are.
That said, I actually think it's all a spectrum, not an either/or thing. If I never got time to myself I'd run out of energy too, but in a different way. This new way of looking at it has given me a little more optimism about connecting with people in social situations. Somehow if I see it as something I do to fulfill a basic need in myself it's a little easier to be brave and join in, and the simple change from thinking "i'm an introvert" to "I'm an extrovert" makes me feel like it's ok for me to reach out to people a little more.