While the past year hasn’t been great by any measure, anyone with introverted tendencies might have found themselves happier to lose the pressure of going out. When we were in lockdown, it was harder to feel like there was any fear of missing out (FOMO) or a need to go out because nothing was open for us to actually go to.
However, places are now reopening to full (or at least fuller) capacity, and, due to the past year’s on-and-off capacity limits and lockdowns, people are more eager than ever to be out and about. Even the introverted masses have gotten tired of not being able to see friends in person!
But, for introverts such as myself, the first step toward socializing again is to give ourselves some grace in doing so. It’s been a long year and there are a lot of new factors to going out that we all have to consider. So if you’re like me, then here are some tips for the readjustment period and keeping yourself in check while still having fun!
1. Wear comfortable clothes.
This counts for a lot. Feeling comfortable allows you to be more at ease, wherever you go and whatever you do. There’s no need to sacrifice the comfort we’ve gained from staying home for a year just to be outside. These days, I think everyone will be more about casual outfits made of comfy basics from brands like Fresh Clean Tees, though some people will definitely go for elaborate outfits to make up for the past year. If you want something simple and consistent like a pack of black t-shirts or would prefer a closet full of colorful t-shirts for summer fun, easy-breezy outfits make life comfy and relaxed. Finding a comfortable outfit, from a lightweight sweatshirt to super-soft crew socks, will take away some of the concern of going out and meeting people.
2. Find a calming solo activity.
One way to ease anxiety about socializing as an introvert is to have a few good routines where you can be with yourself. Many people suggest meditating or journaling, but you can also set aside an hour where all you do is clean the kitchen. You could also give yourself a daily walk. Giving yourself some time to be alone with your thoughts, or putting those thoughts aside to focus on a life task, can be really reassuring and rejuvenating. It makes you better able to go out and engage others.
3. Take a social media break.
One thing that can make people nervous about their introverted lifestyle is seeing highlights of other people’s lives on social media. It’s really important to remember that you can’t compare your entire life to someone else’s highlight reel. It’s like comparing one minute of your day to someone else’s entire month. Social media breaks will help you feel calmer about socializing and get to it in your own timeframe.
4. Build in alone time after a meetup.
After a big social event or even following a mellow hangout, it’s good to make sure you have some cool-down time by yourself. It’s important to give yourself the space to decompress, whether with a book or a favorite TV show. You probably had a great time with your friends, but ensuring that you recharge yourself with some alone time will mean you’re ready to socialize again sooner rather than later.
5. Ask a friend.
If you’re worried that you’re going to get stuck at home because of introverted tendencies, you can deputize a close friend to make sure you leave the house. There are probably situations where you want to be out and socializing, but get a little tired and give into the comfort of your abode. Having an extroverted friend who can help you get over that need to stay inside will give you a little push. There’s no harm in asking for help!
As we all adjust to the new normal, everyone should be granted some slack while we check in on each other. I’m slowly working into easing myself back into socializing. I’ve been making plans with close friends and seeing them again one by one, and I only recently attended a small group hang. I’m not yet willing to head into a big party where I don’t know a lot of people. Although I do identify as someone a bit more in the middle of the introvert-to-extrovert scale, the past year has been hard on my ability to want to make new connections. Anxiety tends to get worse during times of stress, and a year of sustained stress has been challenging and it’ll continue to be difficult to work through. Making sure we’re setting ourselves up for success is a necessity. Introverts and extroverts have both had a uniquely hard year, and we can all find ways to be with others happily and comfortably.
— Julia Rittenberg