Why is it so hard to find your people as an introvert?

Here’s something I don’t think I’ve admitted to on this blog before: In high school, I thought I was actually a shy extrovert because I craved a rich social life. Surely an introvert wouldn’t feel as lonely as I did at times.

Eventually I found out I was actually a pretty strong introvert and that my loneliness was in no way out of the ordinary. Since graduating from high school, I’ve managed to make great friends–some of whom I consider to be best friends that I’ll hopefully have in my life for many more years to come.

Now that I’ve recently moved away from those friends, I’ve found myself thinking this again: why is it so hard to find your people?

Who are “your people,” exactly? Here’s my test.

Your favourite thing to do with them is nothing in particular. Bonus points if it involves caffeinated beverages and baked goods way too late at night. A 24-Hour Tim Hortons is my ideal stop. I may be showing my nationality here.

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This photo, “Friends,” is (c) ted-alien 2014 and made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs license.

You can lash out at them over something that’s actually not a big deal and they won’t abandon you. Um, done this a few times. Sorry, friends.

Your inside jokes aren’t really that funny but you don’t care. Maybe one day you’ll realize how unfunny you are. Probably not, though.

To develop these kinds of relationships takes time, especially for introverts who prefer to keep to themselves. I feel very lucky to be on the way to developing a solid friendship or two after about four months of living in a new city, and I know some people have gone much longer without finding any kind of potential best mates.

I went on like that for most of eight months when I lived abroad, which was pretty hard for me. And of course, I had times in high school and earlier when I felt that crushing loneliness, even though I more often than not had someone to sit with at lunch.

Why can it be so hard for us? For me, at least, it’s because I have a pretty rich inner life and it takes a lot for someone to catch my attention. I’m looking for someone I can maybe go shopping with and most definitely have a great conversation with. Maybe that’s what everyone is looking for, but I don’t know, it just seems like the introverts I know have a harder go at it.

I wish I could offer some foolproof advice like “join an internet forum to meet likeminded people!” or “get a penpal!” (do check out reddit.com/r/penpals if that appeals to you, though). For me, though, nothing can beat finding that friend you can eat a Boston Cream with at 3 a.m.

What do you think? Have you found it hard to find your people?

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