Introverts are hot on the Internet right now. I read tons of articles about them pretty much every week through the course of doing research with my company, The Art of Charm. But is it possible that “introversion” is an excuse people are using to not get out there and chase after what they want?
For what it’s worth, I probably relate more to “introverts” than “extroverts.” I like reading, writing, spending time alone and creating things unmolested. I like spending hours and hours alone. What’s more, I wouldn’t trade all that time I get to myself for the world.
But let’s face it: The world rewards extroversion in a myriad of ways. People who can navigate social waters better than others are almost always going to further in life, whether it be in their social life, romantic life, in business or whatever.
What’s more, extroversion adds a value to your life that introversion doesn’t, just like introversion adds a value to your life that extraversion doesn’t. So again, I pose the question: Is the “introvert” label just a shield that you’re using to keep yourself inside your comfort zone?
Before we go any further, let’s clarify what I want you to take away from this: I’m not suggesting that if you’re an introvert that you make radical changes to your life, deny this part of yourself and constantly surround yourself with large groups. I’m merely suggesting that a little more balance might help.
As with anything else, the easy path is rarely the best path.
For example, I’m naturally introverted. However, I still go out to bars and clubs several times a week, including my band’s residency on a Hollywood Boulevard bar. Sometimes it’s crazy and hectic, but it also affords me the opportunity to meet new people who enrich my life in ways that my books and writing can’t.
This comes from a recurring pattern that I notice, not just in articles that I read on the Internet: I see this pattern in the literally hundreds of dudes that come through our boot camp programs at The Art of Charm every year. In every group, there’s at least one dude who claims to be a hardcore introvert, basically saying that he’d love to have a more vibrant social life, but none of this stuff is going to work for him.
Nine times out of ten, that dude ends up being one of the most extroverted guys in the bunch. We get him out at some hot bar or club in Hollywood and he’s talking to the prettiest girl in the bar, entertaining total strangers with cool stories and getting comped drinks. It’s not that he’s not an introvert; On the contrary, it’s just that that’s one side of him. What we do is show him how to bring his other side out to get a more well-rounded appreciation of life; One where he can enjoy his time spent alone, but also enrich his life by meeting new people, doing new things and going outside of the comfort zone he called “introversion.”
Here’s how it breaks down: Everyone has at least one thing they like to do that involves other people. It doesn’t have to be hitting up bars and clubs. It could be art galleries, open mic nights, wine tastings, whatever. Go pick up your local weekly paper and check out Meetup.com. Try and find one thing that you like to do that involves other people going on in your town over the next couple of weeks. If you can’t find anything, you’re not looking hard enough.
Now go there, with an eye toward meeting two or three people.
Will it be difficult? Of course it will be! First of all, if you’re introverted, you’re doing something that doesn’t come naturally to you by approaching new people and speaking to them. And let me let you in on a little secret: Basically everyone gets nervous when they talk to new people. I teach guys how to be more social every day and I still get nervous when I have to approach new people when I’m out.
But here’s the thing: Your comfort zone has gotten you where? If you’ve read to this point in the article, you’re clearly an “introvert” who is at least toying with the idea of putting themselves out there more. This means that you’re not happy with things like they are. It also means that if you want to be happier, you have to start making changes. Changes that will not be easy. Changes that will force you to go outside of your comfort zone.
When you go out, you also need to commit to being out for at least an hour and a half. If after an hour, you’re not having any fun, go home. If the problem is just that you’re still a little nervous about doing something new, stick it out a bit. Remember, staying in your comfort zone has gotten you here: Reading an article about how to make changes. So if you want change for the better, you’re going to have to do things that are uncomfortable, even scary at times.
Spend that hour and a half maintaining a positive frame of mine, trying to meet new people and being willing to be uncomfortable. You don’t have to be the center of attention at all times. It’s OK to be low key and in the background.
Give it a shot this week. Consider bringing a trusted friend with you if it seems too much for you. Let me know how it goes.