There’s pressure to always be on, to Work It, at 100% all the time. Introverts have a disadvantage, so here’s how we cope.

Society in the United States is set up to give more advantages to extroverts than introverts. Whether in school or at work, those setting the culture make it clear that socialization and cooperation in groups is much preferrable to a collection of isolated individuals.

Introversion, antisocial behavior, shyness, and social anxiety

For introverts including myself, spending a large portion of the day navigating interpersonal and group interactions can be physically and emotionally draining. But an introverted personality type is not the same thing as being antisocial. Introverts can excel at being social and might love the company of others; they just may need time to themselves to think alone, introspect, and recharge.

Being antisocial makes it hard to succeed in a traditional sense, but having an introverted tendency does not need to be a curse. To be antisocial generally means to be able to socialize with others but to do so in a way that is unexpected or differs from others.

Shyness is an additional potential trait among introverts, distinct from introversion. Shyness makes social interactions uncomfortable, especially with people and situations that are unfamiliar.

Social anxiety disorder can affect introverts and extroverts. It’s an intense fear of interaction that leads to avoidance of situations where someone might come into contact with other people. It could be a fear of being judged by others.

If you experience uncontrollable stress when you might be the center of attention, when you feel you might be criticized, or when you have to meet a very important person, you may be experiencing social anxiety disorder.

An introvert, if neither antisocial, shy, nor socially anxious, can be outgoing, friendly, and fully aware of social cues. It’s not uncommon for these introverts to be the bosses, the business leaders, the engaging teachers, and the prolific actors. You wouldn’t know who is an introvert because only those close to them would be aware of whether they thrive from their social efforts or they require recuperation from those efforts.

Introversion alone doesn’t justify the stigma. Why do people think introverts have a lower chance of being successful?

It’s because many introverts have the other traits that do make success difficult.

When You're an Introvert But You Have to Work It

Most introvert advice sucks.

Unfortunately, most of the advice available for introverts contains no insight. That’s because it tends to simply suggest that introverts be more like extroverts. In theory, copying extroverted behavior should be enough for an introvert to gain advantages of extroverts.

The typical advice of “just force yourself to be more outgoing” should suffice for pure introverts who can socialize for a fair amount of time in ways that culture deems appropriate. But because many of us introverts also have other traits mixed in, those suggestions fail.

What’s worse, is so much advice I’ve read encourages introverts to feel bad for being who they are, going so far as to use guilt to try to convince them to take on the attributes of extroverted, successful, outwardly confident people. Keep in mind that you can change aspects of your personality without sacrificing your identity, but you should only adjust the things you want to change.

Knowing that introverts can be just as successful as extroverts should allow you to be quite comfortable with your approach to life. But shyness, antisocial traits, and social anxiety can all be improved without changing your core personality.

You probably already fake being extroverted.

This is just the first step. Think, what would an extrovert do? Maybe it’s my theatrical background, but I like to suggest approaching social situations by playing the role of the extrovert. And I think that’s what many introverts feel they are doing when they do find themselves needing to participate in interaction.

This “faking it” approach doesn’t change the fact that introverts will need recovery time, but it might change your mindset and allow you to be more comfortable putting effort into socialization.

We are expected to “work it” in front of our friends and coworkers. Taking an extroverted approach helps in those situations, even if it doesn’t feel right at first.

If introversion isn’t your biggest social problem, other suggestions might help more.

When You're an Introvert But You Have to Work It

Build connections even when you’re antisocial.

If you’re antisocial, you feel like you don’t fit in with the culture around you. You might see all the people who seem extroverted, and it all looks fake to you. You want to stay genuine and authentic, and you don’t feel the need to fit in.

But sometimes we just have to fit in. Navigating social expectations is part of being an adult. You don’t have to change who you are; you should just be aware of the world around you and how other people behave and interact within it.

One of the most helpful ideas is to seek out your partner in crime. Even in the most conforming environments, there will be someone who’s ready to accept and enjoy your approach to friendship, camaraderie, or teamwork. Find the one person you’re comfortable with, and build on that relationship.

Shyness is generally a lack of confidence.

I’ve found that I behave differently in different groups. If I know my place in a group, and especially if I feel that I am already well-respected, my confidence builds and I can be the center of attention without being uncomfortable. I can introduce myself to new friends and colleagues, and I have an energy that infects others. In a good way, I think.

But when I’m unsure of my place in a group or I’m new myself, my shyness comes out. I’ll stay quiet and reserved, and I’ll wait for someone else with more confidence to be my social guide.

