Yes, There Is Such a Thing as an ‘Introvert’ Hangover introvert hangover

The first Christmas I spent with my now-husband, he took me to a family event at his aunt’s house. He mentioned during the drive that this was a family reunion of sorts, with people having flown in from all over the country. Needless to say, this made me a little apprehensive. Upon arrival, I was introduced to what felt like hundreds of new people, one after another in quick succession. I struggled to keep my smile in place as the night wore on and the general volume level and excitability of the crowd around me increased.

After a few hours, I couldn’t take it any more. I slipped away like a thief, skulking about the house, searching for a place where it was quiet. I came across a half-lit room and saw my future brother-in-law sitting in there, staring out the window. Knowing him to be an introvert himself, I decided this was my best option for escape and sat down across the room, wrapping my arms around my knees. I remember hoping he wouldn’t think I was intruding upon his own solitude before I allowed myself to zone out, letting my thoughts drown out the raucous laughter from downstairs, breathing deeply and feeling the tension drain away. I don’t know how long it was before my now-husband came looking for me, but I remember him laughing at finding the two introverts seeking refuge together.

The funniest part about that night was that I never said a word to my future brother-in-law, nor he to me, and we’ve never spoken of it since. There was no need; we both understood what the other was experiencing, a phenomenon often referred to as the “introvert” hangover.

What Is the Introvert Hangover?

If you’re an introvert, you already know what I’m talking about because you have likely experienced it more than once. But if you aren’t, or you need help explaining the idea to extroverted friends, here’s an attempt at a description. Introverts have a more limited ration of energy available for socializing, compared to our more extroverted counterparts. When we push past those reserves, we hit a tipping point where we go from being “fine” to “definitely not okay.” An introvert hangover is, simply put, a withdrawal into oneself brought on by overstimulation.

For example, if you tell me we’re going to an event for two hours and we end up staying four, I’m likely to experience an introvert hangover. I had only planned to spend two hours’ worth of energy socializing, and you doubled that time, so by the end, I’m working with a deficit. Likewise, if you say you’re bringing a friend to the party, and you arrive with six people I don’t know, I’m likely to experience an introvert hangover; I wasn’t mentally prepared to meet new people and make small talk. If I pack my social calendar too full, I’m likely to experience an introvert hangover, because I didn’t leave time for myself to be alone and recharge my mental batteries.

An introvert hangover is a pretty terrible thing to experience. It starts with an actual physical reaction to overstimulation. Your ears might ring, your eyes start to blur, and you feel like you’re going to hyperventilate. Maybe your palms sweat. And then your mind feels like it kind of shuts 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. All you want is to be at home, alone, where it’s quiet.

And if you can’t get solitude when you need it, that’s when your inner voice starts. It can tell you terrible things about yourself. That you’re no fun. That you’re terrible at socializing. That everyone thinks you’re a bore or a snob. You look at the people around you who are laughing and having fun, and you wonder why you aren’t. Why can’t you just smile and join in? Why can’t you just be “normal”?

These feelings are only compounded when other people notice that you’ve stopped communicating and want to find out why. “Why so quiet?” they ask, meaning well. “Are you upset? Are you feeling okay?”

One part of you wants to answer them, another part of you is shouting to just snap out if it, but those parts most often lose out against the part of you that wants to retreat and be left alone. So you end up glowering at people or snapping at them or walking away, the whole time listening to your inner voice telling you what an awful person everyone thinks you are. The way you feel seems irrational, and you know it. But that doesn’t mean that you can suddenly stop feeling that way.

The Only Way to Cure an Introvert Hangover

The only real cure for an introvert hangover is solitude. And this is what we as introverts would most like for our extroverted friends to understand.

It’s not that we don’t want to be around you. It’s not that we’re upset. It’s not that anything is particularly wrong. It’s just that we need to be alone. We need some time up in our heads with our thoughts. We need time to just breathe and just be.

We might not need much time. Sometimes just a half hour or an hour can do wonders. In fact, we might not even need to be technically alone, as my story above illustrates. If we can put on our headphones and sit away from the crowd undisturbed for a bit, that can be just as helpful as being alone.

