A self-described introvert, Jenn Granneman, the founder of the online community Introvert, Dear and the author of the upcoming book “Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive Person in a Loud, Fast, Too-Much World,” has said that introverts aren’t antisocial but instead selectively social. Introverts can cultivate a sense of belonging by “looking for passions rather than friends,” said Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking,” a repudiation of the extrovert ideal. Pursue something that interests you, she said, and “the like-minded friends will come.”
Introverts can summon the resolve to initiate plans by telling themselves they’re “giving the gift of going first,” Ms. Granneman added. “Send the text, ask the question or plan a date. You might be surprised at how much the other person appreciates you reaching out.”
One way Ms. Granneman does this is to buy two tickets, a few months in advance, to any shows or events that catch her eye. When the event rolls around, she said, “Having the extra ticket puts some pressure on me, in a good way, to reach out to my network because I want someone to go with me and I don’t want the ticket to go to trash.” Most people are excited to be offered a ticket, she said, and almost always accept.
Here’s a bonus exercise for today: If you receive an invitation this week, say yes when you normally might say no.
Did you put something social on the calendar this week? Let us know in the comments.
From the Friendship Files: Uzma, Liz, David and Scott
Each day of Well’s 7-Day Happiness Challenge, we’ll be sharing stories of meaningful friendships collected from readers across the country. We’d love to hear yours. Submit your own tale of friendship.
Uzma’s three best friends — Liz, David and Scott — have been at the center of her life for two decades, offering each other “unconditional love.” Her father died when she was in college, and she is estranged from her mother. “This friendship has been my chosen family,” she said. “Whatever matters to one of us matters to all of us.”
Uzma, 37, met Liz First, in a North Carolina high school. Despite their different backgrounds — Liz is the daughter of Christian ministers; Uzma is Muslim, a first-generation American whose parents are from Burma and India — the pair became inseparable. They had sleepovers every weekend and joined each other on family vacations and holidays. “Liz picked up Hindi just being with my family so much,” Uzma said.