My Extroversion Resolution

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2014 will bring you much joy and prosperity!

As usual, I have a slate of resolutions to aim for in a continual effort to improve myself and my life. Instead of blogging them all at once, though, I thought I would just blog one at a time every now and then. If anyone were inspired to do the same thing, there are no rules to say they can’t take it up part way through the year, so there is no need to blog all my resolutions at once. Besides, it would be a very long post because I don’t just have statement sort of resolutions, I have plans to help make them happen. I also have indicators to track their progress and success. That’s how resolutions should be done if people wanted a better chance of making them happen. It’s all in the details! Finally, some support others so not all are stand alone resolutions, either.

One of my resolutions is to be more extroverted to meet more new people because I love meeting new people. You meet enough of them and some will enhance and enrich your life. That’s why I want to do so. some don’t but that’s the chance you take later on to decide whether or not to develop relationships (of any sort) with them.

There’s nothing wrong with being introverted. I do my fair share of it being a split between extroverted and introverted in Myers-Briggs testing, of which a free similar test you can find on my site here. I’m just shy to new people, and a bit of a chatter box to those I know when I am in their company. That’s in part because I live alone and spend a lot of time on my own so I really pull out my extroversion among people, usually.

Unfortunately for me, extroversion is an effort, a bit like distance running for me. I love it once I’m into it, like a run. It’s just the first starting out bit I don’t like. For extroversion, that starting bit is introducing myself to others and starting up conversations. I often feel fake about it with people I don’t know since it’s often small talk you start on, and small talk only has so much sincerity. In North American society, though, and definitely in Nova Scotia, if one is not forthcoming to introduce oneself in group settings, one could often easily leave without having met anyone new.

What do I need to do?

To become more extroverted, I need to be more forthcoming to introduce myself to people in crowds and start up conversations.

How will I do it?

I got this idea from a colleague I met who was doing something like this, with less detail. Still, I thought it was a brilliant idea.

I will do this in a very manageable and acceptable way. I will try to meet one new person for every gathering I am at where it’s not considered socially awkward to introduce myself to people and strike up conversation. For example, parties, big staff gatherings, workshops, concerts, etc. Where I won’t try to push this is at events like movies where not a lot of conversation might take place, and where I might have to intentionally go sit next to someone when there are empty chairs, to do this. That’s like loser creepy and I’m not doing stuff like that! 🙂

How will I determine success?

For me to count a successful meeting with a new person, I will have to get his/her first or full name and have talked with him/her enough to give a decent introduction about the person with some substance. “Substance” is hard to define, but it’s basically stuff people can’t have gathered without having talked to the person. Such an introduction should probably take at least 5-10 minutes of conversation to accomplish considering I’d be doing some of the talking in a conversation. It does take two to have a conversation!

That’s the success indicator for determining if I’ve “met a new person”. But how many people does it take for me to become extroverted? There’s no correct answer for that, and it’s not blowin’ in the wind, either! What I’ve decided for myself as a marker for success is 365 new people during 2014, or meeting one new person per day, on average. I will keep a log of these people and a brief statement about each with their names.

What will the impact be?

Of all the new people I hope to meet in 2014, probably only a low percentage will last in my life and be more meaningful to me than just someone I talked to once, or every once every so often like new colleagues I meet. I would pretty much bet the percentage will be in the single digit. After all, there is some theory about there about how we could really only maintain about 150 “relationships”, if they’re relationships maintained at any decent level. But even at the single digit, that would be a fair number of new relationships to maintain if you do the math on my goal!

Ten percent of 365 is 36, rounding down to be conservative and since you can’t meet half a person. Approximating 9 percent to get the highest single digit percentage leaves 32 new relationships. If one can only manage 150 relationships meaningfully, that’s basically turning over 20% of all the meaningful relationships I have in my life! I’m not sure I am willing to drop that many current relationships for new ones that I don’t know might or might not be ultimately better for me in the long run, to be honest! Now, one doesn’t just flip a switch and slot in one new relationship to throw out the other, of course. The replacement process would most likely be a gradual development and ebbing of relationships, unless you completely throw someone out of your life like happens every now and then. But 32 is a lot to replace!

So let’s take it to 5% or 18 replaced relationships! That’s still a reasonable number when you think about it. In that sense, developing meaningful relationships from only single digit percentages of new people I meet isn’t a bad thing. It might seem rather inefficient, but you tell me how many settings do you think you could develop a high percentage of relationships from people you meet, keeping in mind the 150-ish quota.

Relationship development is a lot like the lottery. You don’t “win” most of the time. Most people will drift in and out of your life and you can only hope what relationship you had with them was worth your while, like the hope of winning something was worth your money for losing tickets. However, every now and then, there’s a winner. Sometimes it’s a small one, like a friend for one little activity. Other times, it’s big like the love of your life, someone who gets you a job or fills one for you, or a boss that makes your life and career advancement easy, a best friend, a good friend, or whatever. But if you don’t play, you can’t win. So in trying to be more extroverted, I’m just playing more to increase my chances at a win. That’s different from my chances at winning. It might be 10% no matter how hard I try, for example. I’d just win once if I played ten times, whereas I’d win ten times if I played 100 times. That’s what that proverbial adage to “make your own luck” means in some ways. I’m making my own luck here.

How I plan to use my luck is in many ways. I’m searching for that special someone in my life still. I may not meet her directly from my efforts, but through someone I reach out to in being more extroverted, I might meet her. Otherwise, great new friends, possibly others with job opportunities to offer I might desire, and so on, are just some of the many potential impacts that could arise from my increased extroversion.

I will still keep a fair bit of my introversion as I am not necessarily planning to get out that much more than before. I just plan to be more active to be more extroverted when I do. So I will still have a lot of my spiritualism that I get out of my introversion, my learning and doing time for hobbies, and so on. I will just be more efficient to get more value out of my time in being more extroverted for when opportunities to be doing so arises!

Wish me luck! I’ve talked up two new people already on January 1st! 🙂

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