Too much of a good thing: The exhausted introvert

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A couple of weeks ago we had an all-day staff meeting, where the folks in my department who usually work in other cities all came to our main office. Our boss is a super cool guy and wants the meetings to be beneficial and fun, so he had an action-packed agenda including an outside consultant who flew in for the occasion.

Like many of you, I hate long meetings and get bored very quickly, so that day I was quick to respond to questions, often adding remarks that I knew would make my boss and the others laugh. It helped me to have a little fun in the meeting and I also hoped it would go more quickly that way. We made it through the morning then lunch was brought in so we ate as a group. After lunch it was time for the consultant to give us quizzes about our preferences and talk to us. Unfortunately he was a guy who quickly memorized all of our names and wanted to prod us about our personalities and how each of us would work in a team with various others. He called on me many times, and I resented him for pushing me that way, but I knew the answers to his questions so I still thought all was well. Around 2 pm though, I suddenly realized that I was exhausted. I really felt it all over my face, as if I could hardly stand to have my eyes open or especially meet anyone else’s eyes. As the guy kept talking on and on, I got my Blackberry and sent a quick email to an introvert across the room. “Exhausted.” In a few minutes I looked at the Blackberry discreetly to see his reply, “I’m done.” Well said. I think most of us were done.

My boss is a well educated guy and has actually had us complete behavior surveys before, so he definitely knew each person’s tendencies, yet after the consultant was finally finished he called on a guy who is about as introverted as I am. “Jeff*, can you tell us a little about what you’ve been doing?”

Jeff looked like he was in a daze. “Um…I um…” The consultant or the out-of-towners may have thought he didn’t know what he’d been doing. The fact was that Jeff was exhausted. The six hours we’d all been sitting there and participating in the meeting had totally drained his battery. He finally managed a few simple sentences, but of course he didn’t come near doing justice to what he’d been working on. Fortunately although it probably didn’t occur to my boss at the time that Jeff was exhausted from being with others, he kindly said thanks and moved on. I was so glad that I knew why I was exhausted and could also have a reasonable estimate of what time I would be free. That is the beauty of knowing you are an introvert instead of wondering if something is wrong with you! There is no better feeling in the world than being an introvert after a meeting is over and you are blissfully alone.

We have another meeting coming up in a few weeks. This time I plan to participate as appropriate but not try to be the life of the party. I’m going to go in with my battery fully charged and not sap it by overdoing it! When the group goes off on a tangent, I’m even going to refresh my energy the one way I can do while sitting with others – escape into daydream. Of course any physical escapes during breaks and lunch will definitely be alone and beautifully silent.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

*Names have been changed to protect innocent introverts. ;)

Photo credit: jpockele

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86 Comments

  1. I haven’t been to too many meetings, luckily, but I do recognise Jeff’s behaviour. Specially if they have a meeting at the end of the day.

    I can especially relate to it in social settings. After a while I might seem very uninterested, but I’m not. I’m just tired and need some time to myself. Sadly very few extroverts understands that, because they tend to think that everyone wants to be social all the time; or at least as long as they can muster.

    • Oh yes – weddings, parties, holidays, any time we’re with people for a long time, we tend to get drained. And it’s as if the others GET all the energy we’re losing! I’m sure they can’t understand it at all, but fortunately those of us who know we are introverts can teach ‘em. :)

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  3. I totally relate! Luckily after almost ten years of marriage my (SUPER extrovert) husband understands that I only have so much to give… even if I’d like to be an extrovert, and no matter how well I can socialize with people, I’m just NOT an extrovert! I have quite a few stories from earlier in our relationship of me melting down at parties after having subtly told him multiple times that I needed to leave. He just didn’t understand my *need* and since he’s an extrovert he’d party on… and then suddenly I would MELT DOWN and be mad that he wasn’t listening to me when I said I wanted to go… oh, Lordy! Thank goodness we’ve worked through all those issues. :) I should write a blog post about all this! :)

    • Hah – I’ll bet a good meltdown got his attention! :) I have done that before when finally getting home from a day where I’d been one-on-one with a VP of the company I worked for, driving to a nearby city and working there all day then driving back – all while making small talk with him. I needed to be ALONE when I got home and actually didn’t realize what was going on at the time! I had no idea what an introvert was at the time.

      When everyone will let me do the things I want to do and not push me into more, I really enjoy being an introvert. I can’t even describe the extreme pleasure I get from reading or daydreaming. But I do wish I had an extra battery pack for things like what you’re describing. :)

    • Man…I had a melt down at a club because I was beyond exhausted and my friends refuse to leave (my friend, Cyndi was the DD). Finally in order to get their attention I foreigned a sickness….that got their attention quick and they dropped me off at home. I learned from then on to bring my own car.

