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October 07, 2014

How Older Adult Introverts Can Be More Social

Are you a social butterfly? Or does the idea of interacting in large groups make you feel nervous? If you said yes to the latter, you might be considered an introvert.

Contrary to popular understanding, introversion is not synonymous with “shy” or “antisocial.” While some introverts are certainly shy, the full definition of introversion is much more complicated. The characteristics of an introvert are more accurately defined by how a person receives his or her energy. Being around large groups of people energizes extroverts. Introverts, on the other hand, likely find spending time in large groups exhausting and gain their energy from spending time alone.

However, being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re destined to a life of antisocial behavior. Considering the significant benefits of staying social as you age, it’s worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to engage in healthy social activity. While you don’t have to be the life of the party, here are four suggestions for socializing as an introverted older adult.

  1. Find a new activity: Whether it’s an exercise class or a club meeting, signing up for activities is a great way for an introvert to socialize without feeling overwhelmed. Since your activity will generally span a set amount of time, you can prepare yourself for limited bursts of interaction centered around common ground.
  2. Focus on small groups or individuals: Socializing doesn’t have to involve large groups of people. Cultivating strong relationships within smaller groups can be just as beneficial and may leave you less worn out at the conclusion. Have dinner with a small circle of friends or meet someone new over a cup of coffee and an afternoon conversation.
  3. Embrace social media: The opportunity to be social online is often very appealing to introverts. While you should be careful not to spend too much time online, joining social media networks can be a great way to stay in touch with loved ones who live far away.
  4. Find common ground: Making new friends is a challenge, especially as you age. However, the same tactics you used in your younger days to meet people still hold true. Forging new friendships based on common ground or shared interests brings value and enrichment to your social interactions.

Many older adults report feeling more isolated as they age, which can lead to an increased risk of developing depression and other health concerns. Regardless of whether you identify yourself as an introvert or extrovert, you can find fulfilling social opportunities that won’t leave you overwhelmed. While it make take a bit more effort for introverts, maintaining a social life as you age is well worth it.

Want information on how Kendal at Home helps its members socialize? Check out this blog!

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