Introvert needs some solitude before he explodes!

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Dear IntrovertZone,

I never gave my introversion any thought until a TIME article came out with it as a feature about two weeks ago. It really got me thinking about my own tendencies, especially the part about getting exhausted from being around other people.

I truly love being alone and cherish my solitary time, which I typically will spend with a coffee and a book. I would always get angry when people would try and strike up a conversation with me during this time, and for a long time I had assumed that I was just a jerk, particularly because I am not in any way shy. The fact that I am not shy would explain why I have long been an “undiagnosed” introvert.

For the past two years since my son was born, I would get extraordinarily tired right around dinner time. So much that I normally can’t even keep my eyes open and end up taking a cat nap while sitting straight up. I thought it was some kind of health problem until recently. Now I just realize that it is because everyone is in the house and constantly needing attention. That everyone includes my son, my wildly extroverted daughter, and my shy wife who is quite gabby at home.

In the title, I mentioned how I feel like I am going to explode, and that is necessarily an exaggeration. I need to maintain my energy in order to get work done (I work at home, which actually sucks), but find that I can’t muster any energy until everyone heads off to bed, but at that point I am usually so drained that nothing gets done. My wife is constantly trying to draw me into conversations when I just want silence and that makes me irritable. Following that up with the question of “what’s wrong” only makes it worse.

My question, and I am sure it is a common one on here is: how can I tell her about my need for silence without hurting her feelings? With a young child, I literally can’t get away from everyone for any meaningful time. The only time this is possible is during the day when I should be working, which leads to less money and financial instability. I just don’t know what to do…

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50 Comments

  1. Oh I totally empathize, as I’m sure most introverts do! Are you alone while you work at home during the day? I’m asking that because I wonder if it’s possible for you to make SURE you get a good break with coffee and book right there in the work day before everyone gets home. OK that would mean you have to do some business calls or other work while they’re coming in, but at least you’ve gotten your “me” time and without the stress and irritation of someone interrupting when you’re just trying to read to the end of a paragraph! 🙂

    If your wife and small kids are home while you work, then I think you’re going to have to inform her about being an introvert and what it really means. You love her, you love your kids, but you need this golden hour each day. If you have a deck out back perhaps you could go out there and have your coffee and book. No one disturbs Daddy during that time for any reason, then when you come in, you’re happy and ready to talk and play! Would that work?

  2. Everyone needs time alone. You must be honest with everyone around you, and say that likes to be alone doing things you like to do, I am sure that who is your true friend will understand it. On the other hand, you should reserve time to go out with friends, social interaction is important for everyone. Excellent text, this blog has many interesting people.

  3. You know what, I understand why you’re like that. I work from home too and because there are so many distractions at home, we really need all the silence to be productive. I also cannot think and work well when everyone at home is awake and active. Sometimes, I become so unreasonable that I scold my children when all they did was play and they really didn’t do anything to me. But that’s a challenge when you are home-based. You need to strike a balance so that you will have enough time for your family and for your work.
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  4. Society at large needs to understand how to give people more space. Solitude is needed to accomplish so many great things: music, art, writing. It’s not just introverts that need it, but they may need it especially more because of their temperament.

  5. She will understand your needs, I know what I’m talking about, IVE been married to an introvert for 15years now. Introverted people can be handled, but I agree, sometimes there are a little bit more patience needed. Just don’t by shy and talk to her 😉
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  6. I think you both have to change means you should explain your wife that you want some time alone with yourself and also try to tolerate her talk and give time to her.Its difficult to change yourself but try to change, it takes time to overcome your introvert nature but you could do it.
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    • Waterpearls,

      He does NOT need to overcome his introverted nature. It’s a personality, not a flaw. FFS you stupid clueless extrovert!

  7. I has been mentioned a few times but I would like to reiterate, that you need to help your wife understand what an introvert it and that you are one. Did you have her read the article in TIME that got you thinking? Have to read any other things, online or in books, that maybe she should read?

    From what I gathered over the last 3 years, attempting to understand my introversion, is that extroverts have a much harder time understanding introverts then vice versa. You may have a lot of work ahead trying to help her understand but maybe you can get her to understand enough to not ask, “what’s wrong”, which drives me nuts too, but would be a start. 🙂

  8. I guess what you just need is to explain it to your wife very calmly over some coffee. See, she is your wife and for sure she can understand that once in a while, you need your own time, your own silence. I wish you luck. 🙂
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  9. Why don’t you try to explain to your wife all these emotions, and if she loves you she will definitely be there for you. It’s clearly that you need some space and there’s nothing wrong with this. Also, try to get a new job, this could be really helpful for your situation and it might improve your life substantially.

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