You know — how, for hours, you’ve been alone. Soaking up the simple pleasures of solitude.
And the very next moment —
You’re surrounded by people and your comfortable bubble has just burst.
And now you’re expected to “keep your shit together”, and behave like an adult. You know, someone who’s cool, calm and collected. Who knows the right things to do. And all the right things to say. (You’re definitely not supposed to harsh everyone’s mellow by being a socially awkward weirdo.)
You have experienced that?
Phew… I’m glad. I thought I was the only one.
Heaven And Hell For Introverts
Being an introvert, I’ve learned, has its advantages.
The main advantage being — drumroll, please — Solitude.
Yes, solitude is incredible. Why? Because, for an introvert like me, it gives the feeling I can actually drop my guard and relax into the moment. It has that comforting effect of making the atmosphere around me feel a whole lot simpler.
And what’s more, I’ve found that in the world we inhabit today, solitude is not only comforting — it’s downright required to keep your friggin’ head on straight. One glance into today’s reality, and you’re bombarded from every angle:
- Talking Heads On Television dishing out one depressing story after the other.
- A never-ending stream of advertisements being funneled into your brain.
- And the fact that, never before, have we lived in such unnaturally close spaces with so many people around us.
Just to name a few.
That’s why, for me, solitude is a critical component to a life better lived. It’s revitalizing. And it gives me a damn chance to breathe.
Nevertheless… I am, still, only human. So it’s not like I can comfortably cage myself away from the world forever. I, too, need emotional connection and physical touch.
And it’s for that very reason I wanna make an important point:
While, yes, being an introvert has its advantages.
It certainly isn’t without disadvantage.
What do I mean?
Well, namely, the fact that getting past that initial ickiness, as an introvert, can really, really suck.
A Deadly Combination In Social Situations
I’ll illustrate the point I just made above by using myself as example.
As you may or may not know, most days I spend a lot of time alone.
But, as you guessed, there’s a problem with that. When it DOES come time to socialize and venture out of my shell…
… it can be extremely jarring to all of a sudden “flip the switch”, and turn my social charm on — what with having spent so much time alone.
And, if that isn’t bad enough, the following combination only makes it WORSE.
In addition to being an introvert — I’m also highly sensitive. What that essentially means is that, around people, my “social antenna” is more attuned to the finer details and intricacies of an interaction.
In plain English: I see every reaction — good or bad. And I “feed” off those reactions to get my sense of social bearing for how I’m making others feel. (Further reading: The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine Aaron.)
So, yeah, it can be difficult, at times, when I’m not in a social headspace the instant I’m around people.
It’s easy to get stuck in my head, feeling bad about myself, when I see people reacting weirdly to things I say and do. (Hey. I’m certainly not trying to make you feel weird. It’s just that I’ve been enjoying my own damn company the last few hours. Cut me some slack, will ya?)
The above scenario, for me, has occurred more times than possible to count at my old job (waiting tables at Texas Roadhouse).
I’ve made so many situations and conversations just plain awkward.
And that’s why one day —
I’d been on the job for just over a year. And, at that point, I was tired of replaying the same nightmare every shift.
Even though I had a handle on “my job” — walking up to a table, taking care of business, and getting paid — the first 30 minutes still never failed to make me feel miserable.
You know how it goes. One moment, I’m in the comfort of my own space —
The next, I’m immersed in a sea of faces — surrounded by co-workers, managers, and guests. Metaphorically speaking, it’s like taking a naked dive into the depths of a freezing-cold lake.
Here I am, out of my element, and yet I’m expected — by everyone around me — to be this socially calibrated person.
Five minutes pass — and I’m in deep. My vocal chords have just skipped from 1st gear to 5th. And they are taxed. (And to think, five short minutes ago — it was just me — in my car — alone.) (Yes, Dorothy, we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.)
So, anyway, back to this particular occasion. I remember having it up to HERE, and simply being tired of how terrible I was making others, and myself, feel.