Building confidence is key. If you know a situation is coming up in which you might be shy or lack confidence, consider this approach. These will work for both social and business interactions, as well as combinations like the dreaded “networking.”

Plan for it. Take the introvert approach and preview the event. Find out who will be there and have some ideas about who you might want to talk to and what you might want to talk about.

Have a goal you can measure. Decide to have a target for the number of people you’d like to have conversations with.

Replace any negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Have a mantra for the event. Give yourself a mini pep talk. It sounds corny, but it works. Convince yourself that you are confident and you will meet your goals.

Get help for social anxiety.

If you are so disabled by fear of social situations, you need to go beyond help from articles about introverts and see professional psychologists or other therapists. They chan provide you with one-on-one coping mechanisms as well as medication to help with this disorder.

You are probably overestimating the visibility of your anxiety. It feels strong to you, but others may not notice that you’re uncomfortable. So if that is in turn making your anxiety worse, you may be able to keep this in mind and do a better job coping with anxiety when you are forced into these stressful social situations.

At Adulting, we have an entire podcast episode about being calm, and that comes in handy with dealing with certain anxiety. One calming technique that has worked well for me is the 4-7-8 technique, which I explained in this video.

You can be an introvert and still be outgoing and confident. Some of the most successful people in the world are introverts, and they need their alone time to recharge. You can address shyness, social anxiety, and any antisocial traits while still being you.

You don’t have to sacrifice who you are to do a better job with dealing with people. Work it.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

Get organized. At the very least, you’ll know where your car keys are.

After losing weight, the #2 New Year’s resolution in 2015 to get organized. There’s a very good chance that the numbers are similar for this year. After all, who doesn’t want to feel like they have a handle on life. Organization tends to help you feel like you are ready to face the world. Or at least tackle the day.

Concepts

  • Learn about the health benefits that come when you get organized.
  • Could you improve your relationships by being better organized?
  • Tips for avoiding over-scheduling and over-promising.
  • Tools that can help you get organized — and stay that way.

Some of the organization apps mentioned in this episode include Evernote, Trello, Asana, and Remember the Milk.

Video Clips

Become a Friend of Adulting

To get Adulting delivered directly to your device, subscribe using iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your app of choice.

Join the Friends of Adulting! Please leave an honest review on iTunes. We would really appreciate the feedback!

Resources

Statistic BrainNew Years resolution stats
Good HousekeepingHealth benefits of organization

Like what you’ve heard?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

Your boss sees the photo of you partying too hard. Or she sees you rant about your job. You’re done.

The words you say, the pictures you post, and the memes you share have consequences.

Don’t be the guy or girl who gets fired or expelled for a stupid mistake you make on social media. You’ll just be next on the long list of people who didn’t realize that trouble awaits behind every ill-conceived post.

It is so easy for everything you do and say to be shared with the world. Forever. Permanently. There’s no going back to having private lives, now, so you just have to deal with it.

Remember when you thought Facebook was a safe place for you to just be yourself without parents, teachers, and bosses seeing what you’re up to? Well, social media sites are universal now. Everyone can see everything.

Even if you think your privacy settings prevent people from seeing what you’re up to, the real truth is that it doesn’t take much for anything you share in the strictest of confidence to be made public.

Here’s what happened to famous people who didn’t realize this. (Hint: they weren’t famous first.)

Craig Keefe, Justine Saccor, Ashley Payne

These folks became infamous after their incidents.

Craig Keefe

Craig Keefe was a nursing student at Central Lakes College in Minnesota when he used Facebook to make “private” derogatory comments about his classmates. The school nevertheless discovered the comments. Because that behavior violated the school’s code of professional conduct outlines in the student handbook, the student was expelled.

Keefe believed he had protection under the First Amendment to publish whatever he pleased as long as his comments didn’t slander anyone, but that was not upheld in court.

Justine Sacco

Justine Sacco made a bad decision when she, the lead public relations employee at an advertising company, posted a remark that could be considered racist on Twitter right before her airplane took off. Sacco may or may not have thought her “joke” was racist, but when her flight landed and internet service returned to her phone, she discovered she was fired for quipping about being safe from contracting AIDS in Africa because she was white.

As someone who worked in public relations, she should have known better. Good news for Justine. After only seven months of unemployment, she found another job in communications, working for the fantasy sports company facing legal troubles, FanDuel, according to Sacco’s LinkedIn profile.

