By Natali Cavanagh • September 22, 2017

An Introvert in Manhattan

In a city that’s always moving, where something's always happening, and someone’s always somewhere… I was a little nervous moving to New York.

Even though I, like many others, have dreamed about living in New York for my entire life, I knew that the city overwhelms people. The pressure to always be doing something interesting is high in New York, and the city does not fail to provide you with plenty of things to do. For someone like me, who desperately needs relaxation and alone time to recharge, keeping up with the New York lifestyle while checking my mental health was daunting.

But as I’ve been here for a few weeks, I’ve learned there are tons of ways to both take advantage of the city and make time to be alone. Here are my tips for introverting in New York!

  • For every two times you say yes, say no once. Like I said before, there’s always something happening in New York. It only took me a week in to realize that I was quickly draining all my energy by saying yes to everything. I started to prioritize the things that I really wanted to do now and what I could do later, and then started learning how to say no to some things. Do push yourself. Say yes to things outside your comfort zone. But you also don’t need to do everything. Learn your limits by pushing them, but don’t feel you have to constantly break them.
  • Don’t be afraid to go to events alone. Museums, galleries, and book readings are great places to meet new people, but they’re also places that are really easy to go alone. I’ve been challenging myself to talk to new people (since it’s something I REALLY don’t like doing), but I’ve also learned that there are some nights where I just want to enjoy myself and not be overwhelmed with social anxiety. I’ve learned to love being alone in a crowded room.
  • Take advantage of the parks. Parks are the perfect places to chill and enjoy the sounds of the city; they’ve become my new favorite reading spots when I want to be outside my room, but don’t have the energy to go out with friends. Away from the cars and busy sidewalks, I love people watching and spying on all the cute dogs that go past without having to say a word to anyone.
  • Your friends will understand if you cancel. If they’re really your friends, they will understand that your mental well-being is important. I’ve been lucky to have met some pretty awesome people in the New York Arts Program that I can have fun with, but who I also know won’t shun me for choosing introverting over partying.
  • Plan self-care in your daily routine.  Even if it’s just 20 minutes, pick a time every day to prioritize introverting. My days are starting to feel busy and my schedule is starting to fill up. I know if I don’t plan ahead, self-care will get left in the dust (which is not something I want to do).


By: Natali Cavanagh