Imagine you are at a party, or a social gathering where you, as an introvert felt the slight nervousness and that occasional nervous stomach ache. While some people enjoy being in a center of the crowd, I am not the kind of people who would actively choose to be in a crowd. However, some circumstances are beyond our control, sometimes we need to face uncomfortable situations for work purposes or we unintentionally being caught in the middle of it. Things could also go uncomfortable when you cross path with someone you do not have a good relationship with and when you know something is wrong but do not have the guts to say it. Here’s my version of the introvert’s guide to uncomfortable situations.
Take baby steps
When you are naturally quiet and would do anything to stay at home and cuddle with your cat instead of going to that party and you are forced by your friends to go out to that event remember that you do not have to go all out at your first try. What I would recommend is to take baby steps by making that first effort to uncomfortable situations enjoyable for you. You can come to the event and you can promise yourself to go home early and not to push it. By doing this, you can help yourself to observe the environment and to make the situation more comfortable. We need to train little by little to change our habit, for example, if you want to talk to people more, you can try to interact more with the waitress or the customer service. The point of this steps is to convince your subconscious that it is okay to try to go out of your habit once in a while.
Imagine if you accidentally bump into someone you know in an event. You sort of know that person and chances are you put yourself in an uncomfortable situation where you two have to start a conversation. Sometimes you can physically feel an uncomfortable situation and there are big chances that both will feel the same tensions. The one trick that you can use when you are in this awkward slash uncomfortable situation is to start asking questions. By asking questions you can have control of the situation by being actively involved in the situation and to avoid being completely awkward. But you cannot just ask any random questions, you should put a touch of “actual genuine care” in the questions. You can fake it by searching for gaps in the story and ask for that details. If you are an introvert like me and is uncomfortable about sharing your life, you can ask other people questions and it will make them think that you care about them.
Think of the worst
I know that this might not be the unicorn vanilla Frappuccino advice that you want to hear. What I do before I need to face any uncomfortable situation is not think the best of what happened, but to think the worst that could happen. If I have to face a job interview, I imagine what is the worst thing that could happen when it goes completely wrong. When I think that the worst thing that could happen is that I simply do not get the job which puts me in a position no different than where I was that time. By accepting the worst things that could happen, I was mentally prepared to face the situations heads on. For example, when I was in a startup I need to do direct sales which were the opposite of what I would do as an introvert. I used to think that it was a scary thing because you must greet strangers and lure them into buying your products. I used to be so bad at it, but as time goes by, I learned that the worst thing they could do is to ignore us. That’s it. I learned as time goes by, it is not as scary as what we might imagine it before.
Expand your horizon
What I learned from some of the most interesting people I have encountered in my 20’s is that they share a completely unique perspective than me. They have their own set of thinking that is different than myself and I might not even know them hence I have not stepped out of my comfort zone. You can only meet this kind of interesting people because you have put yourself outside of your own circle and thus will force you to face an uncomfortable situation. They might be a professional dancer that has traveled around the world to perform at world’s largest stages, and they might be a blog traveler whose sole life purpose is to find good foods from every continent and you will miss it if you refuse to experience those uncomfortable situations in your life.
Being an introverted millennial sure have its own perks in this day and age where people expect you to express yourself with the social media and even in real life. Even though some of the most exciting experience I have encountered comes from having the courage to face an uncomfortable situation. Sure, it will be hard and it takes an effort and it will feel like the first day of school all over again, but I promise you it will all be worth it in the end.