As an introvert in a crowd of people, you can feel like you’re part of the action — but you can go off alone if you get too overwhelmed.
I’m a huge introvert, but I have a confession that may surprise everyone: I actually love being around crowds.
People often assume that introverts love to be alone — all the time — in quiet settings, but that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes we love to be around large crowds (or groups of people), but with some exceptions: We don’t want to have to make small talk or have long interactions with people there.
Yes, we may get overstimulated by loud sounds and constant chatter, but we can actually enjoy being around crowds when we have control over our interactions with people in them. If we love the environment we are in, we thrive. The times we get frustrated is when we get stuck in overwhelming environments and situations we aren’t comfortable in with our introverted skin — and we have no easy way to escape when we’d like to.
It’s All About Having Control Over Your Environment
For example, I work at a major airport as a traffic officer. My 10-hour days are filled with constant noise from airplanes taking off and landing, large vehicles (such as airplane tugs, food trucks, fire engines, and police vehicles), radio chatter, alarms, car traffic, and passengers going in and out of terminals. This can be exhausting at times, but I actually don’t mind being around all the passengers. Why? Because I still can control my own interactions with people and I actually enjoy seeing people going out and about.
Sometimes I just watch passengers walk around and wonder what fun destinations they’re going to. I like people and love answering their questions when they’re trying to navigate their way around the airport since it can be confusing. I feel like I’m a part of the action, but I can still pull myself away from it when I’m getting overwhelmed.
If you’re an introvert who wants some social interaction — but without really having to interact much — try going to one of these places.
6 Places Introverts Can Enjoy Despite Crowds
1. Theme parks — try going during the week for fewer people
I am a huge fan of theme parks because I love the experience of being able to step away from reality for a bit, enjoy new food, rides, and experiences. I even have a blog all about theme parks because I love going to them so much!
I get it, theme parks may be an introvert’s nightmare when you combine heat, crowds, long lines, and constant noise. However, you can make your experience better by going on weekdays or low-crowd days, find quiet spots to rest and relax in the parks, make an itinerary of what attractions you want to go on, or plan a route in the park where there may be fewer crowds.
You can also take frequent breaks in between activities so you don’t get (too) overwhelmed. And my favorite: Go to parks solo — that way, you have control of where you want to go and when you want to leave.
2. Concerts — you can blend in with all the people
I recently went to my very first arena rock concert in San Francisco and I had a blast, even though I went by myself and sat next to total strangers.
At first, I was a bit nervous going on my own to an arena full of thousands of people. But once I got there, I had a blast singing along, cheering, and clapping for my favorite band. You can also come prepared by bringing a book, your phone, and some snacks to keep you occupied during downtime, like at intermission. Noise-canceling headphones are great, as well, if music is too loud.
3. The beach — being among nature can help you recharge
There’s something about the warm sun, the feel of the sand on your toes, and the sound of the waves that is so calming to us introverts. The beach is such a great place to relax and unwind, whether you’re on vacation or if it’s a local spot. After all, nature recharges introverts.
Living on the coast of Northern California, I would always head to the surf to read a book or just stare out at the waves when I wanted to zone out and recharge my introvert energy. Beaches can be crowded, especially during warm days, but I actually love the sound of people laughing, dogs barking and playing on the shore, and the sound of seagulls flying overhead.
In general, most people on the beach won’t bother you, and it helps to bring a huge umbrella — or even a collapsible beach tent — to have your own “introvert pod” to read books, have some food, just lay out, or take a nap. Or, you can just park your car and watch the waves from afar, which is what I usually do since the beaches are usually cooler in California than the ones down South. (And being in your car also helps when it comes to staying people-free.)
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4. Coffee shops — you’re not obligated to talk to anyone, but can be among them
Cozy coffee shops are great places to do work, read a book, or just zone out while sipping your favorite beverage. Coffee shops can get crowded, especially in the morning or over lunch when people need their caffeine kick. But if you can find a nice little corner or open table to plop down at, it can be an enjoyable experience.
Plus, you’ll be able to take in the pleasant scent of coffee and pastries wafting through the air. You’re also not obligated to talk to anyone, but can still be around people and just do your introvert thing.
5. Movie theaters — you can sit in silence for two hours without the pressure of having to talk to anyone
I love going to movie theaters by myself or with a friend. The great thing about going to see a movie, even though it can be crowded at peak times, is that you can sit in silence for two hours without having the pressure to talk to anyone… all while eating some buttery popcorn, snacks, and a drink. There’s also no pressure to make small talk and you can leave whenever you want.
But if you really don’t want to be around anyone, go to a matinee, which can have such low attendance that sometimes I’ve had a theater all to myself!
6. Train rides — you can be as solitary, or as social, as you’d like
I’m not a huge fan of crowded commuter trains — everyone is all squished together, and you most likely have to stand up during peak times.
However, my seven-year-old is obsessed with trains, and so we decided to go on long passenger train rides on Amtrak to get to some of our vacation destinations. And, now, we are hooked.
Yes, the train can get crowded at times, but you usually have an assigned seat. If you’re traveling solo, you may have to sit next to someone. Or you can book a private room with your own bed, which sounds glorious! You can bring a book, listen to music, or watch movies on your phone while relaxing on a train. Or just look out the window and watch the beautiful scenery go by.
It’s a wonderful way to see the country without having to stress about driving, rush around a busy airport, or take a long bus ride. Most passenger trains also have a dining car or a snack bar, as well as a glass “observation car,” where people can look out and enjoy the views.
The Best of Both Worlds — You Can Be Around People, but on Your Terms
I know the thought of going to crowded places can make introverts shudder. But some of us still like the social aspect of being around fellow humans without having the burden of having to force conversation.
The places I listed are great spots to be alone and be able to leave whenever we want. There’s no pressure of having to stay and no feeling bad when we want to go home early.
The best part? You can still have the freedom to do what you want while preserving your inner energy. You won’t feel completely alone, but also won’t feel too people-d out — and you’ll have fun doing activities you love.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
You might like:
- An Introvert Goes to a Rock Concert (and Enjoys It)
- Yes, Introverts Can Like Parties… but With Certain Caveats
- Why Is Socializing Exhausting for Introverts? Here’s the Science
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