Socialising As An Introvert

2/27/2017


Note: I'm on my way to London as you're reading this! Trains and a flight toward destination.

My first and former post on my life being an introvert got many of you interested in a post about socializing since I've mentioned that I'm starting to up my game in the socializing field because I am quite fed up with feeling held back and restricted by my introversion many times. Not that I hate being an introvert, I love it most of the times and have come to terms with it a long time ago. It's just that I'd feel frustrated with myself in situations where I go "Hey, you could've talked to that person and gotten to know them when you had the chance and wouldn't have shat your pants! Now you won't have the chance again".

And I've wanted this regret to stop. And I wanted to make more friends because even though I already have the bestest friends I could ask for, I don't mind getting to know more people at all. That's a misconception about introverted people – no, we do not actually hate people. Not as much and as often as you think. We just need to recharge from socialising with you, we don't actually hate you.

First things first


If you're an introvert and reading this, please don't feel threatened to start forcing yourself to socialise more. Do what you feel comfortable with. Always. On the other hand I hope I can be helpful in some ways because I know it can be hard to put yourself out there. It's easy to feel like the odd one out, just see this post as a guide to being more social on your own terms and without compromising who you are.

Generally... 


Extroversion and introversion aren't black and white. They're just labels but that doesn't mean you're only one or only the other. Everyone has a bit of both inside them and it's possible to balance it out sometimes. It's important not to try and go against your nature by trying to turn into an extrovert.

As an introvert you might think that social situations are all draining because of either lack of motivation, guilt, fear of disaster or low self-esteem. In reality, these situations aren't just made for extroverts but also for introverts, maybe even especially for introverts.

Although society generally pays more attention to extroverted people, it's the introverts that instinctively know how to navigate the deepest of waters in social scenarios, and they're most possibly the better listeners.

What I realised


#1 I lack confidence. I just dread social gatherings because I am intimidated by extroverts. Not specifically because they're extroverts but sometimes I would fear that I could be too boring in a conversation that I'd shush people away. Going with friends I'm comfortable with helps tremendously as they're great at boosting my confidence and I can integrate myself in ongoing conversations way easier.

#2 I know I'm not the only introvert. I try to scan the rooms to find possible fellow introverts. It's easier for me to talk to them. 

#3 I'm a great listener. And I know people like to talk about themselves. So I ask active, open-ended questions and try to get to know people more. There are always new people at flat parties so I always have opportunities to ask strangers a bunch of questions on their business. 

#4 Have an out, no matter what social scenario it is. If you feel uncomfortable and drained, go home. Say you have to do stuff, you have errands to run, a dog to walk, a sister to take care of. Don't let socialising get ahead of you and try to stay comfortable. 

#5 Find what works for you. Maybe you feel tired and can't concentrate at late events and prefer daytime. If you don't like clubs and sweaty dance floors (like me), you might like smaller parties and gatherings at someone's house more.

#6 Be prepared. Have some sayings ready that could break the ice more easily. When I'm at a birthday party of a friend and talking to a stranger, I'll ask something like "And how do you know Lisa?' or "Are you one of the 90% of architects in this room?". Listen and gather info about the setting you're in, that's what you're best at, right? Make use of it. :-) 

#7 Don't be so hard on yourself. If you really don't feel like going, don't go. Even if people really want you to go and keep encouraging you.

#8 Get to know yourself. I find that I isolate myself quite often and don't realize that I'm doing it because I think it's just me recharging. Sometimes I get "forced" by friends to go out and meet them and then I'd realize it's not too bad and that I've just been in a dark hole down there somewhere, unwilling to get out. So know the difference between staying home to recharge and isolating yourself and making it worse for yourself by making yourself believe you're alone.


What do you do as an introvert? Any extroverts with an opinion?

Until then – stay yourself,
Arden

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