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OT Too introverted, can I be trained to overcome this?


I-missRichardTee

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I am facing the hard fact, that appearing disinterested to your audience is a poor way to remain in the ever more competitive music business. I have usually "hid" from audiences "behind" band leaders, singers and what used to be called the "frontman"... the extroverted person(s) who does the vital job of communicating with audiences.

I am quite animated with people if I think we have similar interests, but talking sincerely with audiences esp off stage, is difficult, because most people are not interested in the things I am interested in. I do not like this about myself, it smacks of immaturity, and self centeredness. Basically, I am afraid they will see through my anxiety and disinterest! I know lots of musicians who are similar. Kind of nerdy, but not exactly a nerd.

Out of necessity, but also out of a desire to mature, my question:

Is it possible with therapy or whatever, to develop a friendly personality? I marvel at a statement attributed to the very very friendly Will Rogers " I never met a man I didn't like". He lived during the reign of Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger!! What an optimistic view point. It's not that I hate my fellow man, not at all, I just have trouble showing my inner thoughts and feelings with folks who are not roughly speaking, in my world.. aka introversion.

The question itself, belies my introversion, so say what ever you wish to say ( read between the lines all you wish ) I am here to learn.

Thank you

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I don't have an answer for you, but I struggle with the same issues.

 

I think some of my problems are due to the fact that I'm not very good at small talk, and that closes me off to conversations that could grow deeper if I allowed them to move past the small talk stage.

 

This is absolutely a personal flaw that I would like to correct.

 

 

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Join "Toastmasters" if it still exists and learn how to speak to audiences. Take acting lessons and learn how to develop a stage persona. Learn how to fake it. Look at Johnny Carson. He couldn't stand most people but knew how to perform. This may or may not make you friendly, but a stage persona will make them think you are.
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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I identify with a lot of what you've written here, and +1 for having the courage to broach the subject. There are lots of things you can do to overcome some of this anxiety, be it through self-assertion training, talking to others (professional or not), reading self-help books, or even forcing yourself outside your comfort zone. Try to pick an approach that you know will work with you, and that you'll stick to.

 

Challenge yourself in ways that help you grow socially in the direction you'd like: say you'll meet three new people at each of your gigs over the next three months, then step it up it to five new people, etc. Or say you'll pay five random people compliments, or that you'll avoid talking about the weather to the next ten strangers you make small talk with, or that you will introduce three songs at your next performance. You get the idea. There's so much going on around you at any given moment during a gig that you won't even have to engineer a situation if you don't feel like it- all you have to do is choose to react to things in a way that helps you take baby (or larger) steps towards social goals.

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Some people were never born to be salesmen - selling yourself and your music. For years I was scared of the microphone and although for much of that time I was the bandleader, I always made sure I had a frontman to deal with the audience. Neither could I engage in small talk and even married a girl who was the same.

 

A point came when a change in my IT day job meant that I was forced to talk about and demonstrate new software and gradually my stage fright disappeared as my day job involved bigger and bigger audiences.

 

Fast foward a few years and I am Vice-President of a local cultural association and can lecture quite happily on a variety of subjects. However, I am still not really happy with small talk!

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I can relate Richard and Eric. Not especially comfortable with or crazy about small talk with people I don't know well, and often figure that people I encounter won't be especially interested in anything I have to say. And it can come off as being uninterested in or disliking people, which is not the case at all. It's a completely different story with friends or bandmates who you know well, know you, who you share a bond with and are completely comfortable with and in fact have a great, easy time hanging out, talking, cutting up and socializing with. But with new people it can be hard. Fortunately in after-show crowd-mingling situations, it's usually not a problem because the immediate topics of conversation are the band itself (which we're probably well equipped to talk about or answer a few common questions about, how long have you guys been together?, where do you all live? etc), a lot of the comments you're receiving are compliments!, and in my case a repertoire of ready-made standard reusable responses delivered with a smile will usually do the trick ("Thanks, pal!", "Glad you had fun, thanks for coming out," "Yeah, it's really fun, what a great crowd tonight, we love playing here," etc). Anyway from some reading I've done, I think that the serious-sounding condition of being "introverted" when you break it down, can be seen as just coming down to "not great at (or overly fond of) small talk," and if you think of it that way, it's less of a burden, less of a guilt trip.

