If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room, — the popular saying in my language I kept repeating through myself when fatigue kicks in, or my progress slows down.
Since my late teens I have been working a lot: always put a bar very high and tried to achieve extraordinary results.
Hard work typically shifts focus from being social to being alone, – because how else can you attain your goals?
While everyone else was partying, I was studying. While everyone else was leading purposeless conversations about popularities’ life, cosmetics, serials, I was learning another language, doing research where to study next and preparing for exams.
I always had a sense of not belonging there, being a black sheep, being different, being not really cut out for these time-pass conversations.
I would attend only few social events…Few? Well, frankly speaking, I attended non for around 1,5 years.
I had several amazing people to talk to but the number of newcomers in my life was approaching zero.
In the end, it became OK just to be on my own: enjoying my own company and working towards my goals.
For some people, it sounds sick. But you do not notice this transaction — it just happens to you, and at some point you find yourself being objectively lonely but subjectively – you kind of like it 😉
You go out and get bored with zero-value-bringing-conversations, people that do not have / want to bring much to the table. Sometimes I was at the event and caught myself thinking: “If you are at least a bit smart, how can you even say that?”
Have you heard: “The more I know about people, the better I like dogs”?
So, this was me at that time 🙂
The turning point was when I reached my second burn-out. I was working too much, expected too much from myself, from this world, from the people around me.
And then suddenly all my fundamental beliefs collapsed.
My life could not be one-dimensional anymore.
I went traveling, removed myself from the settings, took lots of notes and reconsidered the way I went about life and social settings.
If you are now on ‘I do not need anyone’ frequency, — you miss out.
Becoming more social adds content to your life. It brings different insights and makes your feel alive.
I’ll share three things that helped make my life multi-dimensional:
- Be honest with yourself
You know that your life’s falling apart, but you will never ever say this aloud. Aloud? You will never whisper this through yourself!
We lie to ourselves that we are happy because if we say we are not, this means we would need to change things. This is an effort. This is hard.
“I am fine. I am staying in because I simply don’t want to go out”.
Just be honest with yourself: really? Do not you crave good conversations? Do not you want to establish a meaningful connection? To have someone to rely on?
Be brave to tell the truth. It is only the next step to figure what to do about it.
- Give people a chance
How many times in life you jumped too fast to the conclusion that this person is weird while later on you got connected?
I was with friends when they introduced me to their friend. His first phrase was: Oh, hi. We haven’t met before but I actually do not know anymore because I meet a lot of people every day. So everyone looks alike.
Nothing wrong with it, but I thought: He must be weird.
The whole evening I avoided his company.
Several months later, we met again and he went: By the way, sorry, you know I was just opening my second business and selling my first one. I was also finishing my MBA so it was a hard time.
This happens because we do not ask meaningful questions, we do not show genuine interest, we jump to conclusions too fast.
Life is complex. Only having taken a genuine chance with a person, we have a legitimate reason to walk away.
Do not assume. Ask and listen.
- Walk away
I had a tight schedule, I could barely fit meals in there… Why would I go out if I could get stuck in the conversation I do not enjoy forever?
The truth is, you have the right to end any unsuccessful interaction in any moment you want to. You are not a slave of any conversation you enter. You are the boss, you are deciding when to stop.
There is a fine line between socializing and allowing interactions you do not benefit from. The moment when you can decide on their values or just getting a negative vibe from them — you can walk away.
There are polite ways to end any conversation and walk away. Learn about them here.
And you know what…
You are just a human.
Sometimes I happen to follow these principles. So, I am proud of myself.
Sometimes I happen to stay in a boring conversation 10 minutes more that I would wish.
But it is life, and it is not perfect.
Do your best given the circumstances; and learn from mistakes.
Begin your journey to become the best version of yourself with me!
Learn more in my book: “Small Talk: An Introvert’s Guide on Practical Ways to Start Any Conversation and Improve Your Social Life“.