For introverts, energy is a precious resource.
Social interactions can be draining at the best of times for us. That’s why giving our energy to people who don’t deserve it is a huge waste.
But how do we know who is deserving of our energy and attention?
Let’s start with who is NOT deserving of it.
The number one sign that someone is a waste of energy is if they have showed you or told you outright that they don’t appreciate what you’re giving them.
They don’t put in any effort and take your efforts for granted. Maybe they’re flakey, trying to change or cancel plans, as if your time isn’t important.
Often, people tell you who they are in the first exchange. They might say something like, “I don’t have time for relationships,” or “I have commitment issues.”
Another sign that someone is not deserving of your energy is if they ask more of you than they are willing to give.
It becomes a lopsided relationship, if one can call it a relationship at all.
Relationships are meant to be an energy exchange. We give and take and, ultimately, the connection leaves us with an energy surplus, rather than constant feelings of depletion.
You’ll know that the relationship will only deplete you if the person has no respect for your boundaries.
They expect you to throw open the doors of your entire life for them, but never return the favor.
Why introverts choose the wrong people
Although it may seem obvious on paper who is not deserving of your energy, it’s easy for introverts to get confused.
You may be accustomed to draining social interactions. Perhaps, years of being told that you were the problem has led to a habit of self-blaming.
You think that if someone takes you for granted it must be your fault.
The truth is that the right people appreciate you for YOU. They don’t expect you to bend over backwards and change yourself. Don’t get me wrong.
People who deserve your energy DO expect certain things of you. They expect you to be there for them emotionally, to listen, to care. But…
They also expect these same things of themselves. They don’t need to be convinced or taught to be a good friend or partner.
How introverts can find the right people
There’s a shortcut to magnetically attracting your ideal friends that a lot of people miss.
This easy first step works like magic for introverts who are easily overwhelmed and drained by socializing.
You don’t want to have to go to endless meet and greets and endure banal small talk to find your ideal friends.
The best thing about this shortcut is that it also works great for finding your ideal romantic partner. Allow me to explain…
The other day as I was preparing to make risotto, my eyes settled on the rectangle shape of the arborio rice, which was packaged in clear cellophane.
For a split second I thought, “I wonder how they get the risotto into a rectangle.” Then I realized–duh, it’s the cellophane packaging that shapes it.
Things take the shape of the container they’re in.
Water takes the shape of its jug. Soil takes the shape of its pot. Even fire is shaped by the atmosphere surrounding it.
And so it is with humans.
We take the shape of our “container”. In other words, we are molded by our environment, including the places where we work, socialize, and live.
That’s why one of the easiest shortcuts to transforming ourselves and our relationships is to change our container.
What does that look like on a practical level?
Put yourself in different environments that better compliment your introversion.
You can start by aligning your environments with your core values. (Discover your core values using this values worksheet.)
For example, if one of your core values is health, and yet, your primary social activities involve drinking alcohol and eating greasy foods, that is something to take a look at.
Ask yourself, “What environments and social groups will support my desire to stay healthy?”
When you place yourself in a new container, you’ll be surprised at how rapidly your state of mind and the type of people you attract shifts.
For more tools and insights for making real, fulfilling friendships as an introvert, grab my free Introvert Connection Guide.