Your life will never be quite as exhausting again.
Being quiet in a world that loves the sound of its own voice is challenging, but as an introvert you’ll only drain your energy by trying to fit in and chirp up.
I tried it for far too many years and ended up curled up in a ball desperately trying to recharge my batteries. You have to learn your own limits, be kind to yourself, and remember that no one else is living in your skin.
Two hours at a party might be enough for you, and saying no to invitations is always okay if you really don’t want to go. Sometimes I suggest a friend pop in for a couple of drinks on their way out so I get to see them for a mini catch-up without having to put myself through the dazzling regalia of a full-on night out.
It’s time to start living life on your own terms and doing whatever makes you happy. When you’ve worked out that you live in a bubble, that you would often prefer to be alone than in a group, and that you prefer nights in to nights out, pour yourself a hot cocoa and raise a mug to yourself. Now you can contentedly sit back and totally own the fact you’re an introvert.
1. Be honest about who you really are
You’ve spent years being identified as the ‘odd one out’, and have been sitting quietly on the edge feeling sick about not fitting in, but now honesty is the only policy. Life gets much easier when you accept what kind of personality type you really are, so be transparent and be proud.
2. Stop trying to be an extrovert
Everyone can see through play-acting – so hang up those heavy boots of non-required effort and give yourself permission to do what you really want to do. If you want to be quiet, quiet away!
3. Do something productive with nights in
If you’re going to stare at the TV for hours, at least opt for a movie you really, really want to watch. Or if you’ve been daydreaming about getting a blog up and running, do it.
4. Decline invitations honestly
Coughing down the phone and pretending to be sick only leaves you freaking out about being caught. Just be straight up and say ‘I’m staying in tonight’. Easy!
5. Pick your faves
Have a look at your schedule for the month ahead and only RSVP to events you really want to go to. Lock them in and give yourself plenty of time to psyche yourself up for them. If you only go to things you really want to go to, you’ll avoid having to cancel when you get last-minute FOGO (fear of going out).
6. Practise saying no
In the beginning, it’s hard to say no to offers of shopping trips, dinners and parties, but it does get easier the more you say it.
7. Get outside
Just because you’ve turned down a stack of invitations to social events you don’t want to go to doesn’t mean you should never breathe fresh air or feel the sun on your skin again. Do not let yourself become a prisoner in your own home – go outside and smell the roses.
8. Have an exit strategy
I’m known for leaving parties early and not saying goodbye. It’s not because I’m rude – I just don’t want to spend an hour kissing cheeks and explaining myself. When I want to leave, I leave. A follow-up text to those still dancing the night away when I’m comfortably in my PJs is perfectly acceptable.
9. Do some weeding
Now that you’re being honest about who you are, get honest about who you’d really like to spend your time with. You may find that friends who lay on the guilt or are always draining your mood are better off out of your life.
10. Play the game
Face facts: when you’re out, you’re not always going to have fascinating, life-changing conversations, and even though small talk feels like a complete waste of time, play the game. Walk the small walk around the room and talk the small talk.
11. Go on an adventure
Taking a solo trip with a notebook in hand and a gripping novel in your bag is a fantastic way to spend quality ‘me’ time. I’m a huge fan of long train trips that allow me to pepper my reading with daydreaming while I stare out the window – beats a night out any day.
12. Trust your friends
True friends will love you for who you really are. They won’t think you’re weird even if they’re not wired the same way as you. So trust them enough to be honest – the more you talk about needing your downtime, the more they’ll back off with their friend-guilt and truly understand you.
13. Set aside time to think
Left to your own devices, you could spend entire weekends thinking, but that may not necessarily be good for you. Plan your alone time so you indulge yourself in your own thoughts for a while, then get some fresh air or cook something yummy. Don’t just drift.
14. Don’t panic
Sometimes, no matter how well you’ve planned, nights out can spiral into monsters you hadn’t planned for. I’ve felt a wave of panic rocking up to a restaurant and seeing 10 friends at the table rather than just one waiting for me – just take a breath and go with it. Don’t forget, you’re not trapped forever and you’ll be able to get out soon enough.
Images via giphy.com and tumblr.com.
Comment: How do you embrace your inner introvert?