How to Stop Being Introverted (The Definitive Guide)

“I wish I could stop being introverted!”

You might have found this article because you’re searching for a solution to the “problem of introversion”.

I bet there have been moments in your life when you have had this thought…I have, and do.

Moments when I “hit the wall” and need to go home, even when I’m enjoying a great gig or evening with friends. Times at conferences and festivals when my energy levels have depleted by the end of day one and I’m desperate to escape.

I guess I’ve probably thought it most when someone else decides to highlight a common introvert trait that annoys them most:

‘Why don’t you answer your phone when I call? Why do you like spending so much time alone? Why are you being so quiet? Why don’t you like meeting new people?’ etc

When people pick out aspects of who you are at your core, it can be hard to not feel like you’re broken in some way. I’ve felt this a lot.

Stop Being Introverted

I received an email that brought all of these thoughts into sharp focus. It was from an online friend thanking me for the work I do through my website for introverts and highly sensitive people. ‘Just one more thing…’ they went on. ‘How can I stop being so introverted? Any advice would be very welcome.’

My heart kind of sank. What a question! I hit reply and started to formulate my response. But in so doing it turned into something of a blog post. So I’m sharing it here instead. It might be a helpful message for others who have the same self-doubts and questions about themselves.

I believe that many of the things people pick on as introvert faults are actually the very source of our gifts and strengths. It is not introverts that need fixing, it’s the way we you perceive your introversion. And this is heavily influenced by the way you feel society and your social circles perceive it.

Are You Looking for a Fix?

Many people end up on this article because they want to stop being an introvert. If that is you, I want to reassure you. You don’t need to stop being an introvert. In fact, you can’t stop being an introvert.

But you can learn to accept and embrace your introversion. You can learn to use your amazing quiet gifts to live the life you dream of. And you can overcome any limiting beliefs that you hold about what think your natural temperament is blocking you from doing.

There are a lot of misconceptions about introversion. It is not the same as being socially anxious (shy), anti-social, or afraid of people.

Rather, it is the natural way we are wired and how we are orientated towards energy. Introverts create our own energy by going inwards and our energy is spent when we go outwards on stimulation like social situations, events, presentations, busy places etc. This DOESN’T mean introverts cannot do these things.

In fact they can be just as good as extroverts in all manner of situations and activities.

But it does mean is that we need to be aware of the impact these activities have on our energy and motivation. And to manage our relationship with that energy so that we can maintain a solid balance between creating and spending it.

If you were seriously going to stop being introverted then you’d need to do the following (n.b. I’m not sure any of it will actually help):

1. Stop Spending Time Alone

Introverts need downtime to plug in and re-energise from the stimulation of the external world. It’s where we recharge as well as discover and explore our creative minds.

Solitude provides an opportunity to feel ourselves again and the chance to clear our minds and work through solutions for questions that we can bring back to the group later.

Introverts get their charge from connecting inwards (solitude, creativity etc). Extroverts on the other hand draw their energy from being around external sources of stimulation (people and activities).

Stop being introverted: when you feel tired and overwhelmed by the world find a crowd of people to immerse yourself in. (n.b. this will leave you even more drained)

2. Use Your Phone More

Not all recharge time is equal. I don’t know about you but I sometimes spend time in solitude, assuming I’m recharging my batteries, but I end up feeling even more drained and isolated afterwards.

My phone has significant responsibility in this. Well actually, I take responsibility because I choose to use it. But I’ve found that turning off push notifications, and turning off the sound makes it a lot easier to remain distraction free when engaging in activities that will actually feed my soul.

In this age of modern technology we’re never truly unplugged, so we need to be hyper vigilent about how we are caring for our inner introvert at recharge time. If we allow the prevelent voice to dictate our lives then there is no excuse for missing a phone call or not responding to a text/email/social media message immediately.

Stop being introverted: switch your phone onto the loudest setting, turn on all push notifications and spend all your moments of solitude keeping in touch with people. (n.b. this will render your recharge time ineffective).

3. Turn Up YOUR Volume

‘Why are you so quiet?’ 

You’ve probably been asked this. It will certainly have been observed of you at times, perhaps when you’re tired or taking in a new situation/group of people. You may believe that to be less introverted you need to stop being shy and anxious. But how?

