Introvert personality? Conserve your energy for the people who count!

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For those of us with an “introvert personality,” we love our families and friends, and we want to spend time with them. We also know there are business contacts we need to cultivate. We may have fun personalities and enjoy social occasions. But we only have so much energy to use “out there in the world” before we need to recharge alone. I know that sometimes early in the week I’ll make plans for Saturday night, but if it’s a busy week with a lot of time spent with others, then by Saturday afternoon I’m almost dreading getting together with a friend that night. It’s not that I fear going out – it’s that I really long for some time to just be alone. If you’re an introvert, you know exactly what I mean. There is definitely an ideal ratio of time spent with others, especially others you’re not completely comfortable with, to time best spent totally alone, recharging. Some of us need to break away for 15 minutes alone, for every two hours of working with others one-on-one. Some of us can manage a weekend with friends, but we make an excuse to go out to pick up more beer for everyone, just so we can drive alone to the store, daydreaming or singing with the radio. 🙂

I know some introverts refuse to go out with their spouse or even tell the person they’re dating that they don’t want to do anything. Others refuse to go out with coworkers to lunch, just desperately trying to get a moment alone. I’m trying to enjoy friends and coworkers and still keep my sanity. One way I do it is I avoid errands. Once a week I go out to get fresh food for my family, but I do not run by the drugstore for an item or spend my Saturday afternoons at Walmart.
That sounds like a special kind of hell to me. I do my best to know about needs in advance and take advantage of Amazon or Drugstore.com free shipping opportunities. Lately I’ve become aware of Alice. Alice is only available in the lower 48 United States right now, but they say they hope to expand to other countries soon. You can set up a schedule to be reminded, and order all sorts of household items from Alice, at really great prices. There is a six item minimum, but the shipping is always free, no matter how low the total price. I just placed an order for detergent, toothpaste, etc., and now I will have an hour+ to myself that would have been spent in Target hell. Although Alice isn’t available everywhere, the point here is to try to minimize the time you squander your energy on stuff that is not benefitting you in any way. If you don’t enjoy errands, try to avoid them and use your time on the people who count in your life. Disregard that advice if you’re a young single introvert; then maybe you should broaden your horizons a bit because you never know who you’ll meet in that long line to check out at Walmart. 😉

Photo credit: L’Enfant Terrible ~ catching up…

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40 Comments

  1. Although I’m a freelancer now but I still longed for weekends so I can spend a little quality time with family members. It’s funny that I have more personal time during weekdays when everyone is busy with 9-5 working hours, but I don’t feel ‘restful’ at all. ha.. Sometimes I have to remind myself to stay off the internet and enjoy the view outside my window, basking myself under the warm, morning sun… that’s always my favorite time of the day.

    Although I have to admit, when I’m receiving a call from someone I’m not ‘comfortable’ with, I always go ‘uh-oh’, wonder should I pick it up.. LOL

    • 🙂 That would be a dream come true, to work at home and have that morning sun every day! I’m with you on those calls from the ones who are not in the comfort zone. I almost always do pick it up, because I assume if I don’t, they will just call back! May as well get it over with! 🙂

  2. Definitely agree with this! Another thing I think introverts should not spend so much energy on is guilt and shame. Alone time for introverts is not just a luxury, it’s an essential part of our lives. Most people usually think of it as a love-hate thing, when it’s just about wants-needs. Why feel bad about not wanting to spend time with your peoples when you didn’t have enough energy or an urge to begin with?

    Think about it: would you rather be with your peoples happy and recharged or sullen and ready to spring at the first moment of solitude? It’s about knowing what you need and not having to apologize for it.

    • Miyuki that is SO true! I do think a lot of us feel guilty for the fact that we *need* to be alone sometimes. It’s especially bad when it’s close friends or family members we could be with at the moment but we have to break away for a little while. The friends or family members, who do not understand at all, can make us feel even more guilty as they get their feelings hurt. But you said it all right there: So much better to be with your loved ones happy and recharged instead of desperate for some solitude! Introverts NEED to recharge alone. It’s a real need and we should not spend a minute feeling guilty or trying to avoid it.

    • Phil E. Sieve on

      I agree. I want to come and go as I please and not have to deal with people before work and after, unless I want to, even if asked how the day went. I feel like, while living at home, tabs are kept on me and my use of free time is under watch, as if I’m a druggie, pervert or a crook. I’m tired of loved ones guessing what disorder I might have, because I don’t comply always (I refused to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, because green and leprechauns have nothing to do with St. Patrick) and I’m socially awkward. When I distance yourself for peace of mind, I get harassed even more. It’s hard not to feel guilt and shame when you’re being encountered so much negatively about it and you can’t get away because the economy makes it almost too difficult. It’s like you have schizophrenia with all the different voices in your head, except you don’t hear them audibly. The critical voices are most deafening.
      It must be more difficult for introverts of highly social cultures, like Miyuki’s must be, unless her family is westernized.

