How to become more social as an Introvert
“Introverts don’t get lonely if they don’t socialize with a lot of people, but we do get lonely if we don’t have intimate interactions on a regular basis.” – Sophia Dembling
Every time I am invited to a social event, I never say “No”.
I always accept the invitation gracefully and say I will be there right on time even though I have no intentions of actually going. I find it easier to accept the invitation and then just ignore it than to reject it and go into a long conversation explaining why social events drain my “batteries”. I don’t expect them to understand neither can I make them understand. And so I lie. And this has made my friends think that I am rude, arrogant and insensitive, even though it’s quite the opposite.
It’s not that I hate my friends or that I don’t care about people. It’s that the idea of socializing is just too exhausting for me. For anyone with an introverted personality, like me, being around people, mostly extroverts, at a social event where you are compelled to “mingle” with others in a setting that is suited to their preferred lifestyles and desires can be nothing short of a nightmare.
Don’t get me wrong. Being invited to a party or a gathering feels nice. It makes you feel valued. But actually going there is a whole different story. As an introvert, I like to stay in. It’s not about being in your comfort zone. It’s about being in a space where you can be yourself without feeling compelled to conform to others’ wishes. Truth is, I like getting out of my comfort zone. I like challenging myself to do things I have never done before. To travel to places I have never been. In fact, travelling solo is one of the most challenging things you can ever do. But I also like being with myself. My thoughts. My ideas. It’s a fascinating world inside.
The socializing paradox
“Introverts like being introverts. We are drawn to ideas, we are passionate observers, and for us, solitude is rich and generative.” – Laurie Helgoe
If you’re someone with an introverted personality, then you know exactly what I mean. Instead of interacting with others, you find peace and happiness within yourself. Spending time with yourself energizes you. It refuels you to take on life’s challenges. Moreover, you reveal your true self only to your inner circle.
The people who understand you. The people you trust. Being in a social gathering can be difficult for introverts as we don’t know too many people and we are not the masters of small talk. In fact, we despise it. As we remain aloof even in the most vibrant parties, people tend to judge us as either rude or shy. But that’s not who we are. We prefer quiet, calm and less stimulating environments where we can savor the moment, the conversations, the ideas, the thoughts in our heads and reflect on them later.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean introverts hate socializing. We enjoy spending time with people we have a connection with. People with whom we can engage in deep, meaningful conversations. When it comes to friendships and networking, it’s the quality that matters to us, not the quantity. And perhaps this is why we tend to shut down in situations where we have no real connection with the people we interact with.
Finding the balance
“Introverts are dependent on their own inside noise, extroverts are dependent of outside noise. The outputs are dependent on the quality of those noise.” – Amit K Ghosh
What I have understood over the years is that the key is in balancing spending time alone and with others. No one is completely introvert or extrovert. All of us have a bit of both personalities in us with either one being dominant. The secret lies in tapping into your extroverted self without trying to be an extrovert.
To become successful at socializing, you need to be true to yourself and focus on your strengths. Be an introvert with a touch of extroversion. Yes, our society rewards extroversion and extroverts get the most attention. But we never wanted that in the first place. All we want is to go out and have some fun without feeling drained or exhausted WHEN we want to. Instead of thinking of a social event as a disaster or an energy drainer, think of it as an opportunity to meet someone new, interact and observe some interesting people and perhaps…make a new friend. When you have a purpose for going to a social gathering, whatever it may be, and you play to your strengths, you will soon find value in your social activities.