Stop noticing the world. Stop processing the things that you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.

There are studies that show highly sensitive people (70% of whom are introverts), will pause to observe before getting involved in new situations. This is often interpreted as shyness, anxiety, and fear, but brain scans have proved that these responses are not actually present. The quiet pause is a natural instinctive reaction that allows the individual to process as much information as possible before acting.

Stop being introverted: throw yourself into new things without thinking. Don’t assess the situation or the people before speaking out or acting, just go with the flow and deal with consequences later. (n.b. this goes against every natural instinct you carry and will leave you alienated from yourself).

4. Think Out Loud

Has anyone ever asked: ‘what are you thinking about?’ Annoying isn’t it!

Introverts process the world internally, extroverts process it externally. In other words introverts think quietly, extroverts think out loud. It can be a cause for irritation to both when encountering the other.

Stop being introverted: stop thinking in your head and speak up. If a thought comes to mind open your mouth and allow it to come out. (n.b. you’ll feel shame because the things that you say are not what you believe – you need time to process and consider what you think before you share it).

5. Obsess Over Expanding Your Social Circle

Introverts are usually happier with a few close friends. They don’t have a natural need to connect into an ever increasing network of people. They prefer to go deeper with a small pond, than shallow upon the surface of a large ocean. However, because of societal messages and the “extrovert ideal” the belief that we must be forever broadening our reach and catching more friends, whether in real life or online, can create a disconnect within ourselves.

Stop being introverted: stay in the shallows. Don’t engage in deep conversations that might put people off. Gossip is usually a good option for making people enjoy hearing what you have to say. Judge your self-worth by the quantity rather than quality of your relationships.

(n.b. we all need social connections, but if you have too many as an introvert and you try to be vulnerable with those you don’t know so well you will feel alienated from yourself).

Still Want to ‘Stop Being Introverted’?

Your introversion is a beautiful part of who you are. It’s the foundation of your rhythm. It’s what drives your hopes and dreams. When you stop believing it to be something that needs fixing, you will learn to see it as a gift.

It’s not something to be less of, but something to be more understanding and nurturing of.

I hope I’ve helped you remember that when you experience those moments of doubt. When you wish that you weren’t ‘such an introvert’ that you remember and enjoy the amazing blessings of such a temperament. It doesn’t stop you from doing anything you WANT to do, once you begin to live in a positive relationship with it.

When people want or expect you to be different just remember that you’re not alone and that in time the world will come to fully accept the quiet and gentle rebels that make up 50% of it.

…it might also be worth remembering that on occasion extroverts wish they were less extroverted. In fact a few days ago I heard someone lamenting the fact that they think out loud. They were wishing they could think things through first.

Many people with curly hair wish their hair was straight, and many with straight hair wish theirs was curly. The desire to be different to what we are comes very naturally to human beings.

Over to You

Do you ever wish you could stop being an introvert? When do you feel it most? I’d love to hear your experiences, please feel free to leave a comment below.

  1. That was brilliant! I’ve been all my life trying to be extroverted and feeling guilty about my behaviour. But since two years ago I’m changing my perspective with the help of some books and blogs. I miss a blog like this for spanish speaking people. Every time I read one of your articles i feel like translating it for the spaniard introverts (we have an extroverted reputation as you konw) because here we stand so isolated.
    Thanks for reading

    1. Hello Mun! So glad you’re changing that perspective. It can be so damaging can’t it! If you fancy translating any of the articles I publish here into Spanish then feel absolutely free to. The more people we can encourage the better! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂

  2. I love being an introvert, but there are certain times when I really wish I am not. Do you think there is a certain age when one should stop trying to be an extrovert? Because as much as I’d like to meet more people and make friends, I just feel too old and I think it’s hard as people my age already have their own sets of friends.

  3. Ive known it all along. . . . Yet i only read about it today….. Its so encouraging to know im not the only one because i honestly thought my mind is broken or something… Being an introvert and also turning to alcohol has led me to discover new levels of rock bottoms every other day even after i quit alcohol 4 months ago. . . .i would realy appreciate some help!

    1. I always feel awkward being the most quiet one within a group of people I work with that are all extroverts! It’s stressful trying to get into the mix. My father always taught me to stay quiet, not to bring attention as they always worried what others thought of them and unfortunately that stuck to me. Always worried that I’ll say the wrong thing!

