The secret to socializing for introverts is to apply the principles of weight lifting, learn to listen really well, and remember people’s names. I know that sounds like a bunch of bullshit, but it’s completely true. And, this isn’t coming from an extroverted, life-of-the party type trying to tell you the cliched “be yourself” or some other useless advice. No. I’m an introvert. I’ve dedicated time (probably years) and effort to figuring out how to socialize. And, I’ve finally figured it out. I’ve cracked the code to socializing for introverts.
First, I want to define what introvert and extrovert mean. An introvert is someone who spends mental/cognitive energy and effort in social situations. After a several hours of meeting new people and socializing, introverts are exhausted. They need to be alone to regain their energy.
Extroverts are the opposite. They gain energy from social situations. Extroverts love being meeting new people and socializing. They expend energy and effort when they’re alone.
Based on this, it makes sense why introverts aren’t likely to socialize and why extroverts love socializing so much. Introverts exert effort to socialize. Extroverts exert effort to be alone. It also makes sense why introverts seem quieter and sometimes more awkward than extroverts. Introverts are instinctively trying to conserve their energy by socializing as little as possible and exerting as little effort as possible. Extroverts are much more outgoing because they’re gaining energy as they socialize.
Now, no one is ENTIRELY introverted or extroverted. But, everyone does tend to lean more towards one end of the spectrum.
I’ve written another blog post series on having more energy, and I recommend you check it out because it’s very closely related to socializing for introverts.
Introverts expend energy when they socialize. So, their socializing ability is heavily influenced by their energy levels. If they didn’t sleep well last night or skipped a meal, introverts don’t have as much energy to call upon for socializing. When they socialize too much, introverts become exhausted and burnt out, and they need to be alone to rest and regain their energy.
This is similar to doing intense weight lifting. You expend effort and energy during weight lifting. The intensity of your lifting is based on your energy levels. If you didn’t sleep well or skipped a meal and have low energy, you don’t have as much energy to devote to lifting. Also, you can become exhausted and burnt out after too much. You need to rest, allow your body to recover, and regain your energy. Overtime, this builds up your physical fitness and improve your health.
Intense weight lifting has a lot of overlap with socializing for introverts. In both cases, you expend energy. Then, you rest and regain your energy. Overtime, this builds up your fitness and improves your health.
I think the main reason for social awkwardness from introverts is a lack of effort and exertion. You expend energy during socializing, so you try to conserve as much as possible by not trying that hard. The result is awkwardness. You aren’t as focused and mindful of what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and what you’re doing.
If we start viewing socializing as weight lifting, you’ll quickly realize why this is a problem. Half-ass weight lifting, and you won’t make significant muscle or strength gains. If you half-ass socializing, you won’t become any better at it and you’ll continue to be awkward.
Lastly, I think introverts have the potential to be truly great at socializing. Olympic athletes are people who, generally speaking, exercise a lot. Because they’ve been exercising so much for so long, their physical fitness is at peak human levels. Well, this same principle can apply to socializing for introverts. You “exercise” by socializing a lot for a long enough time, and your mental fitness and socializing skills will reach peak human levels.
Ironically enough, listening is just as important as speaking, maybe even more important. In fact, listening is a skill that a surprising number of people, both introverts and extroverts, can’t do well.
The truth is that there’s more extroverts than introverts. About 40% of the population is introverted. The majority of people you socialize with are likely to be extroverted, so they’re going to enjoy talking. All you have to do is listen.
In my view, the most common reason why people have a hard time listening is because they’re waiting for their turn to talk. Extroverts are gaining energy every second they’re socializing, and they’re having a hard time preventing themselves from talking. Introverts seem to think that we have to speak when we socialize, and we think so hard about what to say that we end up listening poorly.
Now, if you’re speaking to another introvert, this isn’t going to work as well because the other person isn’t likely to talk that much. In this case, you have to encourage them to talk. People can talk about themselves easily because it’s a topic they’re guaranteed to be experts in. This is true for introverts too. Encourage the other person to talk about a topic that they’re interested in. Books, movies, TV, sports, celebrities, video games, it could be anything.
