If the thought of having a prolonged one-on-one conversation with a stranger at a social event makes your palms sweat, you might be an introvert. As more and more seniors consider moving to a senior living community for the socializing opportunities and other benefits, you might start wondering if that’s something just for extroverts or is senior living for introverts too?
To help you decide, we’ll discuss the differences between introverts and extroverts, along with what senior living communities have to offer you.
Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to gain energy from socializing while you need time to recharge? It could all come down to your unique personality.
Extroverts are often viewed as talkative, friendly and outgoing. They are usually the life of the party and the first ones to volunteer to host the next get-together. Extroverts feel energized being around other people and spending too much time alone can make them feel sad, depressed or lonely.
Introverts are often thought of as quiet, reserved and thoughtful. They don’t seek out special attention or large social events, and often feel exhausted and drained after spending time in a group. They prefer to have deep conversations with one or two people. Introverts recharge when alone and are likely to feel great after taking a long bath or a solitary walk.
Many introverted seniors can have a greater challenge keeping connected once they retire, because they no longer get the casual social engagement of work. But social connection has been shown to have health benefits for seniors, regardless of their personality type.
Socializing for introverts.
If you’re an introvert who’d like to engage in more social opportunities, here are some suggestions from Harvard Medical School:
- Set boundaries: Focus on putting yourself in situations where you feel most comfortable. Communities have group activities with a defined beginning, middle and end (all good for introverts). You can also choose a solo activity or do something with a few friends.
- Pick an activity: Senior living communities offer a variety of classes allowing you to focus your energy and attention on the activity rather than conversing with others.
- Home field advantage: If going out is difficult, invite someone to your residence for dinner, or have a small group over to watch the game. This puts you in control of the environment as well as the amount of socializing.
- Join a club: Find an organization based on your interests or hobbies. They typically have defined boundaries with structured schedules and set time limits.
- Be social from afar: Social media is a great way for introverts to stay connected. You can watch from afar, choose when to interact, and come and go as you please, without the worry of commitment.
The benefits of senior living for introverts.
As an introvert, it’s entirely possible you could feel overwhelmed by aspects of senior living communities. One thing a community offers is a calendar with a wide variety of activities that allow you get to choose your level of involvement:
- Join a book club or other small discussion group.
- Meet a few friends in the library or host a close friend in your apartment.
- Try out a new learning opportunity by attending a lecture or new hobby class.
- Connect with others through facilitated discussions, which will take the guesswork out of trying to connect with a new face.
Communities also have private reading nooks or out-of-the-way seating areas, so you can be a part of the community without having to actively engage if you don’t want to.
Find an option to fit your personality.
Sometimes stretching a little bit outside of your comfort zone can help you find a solution that fits you a lot better than you realize. If you’re ready to start exploring, review a few communities near you with our Where You Live Matters community finder. You might just discover senior living is for introverts.