Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fancy Tips to Become (Outwardly) Outgoing

I am naturally shy, possessing a gargantuan fear that people won't remember me. When I meet someone for the first time, I automatically assume that they won't recall meeting me if we see each other again. For years, I missed out on great opportunities and fantastic friendships because I decided I wouldn't give anyone the chance to forget me. I am still shy around people that I know, too. And don't even get me started on strangers!

Me, circa 2004
If you know me in real life, you may be surprised to hear that I consider myself shy. I added the above photo so those of you in computer land could get an idea of why people might be surprised. And I'll tell you how I combine my shy self with my outgoing facade.

I fake it.

I learned tricks to help me convince myself and others that I am not scared. I wish I had scoured faker books or downloaded some "don't be scared" podcasts. But, I simply analyzed what people responded well to in certain situations and then utilized it to my advantage.

Breaking the Ice
*Compliments are always nice, though they are required to be sincere. With strangers and acquaintances alike, people enjoy a well-meant compliment. Don't be too overt, though, or you may come off like a weirdo.

*Wear a statement piece wherever you go. The compliment tip goes the other way too, in that people are aware of how you look and what you're wearing. If you want to be noticed, then even adding some glittery shoes to your jeans & tee wardrobe will work. When I go somewhere that I don't know anyone, I always make sure to rock some great jewelry or fantastic shoes.

*Use people's names semi-often when speaking to them. This can be a challenge when you are first meeting someone, so I have a trick to share if you aren't good with names.

Catch the first letter of the person's name—you can remember a letter, right? And then next time you speak with them, with confidence, call them "J-Money" or "B-Dawg." People tend to think it's funny and that you're simply being charming, when in reality you are just not quite sure what their name is yet.

Obviously you need to learn the person's name eventually. And my apologies to people who have been on the receiving end of this trick—I was desperate to impress you!

*Become an avid listener. With all of your might, train your brain to focus fully on what the person is saying. Not only will the person you're speaking with appreciate it, you will learn a ton of cool things.

*If you have enjoyed someone's company, the not-even-weird-at-all thing to do is to look them up on social media. The beauty of the Internet Age is that you can connect with people easily and without face-to-face rejection. It will certainly hurt your feelings if someone rejects your friendship on Facebook, but at least they didn't say no in person!

This step will help the person know you thought they were interesting, as well as make it easy for you to interact with them to foster a stronger relationship.

*When you meet up with someone again, use your previous listening skills to inquire about the person. How is that book you were reading? When did your mother-in-law leave town? Did you like your trip to California? The callback to your former conversation may remind the person of how much they enjoyed it, as well as letting them know that you care about what is going on in their lives.

And, if all else fails, just dance.


  1. Those are great tips. And if you would, please keep calling me J- money.

  2. Seriously, I need my brother to read this as a dating guide.

    You have always been so good at making feel special and I remember having a hard hard time believing that you really were shy because no one would EVER guess. I always thought shy people were boring - you crushed that perception for me.

  3. 'People tend to think it's funny and that you're simply being charming, when in reality you are just not quite sure what their name is yet.'

    this made me snort. :)