Welcome to Part 3 in the great and ground-breaking series on lessons and skills that introverts can learn from extraverts. In the past sessions, we have learned that the fine art of small talk is an essential skill that introverts must learn, even master, for personal and professional success.
Then we discussed the importance of taking risks in life. That skill comes very naturally to extraverts but introverts need to learn how to trust their instincts and open themselves to new experiences, challenges and people. This is difficult for introverts who, by nature, are quite analytical and contemplative. However, introverts often get “stuck” in their comfort zone.
In the last two sessions, I presented exercises that can help introverts (and anyone else who is interested) to learn and practice these new skills.
Today’s session builds on these skills and lessons.
Extravert Lesson # 3: Feel Comfortable in a Crowd!
Parties. Meetings. Get-togethers. Clubs. Sports events. Classes. Conferences. Clusters of people are everywhere! And crowds are often the last place an Introvert wants to find herself! We can often feel our energy begin to drain when an invitation arrives or we are waved over by a group of acquaintances having coffee in a cafe. Spontaneously formed crowds are also a constant menace to Introverts. It might be crowd anxiety or it could just be a dislike of noise, pushing/shoving and the other “experiences” that crowds bring. It’s not a secret that introverts are very uncomfortable in crowds. This can be a problem.
Extraverts shine in a crowd!
Extraverts enjoy the company of people and crowds just bring more people to enjoy. Extraverts love the energy in groups of people. That’s why extraverts love parties, conferences, clubs or any place that groups of people have come together for fun or work. Look at crowds from the extravert point of view.
Introverts should approach crowds from the extravert frame of mind: the more, the merrier! They should avoid thinking of a crowd situation as something to be endured, managed and avoided until they can finally retreat back to your their controlled environment. Instead, a crowd can be viewed as an opportunity for increased enjoyment and interaction. Crowds increase everything (including solitude!) so they bring a heightened and more intense experience.
In a crowd situation, there is the opportunity to meet a wide range of people (interesting and boring), learn new things, hear different thoughts and ideas, make new friends and potentially bond with someone. And a group of people is more than just the totality of individuals together. The crowd also takes on a life of its own. It becomes another entity to be experienced. Feel the energy of the crowd. Get swept away in the flow of the crowd. And introverts can use their keen ability to observe the crowd and choose when and how to interact. Perhaps you will find a group of introverts!
“Comfortable in a Crowd” Lesson
Every crowd is different. The behaviour or actions of a crowd can never be accurately predicted in every situation. And this gives introverts the opportunity to learn how to release control of situations as well as the opportunity to deal with spontaneous situations. These are great and useful lessons. Introverts often like to meet with individuals or small groups, which are easier to control and to know what to expect. But crowds are unpredictable and Introverts must learn how to cope with, handle and manage new and unpredictable situations. Also, this is a great opportunity to practice the art of small talk.
How to get started
Experience is the best teacher! Start with a crowd that has a similar interest as you. For example, if you are a basketball fan, go to a basketball game. Or if you like music, go to a concert. Be mindful in these situations. This means that you should absorb the total experience: the feelings, the sights, smells and sounds. Feel the energy. Allow yourself to be a part of the crowd and to be swept away or immersed in its energy. Feel like taking a risk? Go to the event ALONE. However, it’s also okay to take another person if it feels too uncomfortable or unsafe. The first—and most important—step is to take that step towards the shouting fans, waving friends, studying students and other groups. No turning back!