How to come out of your shell | Psyche Guides - Deepstash
How to come out of your shell | Psyche Guides

How to come out of your shell | Psyche Guides

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Extraversion increases engagement with the world

Extraversion increases engagement with the world

Being introverted can keep you from new experiences and meeting new people. Studies show that we feel happier when we act more extraverted than usual because doing so increases our engagement with the world and our connectedness to others, which are basic human needs.

For example, you go to a party you didn’t want to go to, but you meet a person who becomes your best friend or your new boss or your networking partner.


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Extraversion-introversion tendencies

A strong extravert is not only chatty and sociable but also optimistic, assertive, energetic and receptive to positive emotions. Consequently, extraverts tend to be happier in life and more confident, which can benefit their careers and health.

A strong introvert is quiet and reserved and experiences less high-energy positive emotion in life. They avoid too much stimulation and are more averse to risk. While there are advantages to being more introverted, you may feel frustrated by your introverted leaning and desire to come out of your shell to the extent that works for you.


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Mindset for change

Mindset for change

Many of our behaviour is a profoundly ingrained part of who we are. But others are learned over the years from the many experiences in life.

Rather than waiting passively for life to change you, you can change your habitual ways of being. With persistence and motivation, you can take intentional control over the forces that shape your personality toward becoming more extraverted.


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Warming up for change

Warming up for change

Some ways to help you focus your intentions:

  • Talk to close friends and/or family members about your goal of becoming more extraverted. Ask for their advice.
  • Observe your own behaviours. In which situations could you be more extraverted than you currently are? 
  • Write down your pros and cons of being an extraverted person.
  • Identify people in your environment who are more extraverted than you are. Then consider what they do differently.


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If-then plans

Strong extraverts can happily strike up a conversation with strangers and consequently become practised at small talk and establishing new relationships.

Consider if-then plans, such as ‘If I am buying groceries, then I will say hello to the check-out assistant.’‘If it’s a Tuesday, then I will ask one of my colleagues to join me for a coffee.’ Write them down somewhere you’ll notice them.

To learn how to strike up a conversation with strangers, come up with several hooks or memorable talking points related to your current interests so that you can answer "What do you do?"


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Boost your optimism

Extraverts are bolder than average because they believe events will turn out well. Techniques that can help you to boost your optimism are:

The best possible self intervention: For 5 - 15 minutes, picture yourself in the future in a scenario where everything in life has gone as well as you wanted. Do this daily for about two weeks to gain maximum benefit.

Practise cognitive reappraisal. Try to reinterpret the feelings of anxiety or nerves as excitement.

Build strength through physical fitness to increase your confidence.


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‘Outside in’ strategies

‘Outside in’ strategies

Use situations and relationships around you to shape your levels of extraversion.

  • Consider how certain people and circumstances tend to bring out different sides of your character. Being strategic about the situations you put yourself in and the people you are with will help you make it easier to become more outgoing.
  • Instead of relying on your usual routines, consider ahead of time what you will do the coming weekend and who you will do it with. Aim to spend time with people who make you feel relaxed and confident.
  • Sign up for a club or group activity, such as a hobby, sport or game.


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Consider your overarching values and goals

You are far more likely to succeed if your desire for change serve a more meaningful value or goal. Research confirms that changing goals and priorities often precede personality trait change and not the other way around.

Therefore it's worth reflecting on why you wish to come out of your shell. If you think that enhancing your extraversion will serve your overriding purpose or goals, you will be more motivated to change.


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