Photo by saeed karimi on Unsplash

As a life long introvert, I’ve heard all the labels that get plastered on those of us that seek to recharge our mind and souls with solitude; antisocial, conceited, cold…you name it. But as I get older and seek to live a midlife that flips most of my limiting beliefs on their head, this go-to, comfortable introversion may need some reexamining as well.

Here are a few tips to challenge that label and help you feel more comfortable in what seems to be a sea of extroverts while not changing who you are.

Make it about them

People love to talk about themselves, so this one will take very little effort. By asking questions and genuinely showing an interest in someone else, you’ll begin to feel comfortable in no time.

Ask a general question about someone’s career path or life interests and then actively listen. Focus and zero in on even the smallest details and ask about them curiously, taking the conversation to a deeper level. Before you know it you’ll be relaxed and building a pleasing rapport.

The best part of this strategy is that before you know it, you’re quickly transitioning into the type of interaction you like the most-one on one conversation.

Push the old and tired boundaries

Simply put, just do it. It’s easy to wear your reclusive nature as a crown of pretentiousness at times, but let’s face it, we can all benefit from seizing an opportunity for personal growth.

Getting uncomfortable is a key indicator for any type of growth so jumping right in and pushing through the unease will only help the action get easier. You’ll come to appreciate this new social calm in your personal and professional life.

You can push yourself to do things when you don’t feel like it, so making social interactions one of those things can be a real confidence builder and lead to a much more well-rounded social life.

Focus on creativity and expression

Resist the urge to blend into the woodwork and instead do your best to show your personality at each opportunity. Wearing something a little sassy or having an eye-popping accessory is a way to draw others like you in and start a conversation. This takes the pressure off you seeking out an interaction.

If you see someone else with an edgy jacket or shoes that make you do a double-take, make that the conversation starter. Remember, they could be experimenting on getting comfortable with the scene as well, and you initiating can help you both.

Being an introvert is nothing to be ashamed of in the least. There are more of you out there than you think, so proudly embrace it. Seek out any opportunity to push beyond your reclusive desires and dive right in.