When I started college, I had a big goal for myself: I wasn’t going to be an introvert anymore. I swore that I would become more outgoing, have engaging conversations in and out of the classroom, and meet someone special.
My vision for my social life was drastically different than the reality, though. Despite my resolution to be an extrovert, I still left parties beating myself up. I usually was worn out from either all the people, or how I’d avoided talking with mostly all of them.
Years later, I learned about introverted personalities. I remember first watching Susan Cain’s TED talk titled The Power of Introverts. “You need to understand what introversion is. It’s different from being shy,” she explained. “Shyness is about fear of social judgment. Introversion is more about, how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation?”
Being an introvert can mean a lot of things, but none of them are bad. For instance, I’m quiet until you get to know me. But being an introvert doesn’t mean that all introverts are shy. Being introverted doesn’t mean that introverts suffer from social phobia. Instead, it means that introverts respond to social situations differently than extroverts.
Once I realized that being an introvert wasn’t a problem, my social life changed incredibly. I became much more confident in who I was and what I needed as an individual in social situations.
But when it comes to our love lives, how do us introverts manage? If you’re an introvert and want to meet people, here are four ways you can set yourself up for success.
1. Skip out on the bar scene
Heading to the typical social scene can be draining for introverts. If you’re an introvert, don’t force yourself to head to the bar every weekend or book your weekend with crowded social events. It won’t take too long until you’re completely worn out.
So if you leave the bar exhausted from social interaction, what alternatives do you have as an introvert? Plenty, it turns out.
As an introvert, I thrive in spots like local coffee shops, libraries, and quaint book stores. If those spots make you joyful too, find a particular place that you enjoy and spend some time there regularly. Instead of working on a project from the comfort of your couch, head over to the coffee shop. Settle down in a book store with your favorite novel.
But don’t just put in your headphones and tune everyone out. Invest in other regulars you see getting their daily coffee, or get to know the bookstore cashier. After all, you already have one thing in common — your favorite hangout spot.
2. Invest in your passions
Being an introvert doesn’t meant that you have no hobbies or friends, or that you spend all day in your house alone. It simply means that you respond to social stimulation differently. So create space in your schedule where you can meet new people and invest in friendship in low-pressure settings.
Do you love a particular local organization and the work they’re doing in your community? Volunteer with them. Always wanted to know how to cook French food? Take a class and learn how to finally make that crème brûlée.
Investing in your hobbies and passions helps you enjoy current season of life as an introvert. Your hobbies give you a chance to invest in healthy self-care and meet people who share your interests. You’ll more than likely meet a whole range of new friends (young and old!) which will help you grow your social circle and invest in others.
3. Be authentic
If you identify as an introvert as well, there is nothing wrong with your personality. It’s okay that we feel worn out after social gatherings, or enjoy time by ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with needing time alone to recharge. It’s okay if you like listening more than talking in conversations.
Don’t feel guilty for taking a night to yourself, either. You recharge when you’re not surrounded by a lot of people, so feel free to go for a quiet night instead of inviting the gang over to your place. Set aside time each day so that you can get lost in thought without distraction.
If you find yourself feeling anxious about how people perceive your introversion, ask for your friend’s support and reassurance. Often we overthink how people are perceiving us — they may not have even noticed the small thing that anxious introverts can dwell on for days. A close friend can be a huge help to calm anxiety.
4. Give online dating a try
Online dating is nothing new. After all, tens of millions of people around the world have turned to the internet to find that special someone. But online dating is a particularly great way for introverts to meet someone new.
At Catholic Singles, while our members still have traditional profiles, we also give members the opportunity to focus on what you are doing on the site. This gives you and them a chance to get to know the person, not just their picture.
Striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know can be difficult, especially for introverts. We also make it easy to reach out to others! On our site and app, you can send photo and icebreakers to start up conversation.
Whether God leads you to that special someone right away or he asks you to continue being patient, you’ll feel like a part of a supportive community of people who understand and share the values you live with every day.