Introverts enjoy spending time alone. That’s no secret. For many of us, spending hours, or even days, in sweet solitude is the definition of bliss. But the introvert personality type does still need and enjoy socializing with other people.
For most introverts, there comes a point when we reach our threshold for alone time. Loneliness begins to set in and we start itching to go out. The problem is, going out into the big bad world of loud music, crowds, and other humans is exhausting for introverts. Often, we end up feeling like cats that beg to go out, and then want to come back in again only moments later.
This can be frustrating for friendly, fun-loving introvert personalities (yes, we do exist) who really do want to socialize, but can only handle short spurts at a time.
I have struggled with this particular introvert problem on many occasions. Being a writer, I spend several hours a day working alone in front of my computer. And I love it. But it is easy for me to start feeling lonely if I don’t schedule in social activities. By the time the weekend rolls around, I’m clawing at the front door, aching for some human interaction and adventure.
Then, just like a fickle little kitty, I want to come back in shortly after leaving the house. When it comes to socializing – especially in groups – an hour or two will do, thank you very much.
So, how can we make sure that we get enough human interaction to meet our needs, without becoming completely drained in the process?
After much experimentation, I’ve come up with a few simple tips:
Choose the right activities
Not all social activities are created equal. Some interactions are especially draining for introverts. For example, going to any group activity, where talking is the main diversion literally sucks the life out of me. By the end, my brain and my energy levels are zapped and I’m aching for the comforts of home.
On the other hand, group gatherings where dancing or spending time in nature are the main focus, actually energize me.
Take note of the interactions that leave you feeling particularly drained. Do less of those and more of the ones that sprinkle a little sparkle on your soul.
Be aware of your needs
As introverts, it’s important to remember that our way of socializing might not look the same as an extrovert’s. We innies have unique needs, and that’s okay. We can tailor our social activities to what works best for us.
If you know you can’t handle four hours straight of “catching up” with a group of friends, go ahead and make an escape plan. Leave early, and don’t feel guilty about it.
I’m very cautious about accepting invitations to group activities that last the whole day. Only VIPs get me for more than a couple of hours at a time. I’ve learned that it is better for everyone if I plan ahead to protect my energy levels.
Schedule it in
How many of you have ever forgotten to make plans for the weekend until it was too late? This is a common problem for introverts. I think it’s because we enjoy our alone time so much that we forget we will want to go out eventually.
I do this all the time. In fact, that reminds me that I have made zero plans for this weekend. Again. Sigh. Luckily, I have recurring activities in my schedule that force me to go out.
Being part of a Meetup group, class, or club is a great way to make sure you schedule in enough “out” time. Having a couple of extrovert friends also helps. They can act as social connectors who keep us in the know about upcoming events and gatherings.
Most importantly, know that you are not a freak or weirdo because of your cat-like tendencies. You’re an introvert, and we’re pretty awesome.
Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear about your experiences with the above problem.
Are there any other tips I missed for helping introverts get enough social interaction without feeling totally drained?