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Although most introverts would prefer to keep the term “socializing” out of their vocabularies, it’s nevertheless a fact that being social is important for our mental and emotional well-being.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to hit up every cocktail hour in your city or sacrifice your dignity at an open mic night. In fact, you just might find that there are some social events you enjoy attending if you learn where to look.
Put the ‘Active’ in ‘Activity’
An introvert’s biggest fear when it comes to socializing is that we might have to talk to people when we’d really rather not. This is something that makes us nervous even when we’re making plans to spend time with people we actually like.
The root of this issue is actually quite simple: we need to be comfortable being around people before we’re ready to talk to people.
Finding activities that provide things you can actually do (as opposed to events that require you to stand around and talk *shudder*) is a quick fix for the above concern.
These activities can include:
- BYOB Wine and Paint Classes: In recent years, multiple business have sprung up offering guided painting classes that have the added bonus of encouraging alcohol. Even if Michelangelo isn’t in your family tree, you can walk away with a beautiful painting after enjoying a relaxing evening of wine and art.
- Carnivals/Festivals/Fairs: While large crowds usually aren’t our favorite, spending a few hours enjoying thrill rides, carnival games, fried food, and semi-transparent magic tricks is a great way to spend time with people without having to constantly talk to them.
- Entertainment Events: Seeing a movie, a theatre production, or attending a concert are other examples of social events that will allow you to get out of the house without having to rely on conversation to keep the evening going.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteer work can technically be considered a social event (there are other people there, right?), and this is a great way to spend time with people while keeping busy enough that you have an excuse not to stand around and chat.
These types of events are perfect for introverts because they offer plenty to do; not only will they provide you with something to talk about as you complete the activities, but they also will keep you busy enough to prevent any awkwardness if there’s a lapse in conversation or you simply aren’t feeling chatty.
Level the playing field
If you don’t already have people to attend the above social events with, it means that you need to begin the (dreaded) process of making new friends.
Although you’ve probably found yourself thinking, “Who needs friends anyway?”, the answer is you. You need friends. And no, your cat doesn’t count (I know because I’ve tried).
Our biggest concern when it comes to meeting new people is that we’ll end up in a situation where everyone already knows each other, and we’ll be left standing alone (probably in a snow storm watching Tiny Tim eat Christmas dinner with his family, if your imagination is as dramatic as mine).
Even though that’s highly unlikely (even if everyone else does already know one another), you can prevent that scenario from becoming a possibility by attending events where everyone is new.
This is what I like to think of as “leveling the playing field.” We’re all in the same boat, and somehow the thought that everyone else is just as scared and nauseous as I am makes me feel way better about introducing myself to new people.
These type of events can be found at the following places:
- Your local library. Most decently-sized libraries offer a surprising number of social events. One benefit of attending social events at your library is that there’s almost no way you’re going to be the weirdest person there. At the library you can usually find book clubs (for all sorts of genres), movie clubs, arts-and-crafts events, and advertisements for local festivals, volunteer opportunities, and other social events.
- Religious organizations. Religious organizations are a great place to meet new people, and most will typically offer a class or gathering for newcomers. Because everyone will be new and scared (i.e. a level playing field), everyone will be desperate to make new friends, and chances are you won’t even have to do the work.
- Classes. Your current level of education is irrelevant, because there is always something to learn and usually a class that’s willing to offer it. Whether it’s learning to play an instrument, a sport, develop a skill or hobby, learn a new language, or brush up on skills related to your existing career, most cities have a wealth of opportunities for taking classes. Although you may occasionally encounter one or two people who signed up with a friend, more often than not everyone is new and alone.
As an introvert, it can be difficult to find social events that we’re comfortable attending. But finding activities that allow us to stay busy as well as events where everyone is a newcomer can help us develop thriving social lives that rival that of any extrovert.
What are your favorite social events as an introvert? Let us hear in the comments!