communication skills, Culture, introverts, social activities, social awkwardness, social skills -

8 Ways Introverts Can Avoid Social Awkwardness (Without Being a Recluse)

8 Ways Introverts Can Avoid Social Awkwardness (Without Being a Recluse)

Ugh, socializing. Here’s how to survive your next shindig, introvert style—you know, minus the social awkwardness.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy; spending time alone is a personal preference, like texting instead of calling or eating kale instead of… that really boring lettuce that’s so boring I don’t remember the name of it. That being said, socializing is an important part of the whole being human thing—but the social awkwardness can be a total drag.

Here are 8 strategies you can use to step up your game, while still being your wonderfully introverted self:

1. Practice

The only way to put the kibosh on social awkwardness is to practice being social. Focus on the teeny tiny interactions that typically make you want to tear your skin off and go from there. For example, take the elevator with other people instead of running for the stairs. Gag your way through chit chat with the person standing behind you in the grocery line. Smile and say hi when you pass someone in the hallway at work… without making a face afterward.

And before a (gulp) party, practice what you might talk about when you strike up a conversation with someone new to make it seem like you actually want to be there.

2. Decide which social gatherings are “worth” it

Because socializing uses up a ton of energy, it’s best to decide ahead of time which types of functions are important to you, and which ones you can do without. For example, going to your BFF’s wedding is a no-brainer, while going to her cousin’s half sister’s secretary’s baby shower… well, not so much.

3. Block out quiet time

Make sure you block out time to rest up before and after. Do things that help you relax beforehand, but don’t use up a ton of energy. For example, going for a walk, reading a book, or listening to music. Create a pre-party ritual so when it’s time to go out, you’re ready to put those social skills to the test. Then once you get home, take as much time to unwind as you possibly can, since you just experienced an introvert’s version of a 5K marathon.

4. Bring a partner in crime

Bring an equally introverted friend to the event so you can be there for each other when you need to hyperventilate. Or, bring an extroverted friend who you’re not only comfortable around, but appreciates your social awkwardness and won’t push you into a sea of people (Xanax anyone?). That way you always have someone to talk to, instead of becoming the weird girl in the corner always staring at her phone.

5. Set a goal

Let’s face it: To get yourself out the door, you need to know why going is so important and why you’re about to leave your (full) DVR behind. Whether you’re going out to network for your career, or celebrate a birthday with someone you care about, giving a purpose to the event makes it so that no matter how things go, you’re emotionally fulfilled in the process. Going out for going out’s sake is just not our thang.

6. Find a hiding spot

The second you get to the shindig, make sure to find a hiding spot you can use for privacy in case you ever get overwhelmed by the swarms of people. Ironically, once you find a hiding spot you rarely end up using it—it becomes a comfort just knowing it’s there, which helps you power through any social awkwardness you might stumble across.

7. Plan an escape route

Make sure to have an alternative way home if you drive there with friends, since guaranteed you’re going to want to leave way sooner than they do. Ending up stranded somewhere with a bunch of strangers? Total. Nightmare.

8. Don’t try to be an extrovert

Be crazy and quirky you, because that’s why you were invited in the first place. Your DVR will be waiting for you when you get home.

How do you wade through the social awkwardness?

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Image: Shy woman photo via Shutterstock

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