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus

 

 

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I'm no expert but would offer two thoughts.

 

1) Be true to yourself. Nothing as endearing as sincerity, nothing as off-putting as smelling someone being disingenuous or not authentic.

 

2) Try to be more others-focused in your normal everyday thinking. That's a big topic and I'm not going to write a novel here. You might want to start reading about the big topic of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as a launch point.

 

I do executive leadership training as part of my normal teaching and consulting practice. This is a very common topic of discussion, you are not at all alone in asking this question.

 

 

..
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Glad to know we have some similarities Tee :)

 

I have the Bill Evans style of gigging. No talking. Music only. (my Avatar has a double meaning...). Now I do have one vocalist that likes to talk and he does get the crowd going but the rest of us in the band don't say a word. And I tell my other vocalists to just sing.

 

But we all smile :) And I do talk to lots of audience members during breaks. Gives me a sense of what they liked or didn't like in the music.

 

I actually discussed this with my Jazz teacher once because it concerned me, especially since I'm the band leader. The response I got was to do what is comfortable. If I'm comfortable, the audience is too. So I stopped worrying about it.

 

Now if I played Rock and Roll/Pop this style would probably be off-putting but in Jazz it seems to be ok. Let the music speak for you.

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Follow-up comment - for me, when performing on stage it's completely different and not an issue, I am usually animated, full of energy, moving the whole time, smiling at and interacting with fellow band members and audience members, even chiming in with a joke or remark on-mic if it's appropriate for the situation (though often it's not; usually better to let the designated front-person to most of the talking, can come off really amateurish to have everybody else jumping in; but sometimes it can work in small doses) generally enjoying the attention and being part of the scene. Off stage I'm much more reserved. I guess that's pretty common too.

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus

 

 

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Personality is a static attribute that doesn't change much throughout the course of one's lifespan (same for intelligence, BTW). Similar to physical features, a lot of folks argue for a biological/genetic basis for personality (i.e., "temperament"). Attitudes and values, on the other hand, are more dynamic, but in absence of trauma, TBI, significant emotional or environmental experience, etc., our personalities generally are not. This isn't to say one can't adopt the behaviors of an extrovert, or any other personality trait; in fact, this is the basis of social skills training. But just like the development of any skill, it requires a lot of practice (e.g., self-monitoring, monitoring other people's cues, modeling, scripts, role playing). But I would still argue that one's core personality features remain resistant to change. Some people may feel differently, and I'm okay with that if it makes them feel better. :laugh::whistle:

 

I think the more important question is why do you want to change? To paraphrase Leo Buscaglia, "You are the roundest, ripest, juiciest, sweetest, most succulent orange possible. You can try to change yourself into a banana, but there will always be people who are allergic to bananas. Plus, you would be a second-rate banana....but always the best orange." His point is that it is always harder to be someone else, and much easier to be yourself. Existential rant concluded!

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Fast foward a few years and I am Vice-President of a local cultural association and can lecture quite happily on a variety of subjects. However, I am still not really happy with small talk!

 

And you probably never will be. :)

 

But "Faking it" is a very good strategy.

 

I work at a place where there are large groups of extreme personality types. Many of the folks in IT development are, by nature, more introverted than extroverted. Those in sales & marketing are just the opposite, and often in a very big way.

 

We all knew this, I guess. Sounds like common sense, doesn't it? But when you see very large groups of people who exhibit these traits and your theory is proven, well, it's pretty interesting.

 

From my short time on FaceBook, I got reaquainted with lots of folks from elementary school. They haven't changed. Sure, they got fat or lost their hair... but for ninety-nine out of one hundred, their personality basically remained the same.

