The 6 Best Podcasts For Introverts (Who Feel Lonely)

When you’re an introvert, people tend to automatically assume you keep to yourself because you don’t like people. In my opinion, the exact opposite is true. There’s nothing I crave more than hearing about people’s lives and making connections; however, by my nature, this tires me out in no time. Listening to podcasts is a great way for introverts to get their fix when they feel lonely and want to connect to the world, but lack the emotional energy to actually put themselves out there in social situations.

I think most people probably love podcasts, and what’s not to love? They’re free and – assuming you can have headphones at work – they make the time fly when you’re bored. And I think people talk as much about podcasts these days as TV shows or movies, so they’re definitely a necessity if you don’t want people to think you live under a rock.

If you’re new to podcasts, there’s a show about literally any topic you could possibly imagine. I got hooked by starting with Serial (season 1, not 2), but there are so many others I’ve come to love in the past few years. My favorites are the ones about real people’s lives and about people making connections, either with their own past or other people in their lives. 

 

1. Mystery Show

 Although they only ever made one season and then promised to make more and never did, this is still my favorite podcast. Whenever someone asks me for a suggestion, this is my go-to (but I don’t think anyone has actually taken me up on it yet!) This show is hosted by Starlee Kine, who solves mysteries for herself, her friends and other people she knows. Unlike almost every other mystery with an unsatisfying ending, she actually finds the answer every time. And although these mysteries start off small and seem insignificant, they grow into something much more meaningful as she goes along and learns from all the people connected to each story. It’s really a gem.

 

2. The Moth Podcast

Do you like open mic and true stories that make you laugh or cry? Me too. The Moth is fantastic. This show is the radio adaptation of The Moth Show, which travels to different cities around the country hosting live storytelling sessions. Some are good, some are meh, and some are so amazing they’ll change how you see the world.

 

3. StoryCorps

If you really like stories that make you cry more often than not, this is the podcast. They tug at your emotions so much that I honestly wouldn’t recommend listening to them in places where you don’t want to cry in public (e.g. work). These are short, 15-minute episodes that often feature a collection of stories that all center around a certain topic. My favorite part is that these stories come from people who interview their friends, relatives, neighbors etc. and just simply ask them about their lives. There’s usually no agenda when people record these stories, which is what makes it so special when basic questions like “where did you grow up?” grow into a vivid snapshot of life in a time most of us can’t remember or imagine. I feel pretty confident in saying StoryCorps can renew your faith in humanity.

 

4. Dear Sugar

I’m embarrassed to admit that my favorite part of the newspaper is the advice column. But it is. If you love it too, or if you’ve read Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild and want more of her, listen to Dear Sugar. It’s hosted by (guy’s name) and Cheryl Strayed herself, both of whom are amazingly insightful about people’s problems. The show works just like an advice column where a person writes a letter about a problem they’re having and the hosts offer up a long and heartfelt piece of advice. I’ve taken some of their advice myself since many of the letters are so relatable. And there’s even an episode about how introverts and extroverts view the world and get their energy that’s really interesting (“Social Butterfly In Love With A Hermit Crab,” released 7/21/16).

 

5. Found

If you have looked through the iTunes top charts recently, you’ve probably noticed Gimlet productions popping up like crazy. They’re seriously making some good stuff, and they’re also the ones who made Mystery Show. Found is every super-observant person’s dream podcast. For anyone who’s been walking along and saw a love note, a picture, or even a shopping list on the ground and felt compelled to know who dropped it and what their life story is, Found satisfies that craving. They dive deep into people’s stories of finding random things on the street and how those discoveries can change your life, or at least make it more interesting. 

 

6. Criminal

I could write an entire post about how much I love true crime podcasts, but I’ll save that for another time. Criminal might seem like an odd choice for this list, but it’s mostly about the impact crimes have on individual lives and society as a whole. It never dwells on gruesome details for shock value like some crime shows, although many of Criminal’s stories can’t be told without some disturbing elements. And it’s not just about high-profile cases or murder. The podcast takes a hard look at many social justice issues through the lens of crime. I sometimes feel like I insulate myself from all the bad things happening in the world, but shows like Criminal keep my eyes open.

What’s your favorite podcast to listen to when you want to connect? There are so many other great ones out there and we’d love to hear about them!

Robin Pletzer

Robin lives in Hopkins, MN and works at a local nonprofit. She has a BS in English from UW-River Falls where she met her husband in a creative writing class. In her spare time, she can be found exploring state parks, drawing up blueprints for her dream teardrop camper, writing, and knitting (follow her projects on Instagram @knitwander).