Growth | Written by: Sam Murray

How to Be More Outgoing (Even If You’re Introverted)

If you identify as an introvert, then you will, at one point in your life, have wondered how to be more outgoing.

There are situations when it feels like being a bit more bubbly may be beneficial — at work, for example, or when you’re meeting new people.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being introverted (in fact it can be beneficial) but if you’d like to learn how to be more outgoing, here are some tips and tricks.

Can Introverts be Outgoing?

There’s a myth that introverts are vampire-like creatures who hide in the shadows, shying away from social interaction. Let’s put that one to bed once and for all. Introverts can love communicating with other people.

The difference between introverts and extroverts is the type of social situation they prefer.

  • Introverts will generally favor a smaller gathering over a large one — think dinner with close friends rather than a house party.
  • Introverts will typically feel more drained by human interaction than extroverts, needing solitude to recover their energy levels.
  • Introverts will also generally focus on their own behavior much more than an extrovert might, questioning how they are acting or what they are saying to a larger extent.

Yes, some introverts might be lacking in self-confidence or be shy (we have tips for those people too), but many just prefer smaller groups or need more time alone.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that in the slightest, but sometimes you might want to be more outgoing.

A Confidence Booster for Introverts…

Before we look at how to be more outgoing, it’s worth reiterating that being an introvert is no bad thing. In fact, in many circumstances, it’s actually beneficial.

For example, a decade-long academic study published in the Harvard Business Review found that introverted business leaders will produce higher profits when they are managing a team of proactive employees.

That’s because introverted leaders tend to “listen more carefully and show greater receptivity to suggestions”. This, in turn, will make their employees “feel valued, motivating them to work harder”.

Five Ways To Be More Outgoing

If you are an introvert, there may be times when you feel it would be beneficial to be more outgoing.

For those times, here are five tips and tricks (backed by science) to make you feel and appear more gregarious, even though that might not be your natural personality tendency.

1.   Focus On Your Body Language

Much of our communication comes from our body language (some say up to 60%). If you find yourself in a group situation where you need to be more outgoing then presenting yourself in the right manner will be hugely beneficial.

Writing in Psychology Today, Temma Ehrenfeld a New York-based science writer, says “you can send the message that you’re enjoying a conversation without saying much”. She adds that paying attention to maintaining positive body language will help you to appear more open during a conversation and, therefore, more outgoing.

Therefore, you need to maintain a confident posture. If you’re standing up, have your weight balanced across both feet, push your shoulders back, and face the other people in your group. Also, pay attention to what your hands are doing. Remember to keep them open and relaxed. Twisting them or hiding them in your pockets will make you appear nervous or closed off.

2.   Show Off Those Pearly Whites

Some introverted people will quickly feel emotionally drained within a group setting. This will reduce your energy and make you appear less outgoing.

Smiling is an excellent way to boost your mood — and the good news is, you can even fake it.

A scientific study by Kansas State University psychological researchers found that even people who forced a smile felt emotionally uplifted.

Academics Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman asked study participants to complete two stressful tasks. They also asked them to hold chopsticks in their mouth during the task to either force a smile or a neutral expression.

The researchers found that those with a positive facial expression felt physiological and psychological better than those who held a neutral expression.

If you’re an introverted person, you can use this knowledge to your benefit. Next time you’re feeling tired or drained in a social situation, just show those pearly whites. If you feel uncomfortable doing it in a group, head to a quiet space like an empty room or corridor.

3.   Listen To An Energy-Boosting Song

The electrifying effect of music has been used for decades in sports. Boxers, for example, will swagger into the ring before a big fight with energy-boosting tracks played at a near-deafening level. But it’s not just in the sports arena that music can be used to alter our moods — introverts can use it to be more outgoing too.

A multi-university study into the behavioral consequences of powerful music found that tracks with heavy bass increased the listeners’ sense of power.

The researchers played participants 31 songs from different genres, testing their “sense of power” through three behaviors: thought abstractions, the illusion of control, and their desire to move first in a competition.

The academics discovered that those who listened to music with a heavy bass felt more powerful than when they listened to less bass-heavy songs.

In other words, the next time you feel you need to be more outgoing, listen to We Will Rock You by Queen and Get Ready For This by 2 Unlimited, the two songs with the highest bass in the scientists’ experiments.

4.   Dress To Impress…

When you’re heading into a situation where you might want to be more outgoing, you can put yourself in the right mindsight before you even leave the house. A study by Northwestern University researchers found that the type of clothes we wear can have a huge effect on how we behave, and you can use that to your advantage.

Looking at the influence clothes have over the wearer’s psychology (or “enclothed cognition”), academics Adam D. Galinsky and Hajo Adam tested the effects of wearing specific items of dress, namely a lab coat.

In a number of experiments, they found that wearing a lab coat increased the wearer’s attention and carefulness. They put this down to the symbolic and physical experience of the clothing. In other words, dressing like a scientist made the wearer more likely to behave as a scientist should.

If you want to be more outgoing, therefore, make sure to wear clothes that represent a more confident you. You should wear your best suit to a business meeting, for example.

5.  And Splash On The Perfume

And before you leave the house, there’s even more you can do to make yourself more outgoing — splash on a little perfume or aftershave.

A scientific study into the effects of body odor found that men who wore a bit of spray improved their self-confidence.

The study divided participants into two groups, one wore an aerosol spray with a fragrance and antimicrobial agents while the other wore a spray without.

Over several days, the academic team behind the research found the men with a perfumed spray felt more self-confident and had a higher level of self-perceived attractiveness.

Furthermore, although there was no difference between the two groups in terms of physical attractiveness according to a panel of judges, the same judges found the men with perfumed spray more attractive in video clips.

This suggests a difference in the non-verbal cues the men were giving off, perhaps a sign of added self-confidence presented in a non-verbal manner.

Making It Work For You…

Introverted people are not cookie-cutter characters. You can’t say “she’s introverted, so she is shy” — every introvert has their limits.

However, there may be times when you would like to be more outgoing and, for those moments, try out these five tips. Figure out which area of your social interactions needs to be tweaked and focus on that.

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