An introvert named Patrick in southeastern New England emailed me with this question, and I think a lot of us have probably wondered the same thing – how to find those needles in a haystack, those high-quality friendships, when we’re totally new in town?
I very recently moved away from home for the first time to a new city for a job. And, for the last few weeks, I have been feeling uncharacteristically lonely. Reading and gaming and generally spending time by myself, activities which have always keep me contented and happy in the past, have not been holding my interest. (I still have no desire to go out and party, so I’m fairly confident that I remain an introvert 🙂 ). I assume that my family was providing me with my necessary % Daily value of human contact and social interaction and that now that I am 1000 miles away, I am feeling lonely.
I think that the solution to my problem would be to acquire a few friends (or perhaps a girlfriend) around here, but this leads me to the problem that actually got me typing here in the first place: How does an introvert find, meet, and make friends with other introverts? Pretty much all of the standard strategies for making friends and meeting people seem to be geared towards extroverts. The most common piece of advice I hear/read is to participate in activities that interest me, in order to meet like minded people, but all the things I like to do are things I can do by myself. And furthermore, trying to join a group of people who already know each other to participate in some group activity is just the sort of outgoing social activity that scares an introvert like me away.
And then, part two of my dilemma. Let’s say I somehow manage to find a place where like minded introverts congregate (a library?). How do I approach a fellow introvert without appearing to be one of those annoying extroverts that we are all trying to avoid in the first place? I know that when I am busy reading (on those rare occasions when I am out in public) and a stranger tries to strike up a conversation, I automatically become annoyed at the interruption, especially when they start asking me about what I am reading without actually caring. I always get the impression that they are talking to me as an act of charity rather than because they actually want to talk to me. Thus, when I see someone else just reading, I feel like I want to go talk to them because they might be my kind of person, but I never do for fear that I’ll annoy them the same way that I get annoyed, or worse, that I might be interrupting their personal recharging time.
Now that I know that there are lots of other people like me out there, I suspect that these might be common problems, so I wonder if anyone has found solutions for them. Thanks in advance!
Photo credit: Funkdooby