I’m Ready to Come Out
I’ve always been more on the reserved side, even though I love people and I value my relationships. I would open up after getting to know a person, but I have always wanted to be more outgoing.
I think every friend I’ve made initiated a conversation with me and then the friendship took off from there. Thinking about it makes me wonder how many awesome people I probably didn’t meet because I was extremely shy.
Not to mention that being friendly comes in handy in public social settings. As much as I hated playing the wallflower, I just couldn’t bring myself to go up to a random person and just say hello. If I did, it likely wouldn’t go much farther than that because I felt awkward in those scenarios. It got to a point where I would try to avoid group events where I didn’t know the majority of people there. How sad, right?!
Exiled No More, Break Free from Shyness
After a while, I disliked being on the island and made up my mind to be friendlier. It was time for me to grow out of my shyness.
I still have more room to grow, but I am much better than I was. Here are 5 ways to help if you’re an introvert who’s trying to break out of your shell:
1. Get out of your head.
Most introverts overthink EVERYTHING. We’re in our head planning a response to a question that hasn’t even been asked. Seriously, I have had so many “potential” conversations in my head playing out all possible outcomes and exhausting myself in the process. Most of the time that’s enough to make me change my mind about doing whatever I was going to do!
Also, if you overthink a situation you’ll get into it and end up feeling self-conscious and making things much worse than they are. it’s okay to be introspective and thoughtful, but you can’t live in there – get out of your head.
2. Practice being friendly by speaking to passersby.
When on your commute or in an elevator, say hello and make eye contact with people to get your feet wet. To this day, I struggle with this! Here’s a tip – you have about 3 seconds to speak to someone when you encounter them. If you wait too long, it seems weird when you finally speak. Walk with your head up and smile. When you are passing by someone close enough to speak – do it!
3. Volunteer to do tasks that put you in a position to network.
If you’re planning an event or program, it may be easier for you to speak to a stranger versus just randomly starting a conversation at the event. Do this often, you’ll be a big help and you can strengthen your social skills. Organizing an event involves working with a team of people – and teamwork builds confidence. Also, try throwing your own get-togethers and invite people you don’t typically hang out with (along with your usual gang). There will be less pressure on you – plus you have the home court advantage.
4. Join a social group/club or take a class that requires interaction.
Book clubs, mommy-and-me outings, PTA, church life groups are all great resources and opportunities for connection. You’d be surprised – there are many people just like you who are looking to break their shy shell as well. You just might take the pressure off of someone else with your friendly smile.
Try these ideas for mingling with new people without your current bestie by your side. He or she might be a crutch for you in group settings.
5. Pray and be patient.
Cancel fear and intimidation in Jesus’ name, and if you have an #AwkwardMoment, learn to have patience and laugh at yourself! It’s okay. My problem with being shy comes from insecurity. It might be different for you, but you have to get to the root of it and overcome it with the Word.
I used to be concerned with people’s opinion of me, and so I became consumed with being “likable” which is a horrible way to live. I got over this by changing my inner dialogue, canceling the negative thoughts, and asking God to make me comfortable with the woman He created me to be.
We are all social beings and relationships are the most important thing on earth. Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity”. We truly need one another.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, ”two are better than one”, and verse 12 says, “three are even better”. There is power in numbers!
In Genesis chapter 11, the people decided to make a great city and a tower whose top sits in the heavens. And God said, “indeed the people are one…nothing they propose to do will be too hard for them.”
God said when we unite, nothing can stop us! But, we can’t unite if we keep to ourselves and refuse to connect with others. There could be someone out there with an encouraging word for you or the key that’ll unlock your next level.
There’s no time to be timid. Doing something as simple as talking to a stranger can open up a door for you and make a world of difference in your life.
So, let’s stop living in isolation, Team.
SO, WHAT’S THE PLAY CALL?
The Bible says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24).
Fellow introverts, there’s only one way out. Be FRIENDLY!
Put yourself out there, be intentional about building new relationships.
Pray and ask God to give you boldness and confidence.
Don’t take yourself too seriously – relax and stop over analyzing.