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Creating Successful Leaders

With cold weather right around the corner for many of us, it’s tempting for introverts to give in to their natural instincts and simply spend the next several months in near-hibernation. While that may sound like heaven to some, it could also lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Most introverts need occasional human interaction (even a warm smile or a thoughtful note) to feel connected or help them through tough times. But…they may not seek it when they need it, or even know how to seek it. What to do? As an introvert, how can you comfortably seek companionship or human connection when you need it?

Try these four suggestions:

Dare to ask

Instead of waiting around, hoping someone will invite you to coffee or an event, take initiative and be the one to extend an invitation. If you’re asking an old friend, this may not be a big deal, but if you’re asking someone you don’t know terribly well, an invitation can feel downright daunting. Accept the vulnerability that comes with asking others to do something, and don’t be deterred if they say no. Either aim for a different date on the calendar or ask someone else.

To ease into asking someone to hang out, you could attend a meet-up with mutual friends or see if someone else is willing to arrange a get together (a spouse or a close friend) that involves meeting a couple new people.

Put parameters on interactions

If you know that long interactions with others can be draining for you, try setting a time limit on get togethers. When you invite someone out for coffee, for instance, frame your invitation like this: “I can meet from 9 a.m. to 10:30. Does that work for you, too?” No need to offer an explanation—just provide the parameters.

Alternatively, you could engage in an activity that has built-in time limits. Go to a movie, watch a play, or engage in a couple rounds of mini golf. When the activity is over, you can naturally part ways.

Seek comfortable settings

To put yourself at ease, hang out with new acquaintances in familiar settings. Suggest meeting at your favorite coffee shop or lunch spot, visiting a local book shop, or even meeting in your home (if that seems appropriate). When you’re in a familiar locale, that removes one more “question mark” from the interaction.

Seek anonymous hangouts

Not every group activity involves talking with strangers or mingling with a crowd. Activities such as yoga, community education classes, going to the movies, or visiting a museum allow you to be around others while you comfortably blend into the crowd. You might invite a friend to attend one of these outings with you, or you could choose to go solo.

Being introverted doesn’t necessarily doom you to a long, lonely string of months when the weather turns chilly. Aim for casual interactions in comfortable locales, and dare to be a tad vulnerable. These small interactions will help scratch your itch for human interactions when you need them most.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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