Ask LH: How Can I Avoid Becoming An Introverted Weirdo?

Ask LH: How Can I Avoid Becoming An Introverted Weirdo?

Dear Lifehacker,

Tech has made my home awesome; I can watch anything I want in a heartbeat; I can track my pizza through every stage of delivery; I can even work from home. It’s great, but I’m starting to worry I’m losing my social edge. Do you have any tips for avoiding going all Howard Hughes?


Shrinking from Society

Title photo by Nathan Lewis.

Dear Shrinking,

It’s no secret that the amount of awesome that you can stuff into a small house makes it incredibly hard to get out and leave. The fact most people have a big flat screen TV, can stream just about any movie or TV show on demand, and can automate the delivery of pretty much everything makes it easier than ever to stay cooped up inside. Still, social interaction is good for you, so let’s take a look at some ways you can motivate yourself to get out of the house every now and again.


Turn Leaving The House Into A Game

One of the easiest tricks to forcing yourself out of the house is to incentivise it with a game. The most popular way to do this is probably Foursquare, which rewards you with badges and points when you visit new locations. It’s also a good way to try new things and stay in touch with friends, a fact I can personally attest to.

The handy thing about Foursquare (or whatever location-based social app you choose) is that you can also see what your friends are up to if they’re in your area. For instance, if a friend checks in at a restaurant near you then you’ll know they’re out hanging out and probably looking for more company.


Schedule A Day A Week To Try Something New

Sometimes getting out of the house requires a more forceful tactic. In this case, try scheduling a day to try something new. Take a look at your weekly schedule and see where you might have some long stints of nothing to do. Schedule in a day where you hit up a new restaurant or meet up with friends for a new activity. It might sound like overkill, but the truth is if you’re given the option to stay in and enjoy the luxuries of home for free or go out and spend a little money, you’re probably more likely to choose the money saving method.

That’s totally OK on most days, but if you schedule in at least one day a week to go do something a little different, you’ll simultaneously keep yourself from falling into a rut and get out of the house. If you’re feeling especially introverted, it’s a good idea to ride the coattails of an extrovert friend while you’re at it because they’ll probably force you out whether you like it or not.


Work In Public Once Or Twice A Week

If you work from home you’re probably pretty familiar with the strange, introverted state you can get yourself in if you’re not careful. The easy solution to this (admittedly specific) problem is to move your workspace away from your home office once or twice a week. Hitting up a coffee shop is an easy way to do it and doing so is a great boon to your creativity. It’s also a great way to get things done because you’re forced to work without as many distractions. The bonus is you’re also surrounded by other people instead of holing up in your house.

Signing up for a co-working space is another option. This usually costs a little money, but it’s also a good way to get your productive juices flowing and get work done. Coworking can also be a good way to find a new job — and it’s good for you. Image: {Guerilla Futures | Jason Tester}.


Take A Walk And Explore Your Neighborhood

This might be a silly suggestion to some people, but it’s one that I personally take advantage of all the time. If I catch myself getting too into some nonsense task like an all-day movie binge or I get too involved in work I’ll force myself to get up and walk around the neighbourhood. The trick here is to try and explore new areas each time and make eye contact with neighbours (and smile, for crying out loud).

In my case, I live in a neighbourhood that happens to border loads of other, more interesting neighbourhoods, and my explorations have lead me to new coffee shops, tiny ice cream stands and hole-in-wall restaurants. As a bonus I’ve also met and chatted with a bunch of my neighbours. If nothing else, walking might increase your brain size and memory. Image: Asela Jayarathne.

Volunteer At A Non-Profit

Sure, working for free probably doesn’t sound better than playing Xbox for six hours straight, but it’s a good way to get out of the house and do something productive. Bonus: you’ll feel horrible if you skip a day so you’re more likely to do it. Know that volunteering can encompass everything from teaching a class on electronics to writing blogs for non-profits. Volunteering isn’t just a good way to get out of the house; it’s also good padding for your resume.

Really, as long as you’re getting out of the house now and again you should be able to steer clear of a Howard Hughes-esque fate, but it’s totally understandable if it’s a bit tough to get up the willpower to do it.



PS These suggestions are just a few in a wide sea of reasons to leave the house, so be sure to share your own tricks for leaving your self-sustaining house in the comments.

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      • Yeah, I was fascinated to discover the original meaning of introvert is something quite different to how the word is generally used now – how it’s used now just describes a common side effect of introversion.

        Plenty of introverts are outgoing, loud, social, friendly, etc – they just need to have some time to themselves fairly regularly.

        I’m apparently borderline introvert/extrovert, but only my close friends know I’m half introvert. Everyone else thinks I’m an extrovert.

      • Actually the asker is confusing it with being unsocial or non-social (I don’t know what the correct word is for the opposite of social) – which is completely different from being antisocial, a word that is, in my experience, probably misused more often than ‘introvert’.

  • Or…’I work with people daily. How can I avoid becoming and extroverted, obnoxious loud-mouth?’ My question for Lifehacker is did the editorial staff equate introversion with ‘going all Howard Hughes’ or did the asker?

  • Introversion/Extroversion has little to do with habits and much to do with the amount and kind of “social stamina” a person has. An introvert finds themselves drained by social interactions, and needs to recharge from time to time with some space alone. Regular exercise of his social “muscle” will improve his social stamina but socialising will still be mentally and emotionally draining.

    An extrovert is the opposite: they find social interaction mentally and emotionally energising and if they are forced to spend time alone, they find it drains them and after a while they *need* to go out and see people.

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