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!