How can an introvert find someone to share his life when he hates parties and nightclubs?

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Dear IntrovertZone,

I’ve stumbled across this blog during a period of deep soul-searching. It’s been brought on by a pretty traumatic breakup with my first girlfriend. Before the events leading to the breakup, we had talked about getting married and she was even talking about kids. I’m 23, and we had been together for two years.

We’d had our ups and downs like any couple, but we seemed to overcome them for a while. But she’s made the decision to break up so I guess me dwelling on it won’t change anything. I freely admit I’ve been to dark places in the aftermath of it, but I can feel myself slowly getting better.

Anyway, since this happened four months ago I find I’ve been spending quite a lot of time on my own, working through things and trying to let myself heal.

There have been moments where I’ve doubted myself and thought that there is something wrong with me. I know that as part of the healing process I need to focus on myself and accept myself for who I am.

I’ve always thought I was a bit different from everyone else.

At university I didn’t live the stereotypical lifestyle you associate with it. All of the drinking and “macho” behaviour most guys seemed to display and participate in didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Sure, I would go out for a few beers every now and then, but I focused on my work and I really enjoyed my course.

I hate nightclubs. You can’t hear yourself think, the drinks are overpriced and most of the time the music is poor. If you were to give me the choice between a nightclub and an evening at home alone with a book I’d choose the latter every time. I’ve always thought this made me weird, that there was something wrong with me. Even after a being at a party for a while I would get uncomfortable and want to go home. In my head I would criticise myself and question why I felt like that. On quite a few occasions when I’ve been out at university and at house parties with friends I’ve decided leave and just walked out on my own, often without telling people where I was going.

I’ve known for a few years now that I’m an introvert.

I feel like I’m quite misunderstood a lot of the time. Many people say I’m too serious, some say I’m boring, others say I’m anti-social. Few people seem to make the effort to scratch under the surface.

A lot of what is on the site strikes a chord with me, and it’s reassuring to know that there are people out there who have dealt with the issues that I face.

Are there any tips you could pass on to help with my self-acceptance? What I’m doing at the moment is focusing on myself in the aftermath of what’s happened. Jumping back into a relationship so soon would not be good for me, and it wouldn’t be fair on the other person either.

I think this is one of the biggest areas I have to work on when it comes to my introversion. I have this deep fear that it will keep me from finding someone to build a future with. After all, if my idea of fun is a hot date with a book, how will I find someone? Will I find someone that understands me and accepts me for who I am? If I’m on the sidelines at a party being quiet and most probably planning my escape route, how will I stand out to someone?

I love my solitude, but I do want to find someone special I can let into my world. I thought my girlfriend was that person, but I guess what she did shows she wasn’t.

If there’s any help you can give I would really appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts.

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33 Comments

  1. “Will I find someone that understands me and accepts me for who I am? If I’m on the sidelines at a party being quiet and most probably planning my escape route, how will I stand out to someone?”

    If you are at a party and you are not enjoying yourself and want to leave, why would you be looking for a mate at that very same party? Go where YOU are comfortable, and you will eventually find someone who is also comfortable there. Take it from someone who’s been there: much better to want something (someone) you don’t have than to have something (someone) one you don’t want. Go slow, because you will not find the person you are seeking at a party….at least she won’t be at that party for long because she will also be leaving as soon as possible. :-)
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    • Hi Georgene, thanks for your comment. I think I worry that not liking those situations or feeling completely at ease in them makes me weird and different from most people. I’ve not long left university/college and that seems the norm for the overwhelming majority of people there. In a way it seems geared towards extroverts. The question is, where will I find that person?

      • Trust me: you will find her where you least expect it!

        You are still very young (I am not trying to sound condescending; please believe that…) and you have many years ahead to find the person for you. When I was your age, feeling much the same way as you, I settled for someone who was entirely wrong for me. Two kids and 21 years later, I rectified the mistake, but in the process hurt some people. Another 21 years later (geeze, I’m old) I am happy and settled with the person I should have been with all along.

        Skip that intermediate step and wait until the right person comes along! You will be much happier for it! :-)

  2. As an INFP I love dating websites. I am in my greatest relationship so far – we’ll celebrate 3 years of hapiness this sumer – and we met online. Know what you want, be honest about it, give chances and with a little big of luck and a lot of patience you’ll find someone right for you too.
    Ela´s last post ..INFP – filme si muzica

    • Thanks Ela. I have considered giving dating websites a go, but I’m not sure I’m ready for another relationship just yet. But I know it’s something to consider. I’m trying to look at the bigger picture and tell myself that I’ll stand out to someone, but I can lose sight of that sometimes.

  3. You sound like my dream guy and I would have totally loved to spend date nights reading side by side — already found an introvert who fits your description though — and married him :)

    • Hi AS, that’s good to hear. How did you meet if you don’t mind me asking? I do wonder sometimes when/where I’ll meet that special person, but I guess it will be when I least expect it.

