The world is full of noise, crowds, and rambunctious people. Bars, open-plan offices, crowded trains and buses, busy city streets – all can leave us feeling trapped and suffocated, uncomfortable and all peopled out.

But the world also offers places where a more reflective soul can find peace, contentment, solace, or even the right kind of company.

Here are 5 places an introvert can enjoy a calmer kind of happy.

1. The Cafe Office

Many introverts like being or working alone with other people. A coffee shop is a great place to do this – whether it’s to enjoy the hubbub of humanity without having to engage, or to people-watch.

I like to write at cafes a couple of days a week. I found a place that made great coffee, but it was right in the middle of a shopping centre and acquaintances kept finding me and stopping to chat. Eeek!

After some experimentation I found a cafe that’s hidden away where they’ve learned how I like my coffee and they make me a delicious lunch that’s not even on the menu. I never have to order – they know my routine and take great care of me while I work.

If you’re prepared to do a little exploring you might track down a coffee shop that offers a quiet corner and good coffee. If you do, become a regular and be a good customer. Order generously for the time you’re there, and tip well.

If you work in a loud workplace perhaps you can negotiate some regular time at your own little cafe office. Find a way to demonstrate you’re more productive there – and your boss will be happy.

2. The Park, Beach, Or Walking Trail Escape

What could be better that taking your book, kindle, iPad, or notebook to a picturesque spot in the park?

For me, staying inside could be better, a lot better, and also freer of bugs. But this is not about me and the heinousness of bugs with their creepy bug bodies and their weird, excessive bug legs.

If you enjoy the outdoors then find a spot on the grass or on a bench under a shady tree – and enjoy the birds and the breeze and the fresh air.

Or perhaps the background sound of crashing waves on a deserted beach is more your thing?

Or a trek through a picturesque hiking trail?

Personally, my absolute favourite thing about the outdoors is coming back inside. But if you enjoy nature, investigate local spots where you can enjoy some outdoorsyness and quality introvert time.

3. The Sofa + TV Combo

I’m sure I don’t need to sell you on the formula of sofa + TV = introvert joy. But for me there’s a third ingredient that makes the sofa / TV combo a truly happy introvert place. No, not snacks, though of course you’re right and I stand corrected. And now also hungry.

The thing that elevates quality sofa and TV time for me is when it rewards a period of hard work rather than provides a way to avoid it. When I watch TV because I’m feeling overwhelmed or want to procrastinate, there’s always this little mental barrier to really enjoying myself.

But if I’ve done some good work and my brain is happily tired, there’s a whole other level of pleasure. So I use TV as an incentive and work toward it. Right now I have a long, challenging  list of tasks I’m working through for Louder Minds, and when I’m done my reward will be to re-watch Game of Thrones from the start, in anticipation of the upcoming final two seasons. Of course I could start doing that now, but the pleasure will be sweeter when it feels earned.

Whether you like learning from documentaries, escaping into other worlds, or ‘hanging out’ with people who don’t need anything from you, the sofa + TV combination can be a very restorative place for introverts.

4. The Friend Dinner Date

Although many of us introverts dislike parties and large-scale social events, we may really enjoy time with our best friends.

I love to have friend dates, when I get together over dinner with a close friend. For an introvert there’s something very nurturing about deep conversation with a dear friend over a delicious meal. And wine. Did I mention there should be good wine?

For this reason I always choose restaurants that have the right ambience – not too noisy, not too brightly lit, not rushed, tables not too jammed together.

I usually wear something a little dressy as well – it just feels good.

If you don’t have regular friend dates, give it a try. It’s a lovely and rejunenating way to spend an evening.

5. The Library

If you enjoy books and quiet and have a library near you then you are indeed a lucky introvert.

This may be one of the most wonderful places for someone seeking a serene place to spend some time.

Theres’s the smell of books, the helpful librarians, and even the officious, cranky ones (I find them strangely comforting). There’s the camaraderie of fellow book lovers with whom you do not have to interact in any way, and the lovely dependability of the Dewey Decimal System. There’s the ‘new books’ section and the fact you can stroll around and look at spines and search the catalogue and let one thing lead to another as you explore and read and explore some more.

One piece of advice though: if it’s peace you’re after, be sure to avoid children’s story-time.

How about you? Do you have a happy place that soothes your introvert soul?

Please share!