 

So if you are, by nature, strongly introverted, yet you need to develop skills in public speaking, chances are you'll need to practice faking it. Nothing wrong with that as long as you stay true to yourself. And, like anything else, the more practice you get, the easier it becomes.

 

Tom

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Hmm.... Paging Dr. Moonglow ?

 

In the meantime.... I'll attempt to offer a couple of insights. While it's admirable to indicate a desire for positive change (correcting a personal flaw, or wanting to be friendlier), there are aspects of personality - in this case, introverted -to which efforts to affect fundamental change would be unproductive. There are parts of being an introvert that are core to who you are. Typically, introverts dislike what they feel is unnecessary conversation, 'small talk', IOW. Too many words will overwhelm, and the person tends to shut down, or tune out the conversation. An introvert might say, "Get to the point", while the rest of us are just warming up, verbally. Plus introverts need their down time, their 'apart' time; and it's rarely intended as a personal slight. So we need introverts in the mix to balance things; I especially need a good, heavy-duty introvert, or two, around.

 

I experienced something similar to 'Tee's stage experience - a shyness of sorts; for me it was based in fearfulness of others' perceptions. That definitely got in the way of being a stage performer. With a lot of 'encouragement' from a bandleader in the late 90's, I came out - quite a bit - on stage. Unlike the portion of introversion I do possess (I'm one of many words, but do require that 'time apart', often), that shyness / fearfulness is something that could be tempered; and my bandmates and I have benefitted as a result. Still learning to appreciate, and compliment the high percentage, introvert personality though - right at home. My brother-in-law - a sociologist (with other, assorted advanced degrees) - once said of my wife: ' She doesn't like trivial talk, but has a rich, inner life that is meted out as she is comfortable'.

 

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My issue wouldn't be talking to audiences or mixing with them offstage. What I hate is how you have to continue to visit, email and call club owners or whoever books to keep them thinking of you. This game really gets old quick for someone who's an introvert or has those tendencies in certain situations.

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

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Join "Toastmasters" if it still exists and learn how to speak to audiences.

 

Yes. Join a group like Toastmasters. (Full disclosure: I coach executives on speech making and have been a member of various Toastmasters clubs for a dozen years. I also speak regularly to large audiences. For me, Toastmasters continues to be a place to hone my chops and try out new speech-bits without risk, before incorporating the bits in paid speeches.)

 

A few clarifications:

 

- The fear dynamic is a perfectly natural right brain reaction, and completely trainable so that it translates into excitement. (you may just be blessed with more of it than some others.)

- This training requires regular reinforcement, hence my Toastmasters suggestion. (You won't get the same benefit by taking a class. It is behavior modification and works well in a supportive environment, over some period of time.)

- Not everyone who joins toastmasters is dealing with fear, some join just to improve speaking technique.

- Not everyone who joins (sadly) finds it helpful. However most do. You'll know within three months if it is working for you, if you go to meetings and if you participate.

 

Lastly, "introversion" is not the same as "stage-fright" although there is some overlap. Introversion has great value. :thu:

 

To learn more, take a moment to watch this speech by an introvert:

 

[video:youtube]3yyeJ1jaGDU

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Now the question of the OP seems to be more focused on the idea of "getting gigs" as the reason for changing personality. Is the Extrovert personality important in getting the gigs?

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Like most on this thread I can relate to Tee's dilemma. I have a few thoughts to offer that I hope are useful.

 

Introversion is not a disease. It is not lesser than extroversion. For every skill that you'd gain by becoming an extrovert you'd lose one by ceasing to be an introvert. Most extroverts I know couldn't stomach the idea of sitting at a synth trying to program it to nail that synth sound for the song you have to play this Saturday. So embrace your introversion. It's who you are and it's got some cool features!

