Here’s what I do to feel more connected to society without overwhelming or exhausting myself as an introvert.
Yes, introverts like being alone. In fact, being alone is an essential part of an introvert’s lifestyle. However, that doesn’t mean that we introverts are immune to loneliness. It is actually very common for introverts to seek out socializing after spending too much time in solitude. However, the way in which introverts dissolve feelings of loneliness differs from extroverts.
For example, an extrovert may go to a loud bar and make conversation with strangers or plan a get-together with 15 of their closest friends when they feel lonely. Introverts, on the other hand, take a different approach. Because while the idea of going to a loud party, bar, or concert may seem like a foolproof way to combat loneliness, these types of activities simply do not do the trick for us introverts. Instead, many introverts can attest to feeling even more isolated when standing in a loud room full of strangers.
If you’re an introvert like myself, you might be struggling to find ways that allow you to feel more connected to society without overwhelming or exhausting your mind. But instead of seeking out throngs of people, I recommend pursuing introvert-friendly activities that make you feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and content. If you are not quite sure what that includes, I have listed some of my go-to pursuits for when I am feeling a little too isolated.
6 Ways to Feel Less Lonely as an Introvert
1. Start (and finish) a new project.
Many of my extroverted friends and family members admire my knack for not only starting projects, but also finishing them. But for an introvert like me, a new project is the perfect outlet for my energy, and deep work is our secret weapon. Plus, starting and finishing something gives me that sense of satisfaction that I need from time to time to boost my morale.
The project can be anything you want, big or small. I’ve found that the most enjoyable projects are the ones that mean something, such as creating a scrapbook of a recent solo trip or painting a new frame for my home office. But the project could also be something that you’ve just been putting off, such as assembling an IKEA purchase or finally deep-cleaning your bathroom (many introverts like clutter-free environments). Regardless, finding ways to keep yourself busy in the comfort of your own home can make you feel accomplished and invigorated.
2. Call or see a trusted friend.
Introverts are the type of people who prefer the company of those they trust. Shallow socialization (such as making small talk at a dinner party) will not make us feel better. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect.
Instead, if I’m feeling lonely, I reach out to a reliable friend who I know will be willing to dive into a deep and mentally stimulating conversation. If I can, I try to see the friend in person. But most of the time, a phone call suffices — even though I know many introverts don’t love the phone. I have a handful of individuals that I can have open and real conversations with, and that one-on-one time means more to me than 10 conversations with 10 different people at a bar.
3. Take a walk.
Many introverts are drawn to the outdoors. Personally, I have always found something extremely comforting about being in nature, and I’m noticeably more at peace with myself on days where I can spend a considerable amount of time outside. Research, too, has found that it’s good for our health.
That’s why, when I feel lonely or overwhelmed, taking a walk drastically boosts my mood. And what I love the most about walking is that you can do it anywhere: in the country, through the city, along the water, etc. No matter where you are, there’s always room for walking.
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4. Listen to an informational podcast.
We have transitioned from the YouTube era to the podcast era, which means podcasts are plentiful these days. And while music can calm my introverted mind, I often find that podcasts are slightly more captivating because of the stories they tell.
Introverts are excellent listeners, and being able to listen to others speak on an informational topic is engaging. So, in addition to being entertained, podcasts allow me to learn more about a new topic of interest or digest other people’s opinions on a current event without feeling pressure to jump in and add input. I view listening to podcasts as being similar to eavesdropping on an interesting conversation (except it’s more socially acceptable). Regardless of how you view it, tuning into a podcast is a sure-fire way to help you feel less isolated if you’re an introvert who is feeling unusually lonely.
5. Pursue a hobby.
Since introverts are so comfortable being alone, we are the type of people who thrive at pursuing and keeping up with hobbies. For me, my go-to hobbies are writing and cooking (which is like “culinary therapy”). Both of these activities are soothing because they come naturally to me and I can do them alone.
There are countless other solo hobbies you can try to ease your mind, including learning a new craft or teaching yourself how to play an instrument. Regardless of what you choose, these little hobbies are just what we introverts need when we are feeling lonely — but not quite ready to take on the outside world.
6. Exercise at home (with or without others joining you virtually).
Similar to taking a walk, moving around in any capacity helps me ease any overthinking I experience as an introvert. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to become a hardcore athlete. Anything that gets you moving can do the trick. In fact, one of my favorite go-to exercises is yoga. The stretches and deep breathing are ideal for quieting anxiety lurking inside my mind, and I often feel refreshed afterward.
Since I’ve always prioritized physical activity, I used to force myself to go to the gym. But the commotion of other weightlifters and loud group exercise classes were exhausting for a reserved introvert such as myself. And, despite wearing headphones, I still had to deal with awkward interactions and other gym members striking up conversations.
Now, I stream workout videos from a digital platform. Engaging in a home workout video makes me feel like I am socializing without leaving my house. I get to do the workouts at my pace while still getting the experience of having a professional instructor. Watching an instructor lead a class of people and talk to me through the screen makes me feel like I am a part of something without having to engage with big crowds, which is a win-win for an introvert.
Introverts May Thrive When Alone, But That Doesn’t Make Them Immune to Loneliness
So while we introverts thrive on our own, we are not immune to loneliness. But how we conquer solitude is different from how an extrovert approaches too much alone time. We need to rely on methods like walks, hobbies, and podcasts that fit into our low-stimulus environments if we want to absolve feelings of isolation without overwhelming and exhausting ourselves. So whatever it is for you, I encourage you to find your go-to fix for when you are feeling lonely.
Introverts, what do you do when you’re feeling lonely? I’d love to hear in the comments below!