You love your friends and family. You really do. That’s why they’re in your life. As an introvert, you’re selective about who you let into your inner circle. With your limited social energy, you just can’t be everything to everyone. You cherish the close relationships you’ve pushed yourself to make; life wouldn’t the same without them.
Thing is, no matter how much you love the people in your life, there are times when you just want to stay home. And be left alone. Yes, it pains you to see the look on your loved ones faces when you say, “I’m not going.” But we’re talking about your energy here. Your mental health. Your sanity. For an introvert, getting regular alone time is everything.
Here are 13 times when introverts probably just want to stay home. What would you add to this list?
Times When Introverts Want to Stay Home
1. When your friend texts you and wants to hang out RIGHT NOW. Introverts need time to mentally prepare to hang out. Time to get ready to be “on.” Sure, we can be spontaneous, but it’s not our preferred mode of operating. We probably already had plans tonight — plans to relax with a good book or Netflix. It takes time and energy to mentally shift what we were planning to do. So yeah, we are busy tonight — even though our plans don’t include anybody other than ourselves.
2. When you thought it was just going to be you and your bestie, then three random people tag along. The more the merrier, right? Not so for introverts. Big groups can overwhelm us. There’s just so much going on — so much noise, so many people talking. Plus, in big groups, you generally have to stick to “safe” topics of conversation: funny stuff, P.C. stuff, impersonal stuff. And that’s exactly the kind of small talk that introverts find exhausting. We might fade into the background while everyone else talks, unsure of how to break into the fast-moving conversation. We might even stay home.
3. After a long day at work. Introverts are sensitive to stimulation, and usually, that comes in the form of socializing. But a busy day at work can be just as overstimulating. A day full of deadlines, drama, and meetings can be enough to induce an introvert hangover. After a day like this, introverts will probably need to withdraw to a calmer, quieter space to recharge (like their bedroom, door closed). Don’t expect them to, say, want to meet friends for dinner or check out the new bar that just opened up.
4. When the holiday office party rolls around. Large groups. Polite, surface level chitchat with your coworkers. Pretending it isn’t awkward to sip a cocktail and talk to your boss about your personal life. You might make an appearance (it’s good for your career, they say) — but let’s be honest, you’re going to be dreaming of your Netflix queue all night.
5. When you did something with friends last night. Two nights of socializing in a row? STOP. You might have had fun, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need time afterward to recharge. While your extroverted friends may be craving more social time, the only thing you’re craving is some peace and quiet.
6. When you know there will be lots of obligatory small talk. Your cousin’s wedding reception. Dinner with your spouse’s boss. Few people love small talk, but introverts especially loathe it. It’s inauthentic, uninteresting, and we often feel awkward doing it. We’d rather talk about something meaningful. How are you a different person today than you were three years ago? What’s your stance on immigration and healthcare reform? Will the humans of the future have bionic arms?
7. When your favorite Netflix show has returned for another season. Binge time. The perfect excuse to stay home on a Saturday night. Now where’s your “Do Not Disturb” sign?
8. When the invitation includes the word “YOLO” in any capacity. As much as introverts can be like cats (we both love long naps and avoid strangers), we don’t have nine lives. That’s right, we, too are mere mortals who only live once. However, “living” for us is probably not partying all night. Drinking more than we can handle. Skydiving. Taking unnecessary risks. Introverts generally enjoy a slower pace of life. A calm life — and we like it that way.
9. When you have to fight large crowds of people for a long time. Sure, introverts can put up with crowds for a time. We might even purposely place ourselves in them to rock out at a concert or browse artwork at a street fair. But after a while, those big crowds get draining. We just can’t deal with them as long as an extrovert could.
10. When you already have an introvert hangover. Introverts have their limits. Sometimes we hit the wall with our energy levels. When this happens, we absolutely just need to stay home.
11. Anywhere you are trapped. As in, you rode with your friend or significant other to a party, and they are extroverted, and they show no signs of winding down.
12. Anywhere you have no privacy. Spending the weekend with your in-laws in their tiny cabin. Crashing on someone’s couch without a room of your own to escape to. Working in an open office where there are literally no walls between you and small talk. Private by nature, introverts function best when they have a space to call their own.
13. Anything you are doing out of obligation, not enjoyment. Which, unfortunately, is often the case, as well-meaning friends and family push introverts to attend parties, get-togethers, and other events. When there’s no meaning in something, we’d rather just stay home and make our own.
Learn more: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, by Jenn Granneman
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