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How To Be Confident – 5 Ways You Can Be Confident As An Introvert
Today I'll talk to all of my bros out there who are introverts at heart like me. Building and displaying confidence can be a difficult thing for all men, but introverts often have an extra dosage of barriers because of their more secluded personalities and desires.
-By Caleb Jones
Introvert On The Inside, Extrovert On The Outside
If you met me in real life, you would assume I'm an extrovert. I smile a lot, laugh a lot, and talk a lot. I have a loud, booming voice. I'm opinionated as hell. Listen to one of my podcasts and you can hear what I mean. I'm very confident, and it comes across in my facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. I am very comfortable around people and in most cases enjoy talking to people. I love public speaking and it's been one of my greatest joys for many years in my business career. I'm also a big, broad-shouldered guy with big movements of my arms and hands (it's the Italian ancestry in me). Because of all this, I've actually had people tell me, "Blackdragon, you're not an introvert."
Oh, but I am. Just because I look like an extrovert on the outside doesn't mean I'm an introvert at heart. Here are just a few reasons.
Almost always, I would far, far rather spend time at home by myself than with other people. I hate parties and never go to any, unless I have to for business, financial, or sexual reasons. (And that's rare.) I hate clubs, hate bars, and hate dancing. It all sucks. I'd rather be at home watching Blade 2 or First Blood on my home theater system. Oh hell yeah. For me, that beats sitting around at a bar or trying to talk to people in a music-blasting club. Every. Single. Time.
After a long day of talking to people, be they family, clients, or women, I have to retreat away back to the quiet privacy of my house (or hotel room if I'm traveling), completely by myself, to recharge. I'll even head back to my hotel room for a little bit during a lunch break while I do a Blackdragon retreat. Extroverts are charged up by being with people, introverts are drained by being with people, even if they're enjoying themselves.I am very much drained when I'm with people for longer than about four hours, though I'm confident and socially calibrated enough where you probably couldn't tell. (Which is the entire point.)
I'm an extrovert on the outside, but an introvert on the inside.
This did not come naturally. I had to consciously learn how to do this.
Back when I was a teenager and even into my young adult years, I was an introvert on the inside and outside. I hated being around people and it showed. I thought people were stupid, reckless, irritating, and boring. Though I didn't look like one, I was very much a computer nerd, and after work I went right home to play around on my computers, shunning all human contact.
I was often angry and frustrated. I allowed the introverted side of me to overwhelm me in ways that damaged my happiness. Which is, of course, unacceptable.
I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but around age 22 or so, (which was also around the same time I lost my virginity), I realized being an introvert on the inside was okay, but being one on the outside was probably not a good idea if I wanted to live an amazing, happy life. Slowly, ever so slowly, I started improving my social behaviors. By the time I was 25, I was noticeably better. By the time I was 30, I was even better, though still socially uncalibrated in many ways (such as how I dressed). Finally, by the time I was about 35 I was unstoppable and it's been smooth sailing ever since.
I've learned an awful lot about how introverts can build not only confidence, but social skills as well. I could probably write an entire book about it. But we don't have time for that today, so I'll give you a few techniques that can start you on your journey from recluse to Decently Cool Guy. Here they are, listed below in no particular order.
1. Learn how to not look stupid when dancing.
Notice I didn't say "get good at dancing". If you're an introvert, particularly a white introvert, you'll never be good at dancing. Because you think dancing sucks and is lame. Which it is.
However, it does behoove you to at least learn how to get out on the dance floor and not look bad. Moreover, you need to know you don't look bad. That's most of it right there. If you think you look good dancing and no one is looking at you strangely, you've already won 90% of the battle. Have a buddy or female friend who's really good at dancing show you the basics. Again, I said basics. Don't try to be Michael Jackson. Your goal is to not learn how to dance. Your goal is to just not look bad.
Player Supreme, one of the coolest guys in the universe and one of my original mentors in the PUA stuff many years ago, has a good series of dancing basics videos for white guys right here. The best advice I can give you is to A) don't move around too much, and B) don't move your feet. Keep them planted on the floor and move the rest of your body. I hate dancing. I think it's gay. But the few times when my younger women drag me to the dance clubs, I can now at least get out there and not look bad. It makes a big difference.
