Confession time: I’m a bit of a major, big time, socially awkward introvert.
My wife thinks I’m a very social person. I have her convinced I’m a raving extrovert.
The truth is, I was a very shy, quiet kid…and I still am. My wife doesn’t believe that, but it’s the truth. I’m still a rabidly anti-social introvert.
There are tons of books and websites out there claiming to reveal the secrets for introverts to become extroverted. I think they’re full of it. I don’t think you can become an extrovert. The fact is, I look at a lot of extroverts, and I don’t want to be like them! I’m not an extrovert, and I never will be…
…But I did learn how to fake it, to pretend to be an extrovert. See, it just doesn’t pay to be an introverted pastor or teacher or just about anything else. So I learned how to be an actor in a world overrun with social butterflies.
I’m still learning, but it’s easier than you think. Come with me, fellow anti-socialites, and you too, talkie! You might learn a thing or two about being a real extrovert from a real introvert’s perspective.
Introverts > Extroverts
First of all, I know what you’re thinking if you’re anything like me. It is a scientific fact that introverts are better than extroverts. To prove this point, consider the following anecdotal evidence:
Who is better?
Anyone with half a brain would say, “Is this a serious question? Chuck Norris, or course!” Exactly. And among Chuck’s many qualities that make him a perfect human being, he is an introvert. The ‘Biebs? Can’t shut up for two seconds, a huge extrovert.
Still not convinced? How about:
Obviously, a ninja, and a ninja by nature is an introvert.
But, like it or not, the world is run by a good number of extroverts (that Chuck Norris inexplicably allows to live.) Sure, every once in a while, a shy person will rise to the top, like Thomas Jefferson. But I’m not Thomas Jefferson, and I doubt very much that you are either.
That’s what being an introvert in an extroverted world is all about. It isn’t about turning into a morbidly talkative person. It’s about picking out the good parts of being an extrovert, and faking them when convenient.
Mom always said, “Don’t talk to strangers.”
Mom was wrong.
Step number one to faking being an extrovert is convincing yourself of that fact. Because the fact is, the people who can talk to strangers are the people who get ahead in life. Introverts may seem mysterious, but extroverts make more friends and connections, and have more opportunities in life.
So, step one: Learn how to chat up a stranger. Why should that be difficult? Mormons do it. Jehovah’s Witnesses do it constantly, and they know that most of the time, they will be rejected. Are you such an offensive person that no one wants to talk to you? Do you have such horrendous hygiene that strangers actively avoid you? Well if that’s the case, taking care of that is step one. For the rest of you, go to a party, to church, to a bus stop and talk to a stranger.
Don’t be so interesting
It’s time we introverts learned what extroverts know deep in their souls: you don’t have to be an interesting or entertaining person to be an extrovert. In fact, only the worst kinds of extroverts actually think they themselves are interesting.
To be the kind of extrovert that runs a company or becomes a politician, all you have to do is exploit one of the oldest human desires: the desire to talk about oneself.
That’s the secret. All you have to do to fake being an extrovert, win people over, and rule the world is make people feel like the most important, interesting person in the room. Just keep asking them questions about themselves. Everyone has a family, a job, a hometown, so right there you can go into any conversation armed with a barrage of questions to stroke peoples’ egos. Just keep thinking about your next question while they answer. Do that, and you are everyone’s friend.
And just by learning that, I cannot convince my wife that I am actually a shy person.
Simple question today: are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you wish you were more of the other? Have you learned how to fake it in an extrovert’s world?
Have a great Memorial Day weekend. I’m taking Monday off, but I’ll see you back here next Wednesday.