      • Jennie, oh yes having your own car there makes you feel so much better. Just knowing it’s there even helps me to be able to stay places a little longer, because I know I can leave any time I want!

  4. We have meeting at my job once in a blue moon and I hate going to it because 1) it at 7 pm and 2) its BORING! Its the same lecture every meeting. Plus by the end of the day I just want to veg. I don’t want to hear people yap especially if I’ve been around people all day. Just tell me what you have to tell me and let me go my merry way. There should be a floating bubble that say ” Vacant…talk to me tomorrow”

    • Me too – by the end of the work day it is time to LEAVE and go veg somewhere. Usually there is nothing I’ve heard in a meeting like that that couldn’t have been said in an email. Um..sometimes I think my floating bubble actually shows to the world. ;)

    • Hi No, Absolutely, I wouldn’t want to give the impression that if someone hires an introvert he’d never be able to last through a meeting. I just wrote the post to illustrate what some of us go through so that extroverts who are interested might understand a little better. Introverts who want to do so can be or do anything they want: salesperson, President of the U.S., late night talk show host, comedian, anything.

      Thanks for your comment !

    • I’m an intorvert also, but I don’t think it’s bad to blame our personality type on this. It’s just how and who we are. I feel I have to be “on” all the time and it is very exhausting. And the older I get, the less I want to be “on”. And it ticks me off for extroverts to complain about me wanting to be “off” for a while. I don’t tell them to be the life of the party all the time and I deserve the same respect. If I want to be “off” they should respect that and find another party to go to and leave me alone.

      • Very nice. Maybe as people become a bit better educated about all this they’re realize – we’re not sinister, unsociable, or weird. We’re just wired a bit differently so our energy comes from within.

    • So how would you explain to others that you need to be alone to recharge your battery. What is bad about understanding how you are wired.

  5. My boss has all day meetings that have no discernible purpose other than to keep him company. So I started chewing raw garlic before the meetings and now they don’t last as long. I try to talk a lot.

  6. Patrick Dieter, BA, CDP, CADC II on

    Oh, we understand — we just don’t much care. The exhaustion you describe is consistent with subconscious avoidance mechanisms. In other words, it is your own fear and self-limitation that drains you. Blaming it on others is simply a celebration of perceived victimhood. It saves you from having to admit that you get a payoff from getting “tired.” What you call extraversion is, in fact, a sign of emotional intelligence and resilience. If you weren’t so busy mending the fence around your self-pity party, you might actually learn that energy comes from a higher source than our own shriveled little egos. It is inexhaustible. It can, however be refused, especially if you see yourself as a very finite being, strictly separate from others.

    • You obviously have no idea what you are talking about and seem to have no knowledge about psychology at all.

      I could take my time to explain things to you, but I feel I would then just be wasting my time as you obviously already have made up your mind with your own biased uneducated opinions.

    • James Johnon, M.A. on

      My degree is higher than yours and it is also in Psychology so there :P. Things have come a long way since Freud so I suggest you move past simple avoidance mechanisms and get with the cognitive revolution!

      • You are clearly beyond help. Your egocentric beyond repair, but here goes…

        I don’t care if God presented you with 10 PhD’s in *psychology* and then wiped your a** for you after the party.

        Do you propose that there is no such thing as introversion and extroversion?

        They clearly do exist.

        People *can* be drained by interacting with other people, and being “on”.

        If you deny this, I feel incredibly sorry for any patient who has ever been under your stewardship.

        The hostility you exude in your first comment only gives the distinct impression that you have a high intolerance for a label you perceive as making another – different than yourself. Or, perhaps even more special than yourself (gasp!) … one might think that you believed so anyway. You are obviously deflecting a hidden insecurity by so arrogantly announcing extroversion to be superior, or the norm. The very thought is disingenuous, indeed.

        The introvert is not a sad person fueling a pity party. They can be just as happy, if not happier, than the extrovert. They do not depend on others to fulfill them, and they usually have a clearer understanding of themselves, their inner workings/thoughts, etc. In fact, statistics show that 66% of people who fall into the top 2% in IQ are, brace yourself, introverted iNtutives. And as children Introverts are far less likely to get into trouble at school. The list goes on and on. But in the end both introversion and extroversion have their pros and cons. This doesn’t mean much to you however, given your disbelief in the concept that people can relate to the outside world differently than yourself.

        Lucky for all of us mortals, God can and does bless us with gifts and abilities to accomplish things that are not in our nature. But we are still counseled to not “run faster than we have strength.” Yes, energy *is* exhaustible.

        Saying that to believe yourself separate from others is ‘to refuse energy’ is nothing more than saying – “others give me energy”. This is the very definition of extroversion. Might you consider there is opposition in all things? Solitude is very energizing for billions of people.

