Making new friends can be a challenge, especially for introverts. Susan Cain, co-founder of Quiet Revolution, advises those looking to create new relationships to shift their mindset. Once you take the pressure off of the situation, you’ll be able to connect with like-minded individuals. Following is a transcript of the video.
Susan Cain: When you do find yourself in a full on networking event. You know, say it’s a cocktail party or a happy hour. One of the most effective tips you can use is just to shift your mindset. So instead of the mindset of thinking what am I gonna say to these people? Instead go in there and think how can I make the people around me comfortable?
I think the biggest misconception about introverts is that they’re antisocial. They’re not antisocial, they’re not misanthropic. They’re differently social. Introverts in general prefer to invest their energies into a few close friendships. Sometimes people ask me, well if you’re an introvert how do you go about making new friends? And I think the answer really is more or less the same as it would be for an extrovert which is we tend to make friends most easily with people who we feel some kind of connection with. You know people who feel like a kindred spirit whether just in terms of what their world view is or in terms of shared interests and shared passion. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do the ones that you don’t like and instead actively seek out the ones you do.
If you think that you’re too introverted and that’s holding you back you’ll be so much more powerful once you really come to terms with who you are. I see this again and again. There’s a kind of paradox that the more people have with themselves the more powerful they are in externally oriented roles like a job interview or negotiation or something like that. And if you need to get a sense of that peace one way to do it is to look for role models of people who you think have a personality style similar to yours and who are doing the kinds of things that you want to do in the world.
I’ve gone through a real evolution when it comes to public speaking because I used to be terrified of public speaking and I saw it as a terror so profound that there was no way to overcome it, but here’s the thing, for those of you who feel this way whether it’s about public speaking or any other kind of fear the way to conquer it is you have to expose yourself to thing that you fear in very small manageable bite sized steps. So you don’t begin by giving a Ted Talk. You have to start really slowly so you might instead like sign up for Toastmasters. You know, sign up for your local chapter where you’re gonna be in a setting of supportive people and it’s safe and it doesn’t matter how much you screw up. And little by little by little the horror will start to recede and you’ll be able to bring your personality into the room with you.
Imagine that you’re the host and imagine you go up to somebody. It is your job to make them feel good and that’s gonna change completely your demeanour and your body language. And then if you couple that also with the idea of every single person has at least one, usually many more fascinating things about them and my job is to tap into my natural curiosity and figure out what that fascinating thing is. That also is going to serve you really well. It can be very helpful to prepare a couple of topics that you might want to talk about or questions to ask, but really at the end of the day it’s about a shift in mindset.
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