As an introvert, you come with an unwritten rule “handle with care.” You tend to focus on nature and gravitate to quiet places, where you can spend time with yourself and get lost in the maze of your thoughts. However, the world has so much to offer. To experience it, you need to step out and socialize with others.
I went to business school, which was a perfect melting pot of extroverts. There were clubs to join, events that were going on, endless groups of people to network with, including classmates, professors, and alumni. Parties and get-togethers happened every other day, and there was always someone who exclaimed, “You’re so quiet!”. This kind of stimulation was utterly overwhelming for me.
However, I really enjoyed those two years by making some small changes in my everyday life. Here are some tips for handling a highly social environment
1. Step outside your comfort zone
Staying in my home country and interacting with people like myself was where I was the most comfortable. Before attending business school, I had traveled very little and rarely interacted with people outside my nationality. This had limited my exposure, although I hadn’t realized it.
However, when I stepped outside my comfort zone by traveling to a new country, meeting new people, and exchanging new ideas, my confidence increased, and this exposure helped me grow. At business school, I made it a point to build friendships and interact with people whose backgrounds differed from mine. This completely changed my perspective and made me more open-minded.
There is nothing wrong with staying where you’re comfortable, but at some point, if you feel that this is holding you back in some way, stepping outside will open a world of possibility. Much of our growth and exposure comes from meeting new people, sharing ideas, and finding inspiration. It is essential to put yourself out there and experience some discomfort in the process. The more you put yourself out there, the more you will find that opportunities you were waiting for serendipitously enter your life.
2. Interact with small groups of people
Business school was an excellent opportunity to interact with people from different nationalities and cultures. However, it can get loud and overwhelming at times. For me, going to parties of more than ten people was overwhelming. I made a concerted effort to interact with small groups of people. These small gatherings were a great way to get to know my classmates in a quiet setting, which appealed to me.
As an introvert, if you’re not comfortable in large crowds, create a smaller setting where you can enjoy the company of people.
3. Participate in activities that you’re passionate about
When you participate in activities that you’re passionate about, you forget about your introversion and care more about the activity. At school, I joined a few clubs that I cared about. This was a perfect way to get to know more people and take a break from studies.
Find things you like to do with like-minded people. This will help you build your social network and give you that much-needed break.
4. Prepare for events
Being an introvert, when I went to networking events, the mere thought of interacting with so many people and making small talk tired me out. Instead of putting myself through that, I made an effort to connect with the companies’ representatives before they visited our school. This way, I could hold better conversations since they were not new to me, and I could network with ease.
If you’re anxious about an event that matters to you, try to build a connection to the people participating in the event so that you are comfortable socializing.
5. Take a break from socializing
A calendar full of socializing events can be a nightmare for introverts. We definitely need a break. There was a term at school, FOMO or Fear of Missing Out, which compelled us to attend as many events as possible for fear of missing something. FOMO can create a high-stress environment for introverts.
I worked breaks from socializing into my schedule because I knew I would be stressed out without a proper balance—these breaks made socializing much more enjoyable.
Although my experiences are specific to business school, these tips can be used in any area of your life, whether it is interacting with others at work or school or with your extended family. Happy socializing!
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
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