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How To Be a People Person When You Are Naturally Not One

I have been asked numerous times how I was able to meet people and mingle with them naturally, by my old friends. Most of them know that I am not a people person, so they really wondered why my industry right now involves that. Moreover, I am able to speak to an audience as well. Through this article I’ll tell you my story on how I was able to become a people person even though naturally, I am not.


Firstly, I am naturally an introvert. And until now, I am.

Most of you might wonder, what does introversion mean? It is not being shy, nor being awkward with people. Instead, it means:

n. orientation toward the internal private world of one’s self and one’s inner thoughts and feelings, rather than toward the outer world of people and things. Introversion is a broad personality trait and, like extraversion, exists on a continuum of attitudes and behaviors. Introverts are relatively more withdrawn, retiring, reserved, quiet, and deliberate; they may tend to mute or guard expression of positive affect, adopt more skeptical views or positions, and prefer to work independently. [concept originated by Carl Jung for the study of personality types] —introversive adj. —introvert n. —introvertedadj.

APA Dictionary of Psychology

However, I am also a naturally shy person. There was no need to become a people person because I don’t feel like talking to others, because I can get what I want on my own. (Sounds familiar?) You might be experiencing this, too. Sometimes, you feel that there’s no need to talk to others because why do you even have to? You might have a few circle of friends as well whom you really trust. Your energy is replenished probably through some “me time” instead of hanging out with groups, because that might drain you. You like your space, you feel at ease. I am that kind of person.

To know more about introverts, visit this article: How You Can Tell That You’re an Introvert

But how do people like introverts can manage being a people person, if they drain their energies?

Of course, we’re not going to stay in this article talking about introversion because there are people who are just naturally shy, low self-esteem, and the like who are not people person as well. However, let me share with you some things I learned and the transformations I did to be a people person, even though I am still an introvert.

1. You don’t have to force yourself to become an extrovert.

One thing I strongly believe in is that I am a natural introvert, and forcing myself to become an extrovert is like changing who I am (at least, that’s how I feel). Introversion and extroversion are in a spectrum, and I believe you actually can control when you want to increase your extroversion or introversion levels. However, changing it completely and letting it stay in one side of the spectrum is a different thing. Accepting the fact that you are naturally like that and at the same time being aware that there’s a way you can control it are keys for you to be better at being with people. If you don’t feel like being around others, then don’t. It would drain more of your energy if you keep on forcing things you’re not meant to do when in fact you can focus on the things that you love doing.

introvert
It would drain more of your energy if you keep on forcing things you’re not meant to do when in fact you can focus on the things that you love doing.

2. Risk. Even if those are small risks.

If you’ve been reading my Facebook posts and hearing me out whenever I speak, I always talk about taking risks. This applies to opportunities we encounter in our lives. To those who did not know, I started to work at a young age of 16. This is not because I was financially in need of it, but mainly because of peer advice. A good friend of mine told me to apply with her in a fastfood chain (yes, that’s how I trusted her that bad!) and I said “Okay, let’s do it.” Looking back, if I would love to stay in my comfort zone, I would’ve not accepted it since I know it would involve talking to people. However, being the introverted person who would love to explore things out of her comfort zone, I took that small risk of getting that work. That experience is truly remarkable until now because things such as smiling to people, approaching them, trusting others, and more are some things that I’ve learned.

introvert
Or another lesson here, trust your real friends. They will bring you to places and will contribute to your success. (Thank you, my dearest Chiara for always being with me since Day 1 of that journey, she was there from my first part-time, to my first employment, together)

3. Enjoy the process of meeting new people.

There might be other introverted people out there who really do not want to mingle with others. The difference with me is that, I know for a fact that you can learn a lot from different people that you meet. Knowing this at first put me in a conflicted situation where I was the person who doesn’t want to approach people but at the same time want to learn from people. To tell you something, I was this kind of person who:

  • Checks out the person who I am going to meet for the day;
  • Gets nervous whenever someone calls to me on the phone;
  • Finds my own way instead of asking to others whenever I need help;
  • Doesn’t like big gatherings;
  • Feels anxious whenever someone gets introduced to me;

and more. You might feel the same, too. Until now, I am still experiencing some of these. However, training my mind to think that these people will do no harm to me and I would be learning a lot from them is something I rehearsed all over again so I don’t feel the anxiety of facing them. As time passes by, meeting new people became something enjoyable though at first it was challenging to do so. Try to rehearse these thoughts in your mind instead:

I’m going to meet someone today. It must be definitely a day full of learnings.

Are they good or bad people? Who cares? As long as your intention to them is good then nothing to worry about.

This person could probably learn from me as well.

And so on. If you have lots of negative thoughts on meeting new people, train your mind to create more numbers of positive emotions associated with it. It is definitely simple, but it is challenging.

4. Find people you’d like to spend the rest of the days with.

Speaking about people, then you must find the circle you want to be with. Whenever I talk about my past experiences, I always tell that the people around me are vital in my development. Thus, why would I associate myself to someone that I don’t trust, believe in, or someone who doesn’t live up to my standards? I used to see stressed workers and bosses, people who can’t expand their creativity, or people confined with the limits of what others have instructed them to do. This is not saying that having a boss or a leader is bad, but not being able to maximize your potential is not good. I learned that if I associate myself with people who are like that, I think I’ll be like that in the future, too. Conformity is truly powerful. Therefore, if you want to conform, find a good circle to conform with.

I do have a lot of people around me at certain times, so I must choose them wisely!
wucc
Ever since, I know I can learn from people! This came from a cultural experience overseas. We had a cooking class wherein we learned making Pad Thai ผัดไทย and Tom Yum Soup ต้มยำกุ้ง from the locals!

Of course, you don’t have to stick to one circle only. Expand your network, expand your connections. I have read in an article that if you aspire to be successful, find someone who is your idea of success because the reason why you might get attracted to that person is because he/she might’ve mirrored you and you will follow a similar path. You don’t have to push yourself to be like every successful person you know when it comes to relationship building and meeting new people. Find someone that would fit your personality, preferences, and activities.

You can read more about the article here, How to Stop Chasing Someone Else’s Idea of Success.


5. Have a complete day for rest.

As I have mentioned earlier in this article, introverts get their energy drained by meeting people. Yes, I feel that too. Honestly, I can manage one or two people but a huge number of it feels like I am already done for the day. Thus how do I manage to adjust to this?

I rest for one whole day. 

Usually, if I don’t meet this requirement I imposed to myself, I tend to get sick and crave for rest for the whole week (which is more unproductive, isn’t it?) Look at it this way: what happens to your phone if it’s over used? Battery gets drained, right? Then what are you supposed to do? Charge it. Like phones, my body and mind needs recharging at least once a week. My friends and colleagues know this. If they want to meet me on Sundays, they must go near my place since I imposed the discipline of not going to meet people at that day (not because I don’t want to) because it would be best to meet them on a day that I am energized. Let me tell you some things that I do that you can probably try as well:

  • Do activities that you love doing with a few people. I usually hang out with my family only.
  • Have enough sleep! This is the only time you can have all the time by yourself, why deprive?
  • Take pleasure in doing mundane things. I love doing chores, errands, and playing with my pet while watching some movie at home just on a Sunday.
  • Get off in social media. Or at least try to lessen your usage. You will sometimes feel overwhelmed with people in there.
introvert
Being there in the covers doesn’t mean you’re lazy. Sometimes, you need a time off to be a more productive person tomorrow.

 

There you go! Always remember to love who you are and never let others impose the ideal you. If you love meeting new people, go for it. If it challenges you, then take on the challenge. After all, being a people person would not be the same approach for everyone.

 

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