And that’s when I had…
My Epiphany: “Why haven’t I treated my social life like other things? You know, weightlifting, running, basketball… in all these activities I take the time to WARM UP before going full throttle.”
It’s always the simple things in life that make the most sense.
The Sport Of Socializing
Think about it. Isn’t socializing really a “full-body experience”? How many facets of your physiology do you engage in the simple act of just talking to a person?
- Your breathing.
- Your vocal chords.
- Hundreds of tiny muscles ranging from you head to pelvis.
- And even your “state of mind” (how you feel emotionally).
Essentially, it’s a full-body workout. Just like any other sport.
Doesn’t it make sense to treat socializing just like you’d treat the gym? Surely you wouldn’t enter the gym, load the barbell with four plates on each side, and start deadlifting it like a boss?
Of course not. You’d take the time to warm up your muscles. (And, at the very least, you’d do a couple lighter sets — 135 pounds, 225, 315. Then, and only then, would you be prepared for the big 405.)
Isn’t socializing similar for us introverts who spend time alone? Aren’t we just like that gym-goer who’s trying to rep 405 without warming up? We spend all this time alone — reading, binge-watching Game of Thrones, browsing the web. And then, when we do finally leave our bunker, we unknowingly expect ourselves to be prepped and ready to go.
In reality? We aren’t at all prepared to speak, interact and do “heavy lifting” after our long period of social inactivity.
Become More Social And Outgoing — Instantly!?
Yes, that’s the million dollar question.
How (and is it even really possible?) to become more social and outgoing, and slide into a social groove… without the friction you normally undergo when you’re first plopped into a social setting?
I’ve actually got the answer to both. Yes, it’s possible. And what’s more, I’ll show you how to do it.
And no, it has nothing to do with the commonly misaligned advice: “Just socialize more”. While that’s great advice for extroverts, who are always out and about, in a social state of mind…
… it’s terrible advice for introverts like me, who need and require time alone to recharge the batteries. (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, after waiting thousands of tables and working countless hours around people. “Just socialize more” is only practical to a certain extent for us introverts.)
So, if that’s not practical, what is?
I’ve learned that, if you want to put yourself in a social state of mind — fast — it’s all about optimizing your physiology.
To optimize your physiology — you provide it the means to function in the most effective way possible. The means being, in this case, a routine I’ve coined the…
Simple Social Warmup Routine
A routine in which you perform a 5-10 minute warmup, before socializing, to “flip on” your social ability… allowing you to quickly become more social and outgoing. (Especially great for activities like your job, interviews, family gatherings, dates, and yes, even phone calls you feel nervous about.)
No, I’m not necessarily saying it will nix your anxiety into oblivion.
But, in my experience, it will help you become more social by enabling you to better express yourself and communicate clearly… without the inhibition you normally feel in your body after being alone for long periods of time.
I mean, think about it. When you know your body is capable of expressing itself without restriction — it’s gotta have some kind of effect on your psyche.
And that’s really what this is routine is about. Being not only warmed up in your body…
… but also feeling comfortable and being in the right state of mind. Because, when you’re in the right state of mind, you become that much more able to flow, connect with people, and open up. (After all, you certainly can’t be the life of the party if your energy is depressed and you’re in a bad state of mind.)
That should be plenty of info to whet your appetite.
Let’s learn how you can become more social and outgoing with…
Tactic #1: Wim Hof Breathing (3-5 minutes)
Breath is life.
Deep breath, is life lived optimally.
And that’s what the Wim Hof Breathing Method is all about. Living your life to the optimum by filling your lungs to the brim with good ol’ fresh, life-giving oxygen.
Why? Because, the more oxygenated you are, the easier it is to… a) express yourself with the full backing of your lungs. And b), get “in touch” with your body’s intuition (the gut has over 100 million neurons, and is referred to as “the second brain” by scientists).
It’s really not “woo woo” science, either. If you’re familiar with Wim, you know he’s proven (through scientific research) that deep breathing and oxygenating your body gives you much more power than you’d think.
