Make subtle changes in your behavior to feel more outgoing in a new crowd.

How to Feel More Outgoing Around Your Boyfriend's Friends

by Arlin Cuncic

Having a boyfriend means that you also, by extension, have an entire new circle of friends. If you are by nature a shy person, you might find the prospect of hanging out with your boyfriend's friends a little daunting. Take heart -- you don't need to put a lampshade on your head or do the macarena to feel more outgoing in this new group. A few subtle changes in your behavior can help you become more extroverted around his friends.

1. Appear Friendly

Even if you feel shy on the inside, present a friendly exterior to your boyfriend's friends. Be sure to smile, maintain good eye contact, and lean toward those with whom you speak. Body language forms a large portion of the impression that you make on others. Picture the difference between a confident, outgoing you -- someone who sits tall and takes up space -- versus your usual shy self. Although you might not feel more outgoing at first, your mind will likely catch up to what your body is doing.

2. Invite Them Over

If part of your shyness is triggered by unfamiliar surroundings, consider having your boyfriend's friends over to your home. You will feel more at ease on your own turf, and it will give his friends a chance to learn more about what makes you tick. Aside from inviting the gang over to your place, you could also suggest a small group atmosphere such as a double-date. Having a chance to talk one-on-one within a smaller gathering will make it easier to open up and feel outgoing. The bonus: When you do eventually get together with the whole group again, it will feel like you have already made friends.

3. Practice Listening

What separates outgoing people from those who are shy? Outgoing individuals seize opportunities to start conversations, listen with interest and ask questions. In the PsychologyToday.com article "10 Tips to Talk About Anything with Anyone," psychologist and author Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., suggests practicing active listening. Don't be quick to jump in with your own thoughts or anecdotes. Instead, take the time to listen carefully, reflect back and offer empathy when appropriate. Outgoing people aren't necessarily the most interesting storytellers, but they do know how to be interested in what others have to say.

4. Exercise

If you find yourself tongue-tied and riddled with anxiety every time you meet up with your boyfriend's friends, consider fitting in an exercise or yoga class before the next planned gathering. In the study "Personality, Metabolic Rate and Aerobic Capacity," published in the journal "PLOS ONE," a correlation was found between physical fitness and an outgoing personality. Those who were more extroverted expended less energy while completing a physically demanding exercise task. Fit in a bit of cardio before you next meet his friends and you will likely feel your endorphin levels, and confidence, soar.

5. Be Humorous

Last but not least, a fun way to feel more outgoing is to try and make others laugh. Don Gabor, author of "Talking with Confidence for the Painfully Shy," advocates telling a funny story about yourself. For example, you might recount to your boyfriend's friends your latest misadventure while grocery shopping -- think cantaloupes all over the floor -- or tell them about the time that you accidentally spoiled a surprise party. Self-effacing humor will win you points for being down-to-earth and like-able -- both qualities that will make you feel more outgoing.

References

About the Author

Arlin Cuncic has been writing about mental health since 2007, specializing in social anxiety disorder and depression topics. She served as the managing editor of the "Journal of Attention Disorders" and has worked in a variety of research settings. Cuncic holds an M.A. in clinical psychology.

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