Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Find Other Introverts

While browsing an introversion-related subreddit the other day, I found a post by someone who was frustrated that they couldn't seem to find any people who were introverted to be friends with. Everyone they met liked to go out and party all the time, and they just wanted a friend who preferred to sit in drinking coffee and reading a book on Friday nights.

I completely sympathize. It can be hard for introverts to meet other introverts, much less to recognize them as such, and when it seems like everyone you meet likes to do big social extroverted things all the time, it can feel very lonely.

So I figured I'd offer up some suggestions to the introvert world at large.

1. Remember, not all introverts look like introverts.

Some introverts may enjoy big social gatherings in small doses, or they learn to fake it. Not every introvert spends all their time in public staring at their phone or reading a book. You may be meeting introverts all the time and you just don't know it. To find an introvert in a crowd, try striking up one-on-one conversations -- an introvert is more likely to direct all their attention to one person for a long period of time, while someone more extroverted will probably still love talking to you but will include others in the conversation or move on to mingle with someone else.

Facebook has actually been the most helpful tool for me. Posting about introversion and about how much I love getting alone time after a socially busy week has opened up the floor for others to chime in with, "Me too!" and "I know what you mean!" There are friends I honestly had no idea were introverts until they responded to one of these posts.

2. Look for the outliers.

While not all shy people are introverts and not all boisterous people are extroverts, those traits do often go together. Keep an eye out for the people in your circle of acquaintances who seem to distance themselves a little bit from groups -- the ones who usually eat alone in the cafeteria, the ones who leave the party early, the ones who only occasionally goes to the movies with everyone.

3. Pursue introvert-friendly hobbies (socially).

This is essentially saying that if you want to find somebody who hates hanging out at parties like you do, you're probably not going to find them at a party. If most of your social activities are you being dragged along reluctantly to places you don't want to be, you're going to be in the minority. Find something you enjoy that may be a little bit more introverted and see if there's a way to expand that to be a little bit social. Join a book club, take a cooking class, find a Facebook group for local movie enthusiasts. This way, even if the people you meet aren't super introverted, you know that you at least share some common interests, and if you say, "I don't feel like going out. Let's just Redbox a movie and hang out at my place," you know this is something they might enjoy.

Any thoughts from you guys? What are your tips and ideas on where to find and connect with introverts?

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