This is a guest post by James. You can see more about him in his bio at the end of the post.
If you are the type of person that enjoys solitude, sometimes staying connected to friends and family can be difficult. Introverts enjoy spending time alone, but still want to maintain the close connections and bonds that they have made throughout their lives. It can often be a trade-off between doing what feels natural, and at the same time remaining close with people that you care about. Losing these connections can be difficult to deal with, so staying one top of them in a way that works for you, is essential.
Here are some tips to help maintain bonds with people that care about you (even if they don’t understand):
Stay connected with Email and Social Media
Sometimes an email, text message, or comment on Facebook can let people know that you care about them, even though you may want to keep your distance. A quick acknowledgement of your friend or family member by forwarding funny or interesting internet news via email, can let people know that they are on your mind. Text messages also work to this effect, allowing you to hold a conversation at the times when you feel like you want to. It also gives you space and causes less pressure than a face to face meeting.
Social media is also a great tool for introverts because it allows you to stay in touch with people that you might not get a chance to otherwise speak to. Facebook can help you stay connected with old high school or college friends on your own terms. Relationships through email and social media don’t require as much maintenance on your part, but still allow you to keep connected. People that are introverted can keep up on what is going on in their social circle, without being the center of attention.
Setting up Weekly Lunches
If you prefer not to speak with friends on the phone or do so infrequently, setting up weekly or bi-monthly lunches can help you stay in the loop. Try to schedule a regular lunch at one of your favorite restaurants and make it a habit. Doing so will let people know that you are thinking about them. Going out for lunch is a time where you can connect, but not be stuck somewhere for a extended periods of time. If you have a group of people that you meet with regularly, it can be easy skip a week if you don’t feel up to it. Getting lunch is an easy thing that will help you maintain the closeness, that only face to face meeting can accomplish.
Make The Calls
Even though you might not want to maintain a busy social life, it is very important to make regular phone calls to close relatives or friends. Sometimes you might want to push yourself to reach out to family members or close friends, even if you don’t feel like it. As you grown older, relationships can become more distant, so maintaining your “priority” relationships is paramount. People can often get “stuck” in their comfort zones and put less and less effort into outside communication. If you are an introvert, you are who you are, but, there is some exception to be made when it comes to the most important relationships in your life.
I’ve had a chronic illness for 11 years and it has taken a huge toll on my social life. I have low energy and concentration issues and have a tough time connecting with people ever since. Even though i don’t identify as an introvert, I can relate to this issue because i know it can be very hard to make people understand why you want to be alone. I understand that it’s not a choice, but it is simply how you are.
Photo credit: Ian Fuller