        There are varying degrees introversion and extroversion. But one extrovert once told me that being alone was like holding their breath under water, they could do it but not for long. Another voiced ‘being alone feels empty to me’. And introvert, though they can genuinly love people, even crave people, does not usually feel like this. It is wonderful to have peace and quiet, alone time is not to be dreaded but welcomed for the introvert. Do you feel threatened by that? Do you have difficulty being alone? Maybe if 3/4 of the world were introverts (as opposed to extroverts) your need to be around others so much of the time would seem odd. And introverts could feel very self righteous in declaring your very nature to be nothing more than and excuse.

        An introvert’s brain is actually, physically, wired differently than an extrovert’s brain. The preference towards introversion is hard-wired. Read a book.

        The introvert can and does do anything and everything the extrovert does. And in some arenas, much more.

        Speaking of a ‘higher power’ :
        “the Lord spake unto me, saying: fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

        This is not to say that introversion is a weakness and extroversion is a strength, or visa versa. Simply, they both come with their own weaknesses, as do most things in life.

        **later**

        • forgot to add …

          The introvert does not usually *blame* those that they are interacting with for being the source of their fatigue, per se. Though some individuals do take more energy to interact with than others.

          The honest introvert is not out to blame others. They simply feel a relief in understanding why they prefer to retire earlier from a party, or why they find cuddling up with a good book (alone) all day to be energizing.

          We live in a world, in a culture, that says: being with others all day, every day, is the “right” way to live – and its a welcomed relief to know – hey, it okay to have down time. Alone time is like a welcomed vacation to the introvert. Similar to taking a vacation from a job you absolutely love. The vacation is not to say you don’t love your job … or in this analogy … the people in your life. It is just down time. Its not a personal blow to those around you. Just like taking a nap does not mean you hate life. Its just a nap. … or, for the introvert, its just some alone time. To think, reflect, play with ideas, think about he future, think about the past, think about what you know, think about how you feel, think about what you are doing, cooking, painting, saying. Really, “its not you, its me”. Its just when some people are draining us hour after hour – we really wish you would understand an back off. We understand extroversion – because its the way of the world. We’d just like a little understanding, too.

          Introverts aren’t blaming you. We just like knowing our nature, especially when so much of the world (people, less belligerent, but similar to you) do not understand. Leaving the party to read your favorite book is … okay! :) You still *wanted* to go to the party, you’re just done now.

    • Recent research has discovered that introversion and extraversion have bases in brain chemistry. I believe this person is not for real. That is all.

    • Everyone already touched on this man’s clear hostility and aggression towards other people, so I will give my perspective as an Ordained Esoteric Minister, Gendai-Reiki-Ho Master, Quantum Touch Therapist, Theta Healing Instructor and Spiritual Counselor.

      Esoteric Spirituality is all about gaining our strength and light from Within. As well as many Native and Eastern philosophies that teach about how to draw on this. While he is correct that our energy comes from Within,, he couldn’t be more incorrect about how that is accomplished. Another commentor pointed out that people draw on this inexhaustible Source by being alone. All of the ancient spiritual philosophies even recommend time alone to connect with it. I know of many people that get their energy from other people instead of going Within. And they do this by capturing their attention. They keep us talking and focused on them. This keeps a person from being able to center Within. Introverts are natural Light Anchors. We anchor energy into this world. Light can only be brought into this world from Within. People that do not get their own Light in this way do in fact steal it from those of us that do.

      • While I’m here posting. I will like to give some advice. It is good to acknowledge the fact that many (not all) “extroverts” steal our light energy. We don’t have to be politically correct about this. It is what it is. However, with right spiritual practice we can put up shields to keep our energy from being drained. I just want you all to know that their are ways to have control of how we willingly give our energy and block those who steal it. Keep in mind, that those that do steal energy have no idea consciously that they are doing so. So I can’t really blame them. I just won’t be a feeding trough for those that won’t look within for their own light.

  7. Wow. . .so much I could say to this Dieter guy. . .”subconscious avoidance mechanisms?” No, sir, I am very conscious of my desire to avoid people like you. Energy drainers who, in your own words, “don’t care.” And certainly, energy is always available for our replenishment – but we tap into that source by being ALONE, and if you don’t understand that, well, it’s YOUR problem, not ours. I’d be willing to bet that the emotional intelligence of the average introvert is much higher than yours, as we are usually quite observant and considerate of the feelings of others. We do a lot more listening than talking, so we are usually pretty “in tune” with those around us. I’m deeply offended by your comment, but can’t say I’ll lose sleep over it.
    .-= Hermit Loner´s last blog ..A Little Privacy, A Lot of Happy =-.

  8. It’s really sad to me that this Dieter guy is, if Xen is right and it’s not someone hijacking Dieter’s identity, a therapist. How could he possibly help anyone when his entire goal in coming here was to (try to) make people feel awful, and to put them down, all the while making it disturbingly clear that he has absolutely no compassion?

