17 Signs You’re Suffering From an ‘Introvert Hangover’

IntrovertDear.com introvert hangover signs

Does this sound familiar? You’ve spent all day with your family. Maybe you ate a big meal. You caught up with your cousin about her latest vacation. You listened as your uncle told that story, again, about the year the turkey was accidentally served frozen.

And now you’re so exhausted you can barely see straight.

It’s not that you don’t love your family. In fact, you may have even enjoyed spending time with them. But after all that socializing, you feel like you’ve run a marathon. You’re both mentally drained and physically exhausted. Some members of your family, on the other hand, show no signs of slowing down — specifically, the more extroverted ones.

You start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Other people seem to be having fun, but you’re fighting a massive energy slump.

If this has happened to you, you’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re probably an introvert, and you’re suffering from something that’s been dubbed the “introvert hangover”.

Of course, everyone gets worn out by socializing eventually (even extroverts, according to one study). That’s because talking, emoting, and listening expend energy. The introvert hangover is social burnout at its very worst.

Introverts are particularly susceptible to social burnout because socializing can overstimulate them. It has to do with the way introverts are wired. They tend to be more sensitive than extroverts to noise, activity, and other forms of stimulation. And, because of the way their brains respond to the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine, they just don’t get “high” off socializing like extroverts do.

Yes, the introvert hangover is real.

Here are 17 signs you’re suffering from one. You may not experience all these symptoms, or you may have somewhat different ones. What you experience will depend on your level of introversion, as well as how long you socialized, how much energy you had going into the event, and other factors.

Are you fighting an introvert hangover?

Signs You’re Suffering From an Introvert Hangover

1. Every little thing is getting on your nerves, from the way your spouse asked where the car keys are to your mom insisting that you take home leftovers.

2. Your brain feels like a pile of mush. You can’t think straight.

3. Similarly, you can’t make a decision about even the simplest thing. Do you want pumpkin pie or cherry? WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!

4. You say words that are close to what you mean, but not exactly. You just can’t seem to pull the right words from your brain anymore. “Brownie” becomes “candy” and “Where’s my coat?” becomes just a vague gesture.

5. If you’re really exhausted, your words may even come out slightly slurred — even if you’ve had little to no alcohol.

6. You’re tired. Like, really tired. You would fall asleep right now if someone gave you a comfy place to lie down.

7. You may feel physically unwell. Some introverts describe getting headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, or upset stomachs.

8. You feel discombobulated, as if things are happening in a blur. Your mind seems to be processing things in slow motion.

9. You feel trapped and anxious. You start calculating how to slip away from the event, party, or get-together, even though it’s not technically over yet.

10. You may have depressive or negative thoughts. As you turn inward, your mind spirals downward. You question decisions you’ve made or wonder about the meaning of it all.

11. You’re not acting like your normal self.

12. You go quiet. People start asking, “Are you okay?” Or, “Why are you being so quiet?”

13. You just can’t do polite chitchat anymore. You’re craving something of deeper sustenance.

14. You’re zoning out, unable to concentrate well. Someone annoyingly waves a hand in front of your face and says, “Helloooooo! Anybody home?”

15. You’re struggling to explain your mental state and lack of energy. People are interpreting your quietness as rudeness, standoffishness, or disinterest.

16. Noises seem louder. Lights seem brighter.

17. All you want to do is get away from it all and go be alone, preferably somewhere calm and quiet, like your bedroom.

The Only Cure for an Introvert Hangover

If you’re suffering from an introvert hangover, there’s only one way to get relief: Spend time alone, preferably in a calm, quiet place. Do something that boosts your energy and mood, like reading a good book, watching a favorite show, or indulging in a favorite hobby. For introverts, solitude is as nourishing as food and water.

If you’re stuck at an event and can’t get away, you can still start to recover some of your energy. Leave the party and go for a short walk by yourself. Help clear the table or do another chore; having a task to focus on can help, and it’s an excuse to not chat for a while. Most important, leave the event before you’ve hit rock bottom on your energy levels.

Above all, remember that your needs as an introvert are valid. In a society that values the extrovert’s way, introverts may feel like their way of being is “wrong.” Or introverts may worry that their needs will inconvenience someone or hurt someone’s feelings. So they hide their needs or pretend that they don’t have them. As a result, they often end up suffering in silence.

