Introverts need time alone, but we can also get lonely

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For the many years I didn’t know what an introvert was, I told people close to me that I guessed I was a “loner.” It was the only way I could describe the fact that although I might chitchat and joke around with others when we were all together, when it came time to run errands I enjoyed just taking off alone. It usually did not occur to me to ask someone if they wanted to come and look at [clothes, sofas, books, plants, cat food] with me. After all, I was the one who needed whatever it was, and I can definitely think better and make better decisions when no one is talking to me. As I’ve said before, I have a lot of great friends I’ve made over the years, and I really enjoy their company. But it’s just in my nature to head out on my own when I need to do something. For lack of a better term, I used the term “loner” to label myself quickly when people would express hurt at being left out of all the fun I was having. (Sadly, the news media and people who just don’t know any better often use that term to mean someone who’s actually antisocial: one who hates society and may even do active harm like mass shootings).

Although I need to be alone a certain percent of my time, and I have a blast when reading or doing other things on my own, I’m also capable of being really lonely. Once in a while I have found myself in a situation where I was alone for a weekend and wanted to do something with a friend but for some reason the ones I’d try to contact were unavailable. Maybe it was a holiday weekend or just a coincidence, but I have found myself alone on a weekend with no plans at all and realized I was terribly lonely. By late on a Saturday afternoon of such a weekend, I have actually been the one who’s raking or weeding in the front yard, talking to any and every neighbor who walks by, or walking a few miles, hoping I’ll run into someone I know as I go. When that happened, I wondered – am I not a loner like I thought? What happened to the woman who loves to run out alone to do her own thing? It just didn’t add up! The answer is, it’s not that I want to be alone all the time. I like people and enjoy them very much. I just can’t be with people all of the time. I am an introvert.

As an introvert, my battery has to be charged, just like the battery of a laptop. When the battery is fully charged, a laptop runs great and is quite valuable. No one would say a laptop is weird or bad because it has to be recharged. We simply learn that that is how laptops are designed so we make sure we charge them before we need them. Extroverts are more like basketballs. As long as someone is there doing something with them, basketballs have plenty of energy, which they get by being bounced by a person. When they are left alone, they aren’t bouncing anymore. No one would say that a basketball is useless just because it doesn’t jump off the shelf and bounce by itself. We understand that basketballs need people to give them the energy to go.

If you love to run errands alone or love to eat lunch at your desk at work or anything else like that, don’t let anyone make you feel as if you are “odd” or “aloof” or worse still, “antisocial.” If you recharge your batteries best when you get some time alone, you are most likely an introvert, and just knowing that is so awesome and explains so much. Now you know why you start feeling anxious in a long meeting or when house guests won’t leave. That feeling is totally expected for introverts, and now you’ll know that you need to break away – alone – in order to feel and function at your best. Likewise now you can understand why you may feel lonely today, when it was just yesterday you were craving some time alone. Introverts are normal human beings (despite what you may have heard) 🙂 and of course we need others. In fact we form very strong and deep connections, when we find people we really like and like to be with. Once we understand our needs for companionship vs. solitude, we can come closer to the right balance where we get plenty of blissful and refreshing alone time, yet we never get all the way to lonely.

Photo credit: paulotavio

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194 Comments

  1. I can totally relate to that, I’ve found my self in that same scenario many times. I went through the same thing of not understanding that I was an introvert.

    I love your analogy of the laptop and the basketball. I am definitely stealing that one…fair warning.

  2. I can relate to it. I started to notice my “mood changes” when I started working. I never could figure out why I acted the way I did until I noticed there was a pattern. I notice the more time I am around ppl I want to run away. Then when after a sufficant time alone, I want to go out. The lap top analogy is great by the way.

    • You were smart to notice that pattern, and that gave you the ability to have some control over when/who you spend that people-energy. Thanks – I was trying to tell a friend that I am an introvert, and from the look on her face I was telling her that I am a psycho. I finally used the laptop analogy with her so she’d realize there are many things in life that can be out in the world for a while then need to go recharge! 🙂

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  4. Deep…I remember watching my sister leave with her friends going to a party while I stayed home. Felt a little down…not only because she was going somewhere, but because she got to hang out with different people. If I wasn’t hanging out by myself, I was always hanging out with the same person. Cool, but felt as though I was still alone.

    • Hi Miyuki, I know what you mean. Sometimes while we’re doing things alone, just enjoying our alone time, maybe we’re missing some chances to meet other people who’d add some variety to life. It’s a tough balance sometimes, because if you get too many friends/acquaintances, then that’s that many more people to split your people-energy between. By middle age though, everyone gets plenty of other commitments, so it’s a bit easier to see each friend just once in a while. 🙂

      • Miyuki, I know the feeling. I’ve started wondering if it’s an initiating thing. I long for the weekend where I don’t have to go to work, be around people, etc. I don’t make plans with anybody. (I’m new to this part of the country so only know a couple people.) Then when I hear my friend went out Saturday night — two blocks from my house — it pinches a little that I was not invited. Is it that she knows I cherish my time alone so she doesn’t want to intrude; or is it that I should say “Do you want to do something this weekend?”

    • Sometime I feel like I’m missing out on thing too but you just have to find a balance of alone time and time w other people. In reality though, your not missing all that much…that why I text ppl to keep in touch but I get my time alone as well.

  5. Aloneness and loneliness are two very different things. Aloneness can be a very inspiring state to be in. It’s where we recharge and our best ideas flow. It’s where we take a step back out of our lives and gain more awareness of ourselves.

    Just need to balance the time when we feel lonely! 🙂

    • Hi Andrew! Oh yes. A good aloneness can be total bliss, a quiet but real happiness that no one but an introvert could understand. Especially when it’s a case of “FINALLY alone!” 🙂 We definitely just have to balance it.