 

Of course, that still leaves you with the problem of sometimes you've got to do things outside your comfort zone. That would still be a problem if you we're an extrovert (only it would be different problems). Back when I was single I read an article that really changed my perspective on talking to women. The crux of it was: don't worry about whether she will find you interesting, worry about whether SHE is interesting. It really helped me get out of myself. I guess this is related to Tim's "others focused". I could stand to be more "others focused".

 

If you saw me perform you'd probably think "Why would I take advice from this sourpuss?" ;-) Hey, coming up with solutions is the easy part. Implementing it...

Live rig: Roland FA-08, Yamaha MOTIF ES 6, laptop for supplemental sounds.
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You can certainly go to a therapist and that may help.

 

You can up the ante gradually, first making small talk to one person, than to two, and so forth, or perhaps once a week to begin with, then two a week, etc. or wherever the issue is, gradually increasing this so you build greater skills and are more at ease with conversing casually.

 

I also like a lot of the other advice, including J C Roswell's above, where you focus on something else, i.e., whether the other person is interesting.

 

And this next one is SIMPLE! And EASY!!!

 

And finally, whether it was dating or meeting people casually or whatever, I found that one of the easiest ways to converse is to simply ask questions, including questions about themselves. So, for example, if that person says something, you can respond, "What do you like about ___________ in particular?" or "Cool, tell me more about ____________." This does two things: it keeps the conversation going, and it shows that you are interested in what they say, which so many people often do not do. And this is quite a strong strategy on dates, where many women are subjected to some guy yammering on and on about what he does because they are trying to impress her instead of listening to what she says, asking more questions about what she likes or what she does, and showing interest in her as a person.

 

And it's such a simple, easy thing to do.

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Interesting topic! Lots of good insight.

 

My dad was a salesman, someone who 90% of the time at home was taciturn and critical, but he did OK in sales. He told me once (he did alot of different trainings) that he held a feeling of love in his heart when he talked to clients. I've tried this and it effectively does what another poster mentioned, which is to get the focus off of yourself and onto the other person. Focusing too much on yourself makes you self-conscious, and basically most people feel comfortable when you smile at them and give them good, open, relaxed attention.

 

Fun post by Moonglow, but I would say that alot of oranges have self-esteem issues. I'm also introverted, and the reason I don't put myself out there more is the negative feedback loop and self fulfilling prophecy of having failed before. It's not that the introverted orange necessarily doesn't have banana skills at socializing, and that he doesn't want to have those skills, it's oftentimes perceived failures in the past that rob self-confidence. All of us, even introverts, have had many times where they did just fine, even in social situations that aren't their normal comfort zones, and it's coaxing that already existing part of our self out that needs doing.

 

I see it in terms of being in a hole. It's comfortable and natural being in that hole perhaps, but you can't talk or think your way out of that hole- you have to get out of the hole, then the things that are possible outside of the hole become possible. It's called being vulnerable, and being willing/interested in growing through it.

 

Years ago I went to a free style dance several times a week for several years, and I realized, in my 40's, that I was doing my teenage years for the first time. I had a mother that was a mess emotionally, and I distinctly remember vowing at the age of 13 that I'd never be like her, and at the same time, I also decided I wasn't going to go through all the ridiculous stuff teenagers go through, and I held myself above it all. I had no idea at the time that I was denying myself the chance to simply grow up, mature like everyone needs to do, and there I was, in a group social situation, where I was finally learning to talk to people and be comfortable in my own body.

 

There's also the advantage of having just performed. Oftentimes it can be like having sex, there can be a glow about you that can give you more confidence, and in general you've just proved yourself. Oftentimes if I'm at a party where people are jamming, I make a point of playing first, being seen at that, which makes me more attractive and interesting, esp. to the opposite sex. But on the other hand if you've been performing at a gig for hours you can be exhausted and just not up to reaching out to others.

 

But yeah, there's alot of techniques and things to learn that can help, it depends on how motivated you are.

 

 

 

 

Kawai ES110 & ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000

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Wow wow Thanks guys. I am not a total introvert. One typology referred to me as an ambivert. I can for moments be the life of a party... for moments... then I can be very quiet.

