A lot of introverts struggle to balance alone time and socializing. Maybe you can relate. When you go out, you feel like you should be at home. When you’re at home, you feel like you should be out.
‘Should’ is really the operative word in both these scenarios. People love to tell introverts what we should and shouldn’t do. But they don’t have to deal with the consequences.
They don’t know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and drained by social situations, even though you may genuinely like people and crave connection. And they don’t understand that being alone is a necessity for you. It allows you to reflect and recharge your social batteries.
You need alone time like you need air. But even introverts need the warmth of human affection, and the stimulation of conversation.
So, how do you strike the right balance?
Well, first, know that balance is B.S. Life is messy and uneven. It’s an unmarked trail through the woods. Sometimes, you hit a clearing and you can see a vast blue sky.
Other times, you’re fighting your way through the brush. In the same way, you’ll have some weeks when you want and need more solitude. The next week, you may face back-to-back social events.
That said, there are some ways to make things easier:
1. Prioritize social events that energize you.
Not all social activities are created equal. Some events will light a spark in you, while others will be draining as heck. Prioritize the activities that feel easy and exciting to you. For me that means choosing social activities that align with my passions and values: salsa dancing, nature, standup comedy, personal growth.
2. Let go of the guilt for staying home.
A lot of introverts feel intense guilt for staying home. It’s not a crime to rest and reflect. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is restore yourself in solitude. This will allow you to be sharp and present when you do emerge from your cave to socialize again.
We live in a culture that celebrates being overcommitted. Being busy means that you’re important and productive. But for introverts, this is a dangerous mindset. It leads to burnout and feelings of inadequacy. Instead of overcommitting, schedule in LESS than what you think you can handle.
4. Reach out to friends BEFORE you’re lonely.
An introvert’s sweet alone time can sour when loneliness creeps in. Look for the warning signs of loneliness (lethargy, sadness, lack of motivation) and reach out before desperation sets in.
Better yet, anticipate loneliness’s arrival and plan for it. For example, I know I start to feel lonely if I go more than a couple days without human connection (keep in mind I work at home alone). So, I plan my week’s activities accordingly.
5. Have weekly social activities you look forward to.
Another way to prevent loneliness from sneaking in is to have weekly social activities that you can count on no matter what. Here are some ideas:
- Recreational sports
- Book club
- Watching your favorite show with friends
- Sunday dinner with family or friends
- Parent’s group
- Biking, hiking, or walking groups
- Movie night with friends
6. Make your alone time count
Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean that you’re truly restoring yourself. Make the most of your alone time by doing rejuvenating activities, like meditation, yoga, a hot bath, reading, or creative expression.
All of the above tips will make it easier to enjoy your solitude and your social time.
For more tips to connect in your own introverted way, get my free Introvert Connection Guide for attracting your ideal friends.
Over to You
Do you struggle to balance alone time and socializing? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below. I’d love to hear from you!
Concerts and sporting events always energize me, so those are social events that I don’t mind going to.
Thank you sooo much for this! It came at the absolute right time, and everything, literally EVERYTHING you said is right.
In addition to being an indie, I also suffer from bipolar and was discharged last week. So yep, I’m trying hard to get my balance back with it being so hard with being depressed at the same time.
So I told my son that I’m going downtown, and I know he’s going to check out of concern.
People in my life? Quite a few, but I count only one or two that I can truly say cares about me. The others claim they do but I’m not stupid. I know it’s only to get in my business, and then run their mouths. So I’ve decided to keep my distance. Of course that will make them talk more, but it’ll be empty talk.
Anyway, thank you so much.
Many times, I stay home because there are events that happen or about to happen by the time I get home or the public transportation is not available to take me to the event and take me back home when the event is over. I love your idea of taking a hot bath. My massage therapist recommends it and putting some ginger powder in the water to help relax you.
I live in a resort City in Mexico, because I am completely overwhelmed with life in the US. I am happily retired and live alone. I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. When I can pick and choose my activities I can find a good healthy balance. I have been clean and sober for ten years. I am a pleaser and a fixer and many people come to me for advice, , assistance, and friendship which is great. But I have become the go to person in my neighborhood. I hear a lot of “I hate to bother you but”. I feel very quilty when I say no. I don’t want to lose friends and make thinks awkward, but need to find a way to say no. I have started to do just that, and the response I get are not favorable. Maybe I am in some way addicted to other people’s drama. I gotten to the point where I am ready to put a sign on my door.
Am really short of words to describe your impact on my life. Thanks so much.
Hi! I am a teenager who loves to be alone a lot in my room and listen to music, dance, sing etc. Recently I haven’t been hungry at school but I am generally quite happy otherwise. My friend asked if I wanted to have a sleepover and I said no because I wanted to be alone and in my own bed and house. My mum (who is a MASSIVE extrovert by the way) doesn’t understand when I want to be alone and don’t want to hang out with my friends. It’s not that I am lonely or alone as I have many many many friends who support me and I love hanging out with them. I just need some alone time as it takes a toll on me. I hate socialising with people I don’t know but I am so loud and funny and extroverted with my friend group. I felt like getting this off my chest to someone I don’t know in real life. Anyway, my mum doesn’t understand since she said she has always wanted to have sleepovers at her friends houses when she was my age. I don’t really like sleepovers. And it’s not that I get ‘home sick’ or anything because well…I don’t because I go on camps all the time and have so much fun. She just doesn’t get that I have really bad social anxiety. I am also extremely sensitive so anything anyone says to me, no matter their tone or how serious it was, I will ALWAYS take it to heart and feel sad. What should I do? Thank you. for your help if you reply…anyone! xoxo 🙂 That felt really good just writing it out anyway! Bye for now!
Hi, thanks for sharing your experiences as an innie teen. It’s great that you understand yourself and your introversion, even if your mom doesn’t understand. It’s natural to want and need alone time. It’s nothing to worry about, especially since you have close friends and you aren’t lonely. As for feeling very sensitive to what others say, try to value your opinion of yourself more than other people’s. This means that if you’re staying true to yourself and your values, you can let go of any criticisms from others. xo