Yes, it’s okay — and necessary — to factor in alone time as an introvert on a group trip.
My best friend wanted to have her bachelorette trip in Joshua Tree, California. Other than this being a long way from home, I thought to myself, “Wow, finally a group trip I can be excited about: hiking, jacuzzi, games, wine, and cooking good food at the Airbnb.”
Even though it sounded like my kind of bachelorette “party” weekend, at the end of the day, it wasn’t mine. The friend that we were celebrating is extroverted in every sense of the word… and I’m an introvert through and through. Don’t get me wrong, I love her with every fiber of my being, but in terms of personality, we could not be more different… which lead to my intense “introvert hangover” on the fourth night of the trip.
Using My Introvert Strengths to Plan Out the Itinerary
When planning this trip and how many days to take off work, I knew I needed to be there on the first day. I was the Maid of Honor, and the girls on the trip even coined the term “Morganized” for how organized I had been with all of the details leading up to the trip.
Thursday was going to be the travel and grocery shopping day — so, of course, I needed to be there with my lists, like the good introvert that I am. Friday’s plan was to be a casual day waiting for the rest of the crew to make it in. And then Saturday was the night we planned to do most of the “bachelorette” festivities: lingerie party, drunk picture slideshow, and so on.
With all this in mind, my original plan was to go home Sunday and take Monday off to recharge my batteries after such a socialized weekend. But, I didn’t listen to my introvert instincts — I decided to stay longer to fit in with my extroverted friends. Since most of us live in different states, I figured, why not?
Using Up Too Much of My Introvert Energy
On that extra night, we had the nice, low-key dinner I’d imagined — we enjoyed reminiscing about the past and talking about what’s new in our lives. After dinner, the bride-to-be really wanted to go to a rooftop bar. My idea of a Sunday night rooftop bar included us sitting on patio couches and sipping wine — not dancing to techno music like we’re in a club, which is exactly what we did.
Thankfully, our group migrated over to an area of the dance floor/rooftop patio that had two chairs. I gladly took one of the chairs, and then proceeded to awkwardly dance from my new seated position. Then began the dreadful overthinking: Is my bride friend going to think I am ruining her night? Are her friends — who don’t know me very well — going to think I am a bump on a log? Do my friends hate me for bringing down the mood? Why can’t I just be like them and have fun tonight? Why am I so tired? Why can’t I just be more social…?
The thing is, if I just would have listened to my gut about going home on Sunday, I wouldn’t have felt or thought all those overthinking, self-destructive thoughts. By that point in the night, I could have been in my own bed. And then I would have had Monday to unpack and sit on my couch, not talking to anyone.
If you can relate to this group trip mishap, then you are probably an introvert, too. Here are some tips that hopefully you (and I) will listen to the next time we get asked to go on any kind of group trip.
6 Ways to Survive a Group Trip as an Introvert
1. Don’t be afraid to suggest activities that you will enjoy, too.
While I might usually be the “planner” of the group, my people-pleasing quality generally takes over. However, it’s important to step back and realize that this group trip is for you to enjoy, as well — otherwise, why even go?
Since my favorite activity is basically doing nothing, my best go-to is finding a place to stay that includes a hot tub or balcony with a great view for morning coffee or evening wine. Find whatever works for you and be part of the decision-making team to ensure it happens.
2. It is okay to spend time alone on a group trip.
Yes, you chose to go on this group trip with these people because you enjoy spending time with them. But, as an introvert, this does not mean to neglect your need for alone time. I find that it’s best to be honest with others about this — let them know that alone time doesn’t mean you aren’t enjoying the trip with them or that you are annoyed with them.
I struggled with this on the bachelorette trip, especially as Maid of Honor since I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the bride was enjoying herself. In this case, I could have gotten more alone time by spending three days on the trip versus four. Going home early would have equaled out with the alone time I needed.
3. Sleeping arrangements matter, so choose wisely.
Sure, you might love all your friends who are on this group trip, but really pay attention to how you’ll best recover your energy. Wherever you choose to fall asleep during this trip will make a difference in how much you enjoy it overall. Typically, as soon as I am ready to go to bed, I truly want to fall asleep.
But I have some friends who want to spend that time with just the two of us catching up, and then it is almost morning before we fall asleep. This is where my introverted heart is torn. These are the moments where the conversation has a much deeper quality, but if you stay up all night talking, you will be too exhausted the next day. If you have to share a room with someone, find the perfect sleeping partner who can meet you in the middle.
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4. Even if the trip involves a lot of travel, it does not mean that it is always worth it to spend more time there.
For me, I had tried to “get my money’s worth” by staying in California an extra day. But that trip to Joshua Tree would have ended on a brighter note if I would have just left Sunday instead of Monday. Also, leaving at the crack of dawn on Sunday to catch a flight home by myself may have been hard to do, but usually when I look back on how I feel after sitting in an airport reading all day, I am usually in a pretty relaxed mood.
5. Always give yourself an extra day off to recover from the trip.
Before saying yes to a trip, make sure your schedule allows for you to take an extra day off just for you to enjoy in whatever way helps you recover best. Trust me, after a lot of “people time,” you’re going to need it!
For me, that means sleeping in (late), drinking coffee in silence on my back porch, and pretty much ignoring my phone all day. Most of us don’t have the luxury of making our own work schedule. If you don’t have enough paid time off saved up to give yourself the extra day, you may need to evaluate if going on this trip will still be worth it to you.
6. Beforehand, ask yourself, “Do I really want to go?”
In the story above, I truly wanted to go. This particular trip was with most of my best friends, so even if there were aspects of the trip that I would have personally planned differently, like I said, it wasn’t my bachelorette trip. Ultimately, I am so happy I went.
But, as an introvert who’s a big people-pleaser, I tend to just say “yes” in the moment without thinking of what I need. I was recently asked to go on a different bachelorette trip, for example, for a woman I went to college with. I said yes, and then I immediately regretted it. I just had too much on my calendar to use my energy on a trip that I wasn’t dying to go on. So now I make sure to ask myself this question before committing to events.
Fellow introverts, what tips would you add? Feel free to share them in the comments below!