If you’re in the U.S., you’re probably celebrating Thanksgiving today by hanging out with a bunch of people you see only a few times a year and stuffing your belly with turkey (or the vegan equivalent). This becomes a marathon in two ways: 1. You’re seeing how much food you can eat before you feel sick, and 2. You’re hoping your social “battery” doesn’t run out before it’s socially acceptable for you to leave. Needless to say, Thanksgiving can be a tough time for introverts. We love our families, but let’s face it, this day can be exhausting, because we get drained from socializing and feel overstimulated by loud, busy environments. Here are 26 experiences you might be having right now at Thanksgiving dinner as an introvert:
1. You just got here but you’re already running out of things to say to make small talk.
2. You wish your family would stop asking you prying questions about where your life is headed, what you’re doing with your college degree, and when you’re going to find someone “nice” to settle down with. You don’t even know the answers to these questions, and besides, you don’t feel like announcing the intimate details of your life to a room full of people you only see a few times a year.
3. You’re trying to think of an excuse for why you can’t go Black Friday shopping with your extroverted cousins, but you can’t come up with anything, because who has other plans at 4 a.m.? But there’s no way you’re spending your night/morning in stores crammed with people, especially when you could be in your own bed.
4. You’re sitting there quietly, not really thinking about anything, but your family members think you’re bored or sad so they ask you, “What’s wrong? and “Are you upset?” but seriously, this is just your face.
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5. You go to the bathroom several times even though you don’t really need to use it, but hey, at least it’s quiet in here. Your mom is starting to wonder if you have a bladder problem.
6. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving in your home, you’re doing your best impression of an extrovert who wants everyone to feel comfortable while simultaneously hoping that no one stays very long.
7. You’re wishing that dinner didn’t come with obligatory meaningless small talk.
8. You’re already getting symptoms of an introvert hangover but pie hasn’t been served yet.
9. Feeling socially exhausted and over-full is a brutal, energy-zapping combination.
10. You wonder if anyone would notice if you went to your car to get something you “forgot” and then just took a nap in the back seat for an hour.
11. Is it time to leave yet? No really, can you go?
12. You sneak away to an empty room to try to get a few minutes of quiet, and as you’re just sitting there staring off into space, your in-laws walk in and now things are weird.
13. Your mind is starting to shut down, building barriers around itself as if you had been driving on a wide open road and now you’re suddenly driving in a narrow tunnel. It’s getting harder and harder to fake genuine social interaction; your speech comes out slowly with pauses between words. You have the overwhelming desire to be alone.
14. Little things start to irritate you. You feel like a grumpy two-year-old who needs a nap.
15. People are asking you, “You’re being so quiet, is everything okay?” You wish you could tell them that as an introvert, you get overstimulated by large gatherings and drained by socializing, but your brain is too tired to string real sentences together. So you mutter a half-hearted, “Yeah, everything’s fine.”
16. Your spouse or significant other is shooting you looks that say, “Why are you embarrassing me? Quit acting so strange.”
17. If only you could take a 30-minute solitude break you’d be a much better family member right now.
18. You volunteer to do the dishes. In the kitchen, by yourself. No thanks, aunties, you don’t need help!
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19. You find that one cousin/sibling/relative who actually gets you and you get some quality, one-on-one time with them. You actually feel energized for a while.
20. If you’re the host, you start cleaning up, thinking this will signal that it’s time to leave. But of course no one gets the message. You consider passing out everyone’s coats and flicking the lights on and off.
21. It’s finally a socially acceptable time to leave, but your extroverted spouse thinks the party is just getting started. Your spouse is disappointed at your request to leave and gets hurt because they think you don’t like spending time with their family, which of course makes you feel like a terrible person. The two of you start to bargain like you’re closing a business deal. You’ll stay another hour if you can skip the birthday party the two of you were planning to go to tomorrow.
22. When you finally do get to leave, you have no social “juice” left to deal with the inevitable long-winded goodbyes. You wonder if you could sneak away without anyone noticing. You think this is called the Irish Exit.
23. When you tell people goodbye, three people ask, “Why are you leaving so early?” and one person says, “What else do you have to do today… it’s a holiday.” When you can’t think of a good excuse, you end up staying 20 more minutes to assuage your guilt.
24. If you’re a parent, you breathe a sigh of relief when you finally get home, thinking it will be quiet. But the kids are bouncing off the walls because they’ve had too much sugar. You never really get quiet time when you’re a parent.
25. You find yourself lying awake at 2 a.m. thinking about a stupid thing you said and replaying the conversation in your mind, trying to figure out if it’s as bad as you think it is.
26. You eat leftovers in your pajamas at home for the next two days and this is sheer bliss.
How’s your Thanksgiving going? What would you add to this list? Leave a comment below and we can all be socially exhausted together.