And that’s why having your body fully activated — through deep breathing — is so powerful. It makes the process of facing difficult things that much more tolerable (and simpler, I might add).
So, when you DO face those inevitable tough challenges life presents you with…
… having that knowledge your body is prepared for the rigors ahead?
Yes, it’s a very comforting thought indeed. (Especially for an introvert like me.)
Wim Hof Breathing Demonstrated
While plenty of examples already exist on YouTube…
… for clarification purposes I’ll still walk you through exactly what I do to warm up for social events.
(Down below, at the bottom of this post, I’ve also included a video of the full routine.)
Sitting in a chair, I perform 3 sets of 30 breathing repetitions in the following fashion:
- With each repetition, 1-30, I first inhale deeply, and then quickly “let go” of the exhale (as to only let a small amount of air out) (this acts to charge the body up with oxygen).
- On the 30th inhale, I exhale out fully, and then hold my breath for as long as possible.
- When I can’t hold any longer, I inhale one deep breath (and hold that breath for 20 seconds).
- After 20 seconds I exhale.
- Immediately following the first set, I repeat steps 1-4 above.
- After the 30th inhale, I exhale fully, get out of my chair, and do 1 set of pushups (as many as I can do while holding my breath).
- After the pushups (while still holding my breath), I stand up, take a deep inhale, and hold it for 20 seconds before releasing it.
(The pushups are essentially the “icing on the cake” for this quick breathing exercise. They help to activate your central nervous system — to charge your body up and put to use all that increased oxygen.)
Okay, simple enough.
Tactic #2: Voice Warm-Up (2-3 minutes)
Voice actors do it. Musicians do it. Public speakers do it.
Warm up their voice, of course!
So why don’t us “normal folk” do it?
Good question. If I ventured a guess — I’d say it’s because most of us simply aren’t aware of the effect it has on your ability to speak with a deeply rich and resonant voice.
Thankfully, though, I understand — now — just how powerful it is.
I won’t bore you with my work story, yet again.
But I will say this: Once I discovered the effect it had on my ability to speak clearly and confidently — upon immediate arrival at work, after not having spoken a word the entire day — I did it religiously every time I hopped in the car for the 10-minute drive to work.
And, of course, I still do it to this day. It has earned its spot with a permanent addition to my “bag of tricks”.
Specifically, though, I always do it before any heavy socializing or event I deem important. (When I don’t, I always pay the price — my voice feeling weak and strangled.)
How To Easily Warmup Your Voice
While you don’t need the Wim Hof Breathing to warmup your voice — it does make it easier.
And that’s simply because your body is more oxygenized, which is what you’ll be using (oxygen) to warmup your voice and create a deep, resonant pitch.
- Take a deep breath of air.
- Slowly make an “A-U-M” sound over the span of 15-20 seconds.
- Rinse and repeat.
After each repetition, you should notice that your voice becomes progressively deeper and richer in tones.
2 or 3 minutes later, and your voice is “good to go” — you’re now prepared for a lot of speaking and socializing, or whatever the hell you fancy.
(Maybe a cold shower?)
Tactic #3: Cold Shower (Optional)
While not necessarily needed to make this routine work…
I will say this: Nothing puts a capper on the above routine better than a cold shower. It adds a nice finishing touch, and a BANG — by pumping massive payloads of endorphins to your brain.
It really does turn this routine into a one-two-three punch.
- Body heavily oxygenized…
- Vocal chords lit…
- And the mindset of a champion who’s prepared for battle.
I’m telling you — you can’t go wrong with it.
Anyhow, there you have it.
There’s your one-stop-shop for learning to become more social and outgoing (in record speed, I might add).
Here’s the video I promised (explaining the whole routine in detail):
Until next time, friend.
Cheers (and don’t let social struggles get you down),
P.S. You mind leaving me a comment down below? I’d love to hear your thoughts (or questions) about the routine. Lemme know if it actually works and makes a difference in your life.