Introverts even ambiverts like to have a few intimate friends and lead a quieter life so when it comes to their social life, an active one would seem contradictory at first. But did you know it is absolutely possible for both to coexist? As with most things: Balance is the key to successfully combining social activity and introversion. Most introverted individuals know far too well that too much social activity can be exhausting. Too little however, tips the scale and make us feel left out and longing for social interaction.
So HOW exactly do we resolve this particular dilemma?
Many of us believe that introverts like to spend most if not 100% of their time alone but this is just a myth the extraverted society wants us to believe. Introverts and ambiverts can be very talkative and love to have fulfilling and active social lives too, just not the way an extrovert imagines!
These strategies below will start to help you on this dilemma:
✴ Stop pretending to be someone you’re not. By teenage, you probably worked out that you are not so extraverted, so what did you do? You try to be “outgoing” like your parents advised you. What did you gain? Probably burnouts! So please STOP the pretense now if you haven’t already because you will only be acting in a disingenuous manner while others wonder who you really are.
✴ Consider what your perfect day looks like. If you were to plan your perfect day, what ratio of alone time to social time would you feel most comfortable with? Attempt to create enough human contact to match this ratio. In addition, consider whether the time spent with others would include friends, family or strangers and factor this into your plan since different interactions consume different levels of your energy.
✴ Remember Quality is King. An introvert typically doesn’t want 100 casual friends. You would agree if you have only a few, less than a dozen, close connections. Spend your limited time wisely on social activities if you were to make the most out of your weekly available energy. This includes all of your activities on social media platforms too!
A business network may require a huge number of connections but many individuals reported that a few meaningful connections may be more satisfying and less stressful than many casual friendships.
✴ Realize when to decline offers. It’s totally fine to turn down offers for social contact. Going out when you’re already drained just to be “nice” will ensure a miserable experience AND deter you from future healthy social situations.
✴ Make the habit of being social at least once a week. Friends meet on regular basis to keep in touch, exchange information which maintain friendships. You run the risk of losing friends if you don’t spend that time together. Once per week, make new friends or see your old friends. Have a scheduled date to be social one evening per week.
✴ Enter in your diary a predictable social gathering at least once a month. Many clubs, sporting league, non-profit organizations or learning classes meet at least monthly. Join one (or more but only if you can handle their meeting frequency without depleting your energy) so you get out of the house at least once a month for a structured social event. Volunteering events also bring you opportunities to socialize with a different crowd than your usual circle.
✴ Pick venues that match your level of introversion. A loud, crowded bar or nightclub might be a little too much for your tastes on most nights. How about tea-time or a trip to the bookstore with a friend? Would this choice be more enjoyable? You and your friend(s) will have a better time if you match both the activity and your comfort level.
✴ Introduce yourself to at least one new person each month. This could be a colleague, a neighbour, a friend of a friend, or even a complete stranger. Follow up with those who seem compatible and interesting to you. Let the rest go. Within a year, you’ll have at least a few new friends. A few might be all you need or you could always gain more when you are happy with your pace and progress.
✴ Learn to ask open-ended questions and then listen. If it tires you out to be the focus of a conversation or you simply don’t know what to say first, the solution is simple: ask questions that encourage others to talk. Avoid questions which can be answered with a simple definitive answer like, “Where did you go to school?” Instead, ask them what they enjoyed the most about school. This type of questions opens up to all sort of topics and you could ask about them base on their first answers and your deep listening.
A few open-ended questions could keep your contact talking for a long time. With a little practice, you’ll be known as an excellent conversationalist. Interestingly, you won’t have to say much.
Nevertheless, you are encouraged to also express yourself because there is a hidden rule of give-and-take in human exchanges.
It’s totally feasible to have an introverted personality AND a happy and active social life. Create your own version of an active social life, this may look vastly different from that of an extravert but who cares?!
What matters the most here is that you are spending quality time with others which lead to you enjoying your life to the fullest!
Stretch yourself a bit but this shouldn’t make you miserable on a regular basis nor doubt whether you are doing the right thing. Focus on quality relationships and you will soon feel fulfilled and satisfied with your social life.
What other tips do you have for introverts on this topic? Share them below with our fellow LinkedIn members, leave your comments or email me at email@example.com