by Adam Awale | Sep 22, 2016
Now, this may sound like a mundane realization to you, but trust me, this was the Big Epiphany of my young life.
I spent my teenage years pretending to be someone else. Like a lot of my friends, I went out as much as possible. I partied. I was loud.
Until it dawned on me: I hated going out. I hated parties. I wasn’t loud. Honestly? I just wanted to stay home, drink coffee, and wear sweatpants.
This is the story of how I re-learned how to connect with people—without the bars and booze.
Once I realized my life needed a change, I did a complete 180. I didn’t ease out of my old lifestyle so much as stopped cold turkey. Needless to say, my old friends didn’t want to hang out with the new me and I ended up with no one to talk to. It’s shocking how quickly an introvert can get lonely.
This loneliness lasted years. I questioned everything I knew about myself. Who was I? Was I broken? Would anyone want to be with me as I was? How could I be an introverted homebody and make a completely new group of friends?
I also realized I wanted to meet a woman and settle down, but I had no idea how to meet anyone without my old crutch of liquid courage and thumping music.
For a while, it did—until I realized I was seducing women with another guy’s personality, which wasn’t a good way to attract someone for a long-term relationship.
Here’s how I did it:
Ditch the Bars & Clubs
Bars are not a place for people like me. If you’re introverted, you know what I’m talking about. The too-loud music. The sticky floors. The screaming conversations.
Instead, I became more conscious about going places I already went in my daily life—coffee shops, volunteering, hiking… pick your poison.
This made it easier for me to approach not only
Do Quiet Activities in Social Places
Even after axing bars and clubs, I still wanted to stay home and watch Netflix, but I knew I wouldn’t meet the woman of my dreams if I stayed home.
While I had no intention of going full-on
Want to read a book? Do it in the park.
Exercise? Sure, you could work out at home with your favorite DVD, or you could join a local gym.
There’s power in
Give Up on the End Game
The biggest shift I made during this period was to remove
For those of you dying to meet the love of your life, hearing the words “Just stop trying to hard!” probably makes you want to punch me in the face. But it really wasn’t until I stopped expecting every interaction to lead to an immediate new friend or partner that I actually started meeting new friends and, ultimately, my partner.
When I was deep in the world of
The result is, of course, a lot of stress, zero deep interactions, and a lot of frustrations.
Only when I started approaching people out of curiosity did I actually enjoy the process.
Only when I stopped focusing so much on the “outcome” did I actually get the outcome I wanted.
Put another way: As you move through the world, engage with it. Enjoy the process. Embrace the journey of a thousand little micro-conversations. Be present during every social interaction. Ask the questions you want to ask. The answers might surprise you.
Today, instead of lying about who I am, I’ve created a smaller, tighter group of friends.
And, best of all, I actually like myself.
I had always assumed introverts were losers. Turns out, we have a ton of characteristics that make us extraordinary: We’re good listeners. Information just doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. We’re able to tap into other people’s worlds and really connect.
Eventually, I met my now-fiancé. We met
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