Hi Seasnail, everyone.
After my first post, I found I had a lot more to say on how I overcame being an introvert. When I was in high school I was at the bottom of the school's pecking order. People bullied me; I was shy and miserable. I realized that I was acting like a victim and so people victimized me. I decided to change my personality.
It was the hardest thing I ever did.
To become more outgoing and or change your personality what might help is:
-- Go to some classes on how to communicate more effectively. A lot of things are easier if you can communicate well.
-- When you do something that does not work, think about how to do better and force yourself to do things differently next time. When trying to change your personality, habits are your enemy.
-- Try to find just one or two people who you like and are willing to help you. If you get some kind people to reinforce your successful behavior and give some kind advice when you mess up it is a big help. In an area where there are so many hang-ups& judgmental people, it is harder to get in person support so you may be stuck with friends on forums. However, a sympathetic friend in person is great if you can manage it.
-- Are their people in your life that reinforce your unsuccessful behaviour? If you identify people who are holding you back AVOID THEM!!! This is very important. A lot of your behaviour is triggered by the behavior of others, if some idiot is making it hard for you to change, DO NOT spend time with them!!! (This was key for me, but after I wrote this, it occurred to me that the person I'm advising you to avoid might be your husband. Er, maybe not such good advice...)
-- If the person that is reinforcing your behavior you do not like is a significant other, then talk to them and get them aboard and helping the change. Say, "I am trying to change these habits, and when you do THIS and THAT it makes it hard for me to change. Could you do THIS OTHER THING instead, to help me grow."
-- Spend time in different places. Do different things. This forces you out of old habits which is important when you are trying to change yourself.
-- Is there a part of your life where you are less shy or successful with socializing? Spend more time socializing where you are successful. With me, I was good with games. (Try www.boardgamegeek.com
for lots of really great games like "Settlers of Catan", "Ticket to Ride" and the like.)
-- For example, let us say that there is your Significant Other (SO) and the Other Significant Other (OSO) and you are having a hard time with the dynamic. One way to break an uneasy dynamic is to do different things with them. Try going to a planetarium show or something very different from the things that have you in a rut. If you are doing something that is different for all of you, you almost can't help developing new behaviors. (The problem with this bit of advice is that the SO and or the OSO may not WANT to change. Still if you are doing new things and increasing your repetiuor of behaviors that may be enough to help your group break out of a rut.)
-- Accomplish things! My biggest problem was low self esteem. Maybe put the emphasis on the social life on hold for a bit and do something significant. The best way to improve your self esteem is to accomplish something important and difficult. Doing so will likely give you interesting experiences and help your self confidence.
-- Volunteer to help people. Could you be a Big Sister to a little girl without a mom? Knowing you are doing something important for someone else is a big reality check if you are questioning 'do you deserve this', 'are you worthy' type feelings. When you are confident of your worth it is easier to say, 'this is what I need' and feel like what you are asking for is not simple selfishness.
-- Exercise is good for fighting depression. When I have the blues, the first thing I always try to break out of it, is to get out and move about.
After I wrote all this, it occurs to me most of it may not be much help to you Seasnail. If not, look at is as a living example that someone was able to become a more outgoing personality. In any case, I have a heart felt hope that things go well for you. Wish I could help more.