Photo by nikko macaspac
Growing up as an extremely shy individual I had to learn over time how to force myself out of my shell. It still isn’t easy and I struggle every day with putting myself out in the world without fear of judgment, but it’s something all introverts should learn to do. I used to model quite a bit for my photographer friends, but I felt so insecure the entire time. I was shy, I didn’t like to draw too much attention to myself, and I hated feeling like I wasn’t getting the image right in the eyes of the photographer. Meetups, in particular, felt so stressful to me. I had no idea what I should say or do and I was so worried about blowing my first impression that I would just not act like me and this sabotaged everything anyway. I wanted to give some helpful advice to my fellow introverts so they can maybe overcome some of their anxieties. I hope all of you extroverts read it too.
Did you know there are actually four types of introverted individuals?
Social introverts tend to prefer small group interaction to large. Sometimes complete solitude is desired. They are content to stay home with a book or on the computer and they would rather hang out with close friends and not strangers. This is different from shyness and they also don’t have anxiety associated with their preferences.
This is a newer concept. It refers to individuals who can be in social settings, but are often introspective, thoughtful, and reflective. They can get lost in the creativity of their minds. Think of a Luna Lovegood. Perhaps, they don’t bring up their thoughts often and are more quiet because they fear being judged.
This type of introvert may seek out solitude because they are painfully self-conscious and feel awkward around other people and because they are not very confident in their own social skills. This type tends to lead individuals to obsess over their actions in group settings and constantly ask themselves what they could have done differently.
These individuals prefer to act at a slower pace, thinking before they speak or act. It may take these introverts longer to get going, to become comfortable or to show their personalities at social gatherings. They tend to observe everything and then they make a decision on what they feel comfortable doing.
Maybe you lean more towards one of these than the other or maybe you are a little bit of all four. Either way, it helps to be away from what makes you uncomfortable in social situations because then you can move towards ways to feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin around other people. Nobody expects you to suddenly sing karaoke, but perhaps you will get better at being you with no doubts.
Here are some tips to help introverts better handle those annoying social situations and even photoshoots/meetups with new people.
1. Set small goals
Think of what would work best for you. Maybe challenge yourself to talk to one new person a day. Think of ways to start conversations with people in your life that you sometimes feel awkward around. Practice dreadful small talk and use it. This will help tremendously with your confidence and make you feel like a new person.
2. Embrace the nerves/anxiety
It’s not the end of the world to feel out of your element or comfort zone. It means you care, just don’t care too much because it will drive you crazy. For models try practicing your posing in front of friends and family. Or do it alone and record it on your phone so you can watch it later. Most of the time you think you look worse than you do, and even if your posing needs work at least you filmed yourself and can begin to correct it.
3. Make it about “them” and not “you”
When you focus on the other person and ask them good questions they begin to think you are a great conversationalist. When you do this it takes the heat off of you and you can be content to listen deeply to someone’s story. This won’t work forever though. It also might make you feel more comfortable opening up to the group because you feel like you already know them from all your questioning.
4. Get help from your outgoing friends
We all have friends that are more comfortable being social than us. Find them and tag along with them. Force yourself to talk to people once out, but go with someone you feel comfortable with and who knows you. Just remember to not use them as a crutch for too long.
5. Find ways in which interacting with the rest of the world doesn’t feel like you are faking it.
When you go to an event and tell yourself, “I’m just going to act like an extrovert.” this is doing you a disservice because you aren’t actually becoming comfortable with the situations before you. This is your mind’s way of lying to itself so you can make it through social interactions. In the long run, it won’t help you. Have honest conversations, don’t over think anything, and be who you want. When things get boring try to interact more and if it’s still boring then leave. Also before going out try watching a funny television show and it will put you in a happier more outgoing mood.
Next time you find yourself stressing before an event first figure out what is making you nervous and then try a number of these tips to help make you more comfortable.