Those with an introverted personality are not immune to the sharp sting of loneliness.
When I spend too much time alone, I become cranky, irritable, and sad. But it’s more than that. Like many introverts, I am a thinker. Too many days all by my lonesome leads to overthinking, and eventually … obsession.
Has this ever happened to you, innie friend?
Your beautiful brain locks in on an experience or worry, and turns it round and round until you’re dizzy with fear. Or shame. Or the sense that you’re not good enough, and never will be.
Whew, I feel off balance just writing about it. This is not a state that any of us want to spend much time in. And yet, with an introverted personality, it’s all too easy to slip into the cycle of obsessive thoughts brought on by too much alone time.
You might be wondering, where is the line? How do you know when your sweet solitude has gone sour, and it’s time to reemerge from your cave?
You’d think it would be obvious. But loneliness, like obsession, has a way of sneaking up on us. It’s subtle at first, and easily brushed off as a passing mood swing, or a dip in blood sugar levels.
Are you addicted to loneliness?
Loneliness can even become addictive. I know, it seems so counterintuitive. But humans are complex creatures. And those of us with an introverted personality are as inscrutable as they come.
So, after days, or weeks, of aloneness, we lose interest in going out and socializing. It all seems like a nuisance. We’ve settled into our alone. Made a home of it.
Sure, we’d like to have someone to cozy up to, and share our secrets with. Someone who’ll lighten the burden of our busy brain by listening to our thoughts – however slowly or awkwardly we share them.
But loneliness is so stealthy in the way it sneaks up on us that we are surprised by its arrival.
“You again? I wasn’t expecting you for another week. Can you come back later. Now really isn’t a convenient time.”
Loneliness doesn’t listen. It hangs around uninvited like a teen loitering outside the 7/11 on a Friday night. It’s just as annoying, too.
What to do, what to do?
At this point, not anyone will do. We want true companionship. Party chit chat, and pleasantries only magnify our loneliness. Make it real. Loneliness, like sadness, isn’t supposed to dwell in crowded rooms full of smiling people.
It’s meant to be on the outskirts, in the shadows, curled up in a grungy old t-shirt that wreaks of Doritos and bad decisions.
What to do when alone becomes lonely
The first step to avoiding loneliness is to plan ahead. Every introvert differs in how much time they can spend alone before loneliness creeps in.
When I go more than a few days in a row without human interaction, I become restless. I begin to obsess over things that aren’t worth obsessing over. I start to feel agitated and morose.
Some introverts can go for weeks without seeing another human and feel fine. Others thrive on the comfort of constant companionship from a trusted partner or friend.
The important thing is to know what your needs are, and plan for them. Schedule in a coffee or hiking date with a close friend before loneliness sets in.
Know the ultimate cure for loneliness
When the head honchos at 7/11 wanted to deter those loitering teens, they did something totally unexpected.
Instead bullying the teens with threats, they began blasting classical music. The teens didn’t like it. So they left.
The same concept can be applied to loneliness. While loneliness will hang around in nearly any social situation, there are a couple of things it can’t stand.
Loneliness doesn’t like love and connection. It flees from them.
How introverts can connect in an extrovert’s world
“I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness.” – Anaïs Nin
I know that it can be difficult for people with an introverted personality to create the true connection they crave. This is why I created my 6-week online course Fulfilling Connections For Introverts.
We live in a very extrovert-centric world. Much of the advice out there for making friends barely scratches the surface of what an introvert truly needs.
A lot of social skills experts deliver great advice on how to ignite meaningful conversations and connect on a deeper level with people. But often, it’s framed in a way that favors extroverts.
As an introvert, you have different needs and strengths than extroverts. My course is the only connections course created by and for introverts. True to my introverted nature, I delve way beyond the surface with this program.
It’s not about “coming out of your shell” or “fixing” your introversion. It’s about expanding, and applying the gifts you already have. I teach you actionable steps to create meaningful connections – the introverted way.
What about you?
How much time can you spend alone before loneliness sets in?
What advice do you have for introverts who struggle with loneliness.
Please share your experiences in the comments below.
Lots of love,