Most people I meet in real life seem to be shocked that I am an introvert. I think it’s because introversion is mostly confused for being shy, or socially awkward. I’m neither of those, I just get drained and over-stimulated in social situations. This has been a source of some social anxiety for me because on one hand, I love connecting with people but on the other hand, I just want to sit and chill in my room alone all day.
I think another thing that most introverts can attest to is how much they detest small talk. I’d rather stand in a room in front of 20 people and give a speech than make small talk, thinking about this makes me less nervous than sitting face to face with someone new. I think I’m more anxious of a personal interaction than public speaking, but this anxiety may be only peculiar to me.
However, small talk is a struggle sometimes. I usually just want to go about my day not speaking to anyone but someone bursts my little introvert bubble then I have to derive the mental strength to think of something to say. It sounds dramatic, but it happens often, especially after I have been in a social situation for more than a day. So without further ado, here’s my introverts guide to having a social life, from an introvert, me!
Don’t Sweat The Small Talk…
One thing I would say about becoming more social is to not be afraid or annoyed by small talk. It’s a basic nuance of life. It’s also not really important so it’s not something that much emphasis should be placed on. When I don’t have the mental capacity to make small talk I just smile, or laugh and nod.
It’s Okay To Blend In….
It’s okay to blend in the background of a conversation. Especially in a group setting. I understand the pressure of trying to not seem quiet when there are 10 + people screaming over each other. Introverts often want to pretend like they are extroverted in a social setting. This makes you put up an act that can drain you mentally very quickly.
I always appreciate the fellow introvert in the group who only speaks once or twice within a 5 minute period and just listens to everyone talk. Observing other people can be so much fun (and eye-opening), especially since we are very introspective people. There are things I would have never noticed about people if I was talking the whole time.
Listen And Observe, Our Most Powerful Quality
Listening to other people and asking questions is our most powerful tool. I’m usually relieved when people tell a story to me because it takes off the pressure for me to say or think of something. I also enjoy stories because they draw you nearer to the person you’re speaking to. This makes me feel closer to them and much more comfortable. People generally love to talk about themselves so this makes it easier to take the pressure off you!
It’s Okay To Be Uncomfortable…
Strive to get out of your comfort zone. This is different for everyone so I can’t give hard figures and advice. For me, my comfort zone is sitting at home week in, week out reading a book. Leaving my comfort zone means going out and meeting new people. Because of this, I started following a rule of saying yes to almost anything I was invited to.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable and anxious in social situations. Those nerves are irrational when I really think about it. But they’re there regardless. What are you really afraid of? Embarrassment? You’ll choke up and have nothing to say? Awkward silence?
And when all of that happens. So what? But did you die? LOL in fact you’d find that it was a learning experience. My most awkward and draining experience as an introvert was when I went to a party where I knew absolutely no one. For the life of me I could not mesh with this crowd. Trying to make conversation became tiring very quickly. I just picked up my self and went home calmly. What I learnt from that experience is that my interests do not jive with every crowd, and that is okay.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable, but if you are consistently dreading the thought of hanging out with people you meet often, it may be less of introversion and more of social anxiety. It can also mean that you just don’t like the people you hang around so much. I’m not a big lover of massive, crowded events and parties. This is something I do very rarely. I love travelling, eating out and museums, so if someone consistently invites me to places I don’t want to hang out in, I’d know that our interests at a basic level do not match.
It’s okay to say no. You’re not the life of the party and that’s okay. You’re the sit in the corner kinda girl. The only have two friends kinda person. The only person in your friend group that legitimately looks forward to doing nothing on a Saturday night. Prefer to text than call. Just an all round cute little, introverted potato.
I guess this whole post is just trying to say that you should embrace the introverted side of you. It’s what makes you unique! You don’t have to fundamentally change your personality, you just have to exit your comfort zone more often.
Thanks for reading! How do you balance a social life as an introvert?