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

  6. To be honest, sometimes I think that I just don’t like people, all that much. I can get annoyed very easily by other people, especially with extroverts, and the more extroverted someone is is the more annoyed I get by that person. I just really can’t stand them and they don’t understand me, so after cold shouldering them for a while, they stay way, which is just fine by me. I don’t like feeling imposed upon by anyone, and extroverts can quickly get very imposing because many of them are overly familar and lack boundaries, meaning your business is their business and they make your business everyone else’s business because of lack of discretion. You tell one of them that you are going to use the bathroom and by the time you get back, ten other people know that you were just in the bathroom. I worked with a couple of this type, at a former job, and I ended up disliking the both of them because of their personalities. I felt like yelling at them “Mind your own damn business and leave me alone!”. One of them was just way to familar, and the other one was trying to act like my mother until I lashed out on her and threatened to write her up to management on a regular basis. Just too much to deal with. I’ve learned that I can tolerate other people in small doses but I can’t be around other people for too long. I can converse and have a laugh and I might have things in common with someone, but I can’t be around that person for too long.
    I don’t mind doing things by myself. Many times I have gone shopping alone, which was better for me since I take a long time to make decisions about what I want, so if I did go with someone, that person would probably get annoyed with me. I don’t mind going to see a movie, alone, either. It might feel wierd walking into the theatre alone, when other people are going with a group, but once I’m sitting down, it doesn’t really matter, since everyone is at the theatre to do the same thing, which is to watch the movie. And even if someone was thinking that it is weird to see someone sitting alone or doing something alone, that person isn’t very likely to voice that opinion unless he or she is rude and lacks discretion, which some do, but most keep their mouths shut and keep moving. And if he or she was to say something, my response would be, “It’s none of your business, so leave well enough alone.” That’s not something that I would have said in the past, but I have gotten to the point where that’s what I will say if someone is nosey. It might sound mean, but sometimes people need to know how to leave other people, alone.
    I will also say that there have been a couple of people that I really liked and wanted to get to know because I just found them to be very interesting people. Plus, being around them made me laugh and wear a natural smile on my face, which I don’t do all the time. I also felt very comfortable around them and wanted to share my thoughts, feelings, and concerns with that person. In the words of Anne Shirley, he or she would be a “kindred spirit”. But finding someone like that has been a rare occurence for me, as I guess it would be.

    • Hi JW. Oh yeah, we’ve all been there with the nosey people and people who impose on us, and it is really annoying. And when you have annoying coworkers or classmates, it leaves you so tired of defending your space and your energy all day you can hardly put up with other people who would otherwise be pretty cool!

      I hope you meet some more kindred spirits soon. They are rare enough, but I’m still finding them out there. 🙂

    • I LOVE going to movies by myself! I get the experience of the movie and the popcorn, but don’t have to converse with anybody! 🙂 I also LOVE going to restaurants by myself. I always feel just a tad awkward saying “Yes, just one,” but once I’m seated and into my magazine, it’s blissful. I can only do this when I have something to read though — without it, it would be way too awkward.

  7. JW: That’s one long post! And I definitely know what you mean about people just acting a little too familiar with you. It’s pretty annoying!

    cb: Thanks for understanding. It’s alienating to be introverted/quiet as it is. Each day, I find myself feeling/being alone because of how I’m treated. Not to sound self-pitying, but sometimes I think I don’t exist and just living in a dream.

    • Hi Miyuki – I am so sorry you are being treated badly like that. Are you a student or are you in the workforce now? I really hope you will find some people to hang out with who appreciate you for who you are and don’t expect you to be some caricature of an extrovert.

  8. @ cb: Thank you. I’m a college student now. It’s not that bad in that people mess with me about it, but I just feel that pressure. Don’t worry though, I’ve met some kind people who do accept my quiet nature. Mostly I think it’s just me who’s breaking down from it and having issues accepting it myself. This never happened to me before because I never had a problem with being quiet. It just happened over time the more it was pointed out to me.

    • Miyuki, I sure hope the people who have nothing better to do than point out to you how “quiet” you are will grow up soon! Quiet people are easy to have around, and I certainly don’t see how anyone could be “concerned” about it. As long as you’re happily quiet and not quiet because you’re afraid to say something, then who cares what they think? 🙂

  9. It’s funny being a “quiet” person…people are shocked, if not downright offended, when they find out that I very much have my own ideas about things. They equate “quiet” with “weak” and think that they automatically have the upper hand when they meet me. Not so!

    I’ve also had a lot of people conclude that I am a very religious person, when I am not that way at all. They’ll apologize for swearing, when I could match them in that department any day, unbeknownst to them. Anybody else had these experiences?

    • Bella, people assume the exact same things about me because I am quiet. I’ve been in situations where other people felt like they had the upperhand simply because I don’t voice all of my opinions, thoughts, wants, feelings, concerns, or grievances. But just because I don’t voice everything that comes to mind doesn’t mean that I don’t have those feelings and that I don’t have opinions. I can always tell when someone feels like he or she has the upperhand, upon first meeting that person. That person will view me as being a target simply because of my demeanor. What they don’t know is that I have a bad temper, even though I definitely try to control that, and I am not afraid to speak up if someone keeps annoying me, but it does take me a while to get to that point. I could definitely hold my own in a cursing match, if it really came down to it. I’m from a culture in which giving someone a good what for when ticked off, is considered the norm, but most people don’t know that I am capable of this since I tend to keep my mouth shut.

  10. Wow, JW, we must have been separated at birth. I too have a bad temper, and I’m not afraid to push back on someone if I have to. Shocks the heck out of them! And I know just what you mean, when you can tell they think they’ve got the upper hand right outta the gate.

    • Yeah, Bella. I hear ya. The one thing that really irks me is when I get annoyed enough to call someone out on something, and the person will just dismiss my complaint as if I hadn’t said anything, at all. I hate that. I notice that this happens if I am dealing with someone who thinks that he or she has the upperhand, and that is usually someone who is more extraverted. But if that person has a complaint about something I am doing, he or she expects me to drop everything and listen. And my response to that is “I DON’T THINK SO!”. You have to give respect to get respect and I am not about to abide by someone else if he or she doesn’t have enough respect to listen to me when I am the one doing the complaining. Just because I am not as loud and assertive about every complaint, doesn’t mean that my complaints aren’t as valid.