    2. Great to see you here! Sorry that you’ve struggled – discovering that part of who you are is a great first step for sure. What have you found hard in particular?

  4. I always feel awkward being the most quiet one within a group of people I work with that are all extroverts! It’s stressful trying to get into the mix. My father always taught me to stay quiet, not to bring attention as they always worried what others thought of them and unfortunately that stuck to me. Always worried that I’ll say the wrong thing! i also tend to not show confidence in my self but because I was always taught that that was a sign of being a show off. I was supposed to always be extremely quiet and shy and extra humble :/

    1. That’s really interesting that you were taught to stay quiet because the opposite is attention seeking and showing off. That puts a different spin on things – pulling you in all sorts of directions. It’s hard when that expectation is put on you from others, especially a family member. Do you find yourself pulling back when you want to speak out?

  5. I have been tongue tied since I was born and because of it I have had a problem saying certain words or sounds and I have had this strange way of talking all my life… because of this at a very young age I have felt embarrassed and began to not talk to anyone that I don’t trust fully… in all my classes throughout school I just sat there and stayed silent… I even began to learn how to do some pen spinning tricks so that people wouldn’t think that I am just doing nothing. But because of me never talking to anyone from a young age I become very introverted… I only have 3 people that I talk to that I’m not related to. But even though I talk to my family I still try to get away from everyone… the majority of my time is spent in my room playing video games by myself… video games was like the same get away as the pen spinning was.. I could just be quiet by myself and nobody would question me because they for the most part know what I’m doing. I am in 11th grade right now… so I guess I shouldn’t be saying was because it’s all still happening right now… every day…. every hour….every minute…

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for sharing. Sorry to hear that you’ve had such a struggle. I can imagine that has been really hard in the classroom environments. It’s a big problem with large classrooms as well – when there are lots of people in there it can be isolating and you end up removing your desire to get involved. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just take it easy and seek opportunities to build your confidence in small ways one on one or in small groups. Feeling your pain. Hope it gets easier. Thanks again for sharing.

      All the best, Andy

  6. I have the triple wammy; Generalized Anxiety, OCD, and I’m an introvert by default. In social settings, these things at times make it near impossible to even come up to someone and talk. I know it’s all in my head, and I try to fight it, but more often than not, I come out unsuccessful, and looking for an excuse to avoid interaction, something that would seem genuine to those around me, like pretending to receive a phone call, blowing my nose, e.c.t. What bugs me the most is when I’m sitting by myself and somebody detaches themselves from their group of friends, to engage enthusiastic small talk with me. It’s not themselves that bug me, they are just being nice, but the fact that what led them to me was likely out of pity, makes me feel even worse about my situation, as I know they would rather be having a good time with their friends, and that it was a self sacrifice kind of deal.

    The problem with being an introvert whilst having OCD and Generalized Anxiety is that introverts enjoy their alone time, and that’s especially true for me, I enjoy it too much. Uncontrollable thoughts can start to seep in, and with the lack of stimulation, they fester and strengthen, like a bacteria culture underneath a source of heat. These thoughts usually generate sadness, anger, confusion, anxiety, e.c.t. They stem from the things I overthink and over analyze (for example, social interaction) or from actual worries.

    I don’t know what led me to write this wall of text, I guess I needed to ‘vent’ a bit somewhere, without feeling akward.

  7. Well I’m an extrovert but I have a lot of introvert-like qualities and lately I’ve been wanting to say no to whenever people ask me to hang out and it’s weird

  8. To be honest, there have been times when I wish I was not so much of an introvert. I wish I was more of an extrovert. I wish I was someone who was more vocal and willing to take on things just like the next person. After reading this, I notice there are qualities mentioned above that I do have. I also see how it has helped me in many situations to handle it properly without consequence. So now I treasure me being an introvert, because it has helped me in many ways in life. I see the benefits of being myself and not an extrovert. Don’t get me wrong, there are good qualities to being an extrovert as well. I just see how being the opposite has been a help in life. Thank you for writing this. It really helped me out.