      • Yes it WILL be when you least expect it. I was set up with him on a blind date 11 years ago and it didn’t go that great. Didn’t see him again until 2008 (and loads of miserable relationships later), when he just happened to be roaming a mall where I was shopping with our mutual friend. It just went from there. Quietly and steadily. Being with a hardcore introvert rocks. It’s better than anything I’ve experienced with the extros I was dating earlier. He’s extremely charming, funny and brilliant (mints money sitting at home and writing code haha), but hates parties and small talk. He and I spend almost all of our time at home with our cat and we rarely socialise. We’re perfectly happy and doing fine in our careers.

  4. I read your question and you sound like a great person in my opinion!

    I wish I could give you some trick or trip to help you, but I think self-acceptance is an ongoing struggle. I don’t think anyone ever truly or completely accepts his/herself. I also think it’s something each person has to figure out on his own, unfortunately. I came up with my own motto for my own life: there are pros and cons to everything. Sometimes introverts see being an extrovert as the grass being greener. It’s not, it’s just different. There are pros and cons to being an extrovert just as there are for being an introvert. I think you could start by looking at being an introvert differently. Look for the positive, what you like about being an introvert. I do think that being an introvert can make some things harder, that’s for sure. That doesn’t mean being an extrovert would be better, though. It’s just easier to be yourself, that’s my opinion.

    I think you’re doing the right thing. Just focus on accepting yourself, that’s how you’ll find happiness. The right person will see the best in you. I know it’s hard, but just ignore the people who don’t understand you or tell you that you’re too serious. Honestly, the most criticism I received about being an introvert were by obnoxious extroverts in school. Once I entered the “real” world as an adult, people stopped criticizing my personality. I like to think it’s about maturity. I’ve been called a snob, too serious, boring, etc. It hurt, but I finally realized the kind of person who said that to me isn’t someone I respected or wanted to know. Not only do we need to accept ourselves, but we have to accept others.

    • Hi Kathie, I think for a long time I viewed my introverted traits as a negative, rather than a positive. For example, when I was at university/college I would question why I didn’t seem to enjoy the typical “student” lifestyle – the drinking, partying and ‘laddish’ behaviour that most guys seem to demonstrate.

      I’ve had the “too serious” comment plenty of times as well – and I find it hilarious. I find people often take you at face value. Just because I’m not grinning like a Cheshire Cat doesn’t mean I’m not happy or too serious :).

  5. I’m an extreme, extreme introvert who has managed to find love and am friends with many others who have found their loves as well. Some of them have found and married introverts, other have found and married extroverts. There’s something about introversion that many people find very attractive (my fiance has even said it was one of the first things that drew him to me). Do NOT think that introversion is some sort of a negative trait. I promise you it’s not. Many people will see your introversion as a positive trait. They will find the quiet and meditative side of you refreshing in this very noisy, very fast-paced world. I promise these people are out there. It may be difficult to find them sometimes and require sitting through a couple grueling parties or group activities to meet them, but sooner or later you can find the person who isn’t really all that excited about the party either.

    I was in college before I realized that introversion didn’t have to be a curse. It took me the entire time I was there to really get a handle on accepting myself as an introvert. One of the things that was very helpful for me was really relishing the things I loved because of my introversion. I loved going to my college library and sitting in one of the study rooms, reading, because it was beautifully quiet. I would think to myself, “I love this because I am an introvert. Some other people don’t know how wonderful this is.” Not to give myself a sense of superiority, but to find a sense of joy in what I loved and why I loved it. Once I was able to do that, it was easier for me to love my introversion.
    Hannah M´s last post ..Do Introverts Need to Learn to Speak Up in the Classroom?

    • Hi Hannah, I also love reading and getting lost in a good book. I also love listening to music and letting my mind wander – I guess I’ve got plenty of time for both of those things now!

  6. It sounds, in theory like an impossible challenge when you read the problem on paper but in real practical terms (throw out the theory!) you will have no problem, people are accepting and there are nice people who are out there.

    Been an introvert means you dont like a lot of things many people treat as common and normal but there are other people like you out there and even an introvert and extravert can work together!

    • Hi Laura, thanks for your comment. I do wonder whether I’m better off with someone quieter like me, or if an extrovert will counterbalance my quieter nature. They do say opposites attract.

  7. Luckily bars and nightclubs are not the only good places to meet with people – on the contrary. You are much more likely to find someone more normal and maybe more to your liking in places you like to go. This can be the park, library, bookstore, any place you like to spend your time. At least you will have one thing in common from the beginning. Do not worry, the fact that you are an introvert does not make you a lesser person than an extrovert, they are just lauder… ;)

  8. Maybe it is important to mention that introverts are not freaks. It is not mandatory to love parties and crowded spaces! Be in contact with your real needs and do what makes you feel good. If you do not like parties, do not attend them. Maybe you’ll feel much better in the company of a close friends or even alone, in the company of yourself. And that is perfectly normal!