  11. Hi–I found this website because I’m an acknowledged introvert who is dating someone even more introverted than I am. He has trouble telling me he needs time alone, but I am trying to help him with that–it’s important for both of us. I don’t want him to resent my presence, and I don’t want to have to guess when I need to leave his place to give him space. Any thoughts anyone has would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Alice! I think that is so considerate of you to think of making sure he has plenty of alone time, and of course none of us wants to think that we are overstaying our welcome. I actually asked a male (introvert) friend about this, and he suggested that one easy thing to do is just to not mind if he stays up doing something on his computer or other hobby after you’ve gone to sleep. Otherwise, I know it’s hard to know when to go home, or when he wishes you would. Does he ever come to your place – how long does he stay there? One thing I’ve done when spending a weekend with someone out of town is just to announce that I’m going for a walk (while he was doing something entirely different), then stay out walking for half an hour or more. That broke up that feeling of always hanging around.

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

  12. cb–Thank you for the suggestions! Actually he does stay up sometimes after I’ve gone to sleep, and some of the time I’m there, I tend to doze on the couch. It’s peaceful happy time, sharing space but not always talking. Saturday we watched a movie and then I sat on his bed with our three dogs while he played his bass violin–so nice! But Sunday he just wasn’t responsive. When he gets that way, sometimes it passes, and sometimes it doesn’t. I talked with him about it a little–said I wanted him to be able to tell me when he needed space or tell me that he’d like to see me, and he agreed. I guess we’ll see. We’ve been together for a year and a half. He used to come to my place now and then, but I got a roommate, so he comes less often now. He is coming for dinner tonight. When he comes he either usually comes for dinner, or stays over and leaves in the late morning the next day.

    I like this site!!! 🙂 Thank you.

  13. Alice, maybe you could come up with a funny phrase or neutral word that means, “I need some alone time” but does not have the baggage attached to it that the phrase normally has (when it may include “becuase I’m tired of you”.) Then he can say it when he’s feeling that way, and you’ll know that it’s not a reflection on you or the relationship, but just a time out.

    • Bella that is a great idea! He wouldn’t have to start thinking of a way to say it – he could just say, “man cave time” or something similar. 🙂

      Likewise Alice, (I may be wrong – remember I’m divorced 🙂 ) if he gets really quiet by the second day you’re around, I’d get my stuff and say cheerfully, “I think I’ll head home. I have a lot to do.” Then go. As long as you don’t sound hurt or mad or anything, he may feel relieved and be glad to see you the next time he sees you. I’m sure his feelings are mixed – he needs to be ALONE – but he doesn’t want you to leave.

      • Oh, cb, can you please call my boyfriend and share that with him? While he is quite aware — even painfully aware — of my need for time alone, he always always always lingers (in person and on the phone and in texting!) — to the point that I get annoyed and need even more time for recharging!

  14. Wow, after picking my son up from a birthday party, I barely said a whole sentence while driving home. I came into my room and closed the door while my children are playing games downstairs. I sat down and did a search about needing alone time and this site came up. I’m so glad I found this place!

    I agree with what everyone has said about their alone time, but also add that I like privacy. I can’t even get a tampon out of my purse without that person snooping over my shoulder.

    I often joke, laugh, and entertain but like to set limits… on time. I’ve been criticized for doing things alone such as eating lunch, shopping, and dining out. Extroverts seem to have hurt feelings because someone they have so much fun with do not want to eat with them. When I eat out alone, I get annoyed when the waiter or waitress frequents my table and interrupts my thoughts.

    I’m planning a vacation to Florida Keys soon all by myself and whenever someone finds out, they make comments about me not being normal. Oh, I’m a single mother so I’m either at work or with my children. My alone time is extra special.

    Thanks everyone for sharing!
    MB

    • Glad you found us, and glad to have you here! I’ve also noticed how it seems to bother some people when we just do what comes natural to us. I remember I used to work near a shopping center, so during lunch I’d often run errands, especially near family birthdays or Christmas. But one day I heard a woman say, “She just gets up and leaves and doesn’t say anything to anyone!” I wondered, why do I need to announce that I’m going on an errand during my lunch break?!! Oh, that’s right – so I could be ever hopeful that someone would join me and save me from having an hour of solitude!

      • So, I guess it’s safe to say that neither of you — or anybody here — would find it odd that 99% of the time, my lunch break consists of getting whatever I am eating, walking a half mile to my truck, and reading one of my new magazines. (I subscribed to about four, so I always have new stuff to read.) Once, my boyfriend wanted to “surprise” me and showed up at work for lunch. It definitely did not go the way he intended because my whole routine (including mentally) was thrown off.

        By the way, I love this site too! Oddly enough, it was my boyfriend who did some research on “time alone” and introduced the introvert word to me. Today, I started my own search to see what was “wrong” with me that I need so much time alone and this has the the best find!!

  15. Hi everyone,i found this webside last night,though the post’s are all from last year,i was the most happiest person the min i found this side…
    I am soooooo glad to see that i am not the only one feeling like i do,i also have serious issues having contact with others. I am most happy on my own,i kinda get worn out to have to talk too much to others,its very draining for me to have contact with other people. Though i am wotking with the puplic,which is very difficult for me,i can have a bit of chitchat,but i soon feel i have to remove myself from the situation..
    I have no friends,cause i hate going out meeting others,i dont drink or smoke and others find me boring quickly..
    I do things on my own,although i am most happy when i can be at home by myself and my three cats..
    I’d rather be with animals then humans to be honest,atleast they dont judge me,or see me as abnormal.
    Long time i thought a wasn’t normal cause i never met someone who is like me,most people i know are going straight to the pup after work,to meet again more people….
    A horror thought for me..
    When i get off work i lock my door and turn the phone off,cause dealing with 200 to 300 people a day is just draining and at the end i dont want to see anybody,i need this to recharge my batteries,but nobody seems to understand this…
    Iam glad to have found this side to hear from others about how they deal with being an introvert… Many greetings to all of you,
    Nickie

    • Hey Nickie – wow, no wonder you lock your door and want to be alone.. you’re definitely having more than your share of people-time during your work day! I often wonder if I’d initiate more social activities if I didn’t have things/people I *had* to have on my list, and I think the answer is definitely yes! Glad you found us!