In the years we’ve been together, my husband has continued to take me to holiday events with his gregarious, if slightly overwhelming, family. Obviously, I knew that was part of the deal by the time I married him. But that’s also why I make my own clear demands for personal time and space. Because as introverts, if we want to avoid a hangover, moderation is key. retina_favicon1

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

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

Image credit: Shutterstock/NinaMalyna


  • Marjut says:

    Oh I think it’s the next day when the actual introvert hangover hits you! I might need a whole day to myself to recharge after a party, and really feel like I was hung over: headache, nausea, fatigue, the whole shabang.

  • Nicole says:

    I agree with Marjut. I often need the next day to recover which is why I try really hard to never schedule two days of socializing back to back.

  • kj says:

    The only example in this article that truly applies to introverts is the first one. The rest are descriptions of rude people doing things that would annoy anyone, not just introverts, & the others are descriptions of actual social anxiety, not mere introversion.

    I’m tired of the Internet trying to make introversion into something it is not, or minimizing real organic anxiety disorder by calling it introversion, discouraging people from getting help, & excusing jerk behaviours as just extroversion.

    • Just because something does not apply to you does not mean that you need to discredit it. What if it applies to other introverts? That was a rude comment. You can speak for yourself and say that does not apply o you but do not speak for others that you know nothing about…..

      • Mike says:

        I have a degree in psychology, KJ is right, much of the otherwise we’ll written article conflates introversion and social anxiety which are not the same thing.

        It is possible to be an introvert and not have social anxiety. It is possible to be an extrovert and have social anxiety.

    • Missy says:

      Thanks for calling those of us that get exhausted in those situations and that choose to retreat as rude people with just social anxiety. Obviously you aren’t an introvert but rather one of those rude people instead.

    • Scaperjess says:

      I also agree with KJ. I have a degree is psychology and an interest area of introversion in business. I am also a lifelong introvert without social anxiety. Personally after about two hours my batteries are drained and I start to get physically tired. There is however no inner voice chiding me . What the author is describing is a mix of introversion and social anxiety, and you can also be an extrovert with social anxiety. The problem with labeling the anxiety as normal introversion is that anxiety is generally seem as a negative trait, but is treatable and manageable, introversion alone is not a pathology and it’s traits can be strengths, but as long as it is synonymous with shyness or anxiety it will be harder for people with those traits to be open about them, and use their strengths to an advantage.

    • Karen Brown says:

      She left the party to spend some time by herself. Since when is not being ‘on’ all the time for hours with a bunch of people you don’t know being a jerk? Maybe being a jerk is acting like people OWE you constant patter and attention and heaven forbid they get a little quiet sometime.

    • KWinn says:

      Yes, exactly. Introvert hangover happens the next day. An introvert feeling overwhelmed by too many people, too much activity and noise and not enough solitude to recharge manifests as irritation, lowered tolerance, headache and a desire to run screaming from the room. What the author described….the negative self-talk….is most definitely social anxiety.

  • Mikalos says:

    100% agree with KJ. If you’re going to make these absolutist statements. Please site some actual peer reviewed references.

  • Sunny says:

    I definitely become physically unwell if I overextend. Am learning to pace myself, put in lots of self-care strategies before and after. I set my phone alarm to sound after one hour of company to remind me to slip away, check in with myself, breathe etc. If I overextend I go into burnout/chronic fatigue relapse and that’s a grim place to be.
    Preventatively I take one whole day per week off from the world, I stay at home and avoid overstimulation. It is a sacred day of rest, I fast from solid food (green juices only), rest and pray. This allows my nervous system to calm, to recoup some strength and resilience for the week ahead.
    It sounds extreme, but our cultures used to work on the rythm of a weekly sabbath/ day off and us introverts-sensitives need it more than most, I suspect.
    Blessings to all, as we are gentle with ourselves and learn to understand and meet our true needs.

  • Stressed Mom says:

    yes! This article is remarkable! I feel like the author completely understands me. I have gone through this experience while running errands, visiting Disneyworld, and doing multiple activities with my family. I feel the pressure build and I go through the physical symptoms and then break down in tears because I hate myself for being unhappy. I worry that I have ruined other people’s time.

