Breaking Out of Your Shell: A Guide to Becoming Outgoing

Woman talking to coworkers.
Becoming outgoing takes practice. Getty / Klaus Vedfelt

How many times have you been told by friends or family, “Break out of your shell!” or “You’ve got to get out there and participate!”

Easier said that done, right? After all, they have it so easy, they are just “naturally” outgoing and bubbly!

However, the reality is that less people are as outgoing as you may think. It may take a bit more effort for some people, but it can be done!

The first thing that you have to do is assess where you are mentally and emotionally, in order to chart your course.

At this stage, it is important to ask yourself why you want to be more outgoing.

Is it in order to partake in more social activities, or perhaps to enter the dating scene?

Maybe a best friend or partner is no longer around and you would like to revamp your social or dating life.

Perhaps you are in the process of job hunting and you want to brush up on your social interaction skills.

Knowing what you want and why you want it is the most important step, as it will help you to focus on what you want and will get you there faster.

After gaining a sense of what you are looking for, the next step is to work on your level of confidence. For some, this may mean brushing up on current events, for others this may entail a style makeover – do what you know will give you that boost of confidence.

As your confidence increases, it will become easier to step out into the world.

At this stage, you can begin to work on your “virtual” presence.

You may create a profile at a social networking platform such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you already have such a profile, then try to gradually increase your interactions with online friends.

You can respond to a posting, or engage in an online messenger program. Communication in the virtual world is much less daunting that face-to-face interaction and it is an excellent way to build a rapport with others.

Now that you have had practice in the virtual world, it is time to break into the real world. Indeed, it may seem intimidating, as the protective veil of the online world will not be there. There is no need to worry, as you plan to ease slowly into this exercise.

The next step is to place yourself in a situation where you have the opportunity to say something to a stranger. This could be at the coffee shop; perhaps you can ask a fellow customer what the best latte flavor may be.

If your area has a public transportation system, you can ask a stranger how to get from one area to another. The key here is to look for people who seem friendly or outgoing and to engage with them.

After a few comments or questions with different people, your confidence will increase even more. At this stage, you may feel more comfortable joining a social club to find others with similar interests – this would guarantee something to talk about.

Depending on your preferences, you may even attend a party or gathering or perhaps a bar or nightclub.

Becoming more outgoing is a work in progress.

As you move through these steps, your confidence will increase and you will realize that each step gets easier as you go along. It is important to remember that it is a gradual transition and that it will get easier as you put more experiences under your belt.

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