As an introvert, my life is a constant battle of wanting to be invited to things, but not actually wanting to go.
Several years ago, I had a group of friends who constantly invited me to go do things. Not only did they want to hang out every weekend, but they also invited me to do things during the week. Whether it was dinner, happy hour, or someone’s twenty-something birthday party, I felt like I was constantly dodging invitations and trying to come up with excuses as to why I couldn’t go.
This group of friends eventually got tired of all the declined invitations and stopped inviting me, although they all continued to make plans with each other. When I expressed feeling hurt to one friend, she said that everyone felt like I was always making up excuses as to why I couldn’t hang out, and that I had hurt everyone’s feelings.
I grew more and more distant from this friend group until we eventually parted ways, and I haven’t spoken to any of them since. Why was it so hard for them to understand that although I didn’t always want to hang out, I still wanted to be invited?
That Introvert Craving for Alone Time
As an introvert, I crave alone time. My ideal weekend plans are no weekend plans. If I do have plans on a Friday night, it is highly unlikely that I will also have plans Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon, especially with the same group of people.
NO. Who wants to hang out that much? Not me.
I do occasionally get a wild hair and decide to go out into the world and socialize, but I just have no desire to do that every weekend. If I had plans last weekend, then I’m good for a while. I don’t need to go out this weekend or the next or even the next after that.
And if for some reason I have plans during the week, then I definitely won’t be leaving my house that weekend. Netflix and DoorDash were created for people like me.
My Friends Can’t Read My Mind
The problem is that even introverts get lonely sometimes. As much as I would love to live my life in isolation most of the time, I do like to socialize on occasion. But who am I supposed to socialize with if everyone stops inviting me to things because I never want to do things?
Upon reflection, I realized the friends in that group couldn’t have read my mind, or understood my unspoken desires and intentions. If I had just been honest with them, they might have understood why I was always coming up with excuses not to hang out. If I had explained how I felt, maybe they wouldn’t have felt slighted by me for constantly declining invitations and social plans.
My life is a constant battle of wanting to be invited to things, but not actually wanting to go. So what’s an introvert to do? I have some ideas.
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3 Ways to Talk About Your Socializing Needs as an Introvert
1. Be honest with your friends about the reason you’re declining an invitation.
Instead of coming up with an excuse that anyone could spot from a mile away, just tell your friends why you don’t feel like hanging out. Maybe you had a long week and you need some time to recharge. Maybe you’re gearing up for some big social plans next weekend, and you feel the need to conserve your energy. Maybe you are not in the right headspace to socialize, and you just aren’t feeling up to it.
Whatever your real reason, tell them! If your friends are especially extroverted, they might not know how draining socializing can be for you, so it might be worth explaining your particular energy needs so they better understand why you don’t always jump at the chance to join their plans. Your friends will likely appreciate your honesty, even if they may not always understand your reason for not wanting to hang out.
2. Be upfront with your friends about what you like and don’t like to do.
I think all introverts will agree that we would prefer to have dinner with just one or two friends versus hanging out with a large group. If your friends are only inviting you to parties, happy hours, or large social gatherings, make sure to let them know that’s not your thing. You can decline their invitation but offer up other options you’d like to do instead.
Instead of attending a party at your friend’s house with a bunch of people you don’t know, suggest that the two of you grab lunch or dinner next week, when she can tell you all about the party drama since you’re such a great listener. If you do this and your friends continue inviting you only to things you don’t like to do, then they might not be the right friends for you.
3. Encourage your friends to keep inviting you in the future.
Make sure your friends know that just because you declined this time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will decline next time. You can literally say, “No, thanks. Maybe next time!” Let them know that although you’re not feeling up to it this week or weekend, you might feel differently next time around. Tell them how much you appreciate them thinking of you and inviting you, even if you don’t always accept.
Even though introverts don’t like to hang out all the time, we still deserve friendship and companionship. Introverts can make great friends because we only show up to things when we really want to, and when we’re there, we try to be fully present. We’re engaged and listening instead of constantly checking our phones and looking for the next best thing to do.
A big misconception about introverts is we are “antisocial” and don’t like spending time with other people. In reality, we are selectively social and remain deeply invested in the friendships we choose to be a part of.
With a good mindset and the right approach, introverts can avoid the confusion and begin fostering friendships. We might not have a lot of friends, but we will always have the right ones!