As Allan said, my perception that people can read me like an open book... just accelerates my anxiety.

I wish it would be acceptable and I had the courage to say " I love you, but have very little to say, I will just listen"! Also the need for down time... playing music is demanding of parts of my being that I am not even aware of... so downtime. Then there is this... I get to gigs last minute and often HUNGRY.. so on break I am concerned with my gnawing discomfort in my belly! People often want to chat while you are trying to get food down with a tiny break! This can be corrected by eating just before I arrive at gig.

The feeling of being seen through for my true feelings of " i am not really interested" is haunting me because I feel it is selfish of me, so big guilt is going on.

I am not married, so self centeredness is a drag. I am thinking I have to find a way to BE sincerely interested in others story. But not their games, should that come up.

Then finally this... music on stage is all engrossing... I admire a few jazz musicians who SMILE big time, while performing The Great Richard Davis and his buddy Billy Higgins Big big continuous smiles. just wonderful to behold.

But Coltrane, Brecker's, Berg, Mintzer, Rollins, no smiles.. and Eric Gale was amazing in that he appeared to be smirking.

When I first started playing bass, I would make all sorts of facial expressions that received all manner of comments. This caused me to inhibit my natural facial stuff... that's a drag. THEN I would have leaders say, smile, and customers would say so too.

 

The reason I brought this up, boils down to making a living... if I wish to do a single in order to survive I think I had better find a persona on and off stage, or else practice saying "would you like a large shake with your fries" 0_0

 

Thanks for your support

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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That Susan Cain book is good--my work has switched to an "open, collaborative" style that has made me hate coming to work, or at least it would if I ever bowed to pressure and actually sat at my desk :D. I feel like I'm in the middle of the monkey exhibit, I can get nothing done with all the jibber-jabber and movement around me.

 

Work aside, I'm not "shy" on-stage (I do sing a few tunes) but it must be said I'm nto very animated, and I would much prefer my back-left-corner to singing out front with no instrument....though I may challenge myself on a tune or two (My wired in-ears and snake that includes my mic cable would be hurdles to overcome there). I've seen those keys players that dance around, pointing and clapping etc....I feel awkward even doing the big rock-n-roll overhead clapping that comes along in a few songs (think Takin Care of business, Rock'n'roll all night etc). Fortunately we have a couple really-animated people on stage, and I've been told "we have enough monkeys jumping around" LOL! But looking around town, the successful bands aren't necessarily the best players, they are the ones that at least look like they are having fun--so I'm working on it.

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Oh Lord, I forgot to mention INTRODUCING people, yikes.. I could care less about peoples names. And we have all read about how important a person's name is to them! I knew a band leader I used to mentally call "The Senator" as in the Roman era. This son of a gun would remember EVERYONE's NAME . I am talking from years ago. I would see him introduce different people / customers who came in.. Imagine having that skill. These people might not have seen him in years and he would recall without hesitation a total extrovert too.

I have a lot of work to do!

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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One more weird point. When I have left bandstand with ear plugs still in my ears. For some unknown reason, the lack of incoming sound, gave me much much more confidence. I tend to be overwhelmed by the din of crowds.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I am an introvert. I don't like to talk to strangers faced to face. I don't like interacting on a personal basis with people I don't know.

 

But I am performer. I can do that. More so if I am singing or playing a guitar instead of playing keys when I usually have a lot more going on i need to pay attention to.

 

Performance and introverted behavior seem mostly unrelated to me.

 

As a musician you have to reach a point where you do not care. I don't mean not care as in Don't give a **** about what you do. I mean do not care in more of a Zen sense where you have no attachment to what others think of your music. You need to get comfortable with the idea that my music is what it is on this particular day and if people like it great if they don't oh well.

 

If you dwell on that fact that someone may actually by critiquing you will drive yourself crazy. I say stuff and do performance related things before an audience but I don't really think of an audience on a personal basis. It is more like they are there watching me play linebacker on Friday night. Performance is executing the game plan. Just hope you don't have to give any post game interviews.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Huh- I just posted 4 seconds before you did.

