Introversion is perfectly normal–by some estimates, up to half the world’s population leans toward being more interested in their own mental lives than what’s going on around them. But being introverted can be lonely, particularly when it compounds with mental health issues like social anxiety.
Psychology Today explores the link between introversion and loneliness in a new article from relationship coach Kira Asatryan. In it, she explains how to identify when solitude becomes social isolation, and how to get out there without getting overwhelmed.
Some introverts have wiped social interaction off their calendars altogether, while others feel overwhelmed by the amount of social gatherings they’re expected to attend. A good way to strike a balance between solitude and socializing–no matter which end of the spectrum you’re on–is to set a weekly quota for social interaction.
Let’s say you decide to hold yourself to two social interactions per week. If you currently have no interactions scheduled, this will prompt you to reach out and start inviting people into your life. If you receive many invitations per week, this gives you permission to attend only the two you’re most excited about… and turn down the rest.
If you find yourself struggling with loneliness and you don’t have people to turn to, you can always start small. Play cooperative games online (preferably ones that don’t have a reputation for toxicity) and chat with your teammates. Consider ways to address the feeling of loneliness itself. Visit a forum about a hobby that really interests you, and commit to contributing to the conversation. Look into local tabletop groups or game shops that hold gaming nights.
Remember, you don’t have to play at being an extrovert to have a fulfilling social life–but you also don’t have to go alone.