Contrary to popular opinion, life as an introvert can be pretty great. You don’t overcommit to social events, you’re naturally picky about the people you’re close to, and you don’t have to worry about spending your monthly budget on drinks or parties.
But sometimes introversion can get in the way of living your best life. In particular, you might find it hard to have open, honest conversation, or you might overthink social interactions with folks that meant nothing by an off-the-cuff comment.
So, here are a few ways you can advocate for yourself as an introvert, and improve your life, health, and relationships.
Sign Up for Clubs
For most introverts, the idea of signing up for a sports team or book club sounds like a living nightmare. But, in reality, clubs are a great way to socialize and are actually far less awkward than having a meal with friends or going out for drinks on the weekend. That’s because you all have a common purpose for being together, so you always have something to do and talk about.
The benefit of this purpose-oriented approach is that you don’t have to extend beyond your introverted nature. Once the pre-arranged meeting is over, you can simply leave without feeling a burden to linger and mingle with others.
You can score self-advocacy bonus points if you sign up for something that will be good for your health and wellbeing. For example, there are soccer clubs in every town across the nation that caters to a range of ages and abilities, or you can join a solo-sport organization like archery or dance clubs. These activities will help improve your well-being and will give you a chance to socialize without social pressure.
Connect via Technology
As an introvert, you probably know that you should speak to your loved ones more often, but may lack the drive to actually do it. Provided you have a healthy relationship with your family, you should seriously consider leveraging virtual video platforms like Zoom, Facetime, or Skype to connect with long-distance relatives.
If the idea of being one-on-one with your parents or siblings is a little daunting, consider a platform like Zoom that allows you to host multiple people at the same time. This way, you can get your favorite family members on the call at the same time, and they can pick up any lulls in conversation.
You can also consider planning activities when you meet. For example, many board games can be played remotely, and you can now host watch parties via Netflix. This will give you a sense of community that will help build your confidence — even if you’ve recently moved away from those closest to you.
Research finds a tentative correlation between introversion and conditions like depression and anxiety. While much more investigation is needed before drawing any meaningful conclusions, you can protect your mental health and well-being by improving your health literacy.
There are many different types of health literacy — particularly in the U.S., where healthcare can involve hefty medical bills. Being health literate helps you understand your options before you turn down treatment based on costs and insurance deductibles. Additionally, health literacy can help you ask questions the next time you speak to your doctor, so you can become an advocate for your own health.
To improve your health literacy, you can do things like subscribe to your healthcare providers’ newsletters and should get most of your health-related information from peer-reviewed sources or federal sites like USA.gov. These sites aren’t perfect, but they will help you feel prepared to ask your doctor questions the next time you visit them.
Many introverts bottle up their emotions and find it hard to communicate their feelings clearly. This leads to unhealthy relationships, where your feelings get hurt and your boundaries are overstepped. In turn, this will lead to deeper introversion, where you may isolate yourself from others entirely.
You can set healthier boundaries by doing some introspection and figuring out where your boundaries should be drawn. Following this, you should prepare to communicate your boundaries clearly with those around you so they understand why you might need some space.
For example, if you find a work colleague is overbearing, you can politely tell them that you need some space for your own wellbeing. These kinds of difficult conversations can feel awkward at first, but, if the person truly has your best interests at heart, then they will understand and will likely appreciate the clear and open appreciation.
Being an introvert comes with its own set of rewards and challenges. On the one hand, you feel comfortable in your own company but, on the other, you may have a tendency to isolate yourself. You can improve your health, relationships, and satisfaction with life by learning to advocate for yourself and your well-being. This might include setting boundaries, joining local clubs, or simply spending more time chatting with loved ones.
This is a guest post from Luke Smith. Luke is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but relationship topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.