How to Have an Introvert-Friendly Summer

Two friends talking on a blanket on the beach

Summer means more pressure to socialize, which can be exhausting for introverts.

Summer is on its way, but the change of season doesn’t change how our introverted brains work. We still need time alone to recharge. We still enjoy small, introvert-friendly activities and gatherings over crowded ones, and small talk isn’t our idea of a good time whether the sun is shining or not. 

What summer does change, however, is how other people view our activities as introverts. In wintertime, cozying up with a good book in front of a roaring fire is completely acceptable — aspirational, even. Staying inside to read on a nice summer day, however? Unthinkable. 

Summer Means More Pressure to Socialize

All introverts have experienced this pressure in some way or another, usually as teens. We’re playing video games, drawing, writing (*raises hand*), listening to music, or just enjoying some time alone. Then someone barges in to say, “It’s such a nice day out! Why don’t you go outside?” We all but hiss like vampires. 

It’s not because we don’t like vitamin D as much as extroverts. It’s because we know, the nicer the weather, the more people-y it gets, as well. Kids are out of school, families are on vacation, and every summertime activity could have the word “crowded” in front of it: beaches, amusement parks, fireworks — you name it, and an enormous amount of people will be there. It’s stressful, to say the least.

Last year, the 4th of July fireworks at my local fairground boasted an estimated 5,000 attendees. To them, it was a draw. For me, it was a solid reason to stay far away. Even my extroverted husband balked at being in a crowd that large (along with the accompanying traffic). 

But if we don’t go to the neighborhood block party, we’re an “unsociable” (read: bad) neighbor. If we suggest doing our own thing on vacation, we’re “ruining” the fun or being “too sensitive” about the noise and crowds. On such occasions, it seems impossible to win as an introvert.

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Why Introverts Might Struggle With Summer Activities

More than any other season, summer is when we’re expected to be “on” all the time. “You only have 18 summers with your kids!” is a common refrain. For introverts who are also highly sensitive people, the heat, the sweat, the smell of sunscreen and bug spray — it’s a lot

Summertime activities, especially, are usually all-day ones. Because, again, “You can’t waste this weather by staying inside!” If only we could photosynthesize the social energy we need. 

We get invitations to go to the lake “for the day” or a barbecue that starts with swimming under the noon sun and ends with drinks after dark — which (thanks to daylight savings time) is when we’d normally be in our blanket cocoons for the night. 

As well-meaning as these invitations are, seeing them as the only way to enjoy summer prevents introverts from doing what makes the most sense for us. Relaxing in a hammock, a book in my hand, sun rays slanting above me while a salty ocean breeze ruffles my hair… that’s my idea of a perfect summer day. “Beach reads” are a thing for a reason. Repeat after me: We do not have to shed our introvert skin to have a fun and fulfilling summer. 

Here are some ideas for tweaking summer gatherings to make them more introvert-friendly.

5 Ways to Make Your Summer More Introvert-Friendly 

1. Go to the barbecue or block party — but don’t stay all day. 

Decide beforehand the hours you’d most like to be there. Do you want to help set up, then duck out when the party reaches its (loud) peak? Or would you prefer to arrive later on, when the atmosphere starts to chill out? 

Pick what makes sense for you, and don’t feel guilty about sticking to it. Now is the time to assert your boundaries! Even if others make comments about how “the party is just getting started” or how people will arrive fashionably late, you do you.  

2. Invite neighbors over one at a time to get to know them in your own backyard. 

Introverts thrive in the one-on-one deep conversations that happen around a summer bonfire. Having that personal connection helps others realize you’re not being unsociable, you’re just honoring who you are. Which encourages others to do the same. 

By having just a neighbor or two over at a time, you can do what you do best — skip the small talk and have more meaningful conversations.

Do you ever struggle to know what to say?

As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.

3. Go on vacation with family or friends, but with a caveat — you will sometimes need alone time.

During the planning stages of the vacation, let your family and friends know that you’re going to take certain days or hours for your own amusement. Whether that’s to do an activity alone or simply to stay in bed, that time is blocked out for whatever you need to have the vacation you want. Also, make sure to have some introvert-friendly group activities on the agenda, especially if you’ll be vacationing with any extroverts! After all, for introverts, vacation overwhelm is real.

4. Hike less-traversed trails or go at non-peak hours — and this applies to more than just hiking.

Whether you like to be there before the sun rises or right before the park closes, even the most popular hiking trails thin-out during non-peak hours. Or go on a quest to find the hidden gems that are just as amazing, but less well-known (kind of like introverts!). 

And I’m not just talking about hiking here — this principle applies to anything you do on your trip. The less crowded (and less noisy) a venue, the better. Head out a little further to less popular lakes and beaches, too. Similar to hiking trails, the lakes or beaches that are easiest to get to, or have a particular attraction, are going to be more crowded. If you’re willing and able to trek away from a parking lot, or don’t mind forgoing a popular draw, there are several gorgeous places off the beaten path to enjoy.  

5. Make your own space while camping. 

One of the hardest parts about camping for introverts is sharing close quarters with other people. It’s important to carve out space for yourself to get the alone time you need. Set up a single-person tent on the same campsite, get your own campsite nearby, or rent an RV so you can have your own bunk (and bathroom!). If those you are with know you’re an introvert, which I’m guessing they will, doing this camping self-care shouldn’t be an issue. Remember, it’s your vacation as much as it is theirs, so make yourself happy.

These small changes make a big difference in having an introvert-friendly summer. And you deserve that, dear introvert. While the pressure to socialize ramps up along with the summer heat, take the steps you need to cool it all down. Our summers may be slower, but they’re that much sweeter for us.

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