As an introvert, navigating the social landscape of an extrovert is sometimes just too much. And the truth is, being an introvert can be tough.

Socialising feels exhausting, especially when you go to places where thousands of extroverts congregate in excited swarms, ready to mingle. But the social interactions are often very surface-level, exactly the thing you were hoping to avoid as someone who loves deeper interpersonal connections.

I often feel like I’m on the outside looking in, watching as others effortlessly make friends and form connections while I struggle to do the same. It’s not that I don’t want to make friends or be social, but rather that I find it difficult to do so in the same way that extroverts do.

One of the biggest challenges I face as an introvert is the pressure to be constantly outgoing and sociable. In many social situations, it can feel like extroverted behaviour is not only expected, but celebrated. Small talk, for example, is often seen as a necessary part of networking and building relationships.

But for introverts like me, it can feel tedious and draining. It’s not always easy to find common ground with people who seem to speak extrovert, it’s almost like a different language. Small talk ends up feeling like a chore because it gets draining to put yourself out there again and again, only to come away with connections that are as fragile as cobwebs.

Another challenge is the feeling of being misunderstood or overlooked.

Because introverts tend to be quieter and more reserved, it can be easy for others to assume that we are shy or unfriendly. This can make it harder to form connections with people who may not understand or appreciate a quieter nature.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of being an introvert in an extroverted world is the feeling that everyone else is better at making friends than I am. It feels like extroverts have an innate ability to charm and connect with others, while I struggle to find common ground. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing myself to others and feeling like there is something inherently wrong with me because I don’t show up in public spaces as easily as they do.

But the truth is, I’ve never been good at that.

Contradictory as it may sound, the one place where I’ve always felt comfortable was on stage. Because even when I’m on stage, looking out at a full theatre, I’m not there to connect with all those people as a group. On that stage, as the one telling the story, I’m connecting with each and every one of those people on an individual level. That’s why it feels like home.

And writing is kind of the same thing. I pour my time and effort into this story I’m writing, this narrative I’m crafting, so that we can connect through this shared experience. Because, chances are, that if we connect through this shared experience, we’ll prolly get along like gangbusters.

Despite these challenges, being an introvert has its strengths.

Introverts tend to be deep thinkers, great listeners, and skilled at forming strong, meaningful connections with others. We may not be the life of the party, but we bring a unique perspective and depth to social interactions.

Ultimately, I think the key to thriving as an introvert in an extroverted world is to embrace who I am and find ways to play to my strengths. It’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique way of interacting with the world, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to be social. By focusing on what makes us unique and building connections on our own terms, introverts can find meaningful relationships and connections in an extroverted world.