Hey, y’all. I just had a birthday last weekend. And since 39-year-old dads don’t really get gifts anymore other than alcohol and “Hey, I’ll take the kids this afternoon so you can stay home and watch the NBA League Pass in your drawls in peace,” I think of my birthdays now as opportunities to give other people gifts. Like this list, for instance, from one hard-core introvert to other introverts, on simple tasks to try and things to remember if you haven’t done these things already.
1. When leaving a party or a club or any other type of social event, do not pretend to take an urgent phone call or text and dart out of the door just so you don’t have to say goodbye to everyone. It’ll take 30 to 90 extra seconds to just say bye to people you happen to see on your way out of the door, so just say bye to people.
2. When first entering a party or a club or any other type of social event, do not pretend to take an urgent phone call or text just because you don’t happen to know anyone there and you’re not quite sure where to stand.
3. Remember, extroverts are like mountain lions. Although they might seem daunting, they’re actually more confused and/or intimidated by you than you are by them. So if you see one in the wild, just pet it and give it some Snapple or something and you should be fine.
4. Throw at least one party. I know big crowds for long periods of time aren’t really your thing, but having your own party at your own place (or rented venue) with the invite list you personally created provides something most other parties don’t: control. And since you’ll have more control—and you won’t feel compelled to introduce yourself to people—you (probably) won’t find the night as draining.
5. Speak in public in front of a large group of people about a subject you’re an expert in. And then, once you’ve conquered that, speak in public in front of a large group of people about a subject you know pretty well but you’re not quite an expert in. (Don’t, however, speak in public in front of a large group of people about a subject you don’t know that much about. Leave that to extroverts and white men.)
6. Remember that no one (except for other introverts maybe) really gives a shit about your Myers-Briggs profile, so stop trying to find ways to shoehorn it into conversations.
7. The next time someone attempts to engage you with some harmless small talk, don’t fantasize about smacking or stabbing or waterboarding them. Of course, you don’t have to engage them with the same energy. But don’t think about doing bad things to them because it’s just not healthy to possess thoughts about torturing a stranger who just asked you a question about traffic lights.
8. Just once, go to a social event—a party, a happy hour, a date, etc.—and don’t drink any alcohol. Or smoke any weed beforehand. Or masturbate. Or anything you usually need to do to take the “edge off” before engaging with the public and being more of yourself. Try keeping that edge on.
9. Eat more vegetables (I know this isn’t really introvert-specific advice, but everyone should eat more vegetables and you should, too).
10. I know you don’t know what to do with your hands when taking pictures. But you know what? No one else does. It’s a skill that literally no one except for gang members and people in the Divine Nine have mastered because it’s unmasterable. So stop giving a shit about it and let your hands breathe.