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Fake it ‘til you make it

November 2, 2011

A Great Idea …

“If you simply pretend to be extraverted when you’re with others—that is, if you act bold, talkative, energetic, active, assertive, and adventurous—no matter what your natural inclinations are, you’ll extract more positivity from those social exchanges.” (Barbara Frederickson, in her book, Positivity, p. 191)

In Other Words …

Most of us feel shy or want to withdraw from others sometimes. Yet, if we treat people as if they were friends, they often become friends. And we enjoy happiness as the fortunate side-effect.

How This Applies to You …

The next time you are tempted to withdraw from a group or person, make a special effort to be sociable and cheerful. You can always ask, “What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done today?”

To Find Out More …

For more great ideas (or to share your own ideas), check out the Navigating Life’s Journey blog

For excellent (and free!) programs on improving your personal well being, check out Managing Stress and The Personal Journey at

For more information, we recommend Positivity by Barbara Frederickson or The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky.

  1. November 2, 2011 2:10 pm

    I had a prof in college (long ago!) who said that introversion is getting one’s energy from being alone, and extroversion is getting one’s energy from being with others. I loved those definitions because I finally could feel better about being an introvert instead of comparing myself (and coming out poorly for it) with my extrovert mother, who has unforgettably complained of my being “such a dead-head”. I appreciate the idea of faking it in order to get past myself somewhat, but this advice pulls me back to the ever present-struggle against the belief that introversion is bad.

  2. November 2, 2011 2:32 pm

    We are in no way trying to say that introversion is a bad thing. I myself am an introvert and cherish my time away from others. Research has shown however, that having strong, loving relationships is one of the keys to happiness. This author is simply providing a technique to help us get past our shyness or temptations to withdraw from others to build those relationships. The key is for each of us to find our OWN balance between spending time with others and by ourselves.

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