How I Widened My Network Despite Being an Introvert

How I Widened My Network Despite Being an Introvert

An introvert talks about the road to accepting herself for who she is, and how that helped challenge her to be more social.

Socializing has always been one of my weakest skills. Ever since I was young, I’ve been very uncomfortable in huge crowds, and I don’t talk much. Until now, I still struggle to assert myself and speak my ideas to a bunch of people.

There was a point in my early 20s when I punished myself so much – “If only I was more outgoing,” or “Maybe If I was just a little bit charming and fun, maybe I’ll have more friends.” This has been such a personal struggle of mine and if only I knew back then that it is okay, I would’ve been kinder to myself and be more accepting of the fact that I am an introverted person.

This was not an overnight thing. I read and researched the complexities of personalities and I realized that there are a lot of introverted people out there too.

Being an introvert isn’t a bad thing. It just means that we love solitude and that we are more comfortable in smaller groups of people because we like deeper and more intimate conversations. There is a common misconception that being alone is lonely, which is the complete opposite of how an introverted person feels — well, at least for me.

I am a very introverted person and I accept this part of myself.

I am now nearing my 30s, and one of my priorities is getting my career and finances together. A good way to build a career is to have a good network of connections. Again, I am in a dilemma, but this time, I now know not to be too hard on myself. I acknowledge my weakness and I am challenging myself through it.

I started with pursuing my hobbies and passions. As a fitness and mental well-being enthusiast, I’ve always been enrolling in different gyms exploring different types of workouts. Unknowingly, I was slowly widening my connections — the conversations flowed so freely because I am with people with similar interests. I started talking to one person, then another and now I have gym buddies who became like sisters to me, and a series of acquaintances that added to my network.

Another thing I did to put myself out more is to communicate with the people I work with. I’ve developed friendships in my workplace. It is crucial to build healthy working relationships with your colleagues, not just because you’re dealing with the same things for nine hours a day, five days a week (or more! Hello, corporate world!), but because we needed each other’s help. With all the pressures, accomplishments, politics, and everything else in between, it’s nice to have people close by to share and relate with.

I also worked more on improving my social media feed. These days, social media has been everyone’s platform – it’s a mode of communication, promotion, selling and other things. Social media is a tool for me to constantly communicate without having to actually talk (lol). I don’t really have a great and put-together feed, but the things I put out there are the parts of me that I want to share from my everyday life, like workouts, excerpts from a book, and coffee. Social media is a great way to attract people, connect and expose yourself uniquely in your own terms – however, we need to use it wisely so there are days that I don’t post anything and even do a social media detox.

I made it a point to go at my own pace. I started with my own network first – my family and circle of friends who I treat as family. Tighten the bond and know each other more. This, I believe, is the most important of all connections because other people may come and go, but the family you choose will always stay. I introduced myself to new people, but I don’t force myself if I don’t feel like it.

In this journey of self-discovery, what I’ve come to realize is that, it all starts with acceptance. I acknowledged this awkward, timid and stuttering-when-I-talk part of myself. With that, I became more confident of who I am, and that makes me feel good about myself. When we put ourselves out there with confidence, then we attract people – the domino effect. It’s about knowing yourself within the limitations and boundaries you set between yourself and other people. Everything follows, I attest to that.

Celebrate your introverted self while occasionally putting yourself out there – and then succumb into the comforting solitude afterwards.