    And attempting to use buddhist concepts to bully people…

    He’s just awful. My sympathies to anyone who had the misfortune to have him as a therapist. Here’s hoping that they were able to ditch him quickly and find someone with at least a spark of humanity.

    I hope everyone does know that not all therapists are like this guy! Therapists aren’t judgmental jerks like he is. Or, if you come across one who is, find someone else, fast!

    • Absolutely a judgmental jerk. If he is a practicing therapist, hopefully he doesn’t have many patients.

      I can see where he’s coming from about people wanting to play victim and have somebody to blame. Introversion/Extroversion, however, has absolutely nothing to do with that.

      I think better when my mouth (and everybody else’s for that matter) is shut. I am generally more productive when I’m left alone. I don’t have any interest in standing around all day talking about my family or my medical problems or recent purchases at work. Actually all of the very loud people who do this strike me as lazy time wasters, but I won’t say I’m right- maybe they need that environment like I need mine quiet.

      On the weekend I like to roam around in the woods or drive nowhere by myself.

      I am an introvert, but I am not shy. I am not afraid of people. I don’t avoid people. I have very good, genuine relationships with many people. I don’t feel sorry for myself, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with the above mentioned behaviors. Patrick Dieter has no idea what he’s talking about.

      • Hi Amanda, Oh yes, I can definitely identify with the things you’re saying. For many years I’ve been the one who comes in the break room to get a soda, trying to smile at the people who are talking about nothing, but definitely exiting the room before I’d get sucked into it. It’s just boring!

        This post was intended to educate extroverts who might wonder about why their introvert friend would turn down an invitation because, “I had a long meeting, so I’m done.” Lots of extroverts search for information about introverts, and I know this is one of our more puzzling (or sometimes insulting, if you don’t know why we’re so exhausted) behaviors.

        Thanks for your comment, and please keep coming back to Introvert Zone!

      • Amanda- I completely agree with you about work. I’m so tired of feeling like I have no choices. Either I play nice and smile while my coworkers tell me every detail of their lives, thus maintaining a good relationship, but lowering my productivity. Or I smile, nod and turn back to my computer and ignore them, in this case, I get my work done, but am perceived as unfriendly. This is especially hard when you’re the “newbie” and want to make a good impression.

        I’m so glad I found this site. It’s great to know I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings.

        • That’s unfortunate. Being likeable and friendly is almost necessary for success.

          I have a theory that if you can get really good at telling brief, funny stories, people won’t mind as much when you don’t do a lot of talking or socializing. So I’m gonna try it.

    • As someone who had a counsellor thoroughly mess with my head before going to a proper one, I get so angry when I see people like this practicing as therapists. They can do so much damage to people who are already vulnerable. If this person really is who he says he is, I hope his patients are able to leave him and find proper therapists, and that he is banned from practicing.

    • It could also be that someone had too much bread or too many carbs for lunch and is crashing. It can also be viewed from a biological standpoint that once our stomachs are full many tend to want to sleep to satisfy one of their other basic needs.

  9. I know exactly what you are talking about. My freshman year of college was the worst because I live in an urban setting in a high crime area (on campus is very safe but off campus has a lot of muggings and such) So i couldn’t really get away. This year I have my car and everything is better. It also helps that I know how much i can take before i am done, so I can plan my life accordingly. The rest of my family is super extroverted and they just dont get why I dont spend every second of my day doing stuff, I need to be able to back off and find a quiet place to recharge…

    • Laura – Oh yes, that car is your freedom! I was in the same boat at Georgia Tech. One certainly wouldn’t go walking too far off campus. You are smart knowing your limits so you can deliberately spend time enjoying your family and friends while knowing when it’s time to go. Thanks so much for your comment. Please keep coming back to Introvert Zone!

  10. Clients are the saviour of the introvert. Better a one on one extended meeting with a client than a boring meeting. Just make the whoops appointment mistake and time it for the last half of the meeting, preferably at the clients premises, peaceful travel time as a gap between the meetings and to delay the return.

    • Oh yes – sounds great Robert! No boss is going to argue that you can’t go see your client! That travel time is definitely refreshing, too. Thank you for your comment – and please keep coming back to Introvert Zone!

  11. Thanks for the post. It is a great illustration of the introverted psyche.

    I am particularly impressed by the amiability of the commentary section. Some truly snide comments were made, and you all managed to disarm the detractors with friendly respect and level-headed reasoning. Keep it up.

    • Thanks Daniel – yes we have some great people who read and comment on Introvert Zone. They truly want to help each other and to help others to understand.

      Thanks for your comment! Hope you come back to Introvert Zone soon!

  12. The thing I find really frustrating is that because I’ve managed to learn to FAKE energy, enthusiam and interest in social settings, my gf (an extrovert who would like nothingbetter than to never be alone) doesn’t believe me when I tell her how hard it is for me.

