An introvert asks: How to think clearly in the presence of too many people!

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An introvert submitted a question which is a familiar challenge to a lot of us. We can have a fine conversation with one, or even two people, but then when it becomes a larger group we may find ourselves totally quiet. We may relax and enjoy listening or we may be unhappy because the large group conversation is not our preferred way to do things.

I am a 18 yr old boy from India .
personally,I too have many problems such as I just.. just lose myself when amongst even 4-5 people. My mind goes empty..thoughtless and I am in danger of ‘fumbling’ and cant do anything I am doing at that time correctly.I forget and I end up doing something somewhat wrong and earn a banter. guys ,please help me by giving ur valuable suggestions.

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14 Comments

  1. Maybe you should try to relax when you are in this situation again. Try to surpass this one at a time. Make friends. They will be a great help for you. Just pick wisely those people whom you want be friends with. After all, it’s not always good to be alone. You may also seek some advice from professionals. This is just a behavioral problem that can be dealt with. Just be strong and try to control yourself.
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  2. What I try to do in those kinds of situations is first of all not viewing it as such a problem. You can’t focus on that as being a fault or a problem for you. At least I can’t. If I do focus on it being a problem, then it gets worse as I start to think “this is bad, why am I so awkward? why am I so weird? Why can’t I just talk!?” and then obviously I can’t. SO I try to either mentally and/or physically take a step back from the situation to collect my thoughts, get centered and confident in myself before I can return. Also, I don’t know if it’s difficult for you, but I really have difficulty making appropriate small talk usually. So often I try to progress quickly out of the “how are you?” “good, how are you?” which is where I get stuck and into more meaningful conversation. and you have to try to ask people questions, be interested and interesting and do not hide, express who you are.

  3. We introverts would much prefer to have a meaningful conversation with just one or two people, but occasionally we’ll end up in that big group. Try to relax and just pay attention to the conversation, so if something occurs to you that you want to say, go ahead and go for it. One thing I’ve learned from years of watching interactions between all sorts of personality types is, the extroverts are NOT inwardly measuring whether what they want to say is necessarily smart, funny, or even that it hasn’t already just been said by someone else! 😉

  4. Donald@conversation group on

    I know the feeling. It’s a lot like stage fright. Used to happen to me: I could see it in my mind, me having a great time with everyone else, being part of it all, I could even feel the joy of it all in my head… and as soon as I’d get there… blank. No sale.

    Two things that help me: for very large groups (like talking to a classroom), I put everyone on ignore. It’s weird, kind of a trick my mind learned over the years by itself. I get there, and just ignore everyone, like they weren’t there. Seriously, I see them, but inside I couldn’t care less if they weren’t there. And from there on it just flows. I can do my thing, and when I’m done, ok… ignore mode off in case anyone should have something to say.

    For smaller groups, you can’t do that unfortunately. In those cases what you do is start them off and let them do the talking. Listen for a few seconds to what they’re talking about, go in and ask a question. At that point you’re part of the conversation. And they start to talk and you nod and go “really”, “uh huh”, “awesome”. And when they mention a topic you can ask a question on, you do it. Don’t forget to keep eye contact, if you have problems with it, look at the center of their forehead. And pass the conversation around… if you have 4 or 5 people don’t just talk to one of them, since the rest will see it as weird and try to force their way into the conversation (and force you out too).

    Takes some practice, but it works most of the time.

    Don’t be afraid of banter, BTW, it’s a normal part of most extrovert’s conversations. Nobody’s mad at you or anything. Go right ahead and banter back. If you go too far, just put on a shocked face and say “what, you thought that was for real? Come on…”
    But 90% of the time, you’re not going to need to use that line. Try it, you’ll see people’s “offense limit” is far greater than you’ve ever imagined.

  5. If you are having difficulty focusing on a task when there are many others around, you are not alone. Most Introverts have trouble concentrating when there is distracting activity or conversation around them.

    In such a circumstance, I recommend taking deep breathes, turning inwards to your own thoughts and blocking out those around you. If they complain you are shutting them out, explain that you are just trying to get your work done.

  6. This is really a serious problem for you but you have to fight it to gain self confidence because you will suffer from introversion in the future. Practice yourself by engaging in more than two people in a conversation. Try to do some conference chatting or so. It might help.

  7. I guess we people have to be open with different personalities such us those who have problems with being introvert. I guess I used to be one of the introverted individuals but I do away with it by making myself look good. One of these things is by making my body look beautiful, trying to carry myself nicely and it paid off.

  8. I too am like you. I do well if I have some sort of interference such as online communications. In face to face communication its hard. I struggled in public speaking classes. It did get better but sometimes my mind would go completely blank or race too so many things I had trouble keeping my thoughts inline. Its clearly something Ill have to continue working through .
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