Truth be told, I think I find it really easy and also really difficult to be myself in social situations.
I always tell people that if someone I meet says I’m quiet or shy, then they don’t know me very well. When you become my friend, you quickly realise that I’m a very animated speaker, I make a lot of facial expressions and I don’t shut up. I can’t blame people though, I’m a hybrid of a person because in social situations I’ll either get really intimidated and be timid or I’ll over-compensate and I probably come across as…a bit much. It just depends what kind of people I’m with. Everyone always says to ‘be yourself,’ but how do you be your authentic self in social situations if you’re more of an introverted person?
Remember that people are too busy thinking about themselves.
Someone could be talking to you, you’re freaking out about what to say next and honestly? For all you know they could barely be listening to you because they’re busting to go to the loo. I mean, hey, it seems like a far out there thought but it happens. We’re all just people and no matter what we think, we don’t really ever know what’s going through another person’s mind. Not everyone is the same, but chances are other people are too busy thinking or worrying about something to do with themselves to even begin to judge you, and knowing that makes me for one feel a lot better. It takes the pressure off because I realise that hey, the people I’m talking to might be just as introverted as I am- who knows?
Find your forte.
I bloody suck at small talk, like I think I am just really terrible at it. Maybe I’m not that bad, but that’s how I feel. I find it easier to have a deep conversation with someone rather than quick banter. Can’t do it, never could. I nailed down the reason the other day though, and it’s because if I’m only talking to someone for a quick second or a few minutes at a time, I a little bit go into panic mode because it’s like quick, you have to make a good impression and not come across as a complete weirdo and what if I have nothing to talk about and blah, my brain goes into overdrive. With long conversations, a lot of those thoughts drift away and I can actually focus on what I’m saying and what the other person is saying. Try finding your forte and by finding that, you’ll feel more comfortable and more able to be your most authentic self.
Focus on just listening.
Something I quickly learned from one of my acting classes (yes I am a budding actor, judge me accordingly) is that when you’re acting, if you’re just trying to think of what you’re next line is then you’re not doing a very good job of being in the moment because it means you’re not actually listening to the other person. It’s the same for real-life social situations as well. So to sort of step out of your shell a bit more, try concentrating on just listening to what the other person is saying. You might find that things flow a bit more smoothly and that it’s easier for you to get out of your head and into the conversation a bit more.