    • I too have to learned to FAKE it lol and have good fun at the same time, but it is extremely exhausting for me and afterwards im completely drained and need to be in as near enough to complete solitude as i can get for the rest of the week. My friends find this very strange as they see me as the life of the party.

      • Hi Jonny – that is exactly how I am, and that’s what I did that day at the meeting. I drained my people-battery twice as fast by being so “ON” all day. The next all-day meeting we had, I made a conscious effort to just relax and observe a lot of the time. I felt a lot better all day and didn’t burn out. I even went out for coffee with an extrovert and an introvert late in the day. :)

        Thanks for your comment – Please keep coming back to Introvert Zone!

    • Michele – I’ve done a lot of that too, and I’ve been described as “vivacious” and “lots of fun” and all that by people who just had no idea that I love to be alone and not say a single word for hours. It’s so hard to learn to just relax and be a normal, happy introvert around others – even when a silence falls and we think we have to fill it up.

      Thanks for your comment! Hope to see you back at Introvert Zone!

  13. Putting Dieter’s rude style aside, his statement that introverts blame others for our drained batteries is false.

    The opposite is true…knowing that we are likely to get cranky or shut down altogether past a certain point, we’re taking responsibility for ourselves by exiting the situation so we can recoup. We know our limitations and work around them. That’s a sign of self understanding and maturity.

    The fact that we get drained after too much stimulation is just the way we are, and not anybody’s fault, ours included.

    • Bella, as usual, thank you for your insightful comment. That is exactly it. They’re our batteries and we know how to recharge them. We are aware that we are the ones who have to take care of them.

  14. Dear all,

    I enjoyed reading your comments and helped me understand that I am not alone as an introvert.

    Just to share a short story, I was helping out at a friends wedding yesterday, i crashed at 10pm… when the wedding was ending…but the bride (my friend) asked us the bridesmaid to stay back and gather in her suite. Not wanting to appear to be a spoiled spot because I know my friend will misinterpret, I agreed to stay on, even though i really felt my tank emptying and the red lights blinking away.

    My energy drained till my body was shrivelled up, and I sat quite, stoned and looking quite irritated on the sofa in the suite while the bridal gang was still toasting away and having lots of laughters and talks. I simply could not understand how they mustered up all that energy! I felt totally incompetent as a person and it further aggravated my energy zapping situation.

    I know I should have left at 10pm, but I really did not want to upset my friend. What should I do in similar future situations?

  15. Angela, in a normal situation I’d say your idea of leaving at 10pm would work fine. But of course this was different, there were more expectations of you.

    Do you know the idea of “face time”? When you show up at a party just to let your face be seen (to at least pretend to participate in a social event that you can’t escape)? Maybe you could have told your friend, “Sure, but I can only stay for one drink” or something in that vein. Show up, but exit quickly.

  16. This is an interesting story. I, too, am introverted and have to go out of my way to make an effort to communicate with people at social functions, although I am a lot more outgoing once I get to know someone and am comfortable with them. It is amazing that some don’t realize the actual physical and mental exhaustion that can accompany socializing.
    .-= Kidgas´s last blog ..Promoted at Life123 =-.

    • Hi Kidgas, that’s right – to some people, socializing is exhilarating, and it’s how they energize themselves! I’m sure these same people can’t understand that we have the opposite need, and in fact they think we just need to “come out of our shells.”

      Welcome to Introvert Zone, and thanks for your comment!

  17. Pingback: Unbearable Self-Centered Egoism II: More Quirky Talking | The Droning Inquisition

  18. I have only discovered your site this week. This article and comments has been a fantastic help thanks. I have diabetes and very often have put exhaustion down to that, but now I know it is just a likely to be extroverts sapping too. I looked at your site out of desparation because I had 2 meetings after work with the same 2 extroverts who spent the meetings talking over each other. I have also noticed that when I say something like “I might do this..” some extroverts take that as a firm commitment! When I mean, I’ll go away & think about it!

  19. I have experienced this extrovert bias at two of my past jobs. And it is true that extroverts can not wrap their minds around introverts needi f down time. This is especially true when these extroverts are your bosses. Bosses who have nothing better to do then create socials after work. Most on weekdays, though some on weekends at far off places.

    We also had yearly meetings with my peers from other cities. My company made sure to squeeze in 15 hours of presentation, (most of which really could have been power pointed and sent by e-mail), into each of three days. I was not a happy camper by the end of these meetings.especially cosidering that they would start on a weekend right after a full work week and end on a Wednesday, with my having to work till Friday. 12 straight days of work!

