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How to Deal With Being Introverted

by Mitch Reid

Very few people are introverted all of the time. The same is true for extroversion. Instead, introversion and extroversion are best thought of as a continuum, with certain people falling closer to the introverted side in most situations, suggests Margarita Tartakovsky, associate editor for PsychCentral, in her article "7 Persistent Myths about Introverts and Extroverts." If you tend to lean toward the quiet side of this scale, there's nothing wrong with that. However, there are several strategies you can use to make life easier when it seems like extroverts are running the show.

Don't Limit Your Confidence

There's a difference between being unconfident and being introverted, says social psychology expert Alice Boyes, Ph.D., in her Psychology Today article "7 Success Tips for Introverts." For example, just because you are quiet, doesn't mean you are shy or fear new experiences. If you begin to believe that your need for solitude is equal to lack of confidence, you begin to place limits on yourself, and this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, practice confident body language and speak up when necessary.

Let the Extroverts Help

When it comes to large social engagements, you don't have to force yourself to play the role of an extrovert to fit it in. Keep in mind that most people -- especially extremely extroverted people -- enjoy talking about themselves. Be a host and introduce people to one another at these social functions, so you can reserve your energy while still being friendly, suggests PsychCentral contributor Jane Collingwood in the article "The Benefits of Being an Introvert." When it comes to one-on-one conversation, ask open-ended questions if you feel pressured to talk too much. Keep the ball in the extrovert's court, but have some input as well.

Know Your Kryptonite

Introverts often find themselves overwhelmed when it comes to too much social interaction or stimulation. Make a list of people, situations and places that quickly drain your introverted self, suggests Diane Mottl, MSW, in her PsychCentral article "7 Tips for Living in a Loud World." With this list, you'll be better prepared by knowing which people, places and situations to avoid, or how long you can engage with them.

Set Up Boundaries

Establish boundaries that help you preserve your energy, suggests Mottl. For example, you might find that several hours of quiet time in the evening helps to improve your mood. Also, know when to call it quits when your extroverted friend seems to be pulling you along on one of her social adventures. You don't want to fall into the habit of isolating yourself completely, but avoid stretching yourself so thin that your mood and energy are compromised.

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