Being an introvert and having a social life might seem be contradictory, but it’s possible for both to coexist. Balance is the key to successfully combining introversion and social activity. Too much social activity can be exhausting for an introvert. Too little will leave him longing for social interaction.

Being an introvert doesn’t require spending 100% of your time alone. Introverts can have fulfilling and active social lives.

Use these strategies to have an active social life and still enjoy your time alone:

1. Avoid pretending to be something you’re not. If you’re not an extrovert, stop pretending that you are. Not only will you be acting in a disingenuous manner, but you’ll also wear yourself out. This strategy will only convince you that an active social life isn’t a possibility.

2. Consider your perfect day. If you were able to plan your perfect day, what ratio of people time to alone time would you choose? Attempt to create enough social contact to match that ratio. In addition, consider whether the time spent with others would include friends, family, or strangers.

3. Focus on quality. An introvert typically doesn’t want 50 casual friends. He wants a few, close connections. Everyone has a limited amount of time to spend on social activities each week, so spend your time wisely.

* A few meaningful connections may be more satisfying and less stressful than many casual friendships.

4. Be willing to decline offers for social activities. It’s okay to turn down offers for social contact. Stay home if your energy levels are waning. Going out when you’re already drained will ensure a miserable experience.

5. Create the habit of being social at least once per week. Even if you have friends already, you run the risk of losing touch with them if you don’t spend time together on a regular basis. Once a week, either see your current friends or spend time making new friends. Have a standing date to be social one night each week.

6. Have a predictable social gathering at least once per month. Join a club, a sporting league, or take poker lessons. Get out of the house at least once each month for a structured social event.

7. Consider the venues that match your introversion. A loud, crowded bar or nightclub might be a little too much for your tastes. Perhaps coffee or a trip to the bookstore with a friend would be choice that is more enjoyable. All will have a better time if you match an activity with your comfort.

8. Introduce yourself to at least one new person each month. It could be a neighbor, friend of a friend, fellow employee, or a complete stranger. Follow up with others that seem compatible and interesting. It’s okay to let the rest go. Within a year, you’ll have at least a few new connections. A few might be all you need.

9. Learn to ask open-ended questions. It can be tiring to be the focus of a conversation. The solution is simple: ask questions that encourage others to talk. Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple question like, “Where did you go to school?” Instead, ask them what they enjoyed most about college.

* A few good questions will keep the other person talking for a long time. With a little practice, you’ll be known as an excellent conversationalist. Interestingly, you won’t have to say much.

It’s possible to match your introverted personality with an active social life. Your version of an active social life might be different from that of an extrovert. What matters is that you’re enjoying your life to the fullest and spending some quality time with others. Stretch yourself, but it isn’t necessary to make yourself miserable on a regular basis. Focus on quality relationships.