If you don't already lift weights on a regular basis, you need to start. Stop with the excuses. I know you're busy. I know it's a hassle. Shut up, and just start. Every man on the path of the Alpha Male must, must be lifting weights.
The only exception to this is if you're very, very fat. If you weigh over 250 pounds, I would focus 80% of my energy on nutrition and 20% on cardio before I bothered with the weights, since the weights aren't going to do shit at that point. I realize I'm going to start an argument here, since a lot of people are going to disagree with that advice. All that "but more muscle burns calories" stuff. Trust me, people giving that kind of advice to very fat people have never been fat themselves...and I have.
So listen to an ex-fattie. If you're really, really fat, forget the weights until you get the weight down a little. Busting your ass to lift weights when you're 300 pounds of lard will not help you in any noticeable way whatsoever, and one only has so much energy in any given day. Get your weight down to a manageable level first, then start lifting. (If you want to disagree with that advice, and I know many of you do, feel free to comment about it, but I'm not having that particular dicussion; I've had it too many times already.)
To be clear, this is only if you're really fat. If you're just chubby, then no excuses, hit the weights.
Trust me, when your shoulders and biceps and legs are noticeably bigger, harder, and stronger, that alone boosts your confidence in ways you won't even be expecting. When women touch your upper arms and are shocked at how hard they are and say "Wow!"...man...if that doesn't boost your confidence at least a little, I'm not sure what will.
3. Learn how to ask questions.
I come by this naturally so I never had to work on this, but most guys out there are terrible question-askers and discussion-directors. You need to learn to ask questions, especially when it comes to dating women, but it's also is a great asset in business. You need to learn to constantly direct the conversation in a very natural, easy way, and never "run out of" things to ask.
This skill is built by practice. Whenever you talk to someone, practice asking questions. Ask a question, listen to the entire answer, then ask another question based on what that person just said, even if it means changing the subject. Rinse and repeat. See how long you can do this. I can do this for literally hours, and have many times. Get good at this.
4. Work on your sense of humor.
I've always had a pretty good sense of humor, but back in my introverted days it was a little crass and too hard-edged for most normal, social people. I had to learn to soften it a little.
You may have the opposite problem. You may be the guy trying to be too funny. Many introverts overcompensate a lack of social skill by trying to be funny all the time. (Asian guys are particularly guilty of this.) If that's you, dial that shit back. It makes you look needy and stupid.
You may be the other opposite extreme. If you're a hardcore introvert and not funny at all, you need spend some time on YouTube watching some stand-up comics. Try to emulate the parts that speak to you. Try it out on people. Above all, laugh at yourself. You have plenty of flaws just like I do. Laugh at them. Make yourself laugh. I make myself laugh all the time. Laughter is infectious. People like people who laugh.
This one is huge. Sometimes I still forget about this one.
As an introvert, you love being by yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I too love being by myself more than any other person in my life. I like myself. This is healthy. Way, WAY too many people out there lack the ability to be alone and are thus creating all kinds of problems in their own lives by their incessant need to ALWAYS be hanging around other people. It's brutal.
For example, think about this. How many women do you know under the age of 28 who live completely alone? No family, no children, no boyfriend, no roommates. I'll bet you can't name one.
If you can, if you really do know a woman who lives completely alone, ask yourself this: how often is she actually home? You'll find that she's never home. Because she can't be alone. It's not healthy.
However, the desire to be alone has a dark side. You might ALWAYS be alone when you're not working. This is a bad idea for your health, your confidence, your sex life, and even your income.
Every once and a while, you need to force yourself, and yes, you'll have to force yourself, to actually put on some nice clothes and head out to the mall or something. If you hate malls, then go downtown and walk around. Or hit up Meetup.com and join a social group you find interesting. Get out there around other human beings. Interact with people.
Yes, yes, I know people are dumb. Yes, I know they're loud. Yes, I know they can be irritating. Yes yes. That doesn't mean spending your life sitting in front of your computer is a good idea, because it's not. It's very difficult to A) get laid and B) make good money without ever having to talk to people in real life and understand social nuance.
Often you can directly measure your discomfort around being people based on the amount of time it's been since you spent a decent amount of time in a large group. Set a goal to get out of your house and into "the real world" at least twice a week. You'll find doing this makes a big difference.
(And hell, while you're out there, practice your daygame. Time management, baby. Two birds with one stone.)