  16. Yeah there aren’t many out there who understand us i guess…
    The worse for me is when people make me feel like i need a shrink or so..
    Like,”perhaps it would be good for you to talk to someone”, that kinda thing… Drives me up the walls..

    • Hah – “Perhaps it would be good if I didn’t have to talk to ANYONE for a couple of DAYS!”
      That’s actually what you need… a nice break from *having* to talk so you can actually look forward to talking to someone you WANT to talk to!

  17. ha ha yeah,i just enjoy my breaks so much that i feel like an ailien when im back at work… Ah well,i cant have it all i guess.. : }

  18. I enjoy interacting with people for a while each day. People see me as being very outgoing but think I am depressed when I want to stay home or do things alone. But I have a low saturation level and always need my down time shortly after.

    I think there is something wrong with people who has to have someone else with them every moment. So I guess we’ll never understand each other.

  19. Hi everyone,i have a question… How do you all manage relationships/friendships? I am single for a while now,my last relationship ended like the most i had,they found be boring! He like’s going to party’s,concert’s and meeting up with friends all the time,he doesn’t like to be on his own for a while,the odd going to the movie’s,or dinner was not enough for him and tge relationship was over…
    I just wonder how you all manage this or am i bound to be single for the rest of my life? { not that i would mind : } }

    To MomB,i know what you mean,i had a “best girlfriend” once,and she couln’t be by herself at all,she always need it to have a partner,could not be single for a while… I never understood this either,but i guess we are all different,and surely there must be a reason for the way we all are… : }

  20. I have been thinking about the relationship factor as well. I was married for 16 yrs to a man who was basically a couch potato. So it worked well until he fell in love with a party girl then suddenly I wasn’t fun enough. Actually, I love to have fun and have enjoyed many new activities with friends since my divorce. I even tried to get the ex to do things that he refused to do, just not with me. His idea of having fun was bars, strip clubs, and things that did not involve our two children. So here I am raising them alone while he’s “having fun” and those are his words not mine.

    I’ve been single for over 2 years now and trying to find a partner at my age has proven impossible. If you have read dating profiles, the majority of the men on there say they are very active, outdoorsy, love to travel and social. They also want a woman who is active (i.e. in shape), social, and love to travel (i.e. no kids involved). So I’ve given up on that aspect of life.

    Unless you are in my situation, I think you’d have a much better chance of finding companionship that will not smother you and take away from your down time.

  21. Wow. I can relate with so much of what you have all said.

    I used to think I was a loner, but here recently I have found out that I’m an introvert. Most of my friends/co-workers think I am anti-social; and to tell the truth, I sometimes encourage that belief so that they will leave me alone. However, lately, I have been feeling more and more lonely.

    I have been raising my 3 children on my own for a very long time, so I have always cherished those moments alone. So much so, I have been single now for 7 years; mostly, I think, because when I had free time away from my children, I would find a quiet place where I could be alone with a book and just recharge, purposely avoiding social gathers and friends.

    Now my children are all in their late teens, two are in college, and I find myself alone quite often. So much so that I have been feeling extremely lonely at times. I have a few friends that I hangout with from time to time, but, to be honest, they get on my nerves when I spend too much time with them.

    I guess I have been ‘anti-social’ (lol) for so long, I don’t know how to be anything else…

    • Hi Daniel – Boy can I relate! Of COURSE you needed quiet time totally alone when you got a little breaks while raising three kids by yourself! You didn’t have anyone at all to take care of one kid while you did something for another… or trade off taking care of things for the group while you watched or read the news alone. And yes, some of those friends we’ve hung on to over the years start to get on our nerves with too much exposure. I really hope friends and coworkers will allow you to start gradually taking part in things – things you really want to do.

  22. Wow so much to relate to. I have been at home without much contact from the outside world for about 3 days now. I’m feeling very lonely. I just cant seem to get the balance right. I never contact people. I dont feel the need to stay in constant contact with my friends every day. But I think its gotten to the stage now where my friends are so used to me not having contact that they never contact me. They assume that I’m happy out doing my own thing. I have given off this impression with the intention of having time to recharge. But now…. When I do want to do something or hang out I feel wierd about contacting them. Because I think that in their mind theyre thinking, huh, why is she calling me out of the blue like that?

    Uuurgh I dont know what to do. I have no problem at all making friends, like one of the first posters explained. I do like people. But when I meet people and we exchange numbers, have a lot in common but I’m too afraid to contact them and make plans for coffee etc without feeling like I’m some kind of stalker.
    Any advice gladly appreciated.

    • I understand what you mean – definitely! Now – if any of those friends are introverts, then you know you can pick right back up – weeks later – and email them and suggest getting together, and they may be just about ready to do something social too. I know the extroverts can “get out of the habit” of contacting you… on the other hand, they love variety and a wide circle of friends, so don’t be afraid to call one out of the blue and say hi and see if they want to get together! I was out of town when you wrote this. I hope you had a good weekend and were able to get with some friends!

  23. I always want more, more, more time alone….. …..and then moments will come along where I feel very lonely — for outings with friends. Not for phone calls or e-mail or going shopping — but lunch, a walk, a movie or something like that. My boyfriend would spend 24/7 with me if he could, but (a) that’s just not me; and (b) even when I’m feeling “lonely” it isn’t a longing for boyfriend/partner time.

    • Yep – I used to wish there was a big bulletin board of some kind that just my friends and I could see. Just to say, “If anyone wants to go to a movie Saturday afternoon..” because I didn’t know which person to call if I did get an afternoon to myself! And now we have Facebook – 🙂 So maybe that’s a start..?

  24. Hey everyone,

    I have been browsing sites like this for about a year now. It’s good to see that I’m not the only introvert out there, because it sure seems that way sometimes. I’ve still spent much more time reading what others write than communicating with them. So I will give this a shot.

    Part of me wants to let the whole world know about what the word “introvert” really means, but I’ve found that most people aren’t even interested in psychology. Most people are what the MBTI refers to as “extroverted sensors”, whereas I am an “introverted intuitive”. Therefore, I am prone to be interested in theories and conceptual type stuff, and they are all about things that are tangible and care mostly about what can be processed through one of their five senses. They can’t see how any of this kind of stuff could be useful in life.