And, it’s all right if you don’t know anything about the other person’s topic of interest. You’re getting the other person to talk, and all you have to do is listen. Worst case scenario, you don’t learn anything interesting, but you still got some socializing training in. Best case scenario, you learn something very interesting, you start up a new hobby that you end up absolutely loving, and you STILL get some socializing training in.
Don’t get so caught up in what to say next. In fact, you’ll actually have an easier time finding more conversation topics to explore by listening to what the other person has to say.
In the classic novel How to Win Friends & Influence People, one of the main principles of getting people to like you is to be a good listener and encourage other people to talk about themselves.
How many times do you hear people say that they’re bad with names? For me, it’s most of the people I meet. That’s too bad, since remembering people’s names is extremely polite and one of the best ways you can do to get people to like you.
When you meet someone new, say your name first, then ask for their name. Commit their name to memory. Don’t be like everyone else and give the excuse that you’re not good with names. This excuse will almost guarantee that you won’t remember people’s names. Don’t give yourself that excuse. Commit genuine effort to remembering that person’s name.
It could be your immediate environment, it could be your commute to work/school, it could be the drive to your favorite movie theater, etc. For example, I tell you my name’s Brandon. You mentally link my name to the shops and buildings you drive past on your way to work or school.
The human brain has a seemingly limitless capacity for memorizing directions and locations. You may forget people’s names, but you always remember your commute to work/school, the way to get to your favorite mall, or a vacation you went on in the past. By connecting a piece of information like a person’s name to a physical location, you’re essentially hacking your brain and using your limitless location/direction memory bank to memorizing it.
The biggest potential obstacle to socializing greatness is the mindset and expectations you have. The common belief is that introverts don’t like socializing, they don’t socialize often, and they’re socially awkward. This is becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: you start believe this shit, and it ends up becoming true; you do end up not enjoying socialization, you end up socializing less often than you normally would, and you end up being socially awkward.
To be honest, maybe you do suck. You still shouldn’t believe it for a second! Instead of seeing your socializing as trying to fix a mistake, see it as improving something that’s already decent enough. And by taking your already decent socializing skills to the next level, you allow the people around you to benefit from your new and improved socializing skills. You also provide a good example to follow for others looking to improving their own social skills.
And, a person who’s confident in themselves will almost always seem like they have great social skills, even if they don’t.
Don’t have any expectations about how socializing should go. I always set high standards for how I should socialize and turned social interactions into some kind of game or challenge. I had to make person A smile, person B had to think I was smart, etc. If you do this too, I highly recommend you stop.
Don’t think about that time not too long ago when you were really weird and awkward because you didn’t sleep enough the night before and you were off your game. Don’t worry about it happening again right now, or happening again in the future. Learning from the past and preparing for the future are good, but they should never come at the expense of the present moment. There are no past mistakes, there are no future mistakes. Just focus on the here and now.
If none of the above seem to help you, one more resource for you is modafinil. Modafinil is a dopamine uptake inhibitor. It’s mainly used for treating narcolepsy, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. But, people have discovered that it’s great as a productivity and performance booster that gives you energy and helps you focus.
The Bradley Cooper movie “ Limitless” is widely believed to be based on Modafinil.
It turns out that modafinil can also make you more social. Here’s a YouTube video by Joel from Modafinil Expert about how modafinil can make you more social. I personally enjoy reading his blog a lot, so check it out if you’re interested.
I’ve done a lot of research on modafinil, and I’m strongly thinking about trying. Modafinil is a powerful performance booster that could elevate your socializing to absolutely inconceivable levels. Here’s a link to an online modafinil vendor (not an affiliate link).
Since my knowledge of modafinil is pretty limited right now (fixed!), here’s another great resource on using modafinil.
All right, that is the secret to successful socializing for introverts. Think of it as mental exercising. Go hard in the mental gym, rest, and you’ll see massive gains in social skills and mental energy. Here’s a recap of the socializing commandments:
I hope this was helpful. Click that “like” button if you enjoyed. Leave a comment down below with your thoughts. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to my free newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest content.
Last, but not least, check out my update to socializing for introverts.
All the best,