For introverts, the road to happiness involves acting like an extrovert. So says new research, which concluded that introverts who acted like extroverts for extended periods were more pleased with their life.
In the study, a group of self-identified introverted college students spent a week outside their comfort zone. They engaged with the world around them as if they were true extroverts. They then spent another week as their normal selves.
The idea, researchers said, was to see if the fake extraversion translated into improved well-being. The findings by University of California, Riverside researchers was published recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
The benefits of short-term extroversion have been reported before, but researchers wanted to know if longer-term extroversion also produced positive feelings. Changing social behavior is a realistic goal for many people and the researchers concluded that doing so improves well-being and one’s outlook on life.
First, the participants were familiarized with neutral-sounding language to eliminate any potentially negative perceptions of introverts. Extroverts were described as assertive and talkative, while introverts were deemed deliberate and quiet.
Next, the group was told spend a week being as talkative and assertive as possible. Later, they were instructed to be purposely introverted.
By all of the researchers’ measures, the participants reported greater well-being after the week of extroversion and reduced well-being during their time as introverts.
The message for introverts is simple: Speak up, be spontaneous and be assertive. There could be more happiness in store.