Bringing out your inner extrovert
Be friendly. I know you want to say, but I'm shy! I know, I know. The truth is that being friendly is not a personality trait, it can be learned. Study people who you think are friendly and note what they do. In the first months of my stint in banking, I read a couple of books that were helpful - How to make friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, and Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey. Some tips are to find out people's names and use it, ask about them and their family, and compliment them. Most of all, listen.
Don't forget to smile. This is like Bob, my DVD trainer's favorite saying, "don't forget to breathe". You know, some of us shy guys are so burdened by our insecurities that we almost forget to breathe. We think, I'm not pretty, I'm not curvy enough, I'm too fat, I'm too short, I'm too tall, nobody likes the way I talk, and so on. Well, let it out, or let it go, and smile. You'll be surprised at how far a simple smile can get you. And even in these days of the internet and online communication, don't forget the smileys. :)
Be kind to people, in a genuine manner. Sometimes, we're so caught up with the cares and worries of life that we become lost in our own small bubble. Try to remember that it's not all about you. Reach out to others who are either less privileged, or need your help in one way or another. Give generously of your time, money and efforts. I bet you, this will win you more friends that a dozen club outings.
Try new things. Start small, in things that involve only you, and then keep experimenting. Never read a book by Myne Whitman? Try it. Never listened to music by that singer? Go on. Is a major performer having a concert in your area? Buy a ticket. Did someone just ask you out on a date? Squelch that inner doubter and say yes. Of course you have to be careful, and stay within your means. But the more you do stuff outside your comfort zone, it will be a piece of cake walking up to someone to say hi.
Don't take yourself, other people, or things, too seriously. Of course that is the mark of introverts, we over analyse everything. More over, our egos can be quite fragile, and even as we're our own harshest critics, we worry even more what others will think about our every action. I tell myself when such thoughts intrude, it's not that serious. No matter how bad it seems today, tomorrow is another day.
Finally, be yourself. I've read some bloggers lamenting their weirdness. I rejoice in mine, because that is all it is, difference. Variety is the spice of life. If we were all the same, it would be so boring. Conforming may lead to less raised eyebrows from other people but it won't lead to peace of mind. So flaunt your quirks. Then, you can be sure when people love you, they know and appreciate the real you. Only bear in mind that not everyone will. But, so what?