Keeping friendships with extroverts

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Keeping friendships with extroverts Empty Keeping friendships with extroverts

Post by KitKat on Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:22 am

So, I am looking for input on something that I hope has not been brought up too many times before, preferably of the "this is my experience"-variety than the "do this"-variety. Wink

Basically, how do you avoid doing the "slow fade" and keep up friendships with much more extroverted people when you're on a (to use Cap's great analogy) tight spoon-budget without burning yourself out?
I'm fairly introverted, which ironically has gotten 'worse' since I started studying something I can really get into (there's just so much fun stuff to read and do by yourself!). Most of the people in my vicinity who seem cool to hang out with, seem less so. Like of the 'let's hang out for five days a week'-variety which just...doesn't work for me at all. What happens however is that well...you miss out and eventually drop off the social radar entirely. I'm not really looking to make close friendships (because it would probably have to be with more like-minded people), just not being entirely forgotten and excluded, especially during periods when just going to class and managing other daily responsibilities eats up most of the spoons available.

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Post by litterature on Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:56 am

I'm sorry I don't have anything helpful to say, but I'm also interested, as I'm in a pretty similar situation myself (coupled with the fact that I don't even have the money to go out so I owe my friends a lot of money...)

I've found it is possible to keep a close friendship with someone who's much more outgoing that yourself, though, as long as they know and understand what you're like. Still, I haven't managed to avoid the awkward moments when people are badgering me into going out...

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Post by Enail on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:03 pm

To that sort of person, "I don't want to hang out with you every day" seems to sound pretty similar to "I don't want to hang out with you." (ETA: and turning down several invitations in a row sounds that way to most people, actually). I think it can help to be proactive about suggesting doing something with them, turning down invitations in a way that indicates you're up for something some other time (eg. "sorry, I'm really wiped this week, but let me know if you're still doing X next week") and/or just flat-out explaining to them that you're an introvert and don't have the social energy to get together that often but you really value their friendship, just on a slower schedule.
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Post by fakely mctest on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:05 pm

As someone who tends toward extroversion myself, I would advise the following:

1. Definitely make sure the person knows you're on the introverted side and need solo time fairly often. Framing it as an, "It's not you, it's how I need to function" situation can head off any hurt feelings.

2. Make a point of inviting the person for something YOU enjoy when you feel up to it. Not down for a raucous party? You can always say something like, "That's not really my thing, but do you want to get coffee next week?" Obviously this doesn't have to be every time you get an invite! Speaking from personal experience, if someone is nonresponsive to my invites for long enough I just assume they're not interested and drop them off my "anyone interested in X" mass emails because I don't like the feeling that my messages are just being thrown down a well.

3. You might want to consider making yourself go out once every X amount of time. I'd suggest once a month as a good interval. Keeping friendships, even ones that aren't super close, requires compromise at times. I also found, when I was in grad school (and I loved my topic too!), that having certain times when I was like: I am going out with people I am friendly with and I am not going to think about my studies, actually helped me see my topic with refreshed eyes. It also helped that when we went out , particularly when we were all writing up, we instituted a strict, "No one wants to hear about your dissertation" rule.

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Post by PintsizeBro on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:39 pm

"Thanks for thinking of me, but I already have plans tonight. Are you free on X to do Y?" Rinse, repeat.

It doesn't matter what your plans are. Your plans might be to do nothing. But you already have plans.

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Post by eselle28 on Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:44 pm

There are several extroverts in my life, and I think we manage things reasonably well. Here are my suggestions:

1. Pick your extroverts carefully. It sounds like you're dealing with a pool of people rather than one or two people you're particularly attached to. That's a good thing. The sort of extrovert you're most likely to work something out with is one who has other people and things on the priority list. One of my more extroverted friends works full time, goes to school, is married, and has many friends. Another is the married mother of two preschoolers who has another group of parent friends who she also socializes with. Basically, keep an eye out for someone who already has some support networks in place. Unlike some introverts in the same position, they may very well be looking for more friends.

2. Be a little patient during the courtship phase. Even friendships can come with New Relationship Energy. If you do have the spoons for it, you might want to try to hang out twice a week with a promising extrovert friend rather than once, or every week rather than every other week. I've found that invitations generally taper a bit naturally once people have gotten to know each other, even if no one specifically says anything.

3. As others have said, taking some control and inviting people to things you've planned is a good way to counter the impression that you're turning down invitations out of indifference.

4. Another good tool is to have a schedule, even if it's one that explicitly revolves around your emotional needs. It's perfectly fine to say, "I'm usually really overwhelmed with school work during the week and need most of those evenings to cool down, but by Thursday I'm usually up for doing something fun in a low key way, and Saturday afternoons are so chill that I can almost always hang out then." Extroverts who have things in their lives other than hanging out with friends are often pretty good at scheduling and can be understanding of limits when they're presented in that form.

5. Once you get past the courtship period and know someone a little better, focus on what's really important. Not every interaction is created equal. With my friend who's a student, it's not really important I talk to him or game with him whenever I feel like it, but if he has a problem he needs to vent about or talk out I'll try really hard to put down whatever I'm doing to listen. With my friend who has children, it's not that vital that I make it to every girls' night out or wine and TV night, but she throws several parties a year and I put them on my calendar even if I'm not feeling up for it because I know that she feels hurt when her friends don't attend. If you can be there most of the time when it's really important, you have more leeway to not be there for the more minor stuff.
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Post by Caffeinated on Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:59 pm

As an introvert who goes through cycles where I have much more social energy or much less social energy, something I do to maintain ties with my extrovert friends is use social media. Even if I don't have what it takes to go out and see people very often, I figure that if I'm liking or commenting on some of their posts every couple days, my name is staying on their radar until I can get the energy up to try to get together in person.
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Post by KitKat on Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:33 am

Thanks everyone for the tips! :-) We'll see how that works out. Being more pro-active is something I know I need to work on but is muddled a bit by the fact that I can't really have people over where I live now and things like going out for movies or food are on a very strict student-friendly budget (+ it takes more energy). I'm kind of thinking about putting the more taxing social stuff on hold until autumn courses kick off and there's more of a natural meeting point.

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