by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
Being introverted often causes major challenges and hurdles for LDS singles trying to meet, date, and marry. Introversion is defined by dictionary.com as “the act of directing one's interest inward or to things within the self; the state of being concerned primarily with one's own thoughts and feelings rather than with the external environment”. In other words, people who are introverted are mainly involved in self-focus with their own inner thoughts, feelings, and perspectives versus being externally/socially focused. Furthermore, introverted people tend to naturally rejuvenate and increase their energy from being alone/by themselves. Conversely, they tend to get drained and taxed when with and around others in different social situations.
The obvious problem: socializing with new people at church, activities, even interactions online can often be stressful, anxiety invoking, and draining in general. So, many introverted people avoid social opportunities and miss out on some potentially great relationship opportunities. Even though introverted people will probably always have their natural inner inclination, the good news is that much of the discomfort can be minimized and managed with some strategic effort.
Suggestions to Be More Comfortable Socializing:
1) Regularly study social skills and conversation self-help books. The more you know and the more confident and skilled you feel with conversation, the more relaxed you will be in social situations. Here are some various resources I recommend to read or listen to:
--How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
--People Skills by Robert Bolton
--Your Perfect Right by Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons
--Tongue Fu by Sam Horn
--The Assertive Woman by Stanlee Phelps and Nancy Austin
--The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne
--Many various social skills building and anxiety management hypnosis sessions from www.hypnosisdownloads.com. Possible sessions you may wish to get include “small talk”, “conversation starter”, “expand your social circle”, “overcome social anxiety and shyness”, “overcome social phobia”, and “introvert to extrovert”.
2) When you are out in public, make a goal to initiate saying hi to someone and even have a little conversation with at least one person each time out, as possible. Ask questions, listen with interest, and practice gabbing and chatting the best you can. You won’t lessen your social anxiety without regular discussion. Be assertive and initiate. Don’t wait for others to approach. They probably won’t. Think of social skills as a muscle you can work, strengthen, and build through regular exercise. Without exercise, your social skills, conversational ability, and confidence remain weak and flabby. So please work at it!
3) Improve your self-talk. Practice identifying, challenging, and improving old negative attitudes and mentalities you’ve had about your social and interpersonal skills. A positive, optimistic attitude is very helpful to create a positive self-fulfilling prophesy with your social opportunities. Practice repeating positive statements to yourself about your social successes, improvements, and goal attainment. Reframe negative experiences into positive ones. If you can’t create a more positive attitude towards yourself and your social side, success will be much harder to come by.
4) Spend time around “social butterflies”: socially strong people. Observe and emulate positive elements of their facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, and positive energy/attitude. See if some of their social strength can be role modelled by you and incorporated into your own social moments. Socially, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Notice how and why other socially strong people are so successful. Repeat elements of what they do the best you reasonably can. Most people who are socially successfully are a mix of confident, comfortable, and charming, as well as skilled in the art of conversation. See such people as positive role models to look up to and learn from.
Even though you will probably always naturally be more introverted, you can work on and improve being more extraverted with skill and confidence. You can do it. Just regularly work on the four suggestions above. You were meant to find someone. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
INFO FOR READERS--
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About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).