As an introvert, you don’t need to feel bad about not liking parties, nightclubs, or other common social activities that more extroverted people enjoy.
A lot of us introverts have probably heard this phrase: “You should go out more.”
Whether it comes from a place of concern or misunderstanding, it’s still irritating to constantly hear. Since we introverts get reenergized by spending time alone, why do we need to go out more? We’re perfectly content staying in, holed up in our introvert sanctuaries doing something we love, like reading a book, baking, or just relaxing.
Below are some tips and tricks to deal with the dreaded “You should go out more” phrase — without sacrificing your social battery or your social circle.
6 Ways to Figure Out If You Truly Should ‘Go Out More’
1. Know when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”
There is certainly a difference between not wanting to go anywhere because you need to recharge your social battery and not wanting to go because you don’t want to push your comfort zone. For us introverts, there is a fine line between these two, yet this line can be difficult to figure out.
To help you decide, think about prior events. For example, did you just finish an exhausting group project or did you just attend a conference or meeting with lots of people? Then a restful night in might be exactly what you need to replenish your social capacity. However, if you’ve spent several days at home, alone, then a small push from friends might be beneficial.
2. Find activities you actually enjoy.
A lot of times, when someone mentions something like “You don’t go out often,” they’re usually referring to parties, clubs, or other common social activities. However, as an introvert, you don’t need to feel bad about not liking those types of things. You can have a rich social life by choosing less crowded and less stressful settings, such as finding a fun workout class you like. You can also sign up for an evening or online class to learn a skill you’ve always wanted to learn — and might also meet some nice people along the way.
A bonus tip: If you choose a skill that is fitting for introverts (e.g. pottery, art, crocheting, or any activity that can be done individually), you’ll likely meet like-minded introverts and connect with them on a deeper level.
3. Explain your situation and how you rechargealone, not with others.
Often when someone says “You should go out more,” they do it from a place of love (and perhaps concern). It’s easy for extroverted friends or family members to feel as though something is “wrong” if you choose to spend your evenings at home. That thought can be amplified by society’s expectations of how we “should” socialize. But many people probably don’t realize there is a difference between being lonely and alone — and we introverts are usually quite content alone, not lonely.
By taking the time to explain your situation — and perhaps even explain the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” — your loved ones will be more understanding. They might even try to accommodate their events to your needs and create more introvert-friendly activities. When you explain where, and how, you feel most comfortable, your family and friends can also stop worrying about you potentially feeling lonely. They’ll then better understand that when you spend an evening with yourself, you’re not dismissing or avoiding them. Instead, it’ll be a win-win situation for everyone!
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4. Invite them to your home.
If someone really wants to hang out with you, or keeps inviting you to parties, take that as a compliment. Perhaps they just want to spend time with you, but don’t know where (or how) else to do so than at a party or night out.
So try suggesting a relaxing night in at your house the next time they invite you someplace — they might be surprised that it’s even a possibility! You don’t need to invite dozens of people at a time — stick with 1-3 close friends or family members. If the idea of that drains your social battery, remember, you don’t have to entertain your guests for a whole evening, making small talk and serving food. Instead, you can invite people over for a movie night, where talking is limited and there is a clear end to the evening (when the movie ends).
5. Don’t feel pressured to go out.
To make things clear — you should never feel pressured to attend a social event you don’t want to. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is not a good reason, as you’ll realistically never miss out on much.
This relates to setting fair and firm boundaries, which is not always easy for introverts. As mentioned in the first tip, there is a difference between not wanting to attend an event because you’re drained vs. not wanting to push your comfort zone. It’s definitely a struggle — your friends or family want to spend time with you, and the only way they know how is by going somewhere. They might plead, send you several text messages, or even threaten to give up on you, but don’t despair. You probably learned about peer pressure in school, and this is no different (especially when it seems everyone is going somewhere and you’re the only one who prefers not to).
There are two types of pressure, socially speaking. First, there’s the external pressure from other people. This one can be dealt with by being firm and offering alternatives. It also helps to let the person know that you do care about them and want to spend time with them, just in a slightly different way (i.e., one-on-one in a low-key environment).
The second is internal pressure. This relates to all the thoughts we have about not wanting to go out. You might think something’s wrong with you if you prefer to stay in. This is, of course, not true at all, but our mind is a complex system. To tackle these thoughts, it helps to journal or find a group of fellow introverts to show you that you aren’t alone in thinking this way. Plus, they can give you tips and tricks to tackle both types of pressure.
6. Take it one step at a time.
Sometimes your social battery may feel charged up, and you do want to go out that night. Other times, you’d rather sit at home and read a book. There is no obligation to have to go out more, but if you want to, take it one step at a time. Perhaps sign up for an evening class you’ll enjoy or schedule a monthly dinner or game night with a few close friends. That way, you can expand your social circles a bit and meet amazing new people without feeling like you have to party all night.
A bonus tip — find an extroverted friend who is aware of extrovert-introvert differences. They might encourage you to attend something when you don’t fully want to, and you can help them slow down and learn the joys of being alone. This way, you both benefit!
Overall, it’s good to listen to your body and mind — and know when going out is a good idea and when it isn’t. It’s helpful to communicate this to your friends, family, and/or colleagues, and explain your situation to them. This way, they’re less likely to make such remarks as “Why don’t you want to go out with us? Come on, it’ll be fun!”