Ashley Payne

Ashley Payne did nothing more than post a photo on Facebook holding a couple of drinks. Payne was a teacher, and even if she kept her profile private, a parent spotted the photograph, taken and posted several years prior, and informed the school’s administration.

She was asked to resign immediately, losing her job for a photograph that depicted nothing illegal. Even if she hadn’t touched alcohol since that photograph, because someone could find it, she had to face consequences.

You may think none of this is “fair.” Here’s what you can do.

Don’t use social media to complain about your job or school. If your boss hasn’t found you on Facebook yet, she will. And hiding posts from people isn’t the perfect solution┬ábecause any vindictive “friend” can take a screenshot and make your post public.

Realize the public doesn’t have your “context.” If you joke about racism often, and your friends encourage you for some reason, don’t expect that anyone outside of your group will also consider your thoughts appealing. There are laws to protect employees from being fired for illegitimate reasons, but if your conduct in public reflects poorly on the company, you’ll quickly find yourself unemployed.

Remember you represent every group you’re a part of. When your actions become a news story, whether globally, nationally, or just within a group larger than your closest friends, you become a scapegoat for everything people don’t like.

If you’re a student at Yale making an insensitive comment about privilege, you now represent all Yale students to someone who’s not. You represent the Ivy League to anyone outside of that community. You also represent all college students to someone of a different age or life path. To someone outside the United States, you now represent all Americans.

It’s worse when you’re a member of a minority, especially if you are part of a group that isn’t well understood by others. If your skin color is dark, every mistake you make is seen as a failing of all those who share that skin color. If your sexual orientation or identity is not normative, despite diversity within your group, your attitudes could come to represent the entire group for those on the outside.

Does it matter what other people think of you, even if they’re ignorant? Yes. Once your behavior hits the news, your identity from an external perspective will be reduced to any identifying group that you could represent, regardless of the depth of your character. And sometimes you need to be respected by those people as an individual, and a capable, responsible person.

Yes, these consequences can stifle free expression throughout society. The world has opened up, and what used to be private communication now has the potential to get you in trouble. If you freak out when your boss finds your Twitter account or when your students find the Facebook account you use with your middle name instead of your last name, you may want to change some of your online behavior.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

The way you handle yourself at work matters. It can affect your finances and your career trajectory. So don’t blow it.

We all want to put our best foot forward when looking for a job or climbing the career ladder. However, there are plenty of ways to mess up.

While it’s tempting to fudge on your resume or bash coworkers in an attempt to look good, most of these strategies will backfire — and could cost you your job.

In this episode, we talk about the importance of honesty and integrity, whether you are looking for a job, or whether you are trying for a promotion. Don’t get in the way of yourself.

Our Do Nows provide helpful tips for reviewing your skills and your resume, and re-tooling your approach to at-work interactions.

Concepts

  • Can white lies on your resume really catch up with you?
  • How to avoid getting sucked into toxic workplace gossip.
  • Unprofessional behaviors that can put your career at risk.
  • Tips for asking for a promotion and/or a raise.
  • How do you identify disrespect and avoid those behaviors?
  • Realities of being a woman in the workplace and what you need to do to get ahead if you’re female.

Video Clips

Become a Friend of Adulting

To get Adulting delivered directly to your device, subscribe using iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your app of choice.

Join the Friends of Adulting! Please leave an honest review on iTunes. We would really appreciate the feedback!

Resources

Business InsiderExamples of how lying on a resume can cost your job
Business InsiderThe ways women are still treated differently at work

Like what you’ve heard?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

Ready for a change of scene? For those with location independence, no problem. But not everyone can just pack up and leave.

Tired of where you live? You might be able to get a job that comes with location independence.

It’s not always easy, though. In many cases, location independence is a privilege. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the option to pack up and go. In this episode, we talk about what you can do to make a living anyway, and tackle the thorny issue of middle-class privilege when it comes to location independence for millennials.

Be sure to listen for our rundown of actions you can Do Now to start down the path of location independence.

Concepts

  • Can you really do work you enjoy while living where you want?
  • Is location independence really as easy as packing up and just going?
  • What careers are better suited to location independence?
  • How do you determine where you should live if you are working for yourself?

Become a Friend of Adulting

To get Adulting delivered directly to your device, subscribe using iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your app of choice.

Join the Friends of Adulting! Please leave an honest review on iTunes. We would really appreciate the feedback!

Resources

MashableHow digital nomads work in today’s society
The GuardianTools used by digital nomads to remain location independent

Like what you’ve heard?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!