When most people hear the term “introvert,” they probably picture someone quiet who likes to spend their time alone outside of the social situation. But, the truth is that being an introvert does not mean that you don’t like spending time with others. In fact, introverts can have some of the most meaningful relationships with others. An introvert may just need more time to recover and benefit from practicing some strategies to make
the most of the time they spend. Let’s take a closer look at what makes an introvert unique and how they can be social.
Introverts vs. Extroverts
The difference between introverts and extroverts comes down to biological differences between the two, specifically how they unwind after a social situation. The differences stem from different levels of sensitivity to dopamine, a feel-good chemical associated with reward. Introverts possess a lower threshold for this drug and, as a result, are more easily stimulated by social encounters than extroverts.
This means that introverts can get enough enjoyment out of spending time on their own or with small groups of friends. With big groups, however, the longer they are there, the less they start to get out of it, whereas an extrovert may just be getting started.
As a result of this extra sensitivity, an introvert needs more time to spend relaxed and alone to recharge. This is often known as an “introvert hangover.”
The fact is that you may have an active social life and love spending time with friends even though it may wear you out. The trick is to find a balance between the time you spend recuperating and enjoying time alone or with only the people who are closest to you and spending time being social. Too much social activity may wear you out, but too little may very well leave you wanting more. So, try finding what balance works for you.
Finding the Right Balance
Being introverted certainly doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time alone, and in fact, you can have a rich and active social life. All it takes is a little balance, and here are a few strategies you can use to find the right balance that works for you.
Don’t Pretend to Be an Extrovert
The first thing you need to know is that you don’t need to be an extrovert. Pretending you are one will just wear you out and leave you more convinced than ever that it’s just not possible to have a social life.
Join a Social Group
Joining a social group can be a great way to spend time with others in a controlled environment and give you the chance to build skills and talk with others without worrying about messing up. A group that focuses on learning social skills may be the best choice, but if this isn’t an option for you, then even a book club or a sports league can be great.
Quality Is What’s Important
An introvert may have a great social life off of just a few really close friends. It really isn’t important to have a lot of casual friendships. What really counts is using the limited energy you have in a way that counts, and generally, this is spending time with the people that matter the most.
Be Ready to Say No
When you don’t feel like being social, it is okay to say no. When you are exhausted and don’t feel like being social, it is perfectly okay to just stay home and recharge rather than going out and feeling miserable.
Make the Best of You as an Introvert
Being an introvert doesn’t mean being alone. It just means spending the energy you do have in the best ways you can. With the right balance and techniques, an introvert can benefit from a rich and healthy social life with just as meaningful of relationships.
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