One of the biggest introvert stereotypes is that introverts aren’t social. The truth is, introverts can be plenty social–and most even enjoy it. We just have a different approach to socializing than most extroverts do.
Introverts typically like smaller group gatherings or one-on-one activities. We also prefer quieter events to loud parties. And we need a fair amount of alone time to recover after these activities.
However, having an enjoyable social experience can be sometimes be challenging in an extroverted world. People often consider going out and constantly being around others as “normal,” but that doesn’t always work for introverts.
This post was created with this in mind. Here are eight tips for introverts to have an enjoyable social experience.
Choose your friends carefully
You can have both introverted and extroverted friends, but it’s important that your friends accept you and your introverted nature.
If your friends pressure you into going out (to a party, or to another activity you really aren’t interested in) they may not be the best friends for you.
A good friend is one that you don’t have to lie to. You can tell this friend that you just feel like staying home” without them taking it personally or shaming you.
If you have friends you feel like you have to lie to, don’t accept your no, or show up at your house when you’ve expressly asked for time alone, maybe consider letting those friendships fizzle away.
Friendships should build you and make you feel supported. If you feel torn down, trapped, or like you have to lie to get what you need, it may be a sign that this friendship is not serving you.
Of course, if you have an extroverted friend who is good to you, gives you the space you need, and never doesn’t make you feel back for saying no, it’s important to nurture that relationship and sometimes show up to a party or event you don’t usually seek out. This will likely mean a lot to your good friend.
Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time before and after to recharge.
Be open about your needs
Every introvert has different tolerance levels and sensitivities. It’s important to express what you need to the people you’re socializing with.
If you want to spend the weekend with your family at a loud, busy (and fun) music festival, but know you won’t be able to handle the weekend without your own hotel room, make that known.
If your friends and family respect that, you’re with the right people. If not, circle back to the last point and consider finding another group to go with.
Only say yes to things you really want to do
As introverts, we lose energy pretty much any time we’re not alone. That means our energy is a limited resource. If you ask me, it’s too precious of a resource to waste on things we don’t really want to do.
This means saying no to anything you find yourself doing out of obligation. Just because someone asks you to do something, doesn’t mean you are obligated to say yes.
It’s on you to protect your energy for the people and activities in your life that really need it. Only saying yes to the social activities you really want to do will help you get the most out of those activities and keep you from feeling rundown as a result.
For more tips on how to say no as an introvert, check out this post!
Don’t be afraid to suggest alternatives
If someone you want to spend time with suggests doing something you hate, don’t be afraid to suggest an alternative or modification.
Suggest going to a low-key movie instead of a loud crowded sporting event or invite friends over for a cozy night in instead of going out to a bar or loud restaurant.
Similar to the previous point, you’re not obligated to participate in an activity just because the person you want to socialize with suggested it. Find something you both want to do so you both get more out of the experience.
Try new things strategically
But with that said, it’s always good to try new things.
If a friend wants to do something you’re hesitant about, but have always kind of wanted to try, it’s a good idea to give it a shot. However, it’s important to be strategic about how you approach your new activity.
If your activity is going to take a fair amount of energy, give yourself extra downtime before and after to prepare and recover.
However, this tip doesn’t apply to things you’re pretty sure will hate. As much as I believe in getting out of your convert zone and growing, I also believe in trusting yourself and your instincts.
If you know yourself well enough to dread the thought of an activity, that’s likely your instincts trying to protect you from something you will hate. You should still turn dow this type of invite.
Consider creating a social budget
Creating a social budget has been a game changer for me. This is ideal for introverts who do genuinely enjoy socializing but often find themselves worn out from overdoing it.
A social budget helps you identify how many social activities a month you can handle. Then, you make it a point to only commit to that number of events.
This keeps your social life fairly active, while still creating plenty of downtime to recharge. This prevents you from feeling totally rundown or stretched too thin on a regular basis.
For more on how to create a social budget, check out this post!
Have an exit strategy for every social activity
No matter what your social activity is, always have an exit strategy. This may mean always driving yourself so you can leave when ever you want, or having an agreement in place with the person you came with on when you’ll be leaving.
You may also want to be aware of the public transportation and ride share options in your area so you can make a swift escape if needed.
Additionally, when you get to a party or similar event, do a walk through and find a quiet place you can escape to if you need it. This may be outside, a small unused room, or the bathroom. You can use this space if you need a time out, or if you’re ready to leave but can’t for some reason.
Build in enough downtime time
No matter what, make sure you have enough time to charge up for your social activity ahead of time and enough time to recharge after.
Make it a point to schedule this time and honor the plan just as you do for the social plans you make with other people. This tip will help you get the most of the event when you participate and keep you from cursing it after the fact.
And once you plan that time, protect it with everything you have! If there’s one thing I will never stop writing on this blog, it’s this: recharge time is not a luxury. It’s taking care of yourself. In doing so, you’re helping to create the best version of yourself.
This will make you more engaged, alert, helpful, and present in any life activity–social or otherwise. That’s something you, and everyone who needs and appreciates you, should value.
Looking for more in-depth tips on how to manage your introverted social life?
If you want to dig a little deeper into this topic, check out the Introvert Life Guide!
This guide was designed to help you build the introvert life of your dreams. And it’s full of plenty of tips and tricks to help you manage your introverted social life.
It will also help you embrace your introverted nature and build a life to help you thrive!
For more introvert life tips, check out the other introvert posts!
Sound off: What are your top tips for socializing as an introvert? What have you struggled with? Tell us about it in the comments!