    Well, for me, it certainly has been useful. I didn’t even know that I was completley normal until researching this stuff. I used to think that I was just shy- and I have been shy, which we all know is not the same as being introverted- but the REASON that I have been shy is because most people treat me like there’s something wrong with me.

    It’s good to have something that “puts everything into words”- so to speak, but right now I’m having trouble finding a job, and I don’t have many friends- and the ones that I do have are always busy. So, yes, I have been lonley. Most of my alone time, which I normally enjoy, is currently spent on trying to find a solution to this perdicament. I wouldn’t really be able to talk to anybody about this even if I wanted to, because nobody I know in real life really understands, or is even interested in the type of problems that an introvert can face. They think you can just press a button and be “normal” like them.

    • Hi DV – Oh yes, I’ve made the mistake of trying to talk to some ESxx about this sort of thing and gotten the most blank distrustful looks, or once even, “I don’t care about personality tests; I just know how people act.” WHAT??? I just try to keep things really general and superficial with that sort of person. 🙂

      I’m sorry you’re in such a lonely situation and having a hard time looking for a job. You’re obviously intelligent and express yourself well in writing, so be sure to write a great LinkedIn profile and connect to as many people as you know – even get some “recommendations” from them. Likewise beef up your Facebook – because even the busiest friends will check it at odd times – and maybe they can put you in touch with someone who’s looking for a smart employee. It’s sometimes amazing that just when I think I’m talking to people and keeping up with people from previous jobs it turns out they’ve all been talking to each other a LOT more and seeing each other more too. What seems sufficient contact to us introverts would seem to be sparse to many others.

      And – remember the extrovert who was always asking you to do stuff hwen you didn’t have time – now you have time to just drop by or call him (he won’t mind!) 🙂 and see what he’s up to! Good luck and please let us know how things go for you.

  25. What I like in this site is the honesty of the author to spread out on the web that she is an introvert. This is not an overwhelming phrase but I just really like it.

    Being an introvert doesn’t mean you are lonely on most of the time but no that so frequent. There are just times that we all want to be alone and just live alone.
    Eric Graham´s last post ..You Don’t Need to be Alone Anymore

  26. At work, surrounded by young extrovert colleagues, I find I’m left to do all the work while they’re socialising. I COULD stop work and join in, but being an introvert type would find that even harder work!!

  27. I’d like to know from someone! If you could help me understand one thing. My boyfriend asked me to move in with him. I now live with him a year. He tells me that he likes being alone. We get a long great, of course we have our little disagreements at times, except a lot of the time he likes to have alone time. Now he tells me that he likes to go out for a little while, weather it be shopping for something, or going to the gym for an hour etc. What kind of relationship do you call this. I thought that when two people love and enjoy one another they go places together. Am I wrong to think this way, I need someone to help expalin this to me. Is he getting tired of me? Or what?

    • Oops, I meant for the below response to be a reply to MEME. I do not have the capability to delete it and/or move it here.

  28. Hmm, this doesn’t look like the place for asking such a question. Only your boyfriend can give you the answer. But since you asked I can think of a couple of possibilities for his behavior without knowing either of you.

    Possibility 1: He really cares about you, but feeling the impact of having someone else in his space. I can attest to just how little it takes to feel smothered when accustomed to being alone. I started dating again after 3 years of being single. After a week of one man texting me throughout the day and talking on the phone for an hour or so each day, I felt smothered. I cannot even imagine how I would feel with a man moved into my home.

    Possibility 2: Your personality could be pushing him away. If you are clingy or needy in any way, he might be seeking space just to recharge.

    Possibility 3: He really is just doing his own thing. In that case, you will have to accept this about him and let him have his alone time. Find activities that you enjoy doing alone and with friends.

    The other possibilities I won’t mention as it seems you are already worried about those. Good luck!

  29. You can say that I was an introvert during my college days. I used to be too shy and moving to the big place from a little village also affected me a lot. I was not free in meeting people and spent most of the time alone. But believe me, I never felt lonely – I used to enjoy everything I was doing. But it was when I came into contact with Edward (my senior) that a lot of things in me changed. Within two years everything changed and people looked on me as a dynamic person. But now, though I am very good in meeting people, I feel very much lonely – may be I am not having satisfaction with the life I am living. What do you say about that??

  30. I loved reading this post. Though i may be too late to leave a comment seeing this post was posted almost three years back. But I am so glad to see people like me exist. I thought I was abnormal as I loved to go to the movies alone, do everything on my own. I have best friends with whom I go out once in a while but I love to be alone almost all the time. I thought Introvert is someone who doesnt talk to anyone or who is shy but I talk to anyone who talks to me and I am not shy at all. So i felt I am not an Introvert but just plain abnormal person. Now to know that I am not alone in this world makes me feel so better. Thanks a lot for this post.

  31. I am a teenage girl in college. I never really saw myself as an introvert because like you said i genuinely enjoy being around people, but being forced to live with three other girls spending 24 hours a day with them has really forced me to be a “loner.” For the last couple weeks i have locked myself in my room, not because i was mad at them or anything, but simply because i liked my alone time better. After crying for a few hours about how i always end up pushing my friends away i found this page. Now i realize that i am just an introvert. Thank you for putting all of this into words for me!

  32. I was doing a search in Google for time to be alone and found this post. I`m a people person. I love people… however I also love being alone to organize my thoughts. After a full day interacting.. I need time to re-structure my brain (if that makes any sense). I have extrovert and introvert traits… I took the Myers-Briggs test and it said I was INFP. But I`ve always been a people person.. so I guess I`m both? Is that even possible? I don`t know.
    Anyways.. I resonated with what you said about needing the time alone to recharge. I don`t like days that are so filled that I have no alone time. Through being alone, reading, painting, reflecting.. I feel like I have something to give to others.
    Thanks for this post. Putting you in my rss reader.
    All the best,
    Eren
    Eren Mckay´s last post ..Children’s &amp family entertainment – Mike da Mustang

    • Okay, you seem to be an ambivert; but there are ppl like me – the author of the post who ‘like’ the idea to be alone, but in the long run we deprive ourselves from others i.e like to be not around ppl for a while, pack our emotions and ideas inside us, till we find someone comfortable enough to talk to,and I’ll tell you that introverts make good bloggers coz many times when we want to be lonely, we remove out our time doing something creative.Well we introverts are ppl person too, except the fact that we become impatient after a while to be asocial!

