Introvert is one of those words that gets thrown around so much, it practically loses its meaning. You know, like “millennial” and “love” and “please pay your credit card bill on time.” The mere discovery of whether or not you’re an introvert takes up about 33% of Internet quizzes, and lists about simply being an introvert pop up once every seven seconds on Buzzfeed alone. But I still consider myself one, even though, like most of the guys I saw in college, I’m not too into the labeling thing. I’m just one of those people who would rather stay home in my pajamas than dabble in human contact. I saw two strangers on the subway talking the other day and I thought “that looks nice, but also not for me.” The idea of forming a meaningful connection with people I don’t already know sounds terrible and taxing. I need a nap just thinking about it. All I need to make myself happy is a book, a facemask, a cheap bottle of wine, and a Wi-Fi connection. However, I realize sometimes I have to leave the house. I do have a handful of friends I want to see, and those friends sometimes like to go to bars or parties and communicate with the outside world. So! If you are in my boat, and this sounds just as exhausting to you, I am contributing to the myriad of lists about introverts, here’s mine. Read my tips on having fun out as an introvert below:
1. . Hide Out In The Bathroom Frequently
Whenever the bumping bass of Pitbull, beating into my ears like a horrible drum, gets to be too much, I just head to the bathroom. When a conversation about what I do for work starts to feel like somebody is physically taking an ice pick to my soul, I head to the bathroom. The bathroom is the sanctuary of any introvert. You can stare into the mirror and talk to yourself, you can freely look at your phone without looking rude, you can make a real activity of looking through people’s medical cabinets, and you can zone out on the toilet. It’s an easy way of centering yourself to prepare for yet another conversation about how the subway is not so good, or even better, the weather. And when things get rough, just head into the washroom and start counting all the different antacids again.
2. . Find A Pet Or Friend To Cling Onto
If you’re lucky enough to be at a house party that has a pet, you can just sit in the corner all night, mumbling baby talk. Imagine if you did that without a pet! But seriously, never let that pet go. Start an Instagram for the pet. Take it on a photo shoot. Carry it around from room to room, announcing, “look at the pet.” Nobody will even notice that you’re not making human conversation. They’ll just be looking at the cute pet! If there isn’t a pet…why did you go to the party?! However, you can substitute pet for “friend who wanted you to go the party.” Just cling onto them like Saran Wrap to a sandwich. Enter their conversations by just sipping your drink and nodding. Utilize their social skills to your benefit! That’s what friends are for---the using.
3. . Stuff Your Face With Food
I’ve made lifelong friends by the snack table. That friend was St. Andre’s Cheese, a creamy, funky little guy that's a lot of fun just being itself on a cracker, or dressed up with a little honey and dried fruit. St. Andre’s Cheese has been through a lot with me, both good and bad: it was there during that time I felt worthless and unloved and felt the need to eat an entire block of cheese on the couch, and it was there for me when I had a few friends over and felt like I was the kind of composed adult who could put together a cheese plate. I love it, and couldn’t imagine my life if I hadn’t gone to that party and didn’t stand by the snack table and met it.
4. . Pretend You're Someone Else Entirely
When I go out to birthday parties where I know about five people, I just talk to people as if I’m not me. I give them my real name and occupation and all that, but that’s where the honesty ends. I’m me, but the me who is interesting and enthusiastic and likes talking about politics and superhero movies and sport ball and other nonsense I don’t know anything about. This me is happy and smiling and almost enjoys hearing about other people’s new diets or workout routines. And then I head home and let my true face reveal itself: the crumbling, annoyed, angry person who hate follows people on social media.
5. . Try To Go Places, And Just Leave When You Need To
I think the best thing I did for myself and my introver habits is to really listen to myself, but only sometimes. When I don’t want to go somewhere, I ask: is it because I’d rather pull an Aladdin and bury myself in the Cave of Wonders, or is it because I’m just a little nervous? If it’s the latter, I go. I try to do new things and step little baby steps out of my comfort zone, and most of the time? I have an okay time. Try doing new stuff. Just leave when you need to. Don’t wait for another drink, or when your friends want to go, and head out when you’re done. Your couch will be waiting for you when you get back.