  • I was once an introvert. I’m not an extrovert though. I just like to watch and listen. I wait for an opportunity to say something about what I consider worth the effort to respond. I don’t criticize and I don’t belittle the remark. I just say what I think is something to think about.

  • If there is a possibility that our 2 hour engagement could easily become 4 hours, I take a shot or two of espresso which can help.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m realizing this is why I have to drink before & during forced social gatherings. One I get a couple in me – I’m extrovert extrodinare! But still must decompress & limit interactions the next day. I always blamed this on being an only child. I was just lucky 🙂

  • pat lambert says:

    Thank you….I finally found out what happened when I met my husbands big family. The only place I could find to be alone was the only bathroom in the house. That was 60 years ago and I have since come out of my shell and can handle large groups but at 18 that was too many people for me……

  • Anne Lise says:

    Well written! And I agree with you Marjut, I feel the same way too.

  • Angela Garcia says:

    There’s so much more, psychologically speaking. Nobody is being pigeon holed here, or judged. Ever consider the possibility of HSP or empath? My INFJ/INFP personality tugs me into being the introverted extrovert. However, I DO suffer from overstimulated environments. That’s the empath and social anxiety rolled into one. If I throw a small gathering, I’m fine… I suppose because I’m in control. The best thing I gathered from this is the understanding that because we need a safe space, time out, or shift of focus, doesn’t mean we’re shutting you out. It just means… Baby steps. One thing at a time. I ignore my cues to recharge more often than not, and regret when I overload my calendar, or especially my day. Running five errands can leave me drained for sure. Surprises with unfamiliar people gets me rattled, but often I don’t recognize my own overstimulation until it’s too late. Thank goodness for understanding people, therapists, meds, and free will.

  • JP says:

    Whether the author conflates introversion and social anxiety aside, this article is very timely for me. Last night was the first time I experienced a physical reaction to social overstimulation. I had no idea what was going on inside my head, but reading this, it all makes sense now. Thank you for confirming that my need for quiet is legitimate.

  • Most people understand me to be an extrovert, I’m not, never have been. All you other people exaust the hell out of me. I need my me time.

    • Celine says:

      Maybe people see some of your non-dominant personality traits at work and think you’re an extrovert. I know for me as an introvert it’s true that people exhaust me, and I need lots of me time, too.

  • Melanie says:

    Thanks for a great article! Once again I feel uplifted when I read about other people with the same feelings as me. I am an INFJ with social anxiety – so this article truly hit home for me. I wouldn’t say that I know the cure or anything, but you live and learn. It’s important for me to be really organized about my social calendar – I schedule alone time.
    And as a person with social anxiety I can truly relate to that voice in your head – especially at social gatherings or around people that I’m not familiar with. I’ve taught myself to love that voice too. Accept that it’s there and try to tell yourself that it’s okay to feel like this and that we have already planned for quiet time later or the next day even. It won’t make the voice go away, but self-reassurance can help it calm down.

  • Karen Brown says:

    I don’t think the ‘voice in the head’ is necessarily social anxiety, or it’d likely manifest immediately instead of after a few HOURS of being in a large group.

    That voice is years of people like one poster telling us we have to be ON all the time. “We’re supposed to LIKE parties, we’re supposed to be happy in crowds. If we aren’t entertaining AND entertained by hours of crowds and chatter, both there’s something wrong with us and we’re rude.

    Again, I know people with Social Anxiety and pretty much being on the spot, feeling pressured, and being in crowded places will impact them IMMEDIATELY. Not a hangover, a reaction to the environment as soon as the environment fits the criteria.

    This is, ‘after a few HOURS’, THEN I start to feel drained and need time alone. And then what the voices say? Pretty much what people who think being an introvert is code for being a jerk say.

  • collegeceliackc says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! It’s definitely hard to be an introvert and a college student and the fear of missing out is sometimes very real. I’ve learned, though, that I need time to myself or I can’t enjoy hanging out with my friends anyway. I’ve never had a “real” hangover, but an introvert hangover? Tons!

