The Introvert Extrovert
I’m an ‘extrovert introvert’. It means that when I’m with people I don’t know in situations that leave me out of my comfort zone, I lack confidence and am overcome with shyness. When I’m surrounded by people I know, however, I’m the complete opposite!
Mingling for example. I suck at it. I’ll end up standing quietly in a group wishing I was anywhere but there, nodding along vigorously to the conversation even if I have no idea what they’re talking about. I’m constantly thinking of a way to join in but the topics move on too quickly and my over thought out contributions never actually get air time. All the time the conversation is going on I have a genuine fear that if I say something that isn’t witty or interesting enough everyone will just look at me in disgust, there will be a long awkward silence and finally I’ll dissolve into a pool on the floor from the shame of it all.
In a room with my friends, however it’s feels like a warm comfort blanket wrapped around me. In fact, more often than not you often can’t shut me up… sorry girls! I will chatter along happily, be the one that encourages everyone onto the dance floor and get stuck into a juicy debate.
My experience at the Scarlett London Blogger Festival
Recently I went to the Scarlett London Blogger Festival in London. The event gathered around 200 bloggers at a hotel which I shall be posting about very soon. The idea of being surrounded by so many gorgeous, confident ladies would have daunted me a year ago, but I’ve attended a few events now and made some friends who were attending. We all gathered at the nearest tube stop and walked in together, so nerves weren’t really an issue.
That is until I somehow got separated from my little party and found myself standing alone, whilst bloggers all around me stood in groups for the most part.
Among the sea of faces I spotted Emma deep in concentration on her phone. We’ve been to a couple of the same events before but I’ve always been too shy to say hello. Let’s be honest, she’s way cooler than me and I feared making a massive fool of myself by saying something cringey and stupid and totally NOT COOL. After a full minute of deliberation I managed a nervous, “Emma”? She looked up and broke into a big smile – what a relief! After a lovely chat we eventually drifted away and I forgot all about it.
Then this week Emma posted this lovely story about the encounter and what it meant to her. I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting from her post here!
“Feeling utterly deflated at my lack of confidence, I heard “Emma?” and saw Laura make her way through a group towards me. I could have kissed her right there and then; though we had never actually met in person Laura took me under her wing and unknowingly gave me the boost I needed to shake away the dark cloud of self doubt that so often holds me back.”
The moral of the story is that no matter how nervous you are and how calm and confident you think everyone else looks, appearances can be deceptive. The other people in that room may be in exactly the same boat.
So take a deep breath and say that first brave ‘Hello’. You may be pleasantly surprised. I haven’t spontaneously combusted… yet!
The Shy Girl’s Guide To Attending Blog Events
Now that I’ve been to quite a few events, here are my top shy girl tips!
1. Remember that you’re at a blogging event, thus you have PLENTY of things to talk about with any other person in that room. If you’re standing in the queue to get in, say hello to the person next to you. Ask whether they had to travel far, what their blog is about, have they been to an event before or even “I’ve just been to Selfridges and OMG that new Charlotte Tilbury lipstick looks amazing!” It will break the ice and get the conversation started – guaranteed.
2. Look up, not down! As comforting as it may be to pretend to be on your phone, you will give the impression “don’t talk to me I’m busy”. Instead make eye contact with someone and smile – I promise you it works!
3. If you’ve got inside and still haven’t found someone to hang out with, think about what you’d like to happen. You’d want someone to come up to you and say hi wouldn’t you? So go do it for someone else! Find that shy person standing in the corner looking at their phone and say something to them. 9 times out of 10 you’ll get that big relieved smile as they thank their lucky stars that someone finally spoke to them.
4. Last but not least, pay it forward. If you find yourself in a group having a great time but notice someone standing alone, offer them a smile, invite them over to your group and make them feel welcome – remember that was probably you once!
Photos in this post courtesy of Marcus from F/22 Photography, who gave this shy girl the confidence to turn around and take a few photos towards the camera…. eventually!
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