I like to call myself a Resident Introvert; I prefer booksand coffee to intense social gatherings, walks in the dark alone to a girlsnight out on the town.
I don’t shy away from people—I love people in general—but,if given the option, I opt for my own company or the more intimate connectionof two (three at the most).
I’m not alone in this introverting—rough estimates suggestthat between sixteenand fifty percent of the world’s population classifies itself asintroverted—yet this does not make the solitary life any easier.
Let’s face it: being an introvert can be comforting, but itcan also be challenging, particularly if you surround yourself with those whoidentify with extroverted tendencies.
I’m here to tell you that you can be social as an introvert,and you can be happy while doing it. Here are some quick pro tips.
My inner introvert starts to have a miniature meltdown invery specific situations. I’ve learned that after about two hours of intense one-on-oneengagement, I have this strange impulse to crawl out of my skin. After aboutone hour at a party, I start dreaming about attic rooms.
I also know that I’m uncomfortable if a social situation issuperficial rather than heartfelt. This may not be a result of myintrovertedness, but it still stands.
Recognize what makes you uncomfortable in specific socialsituations. Learn how to negotiate this discomfort and perhaps even withstandit for longer periods. I feel more comfortable, for example, if I get to domore of the talking in one-on-ones or if a party has a lot of room for me to gooff on my own (read a book in a corner, walk through a garden).
I also try to seek out social engagements that have moresoul in them. I’ll opt for parties or meetings more likely to skip the small talk, whenpossible.
Follow your interests.
The best way to be social as an introvert is to meet othersvia your interests. This makes us more comfortable, after all—who wouldn’t wantto bond with a fellow book-lover or Saturday quilter?
Consider joining a MeetUpfor people that hold a similar niche interest. The more niche, the better—your chancesof meeting people with concordant worldviews will be higher. Seek out a MeetUpfor underwater basket-weaving or check out your community’s events page for ParanormalActivity gatherings.
Balance social timewith self time.
One of the healthiest ways to effectively navigate socialsituations as an introvert is to ensure you are getting the time to yourselfthat you crave. This is a great principle to follow even if you aren’t an introvert.
For all of the time you spend at parties and meet-ups, makesure you match this equally with self time. Vice versa, too, if you are keen tobecome a bit more of a social creature.
Make sure self-timeis nourishing (and not depleting).
Sometimes being an introvert means lingering in our headstoo much, hiding away from the world, and cutting ourselves off from valuableexperiences. It’s possible to learn about yourself alone, but encounteringothers can throw relief onto our own perspectives and ways of being.
Make sure your self-time is nourishing. Pack those solitarymoments with meaning—go to yoga, practice meditation, learn a new language,write a letter to a loved one. This will ensure that your introverting isproductive (and not limiting).
Embrace your innerintrovert.
Being able to claim your preference for being on your own(or in less taxing social situations) is vital. Embrace your introvertedtendencies, claim them out loud, and let others know about your innerintrovert.
After all, that’s what I’m doing here, aren’t I?