    1. Hi Brian. Yeah it’s completely natural to desire qualities that we see in others, especially people who are different – and natural also to overlook our own qualities – the ones that others might be quietly envious of! It’s really good to have that perspective that we’re all different, and just because we might see others and wish we had some of what they have, it doesn’t mean we haven’t got a whole load of our own qualities that we maybe take for granted! So glad the article has helped. Really nice to hear from you!

  9. Yesterday was my friend’s birthday, but im the only one who didnt talk much
    yes i did laugh at somethings but i feel weird when it comes to meeting a large group
    i didnt even speak up and tell any story. man, i really want to change.
    i oftenlly dont make eye contact while talking and it really feels weird
    so my goal is to be more talkative, less introvert and more extrovert (mid),charismatic and gain relationships
    wish me luck !

    1. This is a common experience, especially in groups. I rarely share stories when there is a big group and I feel inadequate. Especially when there are people I don’t know. But then get me one on one with people (or in a smaller group of people I know) and I can be as chatty as anything. Don’t be too hard on yourself – play to your strengths, and work on anything you really want to change. But you have great gifts as an introvert that extroverts will look at and wish they shared. It’s just not always quite as obvious!

  10. Hi Ashley from Kenya here.I just wanted to ask how to control the negative thoughts that always seem to bother me especially after interacting with people,Things like ‘did I say the right things’ or ‘did they notice when I said a stupid comment’
    Then I start thinking that they don’t like me anymore and have this imaginary beef in my head so I end being too intimidated to follow up on people.Things like that are what get to me.

    1. Yes I know exactly what you mean. The mind chatter after social encounters. I had one the other day. I thought someone was reaching out for a handshake when he wasn’t, so I put my hand out and then we had a very awkward encounter. We are extremely good at exaggerating the importance of things in our own minds. With the handshake thing, the first thing I did was admit it and laugh about it with myself. Sometimes just writing down fears about what we’ve said or haven’t said in a journal or something can be helpful in giving perspective. Soon realise that it wasn’t as bad as you thought. And if you really feel bad, to just send a quick friendly follow up message to the person. Not always easy, but often serves to help in small ways. Another useful question to ask yourself is “will I be concerned about this in a month?”

  11. Honestly this is not good at all, us introverts think differently then extroverts, I’d say just make some time in the day to have some time alone time so that you could refuel! I would go crazy doing these things that were shown on here.

  12. I can say that I’m at the top in list if introverts on the globe.I don’t know why but i hate people, I hate to talk to people, i hate when someone tries to interfere in my life,in my thoughts and in my work, but sometime i need friends for entertainment (everybody said that my company is much boring)so no one wants to join me and then i feel.i cry sometime that why I am of such type?
    . Secondly i have no confidence at all, whenever i have to speak in front of people i get nervous and my blood pressure becomes higher and my hand start shuddering.And whenever I see crowd or people I become dumb, i don’t know what to speak.

  13. I hate myself most when I’m in a party or an event that’s full of people and there’s an oppurtunity to socialize, the outcome for most is some new friends or at least a decent conversation, but for me it feels like I give off an aura of: “Please get away from me as far as possible.” Therefore I never get approached or meet someone new, which hurts my ego. You said in your article about how I should teach myself to grasp conversations about celebrities and whatnot, and that not every conversation you have has to be deep. I fully understand that, growing up I’ve come to realize that the majority really don’t have the capacity to think further than the surface, it shocked me at first, but I also can’t seem to manage to fit in although I try to. I just don’t know what the hell anyone’s talking about!

    1. Hi Salma, yeah I absolutely get you. I realise it wasn’t very obvious but my point about getting into celebrity gossip etc was a little sarcastic. I can’t stand those kinds of conversations and find them really difficult. There is absolutely something to be said for being able to entertain small talk. But my point was that we should embrace our introversion and not be hard on ourselves because actually the alternatives make us not that interesting. If you’re more inclined towards deep conversations then that’s a great thing! One thing that’s worth remembering is that at parties/social events there are other people like you/us – it’s difficult to meet people in that setting who you will make a lasting connection with, because they’re probably also giving off the aura of “please get away from me”. Don’t be hard on yourself! You’re completely normal. When it comes to celebrity small talk…I don’t know what people are talking about either. There are many of us who are exactly the same too…

  14. I really don’t know if it’s my communication skills that stop me, or it’s my fake friends or it is anxiety……….
    man so fucked up it is being an introvert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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