As a social introvert, you often are misunderstood that you hate people, which is definitely not the case, an introvert likes being around people, but in small groups.
They’d much rather be home or spending time chatting with a small bunch of people they feel connected with because party and large group exhaust them. It’s all about walking the fine line of socializing and finding “alone-time”.
“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 a social 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, traveling 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.
Read: Life As An Anti-Social
Finding The Balance
“Introverts are dependent on their own inside noise, extroverts are dependent on outside noise. The outputs are dependent on the quality of those noises.” – 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.
You, my friend, have a lot to offer to the world and by being social you can allow other people to tap into their inner strength and grow from your insight.
How to have a less draining & more fulfilling social life as an introvert
“Introverts dislike small talk, but we are fluent in the language of ideas and dreams.” – Michaela Chung
People with an introverted personality can get better at socializing without feeling excessively drained of their energies. Here are a few ways that I have found can help social introverts become more social while being true to themselves:
1. Go out and do it
It’s as simple as that. Go to that party even when you don’t want to. Declining that invitation can feel exceptionally tempting. I know that feeling. But from now on, say yes and then go for it. Isolating yourself and being a recluse is not healthy for you. The best way to get comfortable with socializing is to SOCIALIZE. Yes, it will be uncomfortable at first, but it will help you get rid of your social anxiety in time.
“For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.” – Jonathan Rauch
Socializing can feel draining. You can be an attractive and charming person, but being an introvert, social settings can quickly drain you of your energy. Hence, it is crucial that you “recharge” yourself before attending an event. Moreover, while you’re at the party give yourself some space and go for a short walk and rejoin later when you’re ready.
3. Practice, practice, practice
Before you attend the party, prepare some interesting conversation starters. You can talk about some exciting project you’re working on or some book or movie you found interesting or maybe some topical news. Small talk may be uninteresting but it can often open doors to great conversations and connections.
“Introverts think carefully before they speak. We can be excellent public speakers because we prepare carefully.” – Sophia Dembling
4. Be confident. Be honest. Be humble.
As I said earlier, tap into your inner extrovert while staying in touch with your true self. Flex your extrovert muscles and be uber-confident in social situations. I know it can be hard for people with an introverted personality, but this can work wonders for you and attract positive social feedback. So be yourself, be confident and smile when you walk into a room. Shake hands and feel good about yourself. This can lead to something really great.
5. Style a statement piece
If you’re like me and you hate small talk, then wear statement fashion piece. It could be a fancy dress or some high fashion accessory or something that’s a bit weird. It can be anything that will make people talk about it. You can also compliment someone’s look or their sense of style and casually start a conversation.
6. Have an exit strategy
Just because you are attending an event doesn’t mean you have to stay till the end. Realize that you can leave anytime you want to. Have a plan in place for a graceful exit when you feel your energy reserves are going down. It is a great idea to drive yourself to the event as you can leave whenever you feel like it. Or you can book a cab online and split fast.
Once you reach home, take pride in the fact that you have survived socializing and did a great job at it. Now relax and be prepared for the next one when the time comes. The more you socialize, the easier it will get.
Tell Yourself: “I am good at socializing.”
“When a quiet introvert talks, heads turn, and that’s power.” – Laurie Helgoe
To introverts like us, socializing may not feel like the most natural thing. But that does not mean we don’t enjoy going out. It simply means we don’t feel mental stimulation or energy by being sociable, unlike extroverts. It requires a lot more mental energy than we are willing to invest. We’d rather spend time with ourselves and get recharged.
But just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. For all you know, you may be exceptionally good at socializing. It’s just that you haven’t tried it enough. So stop being reclusive and start going out more. It doesn’t have to be grand events all the time. Start small and move forward from there. Just make sure when someone invites you next time, say yes with the intention of actually going.