Being an introvert in an extrovert’s world can be very confusing.
There are many hidden fears and strange ‘introvertisms’ that even we don’t understand. One that keeps coming up, as I hear from thousands of introverted readers, is the fear of making a good first impression.
You might be thinking, that doesn’t make sense. Everyone wants to make a good first impression.
But here’s the thing.
For introverts, dazzling people at first meet can create a sense of pressure.
We worry that we won’t be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat again. What if the next time we meet this person our energy tanks are depleted?
The two-faced introvert
There is a stark difference between an introvert who has full social batteries and one who is drained.
When we are fully recharged and in the mood to mix and mingle, people might mistake us for extroverts.
But catch us at a time when we’ve reached our small talk max and it’s quite a different story.
We may seem withdrawn, anxious, or sad. Our body language, which was once open and welcoming, is closed: arms crossed, spine curled, eyes down.
This is the stance introverts take to say “We are closed for business”. We no longer want to talk or be talked to. We just want to go home and enjoy some solitude.
Unfortunately, people who’ve just met us don’t understand this. They are confused that the friendly person they met before has morphed into a lone wolf.
That’s why introverts worry about making an amazing first impression. We don’t want to let people down when we can’t keep that sh*t up.
I know what it’s like to confuse the hell out of people
Because I used to spend a lot of time in highly extroverted environments, such as church and salsa dancing events, my inconsistent behaviour baffled people.
On a good day, I could push myself to be on and even bubbly for the first hour of an event. But then I’d lose steam and start to withdraw.
I don’t struggle with this as much anymore for two reasons:
I don’t push myself as hard to seem extroverted
Sure, I’m friendly, but I play more to my introverted strengths by focusing on one-on-one conversations in environments that don’t drain the life out of me.
I aim to express rather than impress
It takes a lot of energy to try and impress people. Instead of wasting time trying to seem interesting and fun, I strive to express my true feelings and inner essence in conversation.
You might be wondering, how can one express their inner essence to a stranger?
I like to think of it this way…
Imagine that there is a dimmer switch attached to the centre of your chest, and you can dial up certain aspects of your personality.
If you are being the best version of yourself—the version that is living with purpose and connecting with others deeply—what aspects of your personality are dialled up and placed front and centre?
For me it is my intuitive, creative nature. When I bring this aspect of myself to a party, she doesn’t try to impress people with her achievements or wittiness.
She listens deeply, gets curious, allows for spontaneity, and lets go of the need to control.
She steers conversations toward passions, dreams, and emotions. Or she listens and observes without self-consciousness.
For you, dialling up your authentic qualities might mean placing your empathy front and centre. Or letting your quirky inner artist shine, without apology.
Amping up those authentic qualities will allow you to connect with others in a way that is energizing.
Whether you’re in social or sloth mode, you’ll still be YOU and others will be drawn to that.
P.S. Have you heard about the 3-for-1 workshop special yet? For two days only you can get three introvert workshops for the price of one. When you join my Small Talk Quickies Masterclass, you’ll also get workshops for self-love and mastering your mind as bonuses. Get the deal and the details here.