  33. @Fenzomani – Oh cool- thanks for letting me know the name of it. Ambivert. Yeah.. that`s what I believe I am. That clarifies a LOT. Thanks again 😉
    Eren

  34. I am 37 and always seemed to have a problem being around other people. I was the person always being picked on in elementary and middle school. Because of this, I tried to avoid as many people as possible. My solution was to concentrate on my studies and progress adademically. But socially, I failed. When I graduated high school, I lost all contact with the few friends I had. We all went in different directions. Shortly after graduation I attended trade school and earned an Associates Degree in Electronics. Soon after that, I started a full-time job and entered the “real world”. Back in that time, I was in my 20s, and one day I said to myself ” I wonder how my life was going to be like when I reach 30.”

    Now at 37, my career is going fine, but socially I suffer. The loneliness I feel is overpowering. I have no friends and I feel like an outcast. I am an unhappy introvert who wants to change. I do not like being alone and doing things by myself anymore. Life is meant to be enjoyed with other people. I am currently subscribed to an online relationship website trying to find a companion or friend but so far, I have been unsuccessful. I hope I am not too late to change. Do you have any suggestions or comments. Thanks! Scott

    • Hi Scott. I know what you mean – the usual advice we all hear is to join a gym, take a class, go to church, that sort of thing. But of course as introverts we’re not the life of the party so even when we drag ourselves to an event for that purpose people may not notice us and then we feel lonelier than ever.

      Is there somewhere you could volunteer where you’d truly care about what you’re doing – so you’d sort of “forget” about worrying about whether people are interested in you or about what to say next and would just be doing and be your true self..? I’m thinking animal shelter, tornado (or flood or whatever) relief, anything that you could really care and contribute – and where other people would be doing the same? I say that because all the people who really know me and like me a lot – true friends – are people I’ve worked alongside somehow. It might have been office work or working on some other project, but it just takes some real quality time to get to know and appreciate an introvert. 🙂

      If you want to tell us what city you’re in please do. Anyone else have any good ideas?

    • What do you like to do? Hobbies, activities?

      For instance, do you bike? Run? Play volleyball? Do photograhy/painting/etc? Sing in a choir, go caving, etc etc?

      Almost anything that you do as a hobby/activity can be done socially. You can join a club or a meetup group. If you have a dog, you might be able to meet people at the dog park. Or if you’re into rescue, you can volunteer time at a local rescue group.

      Volunteering is often a great way to meet people also.

      And you can take classes in things too. Learn morse code or sculpting or how to rebuild an engine. I have no idea what your interests are, but there’s a class out there for just about anything, and you’ll potentially meet people will similar interests when you take classes.

      All of these things have something major going for them for an introvert – the primary focus of these groups/clubs/activities/classes is to do/learn something specific. The social aspect is secondary, and so it takes pressure off. The friendships/connections you form will feel more natural.

      If you read this and your response is that you have no interests/hobbies, well, that’s something you need to change. There’s no magic solution – it will always require some effort on your part, some persistence, as well as stepping outside the boundaries you have set for yourself.

      You’ll have times where you feel uncomfortable, but don’t let that stop you.

      It’s never too late to change!

      • To be frank,being an introvert isn’t a bad thing (were you an introvert ?),but not to the extent that one becomes ‘asocial’ category introvert.

      • Hi Deb, I do have a hobby which is repairing and restoring desktop computers and consumer electronics. I do this inside my home in the basement. And for something like this, I need quiet. Other than that, I am not a sports person and I don’t have any pets. My basement is where I am most of the time. My computer, stereo, TV and exercise area is all in one place. I listen to alot of music!

        You mentioned about times that will feel uncomfortable. Well you are absolutely correct. And that uncomfortable feeling turns into fear. I have solved many problems, but this is the biggest one yet. I reside in Allentown, PA which is about 60 min from Philadelphia.

        I can’t help but think that I have failed and I have nobody to blame but myself.
        I really want to change, but no woman in 2011 would want to spend time with someone like me. I don’t mean to be negative, but it is what it is.

        I do know that I have to step outside my boundaries and make a very solid effort and stop my negative self-talk.

        • Hi Scott,
          I have introvert qualities but I’m also an extrovert. Reading this post I was able to understand that I’m an ambivert (both). There are times when I’m very self conscious.. however I have learned that I truly thrive when I have real friends.. I love people.. I love helping them. I love making new friends. Being too self conscious made me stop from interacting new people for a while. Although I’m married and have 3 children I also feel lonely at times.
          When I went though a depression, I stopped interacting as much as I always did with people. My depression was caused from losing 8 loved ones in a time frame of 6 months. It was so painful to lose so many people that I loved in such a short time frame that I was scared to feel that horrible pain once more. But then I started to realize that isolating myself just made me get into a deeper and deeper sadness. Slowly I started to be healed and on January 5th of this year I completely got out of the depression.
          One of the biggest things that helped me get out of the depression was making friends online. I have many friends all over the world now. I live in Brazil, South America.. my friends are spread all over. I love having online friends because I can access them easily. I use Skype and talk for free with them and I also connect through Facebook. If you want to add me as a friend in either place my name is erenmckay. I would love to have you as my friend.
          Blessings,
          Eren

          • Hi Eren,
            You had replied to a comment I posted some time ago, and I never read your entire message, but I read it now and all I have to say is that you are very strong. To lose 8 loved ones in a time frame of 6 months is unimaginable to me. I have no idea how you found the strength to overcome that pain but I am so proud of you that you did. It makes me realize that my problem is “nothing” when compared to that. Your experience makes me more grateful for the things I do have that I take for granted from day to day.
            I am not on Facebook yet, but I am working on it. I am having trouble creating a profile . I would like to keep in touch with you. You can email me at: s.arnold@appliedseparations.com
            Tnanks,
            Scott

            • Thanks Scott.. yes it has been a long road recovering not only from that but other awful things that I’ve gone through. I have learned to be stubbornly positive and hold onto wonderful things such as love, faith and hope. I would love to keep in touch with you. Will send you an email.
              Blessings,
              Eren

        • It’s okay to want to change something, most of us do have goals — large and small — along those lines, but that doesn’t mean you are a failure.