It’s okay to need to leave the party early. It’s okay to need to spend time alone in a quiet place. Your needs are perfectly valid, too. 

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Read this: Introverts Don’t Hate People, They Hate Shallow Socializing

Learn more: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, by Jenn Granneman 

Image credit: @Hayley_Alexander via Twenty20

  • Larry Keene

    Damn, this was written about me…all 17 points. i don’t remember being interviewed. 🙂

  • Patrick

    Yep, I can put a check mark beside every item, today. Yesterday, too. Come to think about it (if I could focus), these are symptoms I experience before noon, most days. One of the most bittersweet aspects of reading articles like this is knowing I am not alone.

    Next, I’d like to know what the long-term effects are on an introvert who can never be allowed to rest and recover. What happens when our batteries are never allowed to recharge?

    • You get like me, depressed, irritable and resenting everyone. I’ve even contemplated suicide as disgusting as that is.

      • SerenaJoy

        I once contemplated divorcing my spouse for this reason- because my inlaws are intensely social and at the time I was getting no quiet time in our own home for months. But we eventually worked it out between me and my mother in law and I have the space I need to cope during holidays and extended family visits. It really can drive one to the brink of upending ones life just to get some peace and quiet. Extroverts really should give introverts space and respect.

      • SerenaJoy

        By the way, if you were serious about having had suicidal thoughts, I hope that you can get the self-care you need and deserve. Your life and health matter and your family will survive you taking a restorative break whether it is a walk or quiet time reading with the door shut. The children will respect you for it. In an airplane if oxygen masks are needed we are instructed to put our own on first before helping others so we don’t pass out in the process. Be well!

        • Thank you and I have.

          • SerenaJoy

            Do you still feel that way now? If so, have you had a chance to speak with someone neutral and supportive?

  • I suffer from that everyday because I have a husband and kids but at least I have the night while they’re sleeping.

  • Miklin van Amerom

    relatable

  • marcus813

    I show all of those signs. I love kicking it with my family and friends, but I need some time on my own to keep my sanity intact and recharge.

  • Tameka Ann-Marie

    6. Definitely applies to me, I feel so tired that all I want is to go back to my room, light a candle and listen to calming music or read a book. My mind feels so foggy, that when I talk, my words don’t come out properly and everyone starts questioning me if I’m alright, because I look so exhausted, lol. 😀

  • Bardia Eshghi

    I don’t know, sometimes I feel like we’re taking ourselves too seriously. We make big fusses out of nothing. We just tell ourselves that we’re feeling unwell — to sort of feel special and proud of knowing ourselves well and being aware of our emotions — even if the situation is not as bad as we perceive it to be. I mean, “getting headaches, craving a deep conversation, and imagining brighter lights?” It more sounds like the article is describing a man on narcotics, not someone introverted.
    And I’m an introvert myself — ISTJ — but I try everyday to fight certain things I consider being somewhat a weakness. When I feel overwhelmed, I try to put it out of my mind. Because I don’t think the approach of ALWAYS “going to our rooms and lighting a candle” would work well.
    But again, I don’t know. Maybe you guys are on the right here.

    • Hi Bardia, as the author of the article, I thought I would jump in and address your comment. I think it’s all about trying to strike a balance. Sometimes it’s important for introverts to push themselves past their comfort zones for certain relationships and opportunities. Other times, it’s important for introverts to recognize that they HAVE pushed themselves past their comfort zones and they need a break to recharge. Introverts are not like Energizer Bunnies… we can’t keep going and going and going. We “go” for a little while, then need to pull back to re-energize. I hope that helps!

  • Aighmi J

    With my house full of people, I was tjrilled to

  • njguy54

    When I go to professional conferences and spend all day talking to people, at the end of the day i feel like I’ve been up for three days straight. All I want to do is head back to my room and go to bed. Sometimes, I need to take an afternoon nap to recharge, especially if there are activities planned for the evening.

    • nkotb5807

      I hate the forced evening socials.

  • SerenaJoy

    I used to think I was extroverted until I met my inlaws. Every holiday is a week-long marathon of meal prep, feasts, afterparties and cleaning. And out of town guests who continue to entertain at our homes even after we’ve returned to work and the kids have school in the morning. This article describes me, I realize now I’m a true introvert and after a decade of being married to this crazy but loving clan I’ve learned some tricks to pace myself and practice self-care. It’s very important to carve out a quiet space and time to recharge.