An outgoing, extrovert person will always find it challenging to understand the introvert personality.
They believe that introverts must be lonely and unhappy.
That is not the case, so what is the introvert personality?
What is an introvert?
The psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Carl Jung developed and popularised the two different fundamental life attitudes of introverted and extroverted in the early 1920s. Learn about Jung here.
An introvert has a personality that is happiest with their inner thoughts and ideas. They are self-sufficient regarding their emotional needs.
Although some introverts are, an introverted person is not necessarily shy. Frequently, they prefer to spend their time alone.
They often feel drained and exhausted from social interaction and turn to their own company for time alone to recharge.
As you might expect, an introvert is the opposite of an extrovert personality which is attention-seeking and thrives on social interaction.
Is being an introvert bad?
No, certainly not.
Can you change from an introvert to an extrovert?
Widely held beliefs signify that you probably cannot change from an introvert to an extrovert.
There are, however, five traits, often referred to as the big five, that individuals of all personality types will possess in different quantities:
A study at Illinois University concluded that people may be able to change these personality traits.
‘These studies suggest that people may be able to change their self-reported personality traits through volitional means, and represent a first step toward understanding the processes that enable people to do so.’ (Hudson N W & Fraley C R, 2015).
There is nothing definitive about changing a personality from one extreme to the other such as from introvert to extrovert.
There are also many other personality traits that interlink within our characters and make us individual.
When we desire to change some of these traits, we can use learnt strategies to seemingly adapt our traits.
However, physiologically, we have not changed much inside. Thus, we may not actually make radical changes to our personality; rather, we adapt and grow the desired traits to perform in society.
Because we all possess different personality trait levels, making changes is easier for some introverts than others.
Many people fall somewhere between introvert and extrovert.
How to stop being an introvert
There are strategies and practices that introverts can use to gain the appearance of a more extroverted personality.
The main factor is confidence. Gaining the confidence to speak up.
1. Set yourself specific goals
An introvert who is also shy should make small goals and gradually increase them while learning to accept social situations.
2. Learn to partake in small talk
Introverts don’t have any interest in small talk when left to their own devices.
They’d rather get on with something they see as meaningful.
Engaging colleagues or people you meet in small talk is a step towards gaining social prowess.
Before going to a social event, check the current affairs or listen to the news on the way to work.
Set realistic goals about how many people you will engage in small talk on a specific day.
3. Accept social invitations
Accept invites or stay for longer.
Plan something extrovert to do at each event. For example, start a conversation.
Prepare before you go, think about the type of event and people’s interests, make sure that you have something to say.
4. Change your thought pattern
When in a social situation, instead of thinking about what others think of you or when you can get away.
Think about and then enquire about someone, what they do, where they live and ask them questions.
5. Acquire conversation skills
A big step towards gaining a more extrovert persona is to acquire excellent conversational skills.
One of the ways this helps the introvert in countless situations is that it puts you in the driver’s seat.
Gradually as you develop the skill, you will find yourself able to instigate and lead conversations.
6. Fake it ‘till you make it
For many introverts, mixing with others can be daunting.
Yet, you have to show a confident face to the world, especially if you want career success.
So, take a little time to think about how you can adapt to different situations.
Concentrate on when it’s important to appear more extroverted. Imagine you are an actor you admire and act the part.
Gradually, it will become natural; it’s a strategy used by managers who are not natural extroverts.
7. Dress to impress
Many introverts present themselves to the world conservatively dressed.
When you need to make a first impression or want to appear the life and soul of the party, turn heads by dressing to impress.
Think about what the movers and shakers wear in your profession, replicate their style.
Invest in a brightly coloured dress or shirt for social functions.
8. Don’t forget self care
Someone with an introverted personality needs to have downtime or me-time.
It’s crucial in your quest towards social skills that extroverts take for granted.
Factor in the time you need to recharge and reset.
9. Motivation and learning
Be comfortable with who you are.
But, also learn what you can about motivation, what motivates you and what motivations you can use to drive you forward towards your next goal.
Learn others successful strategies, such as dropping anchor when you feel anxious in a social situation.
Learn breathing techniques like the power of a deep breath before approaching someone to spark up a conversation.
Browse the bookshelves and find something that works for you.
Becoming an ambivert
An ambivert is someone who can switch between both extrovert and introvert traits.
As mentioned above, some people will naturally fall somewhere between the two.
Depending on an introvert’s traits, they may be leaning towards extrovert and are therefore a natural ambivert.
Even if you are not a natural ambivert, you can learn the skills and traits to slot into this middle ground without losing your sense of self.
By honing your ambivert traits and learning strategies that work for you, finding the middle ground is the easiest way to succeed in a world of extrovert high achievers.
Gaining the ambivert status is balanced by making the most of your introvert traits and skills.
Introverts or introvert towards ambivert personalities already possess desirable skills: good at learning and studying, good listening skills, highly tuned empathy and great self-sufficiency are some examples.
Once you’ve mastered the social skills, the trick is to know when to lean towards introvert and when to lean towards extrovert, but also how to find the middle ground as an average setting – at least to the outside world.
A natural introvert will still want to snuggle down with a good book or sit alone in a garden to recharge.