These five things will make it more comfortable for introverts to (occasionally) go out and socialize.
Now don’t let this title fool you. I am an introvert and I love being at home. I used to feel like something was wrong with me when I didn’t go out and party it up like so many others want to do. And I don’t have the desire for raucous, busy weekends either.
But I’ve come to realize that different does not equal wrong. After a long day of working with children, I am so content sitting at home in my favorite spot (we introverts need our zen zone), eating my snacks and filling up my iPad tabs with various stories that’ll take me forever to read. (Or is that just me?!)
Yes, My Ideal Night May Look Different Than Yours — and That’s Okay
Sure, my ideal night may look different than others’ — I enjoy reflective nights at home doing my favorite activities: cooking, reading, binge-watching my newest TV obsession, reading stories online, listening to podcasts, scrolling through Pinterest, listening to my favorite music, and the list goes on…
But, every now and again, we introverts do get out and socialize. After all, everyone is made for socializing and human interaction, even introverts. We do enjoy being out with friends from time to time. Introverts aren’t anti-people; we’re just selectively social. We are like that because our social energy batteries run out faster than those of extroverts due to how our brains are wired, so we have to preserve our energy and use it wisely.
But we also know that it’s important to get outside our comfort zone and occasionally leave our sanctuary of peace and quiet. (Who knows what it will lead to? A great new friendship, or, at the very least, we will be more appreciative of the time we spend at home.) And, every so often, when we are lucky, the stars seem to align and we agree to go out because we want to and we are glad that we did because we actually enjoyed ourselves!
Now, let me state for the record that these tips aren’t going to turn introverts into social butterflies that want to be out every weekend. We are just not those kinds of people! But if you want ideas on how to get an introvert out the door, these suggestions might help.
5 Ways to Get an Introvert Out of the House (Maybe)
1. Give them ample time to prepare (and, hopefully, the event is planned in advance).
Spontaneity is not my strong suit, to put it lightly. My mind screams “Run!!!” when someone suggests something at the last minute, especially if I’m already excited to go home and chill. Throwing me into a last-minute social situation is not where I shine. It’s stressful and overwhelming. Like most introverts, I need time to mentally prepare for a night out. It’s a lot of work to be “on,” and I have to psyche myself up to do it. (My fellow introverts, I’m sure you understand what that’s like!)
The timing of when we hang out also matters. I need buffers between my social interactions. I’m sensitive to being worn out easily, so I have to create space between encounters so I’m less likely to become burned out. I’m probably going to say no after a long work day. Or if I already have plans that weekend. Two social events in a weekend? Not if I can help it. Usually Saturday is a good day to hang out because I’m able to have time to decompress from my work week on Friday night and then I can gather my energy to be social again.
2. You’re with people whose company you enjoy.
As an introvert, I don’t have a huge social circle. I don’t need one. I’m happy with my small circle of friends (it’s about quality over quantity). I personally think it would be exhausting to be popular. It’s too much to keep up with! But if you want to get me out the door, then the group better be on the smaller side with people I’m comfortable with. I’m never in the mood to be among a big group with mostly strangers. Big parties, too, are a hard no for me. Extra guests who show up because “the more the merrier” is called a “no thanks.” Because too many people means my evening is going to be filled with crowds, noise, and small talk (the worst thing for an introvert) — all of which are draining for me.
If you want to get me out, then I need to be around familiar people. Being naturally reserved and private, I don’t warm up to new people easily or quickly. So please don’t invite extra people that I don’t know and expect me to roll with it. I can’t relax and be myself if I’m around random people.
3. The activity is chill and introvert-friendly.
As I’ve said, a large group of people in a loud setting is not my idea of a good time. You are not going to get me out to a crowded bar with noisy, drunk people. That’s just not going to happen. I hate environments where I have no personal space, can’t hear the people I’m standing next to, and have to shout to be heard. I can handle it for short periods of time, but if you’re asking me to go out, then it needs to be in an environment that’s conducive to conversation.
I’m more likely to get out if the place we are going is laid-back, chill, and introvert-friendly. In my opinion, a cool lounge with good music, a restaurant with the right vibe (not too loud or crowded), a movie, or an outdoor bonfire are great picks.
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4. There’s food.
Does this need any explanation, LOL?! Food is amazing! If you want a definite “yes” out of me, then promise me good food. I’m happy with the simple things in life and that includes a good meal. I’m all about brunch, 2-for-1 appetizers, and snacks. Food is exciting, mood-lifting, fun, and delicious.
In all seriousness, food is a great way to bring people together. For me, food isn’t just something to eat when you’re hungry. It can be a catalyst for deep conversation, which makes an introvert super happy.
5. There’s freedom to leave when I want to go.
Even when I’m out and having a good time, I will reach my limit and I’ll suddenly be ready to leave. It’s always the worst, when (out of politeness) you say goodbye and the response is “You’re leaving already?! Can’t you stay a bit longer? It’s still early!” Ugh, I’m ready to go now!
Staying out of obligation rather than enjoyment is awful. If I wanted to stay, then I would stay. I want to leave, and when I’m ready to do so. So if you invite me out, it would be good for me to hear something along the lines of, “We’ll just hang out. You can leave whenever you feel like it. No worries.”
If you want to get me out, then I need to have the freedom to leave when I’m ready. No guilt trips when I’m done for the night. My introverted battery is empty and I need to go home and recharge. Once I’m at that point, I’m irritated, out of sorts, and annoyed. And I’m not great company if I feel that way. If I stay much longer, then I feel like I’m running on fumes and I’ll inevitably have an “introvert hangover.” That means I’m less likely to accept a future invitation, if I know you are going to make me feel bad because I’m trying to go home.
Bonus tip: Text, don’t call, to make plans
I hate talking on the phone. I really, really hate it. If you call me, I probably won’t answer. If you don’t talk to me in person, then please text me if you want to make plans. I prefer a text over a phone call because texting feels less invasive. With a phone call, I have to respond immediately. (Remember I don’t like spontaneity). When I receive a text message, I can take my time to think and respond. If you try to reach me with a phone call, you are never going to get in touch with me to hang out.
Now these tips aren’t guarantees we will go out when you want us to. Socializing with others is great, but can be exhausting. We introverts are very in tune to our own needs, and if that means a night in, then that is what we will choose. But if all the stars align, you might actually get us out the door! Good luck.