          Okay, so your interests are: electronics, music, exercise.

          Now brainstorm a bit. What could you do (that you think you could enjoy!) that has to with these, yet will get you out from your basement? Can you use your skill in restoring electronics to help out a local charity/cause that you believe in? (Even though the restoring will be done in your basement, you will be making connections by volunteering your skills.) Can you find a way to use your interest in music to find people with similar interests?

          For any of these, you can start online. Join a community of people with similar interests. You might have to join a few before you find one you really like. It can help you practice making connections with people before trying it in the real world. You have a lifetime’s habit of avoiding those connections, so you’ll have to put some effort into changing that habit.

          One way to deal with fear is to face it head-on. With things like this, the fear will often diminish when we face it, since reality is rarely as bad as our imaginations can turn it into. But also using opportunities to “practice” can help.

        • Awww Scott there are actually women out there that would want to spend time with someone like you. I’m going through the same exact thing at this point in my life. I’m a 33 year old female with few friends but get along with everyone. The people that are lucky enough to be labeled as “my friends” make fun of me and call me a hermit because I avoid all social interaction like its a plague. I spend most of my weekends by myself and I really don’t have a problem with it. However, there are times I do get lonely and wish I had someone just to go to the movies with or play video games with. I just dread sifting through all the extroverts that want to be up my ass 24 hours a day in hopes of finding someone that might actually want to spend time with someone like me without thinking that I’m the most boring person on the face of the planet. 😉

          You mentioned that you feel like you have failed and I can relate to that. As I get older I feel like I’m failing at what my life should be like and sometimes I hate that I’m so introverted. At the same time, I can’t imagine trying to change. Just the thought of attempting to meet new people exhausts me. So I’m just gonna keep doing my thing and pray it works out. lol God help me.

          Anyway, my point is….there are actually women out there who would rather be with a guy like you so don’t give up!!

          • I read your reply and alot of what you wrote I feel too. Attempting to meet new people also exhausts me but I have to try really hard to overcome it. You are 33 so if you want to change, please start now, because it doesn’t get any easier as you get older. I wish I had the chance to go back to age 33 and start then, but I can’t.

            My biggest problem now is trying to make conversation. My lack of experience and my “hermit type” lifestyle makes it very difficult to start a conversation. And my nervousness and shyness doen’t help either.

            I am currently subscribed to an online relationship website, and I found a woman who wanted to talk to me to offer me some advice. We met for dinner and we talked. She did most of the talking and now looking back, I wish I would have said more. I should have asked more questions. But for my first “date” I thought it went alright. But since that time, she hasn’t been communicating with me anymore. She doesn’t reply to any of my emails, texts, or voice mail messages.
            She also paid for the entire dinner. When the server brought us the check, she immediately took it and said that this dinner is on her. I didn’t even see what the amount was. At the time, I did not know what to do. It was totally unexpected. So I said “thank you” and ” next time the meal will be on me”. Her response was “okay”. I can’t help but think if I did something wrong or what she thought of our meeting. We were communicating every day prior to the dinner date, so I don’t know what to think. But I need to move on. Well I guess I babbled enough so I will say thank you for your story and support and say goodnight.

            • Hey Scott, You’re right about one thing – being alone a lot really gets us out of practice as far as talking to people. Do you have a chance to do a little small talk with coworkers, very general stuff…just so your voice stays in practice? 😉

              About her hasty exit – it may have simply been something like you reminded her of her ex-husband, something like that. She already knew that you’ve been alone for a while, because she wanted to offer advice. But sometimes there’s something about someone that just strikes a chord that reminds us of someone or some situation we don’t want to be around again. I’ll bet it was something like that. You communicate very well and obviously she enjoyed talking to you before that dinner. So unless you brandished a knife 😉 at her I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

            • I hear what you are saying about the difficulty of trying to make conversation. I’m a pc/network technician and my job can have some very demanding hours. When I’m not working, I’m at home on the computer or playing video games (I’m a bit of a nerdy girl). I have very few other hobbies so when I meet someone new I have very little to bring to the table when it comes to topics of conversation. And I don’t think any guy wants to hear me talk about the epic gear I looted off some boss in a game. LOL So, I find myself feeling socially awkward and my brain drained of all energy because simple conversation doesn’t come easy to me.

              As for the girl that you went to dinner with, obviously there was something that just didn’t click for her and I think cb has a good point that there could have been something that reminded her of a previous situation she didn’t want to revisit. Whatever it was I wouldn’t let it discourage you. 🙂

              • Wow alt – I sure wish you’d now tell us you live somewhere near Allentown! I think you’d have yourself someone to go to movies and play video games with! Just promise each other no awkward coffee or dinner dates until you have some shared interests and experiences to talk about. 😀

    • Others have given good advice.

      Well Scott, I understand how you feel… I think. Although I am an introvert, I was married for 15.5 years. Looking back I now realize that my ex-husband was the only real friend that I had. It was enough for me. After the divorce, it took me a while to realize what I truly missed. It was having a comfortable friend. So yes I think finding a companion would make you less sad and/or lonely. But it’s not the solution.

      The others are right about getting out and doing hobbies. I’ve slowly learned to do that myself and when I’m with a friend, it makes a huge difference in my mood. The only problem is when the friend I am hanging out with wants to invite more people along. I find myself pulling away.

      Some other activities to meet people could be swimming, book club, gardening, or an interest in animals.

      Good luck.

  35. @author – I’m exactly like you, a hobbyist by nature , I just love trying new things out – but all alone.At times I feel that I need a partner but I’m more creative when I’m all by my own.But this leads ro me being ‘asocial’ – which eats me up at times and affects my productivity and my career plans !

