Say you're a chronically unhappy, introverted, pessimistic, and neurotic guy. There's an internal voice constantly criticizing you and framing everything negatively. It makes you fearful of putting yourself out there and making friends. It disinclines you from taking joy in anything, or being interested in anything.
If you just want to make friends and branch out, is this a key thing to do for a neurotic:
"Just be friendly and as blank inside as possible. Be agreeable and enthusiastic about whatever is being discussed or done. Just pretend to be the opposite of yourself, basically."
Is that the key? If I'm terrified of going to the "gay gym," because I won't have rapport with the guys there and will feel awkward, is the best thing just shutting down your internal monologue and keep looking "outwards" and smiling? Is that how to get along with people?
Go to the gym, but keep your inner mind blank. Look at things outside yourself. Observe what's going on. Take an interest in what you're doing. Be friendly and agreeable. Speak up, don't mumble. Look people in the eye. All of this may be uncomfortable, but just do it and the results will speak for themselves. You'll start connecting with people in a superficial way, setting things up for greater depth later.
Is the key basically to behave like a normal, all-American happy guy? Outgoing, friendly, confident, direct? Speak in declarative sentences without hedging?