Being a personal trainer and an introvert can be tough sometimes.
I practically socialize with people for my whole 8-hour work shift. Trust me, some days I would rather be sitting in a dark, quiet room reading a book than yelling out how many burpees my client should be doing. I also tend to wear my emotions on my face, so if I am not feeling great that day, being a motivated and happy trainer can be a challenge.
But let’s face it, I and you (I know you are an introvert because you are reading this article, duh) can’t just live in our cave playing video games or binge-watching Netflix forever. One fairly large social gathering holds us over for at least a month or two. Our cats are our best friends. But– we can’t avoid people forever.
We need jobs–careers in fact. Hobbies or we will go insane. And maybe even a flesh and blood human friend or two! Aside from acquiring these things, we have to deal with weddings, funerals, birthdays, work parties, happy hour, traveling, amusement parks you name it! The problem is, most introverts often lack the skills to politely decline social events. We are too afraid to say no more times than not. That people will shun us for our hermit-crab-like ways.
Well, as a recovering introvert myself (I like to consider myself graduated to more of an extroverted introvert), I am here to tell you that you can live a relatively normal life on this Earth. You can attend key social events, say no when you truly don’t want to go, and still have time to get cozy with a cup of coffee and read a book! It takes some mental training, but it’s possible. On top of being possible, it’s healthy. Both ends of the spectrum are unhealthy but taking up a spot somewhere closer to the middle makes life more enjoyable.
It’s time for us introverts to survive in the real world! Consider this your survival guide.
Finding a Hobby
Living the introvert life can get lonely–even for people who like to be by themselves. Us humans NEED social interaction in one form or another on a regular basis. For introverts, it is almost like working out, we need to train our brain like a muscle to enjoy little tidbits of socialization here and there.
Plus, having a hobby is great! You learn a new skill, or you just have an escape that isn’t working or hanging out at home.
Some hobbies that I would suggest looking into:
- A Book Club: This can be in person or online. Goodreads has the opportunity for some great connections for reading!
- Volunteering: Whether that be at an animal shelter or a soup kitchen; helping those in need always does the heart good.
- A Crafting Skill: Painting, drawing, sewing, even graphic design. Something, where you CREATE, is always so relaxing. Even just grabbing an adult coloring book with a group of people and coloring to music can be a great time.
- Sports/Fitness: Try to go to a cycling or yoga class once a week. Meet some new people while improving your health! Or, join up in a sport if you like! Hiking groups are also a great simple way to interact with others!
Reaching Out to Others
Reach out for whatever you may need. YOU have to make it a priority to see others at least a couple of times a month for a healthy social life. How many times a month specifically? That is totally up to you!
Each individual will have their preference. Whether it be once a week or once a month, experiment with your social hang out days and see what makes you feel the best!
An important thing to note here is don’t feel that you HAVE to hang out with someone or entertain them. These “reaching out” moments can be simple:
- Chatting on the phone for 20 minutes to catch up with a friend.
- Inviting your dad over to help you fix your A/C and grab a bite of lunch.
- Baking cookies with your sister.
- Having an adult coloring session with your bestie.
- Even volunteering to help someone else if they are grieving or need something done that you can help with!
I personally have the issue of curating these elaborate hangout sessions that require a full-on formal dinner party or Instagram- worthy travel day. Sometimes the most simple things like riding around your town jamming out to music with the windows down is all you need. Don’t overthink it, but set your goal of hanging out or reaching out to someone X times per week, month, etc.
Making it a habit will make socializing come a lot more naturally and easily!
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
So you finally decided to step out of your comfort zone and socialize a bit more. Try not to go 0 to 100 with this. If you are a Type A personality like myself, you may be at risk of doing this. You accept every social invite ever and have to go to every hangout or event that your co-workers, friends, and family go to. This could be for quite a few reasons:
1.) You may have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and don’t want to feel left “out of the loop”.
2.) You are simply afraid of saying no because you don’t want to let anyone down, or have bad blood between anyone.
The truth about these two big reasons?
1.) Most humans get FOMO, hence why it’s a psychological phenomenon. 9 times out of 10 the event you were dying to go to, but your inner introvert just didn’t let you go when it came to the day of going, isn’t as glamorous as you thought. The birthday girl ended up having too many drinks and threw up everywhere. The Uber driver was creepy. Or heck, maybe it was just a low-key evening, everyone had a great time, but it was OK that you missed it!
2.) Most people WON’T get mad at you for saying no. As long as you are honest, and don’t feel the need to overly explain yourself, it is OK. If they do end up mad at you? Maybe you need to walk away from that relationship or have a talk with that individual about the situation.
So, that would wrap up my survival tips for you! These are the basics, but definitely if applied correctly, can make leaps and bounds in your introvert social life. Don’t forget to embrace your introverted ways, as that is how you are wired. You gain your energy from more quiet nights in. That is OK. Just don’t go full blown hermit and get out and live a little too!