    I ended up paying the price at both jobs for not attending the evening socials (Friday nights) and the weekend get togethers.. I had no choice about the yearly marathon meetings. My last job let me go. Even though I was the best people person (clients) in the whole company U.S wide. The clients threatened public protest, but I explained to them that I could not work in a place that did not appreciate me. In all actuality the company did not deserve me.

    I am happy I am out of that job. I feel more relaxed and have more off time for myself and my family. I have learned not to allow any job become a lifestyle, become my whole life, especially against my will. You would think they would be more understanding at a religious institution. But extroverts are not the most understanding people around.

    • That sounds like a true hell on earth! A few years ago I worked for a company that insisted we fly to other divisions to spend one week each month, and every time I’d ask exactly what is the business need for this I’d hear that it was “face time.” WHAT? I never did get any of the idiots to explain how the company would make more money because they caused me to miss a week of my life each month displaying my tired, reluctant face to people in other states. I’m glad you’re out of there – and I hope someday people can be a little more aware that not everyone is enjoying the long hours of “face time!”

  20. I’m job hunting and working with a recruiting firm. There’s a job that is a pretty good match for me that they’re having trouble filling…but I can’t do it. It requires spending 3 weeks straight at the home office in another state, for training. No way could I be away from my animals and home for that long…and I would bet most people would find that tough.

    • That really is tough, no matter what your personality type! It’s too bad though, since it’s a good match for you. You couldn’t “inform” your sister that she’ll be taking care of the animals, huh. ;) Just kidding – even if I thought I could make it through that three weeks, I’d be suspicious that there would be MORE trips to the home office over the coming months and years.

      Good luck though – I hope you find something perfect for you!

  21. I am so glad I came across this site! I recently discovered (hah!) that I’m not the only introvert in the world and now I don’t feel so all alone. I went through a typical situation a few weekends ago where I attended a bridal shower on Saturday and felt emotionally exhausted all day on Sunday. I had turned down another social invitation for that same Sunday because I knew I’d need time to recover from the shower. I then realized that most of my adult life I’ve tried to avoid scheduling back-to-back social events, and that I even lie about why I can’t attend a function even though my schedule might be completely open!

    I’ve also had the reputation of sometimes being the life of the party, and other times sinking into the background wallpaper pattern. It depends on my emotional energy and my enthusiasm for whatever topics are being discussed at the times.

    Thanks for starting up this site. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts.

    • Linda, glad you found us! I was so glad to find out about introversion, and it was only a few years ago. Until then I tried and tried to figure out why I just wouldn’t want to do some things, even if I liked the people, etc. Was I ridiculously lazy? Depressed? None of those really fit. Introverted…yes.. If I’ve been to a bridal shower on Saturday I’ll definitely try to enjoy a very quiet Sunday with low- or no-effort activities! :)

  22. Emily Roberts on

    Well, being seventeen, I can’t say I know all that much about board meetings and such, however, they do sound a lot like a typical school day, as I’m sure those who remember can fully understand; seven and a half hours of constant human contact five days a week shatters my poor nervous system, and by the weekend, I’m ready to crawl into bed and not come out again until the following Monday! :) For me however, it’s worse because twice a week I have two-hour long forensics (debate) practises after school, which I love and wouldn’t miss for anything, but at the end of the day, I feel shattered, and spend the rest of the evening salvaging what alone time I can.

    • Yeah, school just drains you out like hell. Most of my classes are concentrated in the morning and most of my friends wonder why by lunch time I just can’t concentrate on what anyone is saying (I’m usually the “Huh?” guy). What’s worse is that my friends usually want to go to the cafe after school (to “rest” as they say), which is the last thing I want to do. I go with them once or twice a week, so they don’t feel I don’t care about them, but no more than that.
      The worst comes when the teachers start thinking like the the boss in the article. They once had this absolutely brilliant idea of assigning each of us a person of another class so that we hang out with said person, get to know her and then “report” about her in class. God, that was such a forced and tense interaction.

      • I think that’s great you expend the effort to “rest” ;) with your friends sometimes and then you really rest on other days. I think I have lost some friendships by saying no TOO much – because in their eyes I must have just not wanted to be with them.

        What a horrible assignment. Obviously those teachers had no idea what that sort of thing would feel like to an introvert.

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  25. MyAngelJuice on

    Is that why I am so drained at in social situations? I just got home from school and googled ” get exhausted when too many people are talking.” lol. I already made an appointment to see the doctor about my lack of energy during the day.. (or around other people).

  26. Why are you people acting like being an introvert is some kind of disease you can’t change or something? Do you think it’s any easier for other people to be extroverts? No they just actually try to be outgoing which is why everything is easier for them because they don’t sit there quietly not talking to anyone and expect things to be handed to them. They don’t just not even try to be a socially likable person while you just look for any excuse to not have to try at anything in life.

