Advice for Introverts

How to be an introvert and alone and function reasonably well in the world:

As an introvert, it is most advisable to be partnered with someone who understands you and has similar hobbies to your own. This way, you do not have to face the world solo very often. But as that person can be difficult to find, particularly for an introvert, a disappointing catch-22, I offer these tips:

1. Get a dog. Take the dog everywhere you go. This works best with small dogs.

2. The dog can teach you something very important about the space you spend time in. Dogs take comfort in familiar items, things that smell of home or of their owner. Observe and mimic. When you must spend large amounts of time in semi-public places, like your office or cubical, take steps to make the space more comforting. Surround yourself with pictures of things and people you like. Get a plant. Drape a scarf over your chair. Play music you like. Aim your chair so you are facing away from other people and can at least pretend you have some privacy.

3. While we are on the topic of work, in your professional life figure out how to be expert at something other people need but aren’t eager to learn to do themselves. Confuse them with an excess of information when they ask a question and you’ll be left alone to do your job in peace.

4. Find a perfume you really like and wear it every day. The smell will become comforting. It is the smell of you and since you are comfortable being around yourself, it’ll make you feel more ok in public. You could also choose a smell that reminds you of someone else who makes you feel comforted, like your grandmother. Be careful with that one though, especially if you are keeping your eye open for someone you might like to spend time with. I’m not saying your grandma smells bad, but…ok, I’ll stop.

5. Travel under the cover of darkness. That is a joke. Kind of. But seriously, sunglasses help in the day time. Which leads me to the next tip…

6. Insulate yourself with your clothing, hair, and accessories. Hoodies are great for this purpose. Hair that falls into your face–yes. But if you don’t want to look like an awkward creep all the time, try headphones. People are less likely to talk to you if you are wearing them and loud music can almost completely insulate you from your environment. Of course, this must be done only in moderation. Only when you are feeling particularly raw and exposed. Don’t let yourself become too antisocial.

7. Speaking of social, when dealing with other people, particularly new people or any person who makes you uncomfortable, focus on the intimate personal details of their life. As them questions about their wife or their children or the person they live with. Ask them where they get their hair cut or how they got that scar on their hand. Most people love to talk about themselves. This will deflect attention away from you while simultaneously disarming the other person. You will see that they are just as alone and troubled as you. Of course this tip isn’t very helpful if you are facing another introvert. If that is the case though, they probably won’t force you to chat very long. But if they stick around, and if you both keep saying things, well, then maybe you won’t need this list anymore.

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