I am definitely not outgoing by nature, but I have realised that when I go out, I often like it a lot, or learn about something important. So even though I am very introvert, I am nonetheless going out most days in the week.
For me, the most difficult part is to push myself to go, – when I have left my home, it is easy and enjoyable to be at the event. There are different ways to push yourself to go out if it does not come natural:
- Take on responsibilities: sign up for giving a talk, helping out with some practical stuff, take some tasks, – and then you have to be there.
- Decide to at least go for a short timespan, – you can tell yourself you should just be there for 5 minutes, just try to catch a certain person, or just have at least 2 dances, – and then you can leave again if it is boring.
- Sign up, announce to your friends that you are going, or make arrangements to meet with somebody there, – this adds some social pressure to go there.
- Make it a game, – give yourself some challenges or agendas at the place. Making it more goal oriented, and less social, make easier approachable for me.
- Have a backup plan, – if the presentation or show or whatever is boring, then have some problem that you can sit and work through and work through in the mind, while seeming attentive. At certain technical meetups you can actually bring your computer and it is ok to switch between working and attending.
- Find the right state of mind, – there is a certain way of focus/openness, that makes makes it easier to be outgoing. Priming yourself for this states also makes it easier to be outgoing.
It might sound harsh to push yourself to be outgoing, but it is my experience that I gain a lot from it. Today I have just returned from a nice developer meetup, where I had to push myself to go, but I ended up reconnecting with a friend I had not seen for a while, and met new people, got aware of a hackathon that I really want to go, and ran into a couple of other friends on my way back home on the bicycle, and had a nice evening.
So despite being introvert, I like to push myself often to be more outgoing, and it is something I would recommend to others too.