    • You may have read that many people here have been described as ‘the life of the party’ and that they’ve become adept at ‘faking it’ — so yes, we do lots of behavior modification. What we’re talking about is an emotional state. About not much LIKING having to engage with others constantly. Who said anything about having stuff handed to them? Ridiculous, simplistic argument.

  27. I have always wondered why I could never understand why being with people was so exhausting to me while others seemed to thrive. I always felt somehow, inferior, for the way I am. I have been told many times to just ‘get over it’ or ‘just try’ or ‘put more effort into it’ and other similar and more derogetory coments along the same vein. It’s reasuring to know I’m not alone in this. Balancing school, work, friends, and a relationship is difficult. Recently my job changed from a data entry clerk, which I absolutely adored as it allowed me to simply focus on my work and concentrate without constant socialization, to a call centre representative. I’m good at it, have always been good with people, good at problem solving when needed. By the end of the day though, all I can do is shut down, I’m exhausted and don’t even want to think about talking on the phone, or going to the bar. By the end of the week all I want is to be left alone. This is a concept my highly extroverted boyfriend just does not understand. He is someone who gets ‘bored’ as he puts it on a 45 minuite drive from work to home and calls because he’s lonely. The fact that I just want some peace and that the sound of a phone ringing signaling the potential for another 20 minuites to an hour spent talking with someone is enough to make me cry (literaly). After a night at the bar, or out with friends I need to go home and recharge while he is ready for an all night party, followed by breakfast, movies, maybee another outing. I can’t seem to get accross to him that I simply cannot handle this, it will literaly send me into an anxiety attack if I can’t take the time to recharge. Anyone have any ideas how to explain introversion to an extrovert?

    • My boyfriend is the same exact way and it drives me insane especially when he wants me to join some of his “parties” to see his friends once in a while. My ideal image of catching up with old friends is over a nice dinner, board games, and some wine. Theirs is a row of shots, dancing, music, karaoke, and all things imaginable that you cannot go to daydream mode to conserve energy. We would get into fights a lot because I cannot handle the crowd and the length of time that I must endure the pain. Over time though the best thing that helped us manage was my constant reminder that, introverts are extremely sensitive and observant and we take up so much information that it’s exhausting. We don’t mean to be rude or snobby in any way to others, it’s just how we are and just like how he finds it relaxing to go out and socialize. For introverts it’s more relaxing to settle down and filter out the information from our heads that we’ve taken up from the day. Just like how people like watching rock concerts vs orchestras, we all enjoy different ways of relaxing and they must respect that.

      • It’s interesting how introverts tend to date super extroverts. I am seeing one at the moment, and he wants to do things every day, have breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper with me, and in between calls and texts when he is on the treadmill, stuck in a traffic jam, at a boring meeting or even out shopping! I love him to bits and I find his highly energetic state appealing, but I am now taking a long break from him, because I had a meltdown/burnout – anxiety attacks came and I have not been feeling well, because of the constant contact and activity time with him. He is giving me the space, but I am not sure if he really understands my introversion needs. I am afraid I will be losing this wonderful person because I cannot keep up with his extrovertedness. Guys have broken up with me because of this, thinking I am just cold, uninterested and moody when I go into introversion mode. I feel so helpless. Relationships are a challenge for me. Any advice?

  28. I just discovered this, and boy do I agree with it. Used to wonder what was wrong with me – I’d be out having a fabulous time with my friends, get home, feel completely drained, depressed, and have a meltdown. It wasn’t pretty. None of my friends had problems hanging out or making small talk. They all thought I was too intellectual, and got labelled as the girl who was trying to act smart. So I hid myself.

    Then someone passed me a book “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World”, and it clicked. I was not weird. I was normal, just wired differently from 3/4 of the world. (Ok, that qualifies us as abnormal, but not psycho or in need of counselling.)

    So anyway, yes I’ve been relishing in my new-found freedom, and I really do agree with the exhaustion that can arise from continuously being around people. Makes me really happy that I work reasonably near a river, so when there’s too much external stimuli, that’s a place to escape to! Just to clarify, I’m not suicidal, just that the pattern of waves swishing along the embankments is fantastically therapeutic.

  29. Being an introvert is exhausting and at the same time is a difficult hurdle when you’re in a city where there’s always a person dying to connect with you. I’m glad I have developed over the years where I could take to new people and introduce myself better but I may still be mum over a few minutes in a party (even a dinner party!). I have no problem with being at a simple get together where you can talk to a people one-on-one but after a while I must escape for a bit to be alone, usually my excuse would be to start cooking dinner or cleaning up the room from the evening.

    I’m glad I’m not the only person who feels exhausted, I’m around many extroverts who feel as if I may be rude to them or just didn’t get enough sleep for a party/meeting. I really do dislike the meetings as you have said above since I get really burnt out and cranky as you cannot excuse yourself from being part of a “bonding” activity as such above hosted by strong social personalities.

