How to be more social ???
July 9, 2012 6:49 PM   Subscribe

Any tips on being more social ? Lately, I have noticed that I am becoming more and more intraverted, whenever an activity comes up where other people I know will be there , I automatically start thinking of the reasons why it's not worth going or how it might go wrong. I don't like this new frame of mind , but at the same time I never feel bored or anxious to do anything else when Im by myself , or with my gf. Any tips on changing my intraverted ways ??
posted by sea turtle to Human Relations (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Reservedness and introversion are not diseases. If this feeling is, you think, inauthentic, then ignore the reasons not to go and just go. The trite advice, I suppose, would be to drink more alcohol. But if you're trying to change to be more like you think you ought to be, the problem is probably most easily solved by no longer assuming it's a problem.
posted by pdq at 7:05 PM on July 9, 2012

The last sentence was backwards. That is, if you're trying to change to be more like you think others think you ought to be - for their sake - then the problem is most easily solved by no longer assuming it's a problem.
posted by pdq at 7:06 PM on July 9, 2012

Best answer: When you do go to an event anyway, how do you feel? Do you loosen up after a while and have a great time, or do you find yourself wanting to leave early?

How do you feel when you keep to yourself for several days?

You say "whenever an activity comes up where other people I know will be there , I automatically start thinking of the reasons why it's not worth going" - what about activities where people you don't know will be present? Do you feel uncomfortable with your social circle for some reason? Or do you just dread the chit-chat necessary when you run into someone you know?

Try paying attention to the activities that are most successful for you - playing trivia is different from a big group dinner which is different from bowling which is different from a workout group which is different from one-on-one coffee. Some of these might be more comfortable for than others. I struggle with larger unstructured events and I do better with activities that give me something to think about and something to do with my hands.
posted by bunderful at 7:08 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've found the more that I go out the more I want to go out-- if I've had a week where I've pretty much stayed home and not talked to too many people, it's that much harder to go out and be social. Whereas if I have a couple social occasions a week, the idea of going to another one is not so daunting.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:10 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I feel fine about going out in public and participating in events with complete strangers... no reservations at all. Now that it was mentioned , I guess I only question engaging in activities with people I know.... co -workers mainly. I think part of the problem is that I don't consider them friends of mine , just people I know. My gf tells me that this way of thinking is wrong , mainly because in my current situation , I dont have any friends that I would want to hang out with.. genuinely that is. See , Im in the military and I know that I will eventually leave to another base and meet new people yata yata yata ... so I dont feel like I need to make friends. My gf sees this as a problem because she wants to hang out with people and I dont necceasarily like them , but i try and force it anyway because i do understand her point of view... she wants to be social and do normal stuff. I always tell her that my friends are back home , where Im from... before i joined the military... but she tells me that they are too far away and i need to make new friends and be social. I want to be social , i dont want to always just hang out by myself or my gf , its just i dont see my situation as one where i can make a real friend. so , how do i fake the funk i guess ????
posted by sea turtle at 7:16 PM on July 9, 2012

Response by poster: .... and as far as the situation thing goes... i feel better when there is a pre determined activity... bowling , poker , dinner... i just have reservations when people want to " hang out " .... just chill or whatever . to me , when i just chill or hang out im lounging around my house watching a movie , tv or reading... so i dont get way other people constantly want me to just chill or just hang out with them.... i get asked all the time , why are you chilling by yourself ? come hang out with me , it seems too me that unless we are doing a pre determined activity then there is no point to see eachother... wow that sounded bad after i typed it... but honestly , thats how i feel.
posted by sea turtle at 7:21 PM on July 9, 2012

Do you feel ok about making friends with people who aren't coworkers?

You can have good friendships with people even if you aren't going to be in their vicinity forever. A few might turn into friends that you stay in touch with and visit, even.

If you prefer to spend time with people bonding over activities rather than just sitting around, there's nothing wrong with that. You get to make that call. People are asking you to hang out, probably, because *they* are lonely and want company, but if you politely say no, they can find someone else to hang out with. Over time they'll learn that you are someone to invite to X activity but not to chill on the couch drinking beer.

You don't have to make friends just because GF wants you to - she is free to make friends of her own, and you can support her in that without leading the charge. And a lot depends on meeting the right people that you really connect with.

One last thought - a change in your social habits can indicate a change in your mental health. In this case it seems like your circumstances are definitely playing a role, but it's still worth considering.
posted by bunderful at 7:36 PM on July 9, 2012

One thing that helps counteract my my introverted tendencies is to schedule a routine activity. In years past this role was filled by a running club I belonged to, and now it's my riding class. These kinds of structured activities expose me to a new set of people, lower the decision-making threshold because the default was "yes, I'm going to go", and there is a structured activity to do that takes up part of the time, and subject matter of shared interest to talk about when you're not directly engaged in the activity.

So that's one approach to consider--is there any activity that you and your girlfriend both enjoy, and that you can get involved in an organization that meets regularly and that will allow you to socialize with people other than your current set of coworkers?
posted by drlith at 4:06 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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