“Why don’t I have anything to say at parties?” That’s probably one of the most frequent questions asked by introverts.
Look across the dance floor and you see Mister Suave chatting up quite a sophisticated lady at the bar and the next question comes, “Why can’t I be like that guy over there?” As a result, you start hating parties.
Self-talk among introverts is common but it can get unhealthy once you allow your inner voice to belittle you and based on that, form your own negative perception of reality that might not be true.
That said, what if there was a way to use self-talk to help introverts feel more confident, help them chase their dreams, and be more successful?
From The Outside Looking In
A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan discovered that by using a subtle linguistic shift of “you” (or your own name) instead of using “I”, we are able to change the way we feel and behave. The research added that by talking to yourself in a first person view, using the word “I” all the time can actually stress us out instead of bringing on self-love and acceptance.
If we take the introvert as mentioned in the opening paragraph as an example, and they use the third person view when talking to themselves silently, not only will it be a confidence booster, it will also be an internal remodeling of their perspectives on their surroundings.
Instead of saying, “Why can’t I be like that guy over there?”, our introvert could use his own name and say, “Come on Charlie, you interact differently and prefer to interact in more intimate settings”.
By doing so, our protagonist is tricking his mind to think that he is another person. By being an outsider looking in, it can bring about real benefits in terms of confidence and positive thinking.
First Person vs Third Person Views
A further study was conducted to determine the performance of participants using contrasting mental approaches to a speech they are required to make on “why they are qualified for their dream jobs”.
Before they were given a 5-minute preparation for their speech, they were also given additional instructions on how to prepare.
One group was given instructions to analyse their feelings before giving their speech in the first person view, using the pronouns “I” and “my”. For the second group, they were given instructions to analyse their feelings using a non-first-person view, using the pronouns “you”, or “he/she”.
Before and after giving their speeches, the participants were led into a quiet room to complete a mood assessment form. Two coders then watched the videotaped speeches to rate them on confidence, nervousness, and overall performance.
The result? The first person group felt significantly worse before and after the speech, while the non-first-person view group recorded stable moods and felt more positive after giving the speech, also recording lesser rumination.
More importantly, the non-first-person view group gave better speeches with more confidence as compared to the first-person group.
Time for Change
In overall, studies have shown that by using pronouns such as “you” or your own name instead of “I” in our self talk will result in lesser anxiety, better performances, and better confidence.
To provide more practical examples, look below for excerpts that represent the contrasting mental approaches:
1. First Person View
I am a lousy employee. Why can’t I always get things right the first time? Why am I always caught up with so much firefighting at work while the others seem so nonchalant and are able to leave on the dot? Why can’t I be like them?
2. Third Person View
You need to focus on the task at hand. Even if you do make mistakes, you can learn from them and never repeat them again. You are different and you are better than what you think you are. Even if you lack the experience, you can become the hardest worker in the office.