  30. Wonderful post. As an introvert, I rarely recognize this as a personality rather knowing that i tend to get exhausted easily over a meeting help me daze things clearly. I never enjoyed company meeting, well I have no choice rather. I’ve been enjoying your post, will have to share these for the rest of my Introvert friends!

  31. During high school I spent a lot of time resenting extroverted people. I figured that they were arrogant, loud and careless when it came to the feelings of others. After all, they didn’t show what I believed at the time to be an adequate amount of empathy for the way I wished to live my life. Therefore they must have been bad, ignorant people. Right?

    Oh how wrong I was.

    I have grown to accept that I cannot expect an extroverted person to understand my mindset and ways of thinking any better than I can understand theirs 100%. People are, for better or worse, different and coming to embrace that has allowed me to relinquish quite a bit of resentment that I needlessly held onto.

    Anita x

  32. I’m also an introvert type of person. I used being alone just reading books or writing something or even studying I don’t wanna get disturb or I don’t like noisy and annoying voices while I’m studying. Yes, I do have an extrovert friends but not all the time I am with them,mostly rather go with them chatting and chit-chat… I just do things that I do think can be very useful for me..
    Lisa McRain´s last post ..What is African Mango And Why Does Dr Oz Recommend It?

  33. i can definitly understand ow even small meetings can be exhausting!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    although i am just a student and have absolutly no idea how to ‘handle’ it……… i would like to tell u that i feel like an outsider when there is still time to start the meeting or when we r supposed to hang out after the meeting……. the rest of the team start talking amongst themselves and m so exhasted that i end up being alone and quite…..

  34. I’m famous at work for leaving at 5pm on the dot and for not showing up at company events unless they’re mandatory or I have an early plan of escape. I deal with people all day-pple coming to my desk to ask me things or pple calling me on the phone. Sometimes I ignore the phone, but said pple always report me to my boss for ignoring their calls. So after 8-9 hrs of all this interaction I’m usually so exhausted. Sometimes it shows on my face, sometimes I feel like i have all this tension on my forehead from all the interaction. Then when I get home I find that I have no energy for anything or anyone, and just want to relax or watch TV and not talk to anyone. i libe with my sister and 4 yr old niece, so I feel bad when I get home and my niece is so happy to see me, but I have no energy to play with her, and aactually feel irritated. I have not had a boyfriend in years, and the thought of being a wife and mother worries me-where will I find the energy to give to them?
    Before I knew I was an introvert I used to think I was crazy, and would spend countless days in depression wondering why I wasnt like everyone else. For those who think we should just get over it, you can never know what it’s like to be us. Do you think I choose to be the ‘strange’ one, the onw who’s passed over for promotions even though I’m the best at my job?
    It’s such a relief to come across websites like this and know there are others like me, and learn some survival skills from others going through the same thing.
    We have meetings at work too, and my coping strategy is usually to bring some writing material where i write things to add to my journal, or my fave-daydreaming. The worst ones are the interactive ones with teams and presentations, aaarrrgh.

    • Grace, I can empathize. I worked from my home office full-time for over ten years and moved back into an office about two years ago. I am beyond exhausted. I had no idea how much of an impact moving back to an office would be. It is almost to the point where I can no longer work.

      I have issues focusing, I am not nearly as productive, I resent people coming over to just chat ( don’t even take a lunch break becuase I’m trying to get out as quick as I can). My eyes get so heavy I have almost fallen asleep at my desk. Thank goodness we don’t have many face to face meetings.

      As soon as I get home, however, I am a little reengergized. I want to stay up and enjoy my time alone, but then that cuts into much needed sleep. I hadn’t taken one sick day in over eight years before moving into the office. Unfortunatley, I have been nothing but sick these past two years (double pneumonia, eczema so bad I could barely walk, severe bacterial infection from some kind of bite, some local microorganism made its way into my lungs and inhibited breathing…).

      I agree, Grace. It is awfully nice to know there are others out there!!!

      I’m desperately searching for another work from home position, but the companies in Hawaii just don’t believe in it and companies on the mainland won’t even consider a candidate from Hawaii because they think it’s too far away. :(

  35. I feel exactly the same at large company meetings. Add the corporate communications, and I can no longer follow it, it all sounds fake, boring, stupid.

    But there is a type of meetings I really like and quite enjoy: few people, we agree what we need to achieve, we work together to achieve it, mostly by freely contributing and exchanging our ideas. Then bang, the meeting done. If we end up in the bar, there is a small group, 3-4 people max, and we are having real fun. We work when we work, we play when we play. We do not pretend or mix one with the other.

    The worst meetings are the ones with tens or hundreds of people, and no real output or added value. What a waste of time, money, and energy above all.

    The worst parties are the ones with tens or hundreds of people who could have fun but they don’t, because there is nothing funny there.

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