 

As regards the big smilers- I've long been envious of people that burn like a flame (the fire signs like Leos) that have so much big energy to spread around (which I do not), and I don't think that's something that anyone can fake- it'd be exhausting for most of us to be constantly exuding like that.

 

But all those quirky facial expressions- that's a good part of the reason why people like to see live music. It might help though if you had a trusted friend work with you in practice sessions, or you watched videos of yourself or practiced in the mirror- maybe there's some expression you make that's kinda ridiculous.

 

Which doesn't mean you need to stop making expressions- in writing, acting and in all creative arts there's an editing process we all have to go through to make sure that what we're feeling is being conveyed in a way that works. Early on I made a video of myself performing while playing flute, and the gyrations I made with my hips were embarrassing- I flat out looked gay (nothing wrong with being gay), and I'm not, and it just looked stupid. I feel alot of energy when I perform, so I've learned to channel that energy straight up and down instead of getting loosey-goosey in the hips. Think about all the coaching that top stars get- their performance may look natural, and it probably is at that point, but there was a lot of work that went into getting it to that point.

Kawai ES110 & ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

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I hear you on the "sincerely interested in others" thing. My wife is great at it. Me, not so much. Remember, though, you can train yourself to do things and eventually they feel natural. Playing a major scale doesn't feel natural to my beginning students, but it does to me. I've just done it longer.

 

And I call BS on "I have very little to say". I've been hanging out on the forum to know that's not true. :-) You add a lot to our community here. Maybe you just don't FEEL like talking. That's fair.

 

And thanks, Tusker. That video was worth 20 minutes of my day!

Live rig: Roland FA-08, Yamaha MOTIF ES 6, laptop for supplemental sounds.
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I think sometimes people confuse certain traits with being tied to certain personality types. Your personality type is what it is and won't change. However, being an Introvert does not prevent you from being outgoing. I am an Introvert with a successful career in sales and am very animated on stage, and mingle to promote the band. Understanding your personality type can help you understand how you make decisions and what your needs are compared to other people with other personality types. For this, I'd recommend taking a Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), which rates you in 4 categories. There is no personality type that is better or worse than another.

 

As far as being outgoing and talking to people, it's more a matter of just doing it often enough to feel comfortable with it. Confidence can really help. Lack of confidence has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Figure out where your lack of confidence comes from and deal with that. That could be something therapy could help with.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Oh Lord, I forgot to mention INTRODUCING people, yikes..

 

Yep ... I'm not an introvert, I'm comfortable talking to pretty much anybody - especially strangers. However, the social situation I fear the most is when it's appropriate that I introduce a room full of people. The reality is that I'm almost paralyzed with fear in those situations. I could easily tell a story about every one of 'em ... but, recall 15 names without screwing up? Not a chance! It doesn't matter how long I've known 'em or how close I am to 'em - rattling off names during introductions is an instant fail.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Talk to them about themselves and their interests.

 

I have the same problem as you, and that has been my solution. When I get to talk to audience people, notice that they are listening, or they come up to me, I right away ask their name (and I have a hard time remembering faces and names both). Then I ask a little about them, what they do, why they are at the club, or whatever seems to work. Most people are thinking of themselves in relationship to everything going on about them, so asking these questions usually brings up more questions and perhaps points of commonality. This can help you remember who they are, what they look like, etc.

 

It takes a lot of work to to do this, but it can be done. I find myself genuinely interested in what other people do, and I learn a lot from it. At the same time, they see me as someone who is interested in THEM rather than what I was just doing. That makes them feel valued (and I do value them, actually).

 

It still isn't easy for me, and at 57, it is never going to be easy. But I have met some cool folks just by being inquisitive. And it helps to not make assumptions. Keep learning about them. Find out what they care about, and shift the topic from yourself, and they'll do the bulk of the work at being social for you.

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