Thursday, August 14, 2008

Introverted Socializing--in Charlotte

I have been swamped with work, inundated with company, and generally dealing with "stuff" and once again my blog has suffered. In the lull, I got this nice comment which I reposted here:

Hi Meghan. I am an introvert and so is my boyfriend. We would like to
meet other people, but we get overwhelmed by extroverts. We live in Charlotte, too!, and I wondered if you knew any good places to meet like minded souls? --
Thanks!Rebecca


I thought I would write out my answer in this regular section--answers to comments are sometimes lost in the shuffle, and also I think this is a great one, from which others may benefit.

Rebecca wants to meet other people but, like so many introvert... those extroverted people can be overwhelming. So how do you meet new people? Especially in a place like Charlotte, where so many people a "newcomers."

The answer to where, depends a lot on your lifestyle. If you are single or even married but young and child-less you can usually grab a friend, (or not) and go to a coffee shop and maybe strike up a conversation with someone in line. This sometimes works, sometimes not--but at least there is no strange discomfort because either they leave or sit alone--and it is just coffee - so it is not a big deal. And... there are always new people coming in!

Along the same lines, I know that sometimes groups will meet in the evenings at bookstores for a "game night." People bring old board or card games (Monopoly, UNO, scrabble, chess, etc.) and sit in their little "cafes" or side tables. I am not sure if there is a group here that meets regularly or not - but I always loves this idea. Usually they meet on a Friday or Saturday night--when the outgoing types were out drinking and listening to loud music all squished together on a dance floor. The introverts I know felt like they got to "go out" but they also met new people in a relaxed, laid back place. If there isn't a group like this already - I recommend starting one. I will even see if I can host something like this when I do book signings starting in Oct/Nov.

My next idea is Craigslist. There is a section for "platonic" relationships and I have looked at this a few times. Now, a word of warning: like all "online meeting" be careful. There are definitely people who will misrepresent themselves. But I met one of my very good friends here in Charlotte on Craigslist.

Another great place to meet other introverts is in your neighborhood. Now here it helps to have an extroverted kid on this one--I have to admit. My 4-year-old on a recent walk, took it upon himself to introduce us to a family up the street who where playing. They have two boys near his age and instantly we had commonality...the primary building block for relationship. Now we get together regularly. If you don't have an introverted pre-schooler on hand--I find that an annoyingly extroverted best friend is helpful. They usually make a point of meeting your neighbors before you do, and as long as you aren't overly freaked out--you might as well take advantage of the opening.

If you are a small business owner, or in sales, I recommend a group like BNI. There are groups all over the country, and the agenda lends itself to an introvert's comfort level while exposing them to several new people. The benefits are two-fold since this group is designed to help your business grow, but it also allows you to make many great contacts...and friends.

Other than that, I will sometimes use the "buddy method"--increasing my circle by inviting someone I know to invite a friend over for drinks, or dessert. Sometimes we meet out as well - again at a coffee shop, or a Panera Bread. Easy and casual is the way to go on this.

One last suggestion, especially if you have kids, is to go to Blakeney on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer. They have a free "concert" of sorts with local musicians. The place is always packed, but since it is outside, it isn't overly uncomfortable. This is a good place to bring the kids since you can let them play on the playground or run around in the open grass area. The restaurants there serve wine and beer, you can grab ice cream, or Starbucks. The perfect place to meet people, or hang out with new friends. I know a bunch of plaza's in town do this, but Blakeney is the only one I know of with a little park too.

Those are just a few ideas I have for meeting people for introverts--but the best advice I can give is to keep at it. As adults it gets more difficult to connect and become friends, but the rewards are so worth it. Friendships are profoundly fulfilling--and I wish you all the best of luck.

-Meg

Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

1 comment:

Jspeed29 said...

Meetup.com is a great place to find book clubs, game night groups, film buffs, walking clubs, etc. in your area and it's not as sketchy as Craigslist. I used it when I moved to NC to find book clubs, which really helped me get out and interact but with like-minded people in a structured, low-pressure setting. Check it out and see what's near you. The number and variety of groups has exploded in the past 5 years!