When I say I’m an introvert, people tend to be surprised, but my long time close friends always say “that’s kind of obvious”.
But yeah, I am such a clumsy, a little socially awkward introvert. Or maybe I should say that I used to be such a clumsy, a little socially awkward introvert.
Without any traumatic experiences that I know of, about socializing, relationships, or overall people, I have no idea what made me be like this.
However I assume this is mainly coming from the below two problems I have:
- I’m too scared of being rejected or hurt.
- I’m lacking my self confidence so I’m always worried if other people don’t like me.
I’m not saying that I’m always being negative, full of these fearful thoughts. These ideas are just hiding somewhere deep inside of my subconscious mind, so deep that I don’t even usually realize, but I assume that these worries are making me basically a “worried person”.
However, these days I really feel that I’m overcoming the worries and becoming more and more confident – well, at least comparing to myself in the past.
In this post I’d like to share my little advice that I’m always telling myself whenever I meet new people, or when I’m feeling overwhelmed in any social situations.
Since when I was a child, my parents and teachers often told me that when someone’s talking, I should always listen carefully and look them in their eyes, so that they know I’m paying attention. It naturally became my habit, so I don’t find it difficult or scary to look at someone in their eyes.
However, sometimes even when I’m actually looking someone in their eyes, my eyes in my mind are actually trying to look away, wanting to avoid them. Meaning, I’m physically looking at them, talking to them, and even smiling, but in my mind, I’m just trying to run away from the person and the situation.
And as a result, in those situations I try not to speak something important or meaningful, so that I’m not memorable.
I also try not to have a conversation that takes time.
Sometimes I can’t help thinking that people are only interested in cool people – someone who’s fun, interesting, or someone who can introduce them to other cool people, or even to jobs or good opportunities.
So when I feel there’s nothing I can offer, I feel like I’m not worth spending time with for them, and try to cut a short conversation so that they will soon be free to go networking with other cool people.
On top of that, I’m rather a good listner than a speaker. Whenever I begin to feel I’m not making any sense what I’m talking about, or when I realize the person I’m talking to started to look a little confused probably because I’m not smooth when I talk, I finish the conversation, saying “Thank you anyway! See you later!” – and run away.
However, very ironically, I’m working in an environment where extrovert-ness is much required, both professionally and privately. I’m a full time international sales, and as one of my side projects, I’m an organizer of music events of my favorite bar in Kobe, Japan.
Obviously, I often have plenty of opportunities to meet new people.
Through these experiences, I gradually learned that people are so much more open and kind than I’ve always expected.
And I’m not necessarily the only introvert in such social situations – there are also quite a few worried, introverted people like me. I’m not alone.
There’s no need to feel pressure or responsible to make the conversation fun and meaningful just by yourself. Because it’s not only your job to have a good time, but it’s always both people’s job to make the time spending together a goood one.
So in those introverts-challenging situations, all I have to do is chill, forget about all the concerns and worries in my head, and just focus on enjoying the time I’m having with that person.
Look at them, not just physically but also mindfully, and focus on the person who’s right in front of me. Try to forget everything else.
This seems so ambiguous and small, and you might be wondering if it really works. I don’t know! But at least for me, this, very small shift of my focus, made a huge difference.
Only by trying to focusing on the exact person I’m having a time with and knowing that it’s okay to forget about those worries and fears, and knowing that it’s not only my responsibility to have a good conversation, gradually I came to be able to truly enjoy meeting new people, and getting to know with people I don’t really know yet.
I can’t remember who’s word this originally is, and this might not be the exact word I heard, since I only remember the bottom message – here’s the quote I keep telling myself in social situations that requires a little courage.
“Whoever the person right next to you, is the right person to be with right now.”
Don’t worry too much that you can’t focus on the very conversation you’re having right now.
Don’t think too much about whether you’re worth talking to for the person you’re having a conversation with, or whether you should let them go so that they can have more meaningful time with anyone but you.
And don’t run away from not necessarily comfortable opportunities to spend a little time with new people. Don’t feel like you have to go back to your old friends, or like that’s the only place where you can truly feel comfortable and enjoy.
All of those worries, could be just your delusion.
The exact person you’re talking to right now is the right person you should be spending some time with. Even if they’re new to you, even if they’re so cool and a little overwhelming to be with.
And you are the right person for them to spend some time with, too. Don’t forget this.
“Chill, look up, see the person in their eyes, and focus on enjoying the time together.”
This is the little, very little advice from me for worried introverts.
Calm down and enjoy the time with the person next you, right in this moment.
There’s no need to be scared.
Because most of the time when I look up and try to really see the person in their eyes, the person is just relaxed and smiling at me.
There really is nothing to be scared of.
Forget about running away from them, forget about worrying if they like you or not.
Because you’ll never know until you really talk to them. You’re not the one who decide whether they like you or not. That’s their job!
So just calm down, stop worrying, and talk to them. Try to spend a good time with them.
It doesn’t matter if the conversation is really a short one. Even if it’s just a few words, it’s not about the length.
What makes the difference the most is how you feel. What matters the most is whether you are actually wanting, trying to have a good time with them, or just trying to avoid and run away.
Because, again, most of the worst situations you’re worried about is happening only in your head.
Still not sure? Okay here’s my proof.
Basically, through my full time job as a sales and passion projects organizing music events, I met lots of people.
And quite often I felt like this – “Oh that person I’ve just talked didn’t seem to like me.” “Okay they’re too cool to get to know with me.” “Ah they were nice but they must be just being polite. I know I’m not that interesting for them to enjoy talking to.”
However, within the past a few months or half a year, I was so surprised by the fact that they actually liked me, found me interesting, fun to be around with, and that some of them even somehow relied on me.
But I had no idea until we had a chance to meet again and talk. Until I gave them time – it sounds bossy but I just mean me not running away form them and having a conversation – I didn’t know how they were feeling about me.
Don’t give up on your potential. Never underestimate yourself. Because you’re truly full of potential, and you are interesting. funny. meaningful. valuable.
All you have to do is to believe in yourself.
Look up and relax. That’s where you can start broadening your world.