The older I get, the more of an introvert I am. If someone were writing my life, some days it would look a lot like this:
Even when things look good on the surface, underneath that top layer labeled, “I’m fine! It’s okay!” it’s really not. I worry too much. Eat too much. Stress too much. Watch too much TV. Play too many video games.
Drink too much coffee.
Let’s scratch that last one. There’s no such thing as too much coffee.
Leaving the house sometimes proves to be a debilitating mental challenge. One friend punctuates her invites to me with, “And I understand if you just can’t people today. If that’s the case, then we can do this another time.”
I love her for that.
At the same time, I hate that any of my friends would ever have to say that because of all the junk taking place underneath that top layer. I don’t want to be a burden by showing up. By not showing up, I’m a different kind of burden.
Nobody Wins at Introverting
Introversion in a lot of ways is a lose-lose situation. Once someone remarked to me, “You got what you wanted, though. You got to stay home.”
Introverts don’t always want to stay home. It’s something they need to do. They may have crippling social anxiety. They may lack the “oomph” that makes them want to put on a smile and interact with others in a face-to-face setting. Regardless of the reason, their introverted nature is a serious issue.
Helping Overcome Introverted Tendencies
If you find yourself falling into the trap of not being able to people very well, here are some things that have helped me:
- Cut back on your social media use. The more time I spend on social media, the easier it is to stay home. I already talked to all my friends. Therefore there’s no need to meet up with them in person. Right? Wrong. Use a social media blocker to prevent you from visiting the pages except for limited amounts of time, and redirect your internet use to something more productive.
- Volunteer. Volunteering doesn’t always mean face-to-face time with people. If you volunteer in a library, then you could wind up working in a small office or re-shelving books. Animal shelters often need volunteers to spend time with the animals. (This is especially fun if you’re Pokemon GO hunting!)
- Join an online group to talk to people in real-time. Almost every Friday and Saturday night you can find me in a Google Hangout for Sprints and Spirits, a free online writing community on Facebook. Even though I don’t see these people face-to-face, the video chat is sometimes just what I need for social interaction.
Are you an introvert like me? How do you balance the urge to stay home with the need for social activity? Let’s talk about this in the comments!