The Secret Introvert's Guide to Being Social

I think of myself as a secret introvert. I love people and socializing, but in excess, it can tire me out. These are some of my tricks for sanity maintenance in a social world.
  1. Remember, it's ok to not talk sometimes.
    It can be tempting to fill the space with blather, especially if quiet makes you anxious, but more often than not, if you let them, others will happily take the lead on conversation in a group, leaving you a few minutes to warm up. You can chime in when you feel ready. Nobody will judge you for not carrying the conversation.
  2. Take breaks during group time.
    I cannot emphasize this enough. My tendency is to go and go until I suddenly hate everyone and want to be alone. To maintain balance, I will sneak away for a few minutes. I'll go for a walk, check social media, make a list, daydream, whatever--just for a few minutes. If I'm hosting, I'll futz around in the kitchen for a few minutes, making sure to decline assistance so I can be alone. I am much more fun to be around when I take these breaks.
  3. Focus on connecting to individuals, even if you're in a group setting.
    My preferred form of hanging out is one-on-one, so when I'm in a group setting, I like to focus on actually getting to know/talking to individuals. Group time is less overwhelming to me if I think of it as several smaller individual interactions.
  4. Don't be afraid to say, "no thanks."
    "Have another drink!" "One more bar!" "Please stay for dessert!" "Join our drum circle!" It feels good to have your presence requested, but I know myself and I know when one more drink/bar/dessert/a fucking drum circle will push me into full-on irritated mode and I will feel crabby and struggle to be nice. It's better to kindly decline and go home.
  5. Similarly, learn to tell your partner, "I'm not interested, but you should go for it!" And mean it.
    @evan loves being social and lives for the weird shit San Francisco has to offer. When I learned to tell him in total earnest, "I don't think I want to go to that pajama party/laser sword festival/vegan poetry reading, but you totally should!" it was so good for us. He gets 3 hours of FOMO-busting fun and I get 3 hours of psyche-preserving Gabi time. When he comes home, we are both happy.
  6. Find the person in the room who looks even more uncomfortable than you. Say hi.
    Suggested by   @samantharonson
  7. Read "Quiet- The Power of Introverts" by Susan Cain. It helped me to understand and appreciate that part of me in ways I never imagined. Plus just a really interesting read.
    Suggested by   @dball