Success as an Introvert For Dummies
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It's tough being an introvert in an extrovert's world. But remember that introversion is normal and healthy, just like extroversion. While extroverts thrive on social interaction, introverts prefer quieter pursuits. It's not that introverts hate people; they simply prefer a different style of social interaction, and they generally need it in smaller doses compared to extroverts.

If you're an introvert, this Cheat Sheet summarizes effective ways to reduce stress and negative self-talk, and even some tips on how to politely leave a party early.

Relaxation techniques to try before big social events

If you’re an introvert, just thinking about attending a big social event — especially one packed with people you don’t know — can make you feel anxious or tense. (And that’s especially true if your introversion is coupled with also being shy or highly sensitive.)

To get in the right frame of mind before you face a big crowd, charge your batteries by spending some restful time alone with a good book, a fun video game, or a favorite hobby. In addition, try these stress-busters before you leave for the big event:

  • Observe your surroundings, actively noticing the things you see, hear, smell, and feel. This exercise can help you stop stressing out about the future and get back “in the moment.” If you find it hard to focus on the things around you, simply close your eyes, breathe in and out, and focus on your breathing.

  • Think about five things you’re grateful for in your life.

  • Listen to music.

  • Take a walk or do some exercises.

  • Watch a favorite movie, especially one that inspires you or makes you laugh. Laughter isn’t just the best medicine; it’s also a terrific stress-buster!

  • Tense and then relax the muscles in your face and body.

How to reduce negative self-talk

Most introverts are very kind souls . . . except when it comes to being kind to themselves. While all people kick themselves mentally now and then, introverts are particularly prone to negative self-talk. And most of this trash talk is both false and harmful.

To be happy and healthy, you need to get your negative voices under control. So when you find yourself thinking negative thoughts (for example, “I’m not good enough to get this promotion” or “I’m not attractive enough to find a good relationship”), step in and take charge of your mean brain. Here’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to do this:

  1. Identify a negative thought.

  2. Develop a counteracting positive thought. If you find this tricky, remember that this can be any positive thought, even if it’s not related to your negative thought.

  3. Use the following approach, called “cognitive restructuring”:

    1. Let yourself experience the negative thought fully.

    2. Tell yourself to STOP thinking that negative thought.

    3. Replace it with the counteracting positive thought.

  4. Repeat this activity daily for 21 to 30 days in a row. This exercise will allow your positive thought to become a habit.

Polite ways to leave a party early

If you’re an introvert, you probably hate spending hours and hours making small talk at a party. So don’t do it! When you attend a social event, it’s perfectly fine to stay for an hour or two and then make your exit. (And don’t worry about the extroverts. They’ll carry on just fine without you. In fact, most of them won’t notice that you’re gone.)

The trick to sneaking out of a party early is to make your escape politely so your hosts aren’t offended. And luckily, it isn’t all that hard to do. Here are some of the best tricks for leaving a social event quickly, politely, and gracefully:

  • Look like you’re really having a great time — not like you’re relieved to escape. Say, “I’m so sorry I have to leave early. This is such a wonderful party!”

  • Have an iron-clad excuse. For example, say, “I wish I could stay, but the babysitter could only stay until nine tonight.”

  • Arrange ahead of time for a family member to call you some time during the party with a pseudo-emergency. (Sometimes white lies are okay.)

  • Tell your hosts when you accept an invitation that you’ll need to leave early due to a prior commitment. That way, they won’t be surprised when you slip out ahead of schedule.

  • Thank your hosts before you leave. Don’t just sneak away while they’re occupied with other guests.

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