  9. I am also thinking about the same thing. Girls in my class just don’t care about me but there is a girl who I like and she is just like me. So maybe we have to search for partners like us so that they can understand us. I am going to ask that girl out in coming week if I get chance and if she’s alone.
    Introvert’s Life´s last post ..Harmful effects of masturbation

  10. I can identify with much of what you say. I am nearly 50 years old, and things have gotten better, but when I was your age I despaired of ever having a relationship. I didn’t date at all through college, though I wanted to very much. It was often very painful. Strange, because by collegiate social life was quite active, had some good friends but just couldn’t attract any female attention. At your age, whenever I tried to discuss my dating frustrations with anyone, it always ended up with me being told something like “you’re trying too hard,” “don’t worry about it, these things just happen by themselves,” or “can’t you just be happy to be unattached. . . ” None of this addressed the reality that these things don’t just HAPPEN, someone has to DO something to make it happen! I had no idea what that was, and no one was willing to tell me. Eventually I hardly tried at all (so much for “trying too hard,” had no idea how to try at all). Like you, it felt like no girls were willing to take a good look at me, something I was doing made me unappealing and no one could tell me what it was. I really felt that many girls would have liked me but didn’t take the time to discover who I really was.
    What I want to emphasize is that this IS an important concern, and you have every right to want to do something about it. Your are very fortunate that you have so many opportunities, social media etc. which were inconceivable 30 years ago. Don’t listen to anyone who dismisses your concerns as unimportant.

  11. I’m also in my 20s and I used to fret over finding someone as well. Once you get a little older though, you’ll realize that the best relationship you can have is with yourself and God (if you’re a believer). Just trust that the right person will come along when they are supposed to, not before. Once you enjoy being single, the pressure is off and you can enjoy life. While you’re out enjoying life, the right one will come along eventually. Don’t worry about the people at parties, think of the ladies at the library, the bookstore, the co-worker who sits alone at lunch reading her phone/book, etc. When you’re 23 it seems like everything is SO DIRE, it’s like being a teenager filled with angst again, lol. Just a few years later you’ll (hopefully) be in a much different place, confident in your maturity and happy with yourself. Good luck :)

    • Hi Joca, thanks for your kind words. I find now that I’m on my own again I’m developing a greater understanding of how I am and what makes me happy. Reading into and researching introversion has made me realise that there’s an explanation behind how I am and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I wish I’d discovered it all sooner, but better late than never!

  12. Sure, I’m an introvert, but I discovered 30 years ago that it serves little purpose labeling myself…and other people.

    You become entirely focused on the label (your perception) instead of seeing that which you’ve labeled for what it is.

    I met my second wife (my 1st wife left me) after this revelation: If I was so sure about who was “right” for me, how did I wind up in a predicament where my marriage didn’t work?

    Answer: I didn’t have a clue about who my “perfect mate” was. I resolved then to accept the next woman who came into my life for who she was.

    I responded to an ad in a free newspaper. The woman I met was certainly not my “type”. But, I no longer had a “type”.

    We started to date.

    We’ve been married for 23 years.

  13. With the internet there is probably more opportunities for introverts to employ to find a discriminating life partner who appreciates the introverted lifestyle than ever before. However, as a sort-of introvert, I would say give being a little more social more of an opportunity. You may find out that you’re more extroverted than you thought.
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  14. I have actually been jogging in my city along the lake where I can listen to some music by myself and do some pondering. I have occasionally stopped and put myself out there to make conversation with strangers. There have been some very nice jogging girls plus or minus 5 years of my age. The key is do something in a public place that you enjoy and then you have to force yourself to get out of your comfort zone; you will have to step out of your comfort zone a little bit. You can always make the other person talk more by eliciting some questions and all you have to do is listen to them. End it by saying “I enjoyed this conversation with you, let’s hang out again,” then get a phone number. I am not a conversationalist at all, but it is entirely doable; if I can do it, anybody can.

  15. Actually, I have got the same experiences and honestly I have no idea what to do. I’m an architectural engineer student and I simple don’t have time for going out at night and return all-adrunk and get sick the whole weekend… I’m a 3D printing enthusiast and I spend the most of the time with experimenting and building a new printer, unfortunately girls aren’t interested in that…
    bonooobong´s last post ..3D nyomtatás a nagyvilágban

  16. I can feel the pain of being alone. In this world, there is no better place for an intr0vert person than a secluded park or garden. I can tell you from my personal experience people with ego and selfishness find resort in the company of shadow trees only as nobody likes to sit beside them and cuddle them for their rude behaviour. The best way to vent out your frustration is going out, meeting with others, making friends and watching late night movie shows and then returning home with a contented heart. Spending a day full of laughter provides you a meagre satisfaction somewhere as you know you have not wasted your time but lived it fully, no matter even for few hours.
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