  • Great article! I’m an introvert without the social anxiety thing- until people start badgering me. I had spent the night at a friend’s house after a dinner party, which was my absolute limit for socializing, and was horrified to be awakened at 7:30 to attend a fucking yoga class with her! After a night of drinking, I told her I needed to go home and shower before doing anything else. Her healthnut friends and her mother all ganged up on me and demanded I just shower there ( I LOATHE showering away from home) for which she only gave me 10 minutes to complete (long-haired people just can’t do this) and no time to dry my hair. We arrived at the yoga studio at 8am, to find it freezing. There was no heat. We were expected to jog barefoot around the studio to warm up. I had just recovered from a two-year ordeal with plantar fasciitis that nearly crippled me, so I sat on my mat as everyone jogged around me, glowering at my refusal to participate. I was shivering from the cold. I saw through the windows that the sun was finally hitting the parking lot, so I went outside to warm up. My friend was visibly irritated and exchanged some bitchy comments about me with her mother and friends. Apparently I’m a monster for rejecting the magical powers of yoga. It was an altogether horrible experience. I felt bullied, harassed and judged the entire time- because I WAS. I haven’t spoken to that “friend” since.

  • Sheril says:

    I don’t have social anxiety either, but I had a very similar experience (though not to the point of hyperventilation) this past weekend. It was at my own house…for my own birthday luncheon…with about 50 people! I guess the benefit for me was that since this occurred in a familiar environment, I knew how to easily find a quiet place. So, I left the crowded house and ate my lunch on the front patio. The fifteen minutes of alone time was enough to recharge my batteries for the next couple of hours. I did, however, worry that someone would miss me, come looking for me, find me outside, and then complain how I was rude to leave my own party. Luckily that never happened.

  • Eileen says:

    I cried like a baby when, several years ago, read my first article about introversion written by Sophia Dembling. It was such a relief to have my feelings validated. I wasn’t the things my mother had labeled me as after all.

    I couldn’t read all the comments but I wonder if it might be credible that being around one person who expects you to be charming and talkative ALL the time contributes to said hangover. If you’re not talking and/or being adorable, you get the barrage of “what’s wrong with you ?” (when nothing is). I enjoy my solitude and can’t be “on” in demand. .

    • Traci says:

      In my opinion, yes, you can get the introvert hangover from being around only 1 person who expects constant engagement.

      I happen to live with that person! She doesn’t expect me to be “on,” necessarily, but she does crave constant conversation and attention — while trying to watch TV, while trying to read, while just trying to finish a single thought of my own (I process everything internally; she processes everything verbally) — and I frequently want to scream in frustration. I can’t even imagine how exhausting it would be if she also expected me to be charming!

      I did have to explain, over and over, until she grew comfortable with my quietness, that it wasn’t a rejection of her or reflective of me being mad or whatever. I think it can be as hard on her as her need for engagement is for me, but we’ve muddled through for nearly 20 years by acknowledging our differences and finding the humor in the struggle.

      That said, she can still give me an introvert hangover, all by herself!

  • Sher says:

    I can identify with the article. I can take very extroverted people in small doses, but put me with a crowd of people all talking at the same time, or even with a person who will not even let one minute of silence go by, and I feel like a wrung out towel. The next day I will not have energy to do anything much. I’m an INFJ and I do have social anxiety, but it’s not the anxiety that causes me to need a break. It’s the sensory overload. Too much energy from others.
    I see nothing rude about taking a break in a quiet place. That’s what Rhett Butler was doing when Scarlet O’Hara threw a vase at him!

  • Iloveyouiknow says:

    I’m 48 years old and never knew that this was a thing experienced by other people! I definitely have a threshold of how much time I can spend being sociable before I need some “me” time to recharge my batteries. My large, boisterous and wonderfully loud family know this about me and just roll with it. Our large, boisterous and wonderfully loud group of friends just roll with it too. And as I have such a great husband and group of people in my life, when someone tries to give me a good-natured hard time about my “me” time, I tell them (good naturedly) to “Blow it out your ass!” and go read my book! I don’t know anything about social anxiety or those initials (INFJ?) some other posters mentioned, but I can say that nobody can bully me into doing something I don’t want to do. It may sound selfish, but at 48, the only people I’m responsible for pleasing is me and my beloved husband. That doesn’t give me carte blanc to be rude but it does allow me to say “thanks, but no thanks” without guilt and it’s pretty powerful stuff! Thank for the insight.

