Introverts are happiest when they are talking just on a one-to-one level or with two people they know well. Many introverts feel uncomfortable in group conversations, finding that they don’t know what to say and that they become drained very easily.

I would say that one of the reasons introverts may feel uncomfortable in groups is because they are used to making decisions for themselves about what they want to do and when. However, when in a group situation it can be difficult to assert your needs and you may feel just like a follower. A lot of introverts I know like to be in control, but they may not always express this openly.

When introverts find themselves in group situation, especially if they have social anxiety, they may feel awkward and not know what to say. This is because the group style of conversation which tends to be on a surface level is not felt to be interesting to them. Plus, shy introverts don’t feel comfortable talking loudly in front of a whole group of people. Often an introvert stays quiet in these situations, but this is not a good thing to do as this leads to the feeling of being drained.

Introverts who find that they have a problem in group situations will benefit from becoming aware of their social strengths. If you are comfortable in one-to-one conversations, break off from the group to have one-to-one conversations with people within the group. It is not necessary to spend the whole evening talking as a group.

When following a one-to-one conversation strategy in groups, it’s important not to get stuck in one single seat or corner of the room. This is because you will only manage to talk to the people right next to you, unless you move at some point. Another reason you should not stay for too long in deep conversation is because this will exclude you from the wider group. More than this, most extroverts don’t really like to get stuck in deep conversation when there are lots of people around. If you keep moving it gives you a chance to talk to everyone in the group. This will mean that everybody gets a chance to talk to you and will save you from the label of being ‘the shy person’.

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Jade Joddle is an accent trainer and English teacher. She teaches her non-native speaker clients to Speak Well in English so that they thrive and succeed.

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