New research has found that being an extrovert makes you happier. So I spent a week attending social events to see if I could trick myself into being more naturally outgoing
I was asked to torture myself for a week for this experiment. Well, not torture, but close enough for me. For a week, this introvert would put social awkwardness to one side and live as an extrovert. I don’t particularly enjoy meeting new people. I decline most party invitations and if I do go, I leave as soon as I can without causing offence. Sometimes I fantasise about doing what Princess Diana used to do when she wanted to lose friends – change her phone number. So the prospect of spending a week saying yes to every social engagement that came my way was about as appealing as a root canal treatment.
But evidence shows that conquering your inner introversion can be good for your mental health. In the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of California asked 123 people to act as extroverts for a week. Participants were asked to be talkative, assertive and spontaneous in their daily interactions with other people. The following week, the same group was asked to act like introverts. The findings were remarkable.