Extroverts are characterized as fun, lively, social people, while introverts are considered shy and quiet. So it’s not surprising that society favors extroverts, and expects extroversion of most people. Extroversion is considered an attractive quality, and many business guides and self-help journals preach advice that boils down to “be an extrovert and talk to people”.
So in this article we’ll see whether you can go from introverted to extroverted (you can – kind of), how you can make this shift, real life cases of it happening, and why some people might consider doing the opposite.
When you look at it this way, it’s obvious why extroversion is considered attractive. It’s the stairway to popularity and success. I’ve heard many introverts express an interest in developing extroverted characteristics or even, if possible, going from introvert to extrovert. So here I am, answering the question they – and many others, doubtlessly – have.
So, how can an introvert become an extrovert?
We stated in the introduction that you can change your personality type. However, the ‘kind of’ was because it’s not quite like changing names or going from A to B. As we said in another article, things to do with the body and mind are very fluid. So it’d be more like changing certain elements of your personality to be more extroverted, or polishing the extroverted qualities you already have. Here are some tips for starting the process:
– Analyze your personality
Human personalities are less like A, B, C and more like a spectrum or a graph. So unless you’re one of the rare few with 100% introverted characteristics, you likely have some extroverted qualities already. Are you a good speaker? Do you understand people? Can you make people laugh? Maybe you don’t like being alone? They’ll be your starting point. Work on those to slowly buff your extroverted side.
– Start by making new friends online
Introverts often find it difficult to approach new people and make friends. So start doing it online! Trust me – it’s so much easier. There’s less fumbling, fewer “ums” and “errs”, pauses aren’t as awkward, and thinking of new topics is often easier. Hell, you can create a spreadsheet of them!
– Talk to your new friends often
Make sure you stay in touch with your new friends. Talk to them every couple days. If a conversation starts petering out, ask them a question. Try to make it interesting and specific, because questions like “What’s your favorite color?” are likelier to do harm than good. Asking them for their opinion on music or books works. If they’ve posted about something recently (about food, their pet, health issues, problems at work), try asking a question based on that.
– Look approachable
Make sure you look friendly and approachable, so if someone wants to meet you and be friends, they can. Smile when you’re out in public, stay around people, adjust your posture, and when talking to someone display an interest. That is, lean towards them when talking, smile, and be responsive. Think of things to talk about.
Real-life cases of introverts becoming extroverted
When wondering how to become an extrovert, hearing about real people who’ve done it (or want to) might help. And who would be a better example than yours truly?
I personally am an introvert, but for a short period when I was in my late teens I somehow turned into an extrovert. I made lots of new friends (by reaching out and initiating conversations with strangers), always had something to talk about, asked a lot of questions, and was generally a great conversationalist. To this day, some of my friends associate me with extroversion. I don’t know how or why it happened, and I was back to normal after close to a year. I think it’s one of those things that just happen.
So – can an introvert become an extrovert without trying? Apparently yes!
My friend Ethan, aged 24, is actively trying to become more extroverted. He says: “I’ve always been super introverted, but my line of work rewards extroverts. Also, my partner is an extrovert, so I’m trying to adapt and embrace the wonderful world of extroverts.”
How is he doing it? He says having an extroverted partner is a blessing, because “she understands me and knows what I like, and also knows that I’m trying to make new friends. So for example, she can introduce me to people she knows I’ll like, or drag me to parties she knows I’ll enjoy once I’m there.”
Is there anything he does personally to complement her efforts? “Yes,” he says, “I’ve joined a book club and a public speaking class. I also go to gym nowadays, which is a good way to meet new people.”
Both Ethan and his girlfriend say they’ve noticed a marked improvement. If he can do it, so can you!
Are there any downsides to becoming an extrovert?
With a title like this article has, you might wonder what the hell this question’s doing here. Why would an extrovert, a person destined for success – or failing that, at least likes on Facebook (ha-ha) – want to turn into a shy little cloud of self-doubt and privacy?
It’s because…in some ways, the grass really is always greener on the neighbor’s lawn.
The advice “be you” is clichéd and boring, but let’s face it – there are two sides to every coin. Some coins, such as pressure, loneliness and poverty may have a rather more serviceable side and one that’s too dented to be much good, but when it comes to personality types the scales are much more even.
Extroverts, for example, are sometimes considered loud, over-friendly, callous, or nosey.
Yes, society strongly favors extroverts. So? The thing about societal expectations is, they change with time. Remember when hot pink miniskirts were the height of fashion? When stick-thin was sexy and matte was dull?
Things change. Today they like extroverts. Tomorrow, they might think shy and mysterious is oh-so attractive, that it’s the new stairway to success.
In my example, for instance, I had fun being an extrovert, but when I ‘snapped out’ of it and went back to being the old me, I realized how people-pleasing I was as an extrovert. I wasn’t in touch with my own needs or wants. I never had any time for quiet introspection. I was addicted to social media and had insomnia because of it. I was always out of time. I felt like I was always chasing people. I suppressed mental health issues because I was more interested in other people’s problems. It’s definitely not all positive.
Can an extrovert become an introvert?
Absolutely! There are benefits of both personality types, and if you want to be introverted – more power to you! I think it’s a little like needing to gain weight. More people have the opposite problem (i.e., they need to lose weight), so when someone underweight complains about not being able to gain weight they get advice along the lines of “eat pizza”, and lots of dirty looks. But don’t worry, Introvert City is a safe space.
So anyway – here are some tips that’ll help you enhance your introverted side.
– Discover what introverted traits you already have, and work on them
Are you quiet? Are you shy? Do you have trouble approaching people, or do you feel tired after interacting with them?
– Make a list of the friends who mean a lot to you
When we have a lot of friends, it’s almost certain that some of them will be mere ‘acquaintances’. Some others may be bad conversationalists, slow repliers, rude, or disinterested in talking to you. Weed them out and narrow your circle down to friends who mean more to you. You can then further narrow this down to ‘close’ friends – i.e., friends whom you can rely on.
– Try out hobbies which don’t involve socializing or going out
Gardening, reading, dancing, cleaning, cooking, writing, birdwatching – the options are endless. You’re bound to find something that fulfils that criterion, which you like. If you’re passionate about something (e.g., interior decoration, environmental preservation, technology), try to find something that ties to it. Maybe you can start writing a blog? This website [hyperlink: lifethisway.com] will help you get started.
– Spend some time on introspection
It’s always a good idea to be in touch with your inner self. Set some time aside daily to do nothing but think. It’s important that you do this daily, because it’s a bit like meditation – if you’re not used to it, you’ll find it hard initially. Your thoughts will go off on a tangent. But keep bringing them back to yourself and your life. Are you happy with how things are? If not, what exactly are you unhappy with? What can you do to change these things?
I hope this guide was useful, and it helped you understand how to become an extrovert. If you really want to change something about yourself then that’s great, and we wish you all the best. However, always remember that you are you. We’re all unique, and that’s what makes this world such a wonderful place. Always try to improve yourself, but don’t ever be ashamed of yourself for being who you are.