5. Don't try to be something you're not. Be a confident, socially calibrated introvert. Don't try to be an extrovert.
I see a lot of introverted guys try to become the next Jim Carrey, and then beat themselves up that they don't measure up to that level of social interaction or comfort.
Look, you're not an extrovert. Don't try to be one. I'm not an extrovert, never will be, and don't want to be. Shit, if I had to talk that much, if I had to feel all the emotional ups and downs of extroverted guys on a regular basis, I'm pretty sure I'd kill myself.
Your goal as an introvert is to be cool, confident, and fun for short spurts of time before you need to head back to your cave to recharge. That's really all you need to do. If you have some really fun, extroverted, outgoing buddies, that's great, but let them be the extroverts. Don't try to be them. That won't make you happy anyway. Focus on being a cool introvert, not an extrovert. There's a very big difference. I could go on and on about this topic, but that should be enough to get you started in the right direction.
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BA 2013-07-25 05:38:32
Good stuff. I nearly pegged the meter on the introvert scale when I took the test the first time. One point from the maximum. I was at a co-ed military school and many of my female classmates were in disbelief that I was an introvert. They thought I was lying cause I was so fun & gregarious around them. It took a lot out of me to be in class all day, then be social several evenings a week. I was usually very tired by Saturday. The upside was I had lots of female attention, especially since I was a bit older & more experienced so I was the dominant male of the class. I ended up with an 18 year old girlfriend (I was 28) and dated a stripper for a while. She asked me out. Good times. One thing that you mentioned but I would suggest stressing is developing your public speaking skills. I've been working on that for years, starting from being extremely scared to now it's no big deal. I've given talks at trade shows in front of more than 1000 people. Do that a few times and your confidence goes through the roof. Toastmasters is a great way to start. I have gotten promotions and jobs because of my speaking skills. The questions at the end of a talk is great for helping you to be a quick thinker. Thanks for the article.
Dennis 2013-07-25 05:40:14
Hey BD, great post! I'm an INTC and I went through the same process you did. Thanks for #3, I'm weak on that. You might add Vera Cruz to your list of movies. Burt Lancaster is the ultimate alpha man in that movie.
eek 2013-07-25 06:43:51
It's funny that as I was reading this I just knew you'll use the word "cave" somewhere. Good times and spot on.
Oxyjinn 2013-07-25 08:45:13
A great post. And you should write that book how an introvert became a cool man when you've finished the Alpha Male one.
Pairo 2013-07-25 09:54:53
Nice BD! I was a very slim guy up until this summer. In May, my then-mono girlfriend (say what you will) went overseas for a while and I started lifting weights. I went with my jacked friend every weekday, eating a boatload more protein (my goal was 1lb of beef and 1lb of chicken/day, though I often fell a little short), and getting a bit more sleep (7 - 8 hours/night). Not only am I significantly more jacked, but I learned what it takes to be disciplined, to commit to the same thing every day and seeing results. Despite the unpredictability that life can sometimes bring, YOU can always count on bodybuilding if YOU stick with it. On top of that, I feel like a fucking action hero when I talk to girls. Point is: #2 is a BIG point (pun intended) that does wonders for your confidence; through release of the right chemicals in your brain, the discipline involved, and the awesomeness of looking good. So many more ways it boosts your confidence than attention from chicks (who still notice the difference between a man who lifts and one who does not). Plus, the gym is almost like a meeting place for Alpha males (much more likely to bump into Alpha men and hot women at the gym than any where else). Same with dancing. I learned about the PUA/self-help community in my teens and realized dancing was a useful skill to learn (I did Salsa). Nowadays, those classes have a lot more guys, but it's still a solid way of building confidence (who wouldn't want to take a woman's hand and lead her on the dance floor?). When there's a nasty breakup/I'm feeling down from a next and sex is not readily available, I can always go Salsa dance. Also an important point. I do not agree with the idea that introversion and extroversion are two separate things that you are either one or the other in certain areas of your life. You pointed out that you are "extroverted on the outside" and "introverted at heart," but who you are "at heart" or "on the outside" is not a dimorphic continuum. You can, and I can imagine you often do, show parts of both personality types in your day-to-day life. Sometimes we enjoy the company of others, sometimes we want to be alone, and maybe most times we feel a little more one way than the other. There is no need to associate an extreme personality type to it (like being "single" or "taken" when in fact you are somewhere in between).
