To be an introvert in the 21st Century West is to be persecuted on a weekly basis. The women and gays and non-white people hog the limelight when it comes to complaining about discrimination, but what about that 22-year-old who feels mildly pressured to have a ‘big night’ even though he or she was hoping to stay home on Saturday? That book isn’t going to read itself.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you are shy or hate being social, nor does it mean you hate your “friends” or the world at large – I love going out, mingling with large groups and meeting new people. However, I also appreciate my space and require adequate psyching up before heading out the door. Many introverts know this problem all too well and aren’t sure how to overcome it, but with a game plan, the necessary level of psychitude for a Saturday night out can be achieved.
1. Brush up on your conversation skills
No one enjoys an icebreaker. They’re clumsy convo tactics that rarely lead to interesting talking points, so it’s no use preparing them in advance. Your best bet is to practice talking to randoms until the process becomes natural. Rather than approaching a stranger on the street who would probably mace you sooner than speak, go to a clothing store and chat to whoever’s behind the counter, because if they want to keep their job they’ll have to be nice to you. Take the opportunity to buy some new clothes, too, because, y’know… Style.
2. Practice a natural smile
There will be moments when you’re simply lost in thought, but other people might think you’re angry or upset. I get this especially, because my idle face resembles that of a serial killer. In truth, I’m quite friendly (please be my friend) and many old women have told me I have a great smile, so my current challenge is to transform my idle face into something more affable. Wearing a natural smile will make you more approachable, lower any possible anxieties about your big night, and if you’re a woman, make you more attractive (according to numerous studies). I don’t know if it works the same for men, but at the very least, I’ve proven to get the older birds hot and bothered.
3. Bring a notepad / note-taking app / tape recorder
Why do the best ideas pop up at the worst of times? Likely being a creative type, you’d know that it’s always best to strike when the iron’s hot, but unless practicality means nothing to you, you probably didn’t bring a laptop. Carrying any sort of pocket-sized note-taking device will let you jot down those great ideas for later. In fact, I was about to suggest that you do this all the time, but who am I kidding? You probably already do!
4. Keep Sunday free
Ultimately, you’re going to end up interacting with enough people for one night (or a year) so you’ll need to set aside some time to rest and recover. Make sure Sunday is yours and yours alone. Work calls? Tell ‘em you’re sick. Mum wants you to drive your snot-nosed brother and his snottier-nosed friends to the movies? Tell her that those ‘friends’ do drugs and are corrupting her son. Jesus appears before you and tells you that Sunday isn’t your day but is in fact ‘The Lord’s Day?’ That’s probably a good reason to get off your butt, but otherwise, keep the phone off the hook because you’re unavailable.