For an introvert, the modern world can be exhausting. Going out with friends every night takes its toll; dating makes you want to throw up; and if someone wants you to actually network – let’s just say you’re going to need the rest of the month to recuperate.
Your friends don’t get it. Your boss acts like it’s not a thing. And your significant other takes it personally.
What the heck are you supposed to do?
First of all, don’t give up. We’ve put together a survival guide for all the introverts out there. If you want to stay alive (and healthy, because that’s important!) in a world that seems like it’s run by extroverts, make the following habits a part of your life:
1. See your introversion for what it is
No, it’s not a rare disease. It’s also not a crime. And it’s definitely not a weakness. You may have heard some of the statistics about introverts actually being better equipped for success and leadership than extroverts are. You probably just thought that was someone trying to make you feel better, and maybe it was, but it’s also true. Introversion isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s just your personality type. And it can even come in handy sometimes.
2. Reserve time for yourself
If all your friends are extroverts, then chances are they don’t understand why you don’t want to spend every waking hour of your life out doing “fun” stuff with them. You love your friends, so you don’t want to hurt their feelings. But your definition of fun includes some personal time without friends or – let’s face it – anyone.
If that sounds like you, then it’s important to take time out for yourself. Introverts get their energy from being alone. (They’ve often been compared to batteries that need to “recharge.”) So if you don’t get that critical amount of time alone every day, you’re going to wear out pretty fast. If you find it helps, you might want to carve out a chunk of time periodically to just cool off by yourself for a while. Make that your personal health time and don’t let anyone or anything interrupt it. Once you’ve recharged, you’ll be plenty ready – and possibly even excited – to go hang out with your friends or significant other again.
3. Remember that you actually like people
Yes, you do. Many introverts dread social events but actually end up enjoying them – if they just give it a chance. So give things a chance. If there’s a social event you want to go to, don’t talk yourself out of it using your introversion as an excuse. It’s perfectly fine to skip out on some social events if you need to recharge or just know you’ve reached your quota for the day. But don’t shut yourself up in your room and cut off all contact with the outside world, because that’s not healthy either.
4. Tell it like it is
Extroverts don’t get you, and that can be extremely frustrating. Especially if your spouse or significant other happens to be an extrovert. Rather than fuming behind their backs and wishing you could just set their head straight, though, take a more productive approach. Tell people right up front that you’re an introvert. Be open about what it’s like for you to be around people all day, and explain that you don’t hate them – you just need some me time.
With time, you can stop merely surviving as an introvert and actually turn your “awkward” personality type into a source of power – because that’s what it really is.