BA 2013-07-25 11:30:37
Pairo said " Plus, the gym is almost like a meeting place for Alpha males (much more likely to bump into Alpha men and hot women at the gym than any where else)." I agree. It's actually kind of cool that I've been lifting at my gym long enough and lift heavy enough, that the alpha lifters consider me in their group. We acknowledge each other then get back to lifting. Or give spots when asked. On the other hand, the machine guys and treadmill guys avoid us and are invisible to us. Pairo, thanks for your comment. There was a lot of good stuff there. And I've trying to choose between salsa or swing. I think I'll do salsa.
Suit 2013-07-25 19:24:19
Solid post, BD. You and I are pretty much carbon copies of each other based on what you posted here. I wish I'd read this when I was 18. Now, almost 10 years later, these concepts are starting to click. A good book on this issue is "Quiet" by susan cain.
Mih 2013-07-26 03:38:54
Great post. For this kind of stuff i check out your blog every day. Having said that - i always cringe when you give advice about fitness. You realize that it's an important part of life, but you try to do it on your own. I don't understand why you wouldn't hire somebody to take care of that for you. You are a consultant so you understand the importance of professional advice.
Blackdragon 2013-07-26 12:56:47
You pointed out that you are “extroverted on the outside” and “introverted at heart,” but who you are “at heart” or “on the outside” is not a dimorphic continuum. You can, and I can imagine you often do, show parts of both personality types in your day-to-day life.Very true. You will still tend to "default" to one or the other, but your point is accurate.
Great post. For this kind of stuff i check out your blog every day. Having said that – i always cringe when you give advice about fitness.You may notice that I very, very rarely give fitness advice and purposely avoid doing so. On the rare occasions I do, it's very simple advice like "lift weights". Fitness is, by far, the weakest area of my life and I fully admit have no authority giving advice on it other than the simple basics. There's a reason I stick to talking about only what I know (women, personal effectiveness, business, etc).
deepo 2013-07-26 13:08:52
Diggy 2013-07-26 14:56:48
Since learning Im an INTJ I've had some interesting reactions from my old school friends. No one thinks Im introverted. I was telling an ex about the MBTI and she laughed at me and said, "oh Diggy, but you're not introverted" I laughed back and replied, "mostly introverted with occasional outburst." How do most of my long term friends miss this. I was a debate champion in HS, very social in college, slowly over the years I've become more elusive and reclusive but still come out and shine every now and again. They only see the bright confident diggy... not the guy that if he won the lotto tomorrow might not be seen for some time. Youre all F-ing draining! Great post BD 2-5 are spot on. Ive spent a large amount of time focusing on 2 and 3. For the readers that find exercise a poor use of time stop looking at it as one dimensional. Health is a gift you can only give to your self. If you eat well and exercise your overall being will be charged with life and everyone will notice not just women.
Rod 2013-07-27 11:37:35
I've been waiting for this blog post for a looooong time! Thanks BD, keep'em coming man!
CK 2013-07-28 00:14:15
Good post. I'm an introvert who fights hard not to be. I've reached a point where I love a date that involves dancing...I'm not a naturally touchy guy, so I have to really force the kino. Dancing makes it automatic. Recently I hooked up with a Mexican chick, 16 years younger than me, who I knew from work who was moving out of town. That hook up was the direct result of being able to move her around the dance floor reasonably well. By a remarkable coincidence, I started CrossFit two months before my marriage broke up. I've now been doing it for 2 years. I look at old photos of myself and feel like I'm looking at my fat older brother. I don't think I could be dating women 15-20 years younger than me if I didn't have my new bod and the confidence that comes with it. I now know that if I can get in a situation with a woman where my shirt comes off, I'm in. And I can use topless shots of myself to get them to sext me some very explicit stuff. Getting in shape is the single greatest thing I have done in creating the "new me".
m 2013-07-28 15:26:33
The trouble with me is I don't feel any emotions 99% of the time and doctors/therapists haven't been able to help with this. I have to fake my way through all social interactions so rarely enjoy it and have no motivation because if I achieve something I still feel nothing. I wish I was different but have found no way to make any significant change.
