I’m an introvert. I spend my Friday nights curled on the couch with a cup of tea. My family teases me about becoming a crazy cat lady and the scary part is they’re only half joking. This week, I decided to force myself out of the house and try friendship speed dating. Here are five reasons why it can be fun.
- In two minutes, the conversation is over. If you’ve said “How’s it going?” three times already, the organizers will tell you to move.
- They have conversational prompts. I kept using the one, “What Hogwarts house would you be in?” Returning to my nerd roots.
- Other introverts come out of the woodwork. Strangely enough, I found myself doing most of the talking.
- Weird coincidences happen. One of the people I met had lived in my childhood hometown. And she liked tea too, so we hit it off.
- Eventually, your heart stops pounding. This happens around the time you take off the jacket where you put your name tag.
It’s normal to be scared. At the start of the night, I came this close to introducing myself as “Hello, I’m terrified.” But you might meet another cat lady—so go anyway.
I am an introvert. I spend Saturday nights reading or in front of Netflix. That being said, I try to get out of the house once in a while to practice martial arts or speak at an open mic. These are tips for introverts in social settings—all of which are easier said than done.
- Leave the house. You will have more fun snuggling under the covers if you’ve gone out first.
- Ask questions. If they’re talking, you don’t have to be.
- Notice what ticks appear when you’re nervous. For me, it’s jokes. At a work orientation for AmeriCorps, I greeted one guy, “Hey random dude.”
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can take breaks. Try doing chores. At one family dinner, I helped with the dishes because I had a headache and needed out of the room. As a bonus, I got points for being helpful.
- Do things in small groups, not large crowds. Crowds drain energy. Small groups also drain energy, but not as fast.
- You can come home early. Staying for another round of drinks isn’t mandatory.
- Relax—it’s not as big of a deal as you think it is. Most people are fine if you forget their name.
If these don’t work for you, it’s perfectly okay to go places alone. Just remember to take a book.