  36. I had this same response as well .. loving alone time and increasingly becoming less and less tolerant of the work required for a deep relationship. I don’t describe it as a loner quality or an introvert’s behavior — I believe it is just plain old selfish behavior. I have learned to give a lot more of myself to those around me and to stop taking the easy, very self-protecting route of doing things on my own. Relationships are work and the less effort you put into them the more selfish and self absorbed you become. I don’t think it’s cool or different or unique .. just living in a bubble with a lack of concern for others.

    • Hi Sallysay… I understand that introverted behavior many times may be selfish but not always….
      Each situation is unique and must be evaluated as such. I’m an ambivert but my hubby is a total introvert. It’s not so simple to classify everything as selfish. First of all it really doesn’t help anyone since all it does is lay on the guilt. And you know that when an introvert feels guilty they get even more closed up.. making things even more difficult. So I just wanted to say that all encompassing statements such as “I believe it is just plain old selfish behavior” don’t help anyone.
      All the best,
      Eren

  37. Erin,

    My intention here is to help. These people think they have a disease that leads to depression, loneliness and social isolation. This isn’t an abnormality. Everyone has selfish tendencies. Making the effort to connect to others is like any other strength – it gets weaker without use. As a self-confessed “introvert,” I spiraled really badly and gradually cut more and more people out of my life which led to a deep depression that took years of effort to get beyond.

    It’s odd to me that you believe I am inflicting guilt. I am merely expressing my experience and opinion on this very damaging behavior. If you feel guilty about it that is something you should try to take an honest look at.

  38. Hi SallySay,
    I’m glad that your intention is to help. Yes.. being too introverted can have its roots in selfish tendencies and that can be really damaging. I’m an ambivert so I didn’t take what you said to me personally. I always make new friends and reach out to people so the guilt couldn’t really apply to me. Although in many cases the selfish roots may apply it’s not always so. The reason I responded was to shed another perspective on what you said so that those who are already going through difficult times such as Scott ( in the comment section) wouldn’t feel even worse on top of all what he already expressed feeling.
    I totally agree with you in relation to what you said :
    “Making the effort to connect to others is like any other strength – it gets weaker without use. ”
    That’s the truth and yes I think that it takes effort and fortitude to have deep friendships that last a lifetime. I have those in my life and am very grateful that I do.
    My intention is also not to offend you but to prevent guilt since I know that guilt can be damaging to introverts leading them into more isolation. My hubby is very introverted so I know.
    I also know about depression. After 8 people in my family died in a time frame of 6 months, it was so painful to me that I could hardly function. The trauma of losing 8 people that I loved like that spiraled me into a depression that lasted 2 years. Trauma can also be the cause of extreme introversion that needs to be worked out….
    I’m sorry if I offended you by responding however I really felt that I needed to chime in.
    All the best,
    Eren

  39. I am still trying to determine whether I am a true introvert or just have a low tolerance for people who do or say stupid things. Most of the time I think both. When I am in the company of good friends, I get the sudden urge to leave but not necessarily be alone. But the other people, I just avoid completely. I am always nice and polite to people, so they are often quite confused when I don’t want to hang out. But there are some times when I want to be completely alone.

    I’ve had to come to the reality that I will be alone for the rest of my life and the thought has grown on me.

  40. Hi.

    I randomly chose the topic of introversion and came across your post. I liked it. I resonate with it. Over a time, I have not only been a kind of introvert myself but someone who has also been forced into various social situations that led me to have a very hard time. Having gone through a lot of depression, I eventually came out of it. I am still conservative about who I want to talk to and who I don’t want to talk to!

    But one important change in me has been the following. I make a lot of jokes. My sense of humor has improved a lot. I have become a very different kind of introvert now. I love my loneliness but when I see a person in front of me, it is automatic for me to crack a quick joke and get them laughing. Maybe I don’t want them to be sad the way I was sad once, so even if I am able to bring out a smile in them for a brief moment, I feel happy.

    As soon as my purpose is served in a group or I have no purpose in the group, where a purpose is defined by my usefulness either as someone who can help with a situation or lighten up the environment, I feel out of place, I walk out and take a walk alone. In other words, my temporal extroversion is only to keep the social machinery well oiled and to ensure people feel good (which is never possible to do perfectly).

    Anyway, nice article. Just felt like sharing my thoughts.

  41. I myself am an introvert, I love this article, it just helped me a lot. However while I do get lonely and want to spend time with friends, I don’t find myself capable of doing big crowds or even new people. I tend to have trust issues specially when it comes to new people, I really don’t know how to overcome these issues but I was wondering if you have some advice?

  42. Hi Mike,
    I’ve had my heart broken in a thousand pieces over and over again… however I have discovered that if you never trust.. you will never find real friends because the wall of defense actually stops you from experiencing true deep relationships.
    So yeah.. I get hurt.. however I have real lifetime friends that I love and I know they love me too.. that is priceless and worth all of the hurt I’ve gone through with false people.
    The thing is.. finding these trustworthy people. They are rare.. but they exist…
    Blessings,
    Eren
    Eren Mckay´s last post ..Children’s & family entertainment – Mike da Mustang

  43. wendi howieson on

    You guy’s have got to read the introvert advantage by marti olsen laney,it will make ya all feel so much better,i myself have always been comfortable with my need for solitude and recharging,i identify with so many of your comments,i could read all day,what i found is it’s other folk that are uncomfortable with it,simply because they do not understand,marti olsen laney expresses very clearly,an introvert will understand an extrovert only too well but an extrovert will NEVER understand an introvert,i am not a selfish woman as some might suggest, i am always the first to be there whenever needed for help or a natter,but i do not feel the need to be in a click or to tag along,i have my own ways,in my life i have been described as awkward,moody aloof,weird,and even had a hard time from family,it’s simply because they dont understand,and no matter how much i try to explain i know as fact i am wasting my time,i can tell them straight out,i might not see them for a while cuz i need to recharge,and they’ll still come a calling,never let anyone tell you you are selfish, i find it is usually very much the other way around,this book will definatley help you understand your nature and needs better,and i felt like i had just started breathing after i had read the book,i purchased it on amazon,there are many other’s you can purchase,i opted for marti’s book,and i enjoyed every page,i could’nt put it down and still pick it up from time to time….i’ve really enjoyed all your posts and identify with nearly everyone,so thankyou fellow innies…all the best to you all ; D

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