How to Survive as an Introvert in D.C.

How to Survive as an Introvert in D.C.

As a natural introvert, a hyperactive city like D.C. can be a lot to take in. With all the TWC events packed into the first week, it made me feel like every second I wasn’t doing something incredible or networking with my peers was a second wasted, and so I signed up for every single event that I could find. By the end of the week, however, I found myself slowly beginning to get worn down.

 

For me, the key to success here has been finding a way to balance spending time with other people and time alone, rather than forcing myself to be extroverted and active 24/7 or giving into my instincts completely and hiding up in my room under 3 layers of blankets. It took some trial and error, but by the end of my first week here, I found a system that worked for me without resorting to either extreme.

 

Making Friends

Coming here, I knew that overcoming the nerves and making conversation during the first few days would be important. Despite wanting to hide up in my room, I went out of my way to talk to people  because I knew that there were plenty of people just like me, nervous and looking for a friendly face. I also made a conscious effort to sign up for some of the welcome events like walking tours and a beautiful boat tour along the river, and it paid off – by the end of the weekend, I’d exchanged information and numbers with people that I was well on the way to becoming friends with.

 

TWC interns out socializing on the Washington Sunset Cruise

 

Flying Solo

 

While I spent a lot of time getting to know people and making friends, I realized by Sunday that I was running out of steam. I felt constantly tired, and keeping up any kind of conversation was exhausting. Recognizing this, I took some time on Monday to visit the National Gallery of Art by myself. It was a good way to get myself used to taking the Metro on my own, and more importantly, it gave me as second to breathe. Walking through the gallery on my own and listening to my music was exactly what I needed, and it gave me a sense of peace.

 

The rotunda of the National Gallery of Art, taken during my solo visit

 

I may not always have two hours to go visit the National Gallery of Art, but I try and set aside a little time each week now where I plan to be alone. Whether it’s getting groceries or taking myself out to dinner, it gives me time to recharge and do a little introspection. At the same time, I look for at least one event every week that I can go to with friends or to meet new people. The combination of those things keeps me grounded, and makes me truly enjoy the time I spend with others.

 

Read Colleen's previous blogs

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