John H 2013-07-28 17:08:31
I hear you m. In truth, you're probably much smarter than anyone running around the rat race playing the game anyhow. I suspect your intellectuality is on a different level than those who even bother with women.
Jake 2013-07-28 20:21:57
To M: It is possible that you have an over activated parasympathetic nervous system. This part of your nervous system works in the opposition of the sympathetic nervous system, which is your fight or flight response. The parasympathetic system is designed to kick in when fight or flight isn't working. It's function is to numb you and disassociate your conscious mind from the situation. It's likely sometime in your past you had a traumatic situation that your brain sought to protect you from. the word traumatic doesn't necessarily mean something crazy, just that the brain thought it had to kick on this system. You possibly don't remember it at all, it could even have happened as a young child or pre-birth. The solution to this is Brainwave Optimization neuro-feedback. I was the head brainwave technologist at a clinic that did this for 2 and a half years, and I highly, highly recommend it. It balances out your brainwaves and nervous systems, and I have seen it work miracles. If this is a serious issue for you at all then I would implore you to explore this treatment. The main company is Brain State Technologies, but they certify technologists all over the world. They're main website is Brainstatetech.com. I treated people like you who felt numb and emotionless, and it definitely helped them. To be clear I no longer work at the clinic, and have absolutely no stake in the parent company, just trying to help.
Tiger 2013-07-28 21:03:34
An excellent post that precisely hits on some things I've observed through the passage of my own life. Your advice that introverts not try to be "cool introverts" instead of try to be extroverts is dead one. As a natural introvert, in my late teens and early twenties I looked up to extroverts and tried to emulate their ways of interacting with other people. I would force myself into every social situation I could and try to meet everybody at every party. Although my social skills improved a lot, I realized a few things about myself: 1) even if I did feel comfortable in a large group, I didn't necessarily enjoy it and easily would get bored; 2) one-on-one interactions are usually much more fulfilling than group interactions; there seems to be a lowest common denominator rule where the larger the group is, the less interesting the topic of conversation can be, with large enough groups leading to conversations about TV shows, sports teams, and seasonal weather patterns; 3) I am really not that interested in most other peoples lives. I am very interested in the lives of the people closest to me, sure, but some days I'd rather eat broken glass than listen to someone I hardly know go through their relationship/work history with me. It has only been recently, in my early thirties, that I started to realize that it is not necessary for me to try to be an extrovert and that I can instead be comfortable with being an introvert and use my independence as a strength.
raiderduohan 2013-07-29 07:58:15
This post really sung to me. As a long time reader, its definitely in my top couple of favourite BD posts ever. Thanks BD!
0--- 2013-07-31 10:50:05
You may wanna add "change your attitude towards people". You know, the whole idea of focusing on seeing the good things in people you meet, and bringing out the best in people, and learning from people, instead of that negative "people suck" attitude. That should help with nr. 3 and 5 (well, the second 4 in your article 😛 ), at least for the F-types. But then again, I'm an extrovert, so what do I know 🙂
Daniel 2013-08-09 08:37:56
Great article. I'm also an introvert but nobody believes me when I tell them. So I guess I'm doing a pretty good job. Anyway, I just thought I'd mention that there are two #4s, meaning that this is 6 Ways You Can Be Confident as an Introvert.
Wes 2014-01-31 09:37:12
Great post BD. I am definitely an introvert but I have handled my social skills pretty well and got lots of social experience. I was a door to door salesman for 3 years and now am a salesman on the phone and I can come across as an extrovert when I need to be. I agree completely that any guy that is fat should not touch weights and just hit cardio and diet until he drops the weight first. I am very knowledgeable about diet and fitness and have no problem giving you tips if you need any help losing weight, getting ripped. I'm 6'5 220 13% body fat. You have opened my eyes to a world that I never new existed and can't wait to explore it. Thanks.
Gumbril 2014-04-20 14:48:40
I am started to get bored of this constant Manosphere refrain of 'lift weights'. I train muay thai, do body weight and kettlebell conditioning and run. I look and feel in decent shape (could always be better) and am as strong and agile as I need be as someone who is training with a view to having my first interclub fight soon. Do I REALLY need to 'even lift, bro'???
Blackdragon 2014-04-20 15:44:55
If you do "body weight and kettlebell conditioning" then you're already "lifting weights". You're good to go.