  3. I am an introvert. I just LOVE being alone. Sometimes I will spend the entire weekend in the house just relaxing, reading, thinking, doing house chores, and communicating via the web.

    I do like going to outdoor concerts sometimes. When done, I’ll stop by the store to buy some items, then I am back home. I don’t like parties and large gatherings too much. I sometimes get “drained” being around a lot of people. I also have to recharge regularly.

  4. Am i really an introvert personality? I can’t think so much if someone is along with me, in a room doing my work i need to be alone in order my mind will function correctly that much and whenever at work if I’m in silent mode while doing work I use to day dream , making or should i say thinking two things at the same time? lol However i love hanging out with my friends too.. And I believe that I can’t live without someone else by my side supporting or accompanied me. lol does it sound’s weird?

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  7. You sound very similar to my wife. I always know that even if she has made plans early in the week for the weekend, to keep an open attitude because that could likely change if it has been a people intense week for her. She is often much more content to just hang out and have a low key weekend around the house than to go out.

  8. I became a teacher because teaching is a tradition in my family. I had a teaching scholarship, so there you go. Doing research in a quiet library for hours and hours would have been heaven to me. My dad said teaching was a great job for a wife and mother, so I just went with it. I am one heck of a teacher because I research my craft diligently.
    I am not drained by my students. I am always comfortable with them and enjoy their company. I must do some research to determine why my students, 5th through 8th graders, never cause me to crave solitude. Now, socializing with colleagues is something I have become a master at avoiding. It is a fine dance, but I have managed to attend few events. I will not even have my picture taken for the school yearbook. I am always the “not pictured” individual.
    At home, I cringe when the phone rings. I never answer it. My husband does that little task. I say a small prayer that it is not for me. I have a few very close friends who understand my introversion. If any dear one is in need though, I am your girl. I will not call you, but will always make time to talk if you call me. In public, I am really good at sneaking away if I see someone I know.
    I had kidney disease as a child and became ill off and on for thirteen years as an adult. I missed a lot. I did regain my health, and the time I have is precious and I choose to embrace my introversion and must say I am one happy lady. There are so many wonderful books to read and so many topics to research. My son is a wonderful man with a multitude of friends. I am a vegetarian, a huge animal rights supporter, and adopt wonderful rescue dogs. It is true that I have never been lonely in my life. One can be an introvert and have a wonderful life too.
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  9. sagarika kalita on

    i lways thnk tht am i really an introvert personality! Sometimes i thnk tht how how i can be introvert bt now i realise tht i m…in class whn i know any answer i cant say because i afraid ,if the answer is wrong!but no when some other classmates say i answer which i thnk was exactly correct.thn i thnk if i say tht answer it will be correct. i cant be free with other people excpt my family members.& my frnds bt i cant be wth my frnds also..i hopefully thnk tht some years later this personality should not trouble me.

  10. I am so glad I found this site – now I know I’m not crazy! I do not consider myself shy and I’m not afraid to go to social gatherings – I just don’t want to. My preference is to always be alone. I work a stressful job in IT with several phone lines ringing and a rigid production like atmosphere – do this now, do that next. When work is over all I want to do is go home and be alone. A perfect weekend for me is when I don’t see or talk to anyone for 2 days! I have a large family and I am the one who hosts most of the holiday get-togethers and I love doing that – but I’m also glad when it’s over. I also have a small group of close friends that I get together with once a month and truly enjoy doing that – but again, it’s only once a month. The problem I’m having is that I’m a young (50) widow with a step-son (no children of my own) who is married and has 2 small children and I have a sister with 4 small kids. They all “plan” my weekends for me by wanting me to keep their kids every weekend. It seems I cannot get a weekend to myself anymore – and this has been going on for years. I just want to be left alone and not have to feel guilty for wanting to be alone. It’s to the point that I’m ready to pack up and move far away just to get some peace. I hate giving in to them and “doing the right thing” by saying yes to their requests all the time – but I feel guilty when I don’t. And if I have my quiet weekend planned and am so looking forward to it, it never fails – I get the call asking me to keep kids. Then I’m angry for the rest of the week. How in the world do you get others to understand your need to be alone when they only see it as being self-centered and selfish with your free time. Who knows, maybe I am just being selfish and self-centered.

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