Five Ways to Become More Outgoing, Extroverted, and Sociable

Couple taking salsa lessons.
Don't be afraid to break out of your comfort zone and try something new. Getty / Craftvision

Start with Small Steps

Want to be less of an introvert? You can start by simply making an effort to establish eye contact with the people around you. If someone you know ever so slightly looks directly at you when you’re shopping at the grocery store or on the train on your way to work, smile at that person.

Most people react positively to small gestures, like smiling, and are likely to smile back. For you, seeing that return smile can be an instant confidence booster.

At work, it's also possible to start small. Tell yourself you will go to the break room or wherever co-workers congregate for just five minutes once a week. While there, resolve to say one friendly thing to a co-worker. Be sure to keep it positive! No one wants to hear about how your car broke down and you had to get towed. The following week, make yourself go to the break room twice. If there is a common gathering place in your workplace, like the water-cooler, make it a point to be there for a bit each day and to join in the casual chitchat. Remember, small steps!

When you're at a party where you don't know anyone there, ease into it by saying hello or giving a compliment. The more that you getaccustomed to being the first one to break the ice, the easier it becomes to voice your opinions and feel as though you won’t be rejected.

Simply being nice and respectful to those around you feels good and it helps you develop the self-confidence that is useful in vrtually every social setting.

Use Your Mutual Connections

It's easy to hang with the people who make you feel comfortable and safe, but never branching out can be detrimental in both social and professional environments.

One of the easiest ways to become more outgoing is to ask your friends, colleagues, or classmates to introduce you to their friends. Or if you don't want to do that, you can at least introduce yourself if someone you'd like to meet is talking with one of your friends.

For example, if you walk into a room and your friend is talking to someone else, make a point to say hello and introduce yourself. Then the next time you see that person you can say hello and, since you have already been introduced, you have built a bridge into future communication.

Once you've made a connection, don't dominate the conversation. People love nothing more than to talk about themselves! The best way to strike up a conversation and keep it going is to ask the other person something about herself, and listen as she takes it from there.

Don't Be Afraid to Speak Up

No one wants to be the person who asks the stupid question. Being afraid of coming off as weak or incompetent is a legitimate fear everyone has felt at some point.

However, if you speak up and ask the questions you have on your mind, you’ll not only improve your skill at speaking in public, but everyone who didn’t ask the same question will wish they did.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Doing something that makes you feel a little (or very) uncomfortable is the easiest way to help boost your confidence and help you become a more outgoing version of yourself.

If you keep seeing signs for a club or class you're interested in signing up for, go to one meeting to test the waters.

There is no any harm in trying. Never tell yourself that you can’t do something or define yourself by what you think you should be doing instead.

If you have never danced before in your life but want to take a salsa lesson, try it out. Do things because they interest you, not because they are things you have always done.

Don’t Sweat the Little Things

It is so easy to get caught up in your self-image that being quiet or reserved can seem like the safest choice. However, being outgoing offers you the chance to meet and get to know new people.

At the end of the day, no one is going to remember how nervous you sounded the first couple of times you met them; they will remember you as a person who made an effort to reach out, who wasn't afraid to ask a question in a group, and who had something nice to say at the end of a conversation. Not sure how to end it? Practice this conversational closing: "It was great talking to you. Let's do this again!"

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