  • Cat says:

    As an introvert who spent years studying psychology, and is currently struggling with an anxiety disorder I’d like to say that although she may not have gotten it bang on, I still enjoyed the article and believe it has merit. I find it annoying that the psychology degree holders although supposedly having a keen understanding of human nature, still can’t get a point across without being impolite. For me, manners are a sign of a high iq.

  • chris says:

    “Introvert hangover” 🙂 Yes, this is something I get every time I stay over visiting friends. I don’t get it with visiting family or very close old friends, but I guess that is because they have come to understand that I need space sometimes and they leave me to it. Sometimes I think I should come with a handbook when visiting people! Part of the hangover is a build-up of sustained suffering rather than risk offending or confusing friends or their families by disappearing for a while or being quiet. Often I am counting down the hours until I can leave. Then when I am gone I feel some guilt for that. All part of the hangover I guess. On the train home with my friend, whose family we stayed with over the weekend, he suggested we meet for a beer later that day. I stared out of the window thinking about how different we were. It made me sad that all I wanted was time to myself. That I needed that recovery, rather than getting back out there, doing things, being social. I am very glad that I have found this website 🙂

  • Gonzalez88 says:

    This is too dramatic. Everything is in your mind, if you expect it to happen, it will, its your decision. The universe is not conspiring against you.

  • Damian says:

    This is very familiar to me. When I have to go to an office party or any other social function (especially a loud one), I get exhausted and miserable. I don’t know if I have social anxiety or not, but a party like that feels like I just took the bar exam and ran a marathon simultaneously.

  • SP says:

    “…you tell me we’re going to an event for two hours and we end up staying four.” <– That's why I drive myself; so I can avoid being powerless and leave the minute I've had enough.

  • Martin says:

    This is why I really enjoy having a long commute. My days are filled with meetings and other interactions with staff, clients, partners, etc. and I am expected to be energetic, engaged and even “salesy” at times. I am probably in the wrong line of work, being an introvert. My saving grace, though, is the 1h15m commute that lets me crawl back into myself for recuperation.

  • Margaret L says:

    This is what left me on the curb crying during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, while my husband was giddy with glee! He almost could understand when I just kept saying, “It’s too much… too much…. too much…”

    First husband could never understand why I required “alone time” after a busy day at work before interacting with him. He took it I just didn’t like him… and ultimately, I didn’t… lol

    But second husband came to understand and used to say “just leave her alone…” in defense of my need for “alone time”…

    He also felt that members of my family “picked on me” too much… it was usually in a teasing way.. but he always wanted to say to them, too, “leave her alone.”

    I also recall on a long drive home from visiting relatives that I hit a “wall” and just wanted to get out of that car!

    And usually, on the way home from visits with family members, I’m leaning my head against the window looking at the stars going “get me out of here! stars, please…”

    Recently, one person who knows me described me as “quiet.” I never really thought of myself as “quiet, ” as I can talk up a storm under the right circumstances….

    Very interesting test. And in many ways, I “feel” like I have a split personality, a bit of both, in me…

  • Janice Henry says:

    I still prefer it to an actual hangover, but unfortunately drinking in social situations makes them a lot easier for me… so in the end I’ll take the real hangover 🙁

  • Janie says:

    This makes perfect sense to me. I can have an introvert hangover the same day if the socializing goes longer than I was prepared for or it can come over me the next day leaving me bedridden. I’m glad I finally have a term for it!

  • imoretull says:

    Agree the article. Yes it gets more complicated what kind of person you general are. An INTP or an INFP, and how this correlates with social anxiety, people pleasing, etc,… Not exactly sure how all this fits in. I notice with too much stimulation, my glucose reserve runs out and my logical brain shuts down (can’t make decisions) resulting in creative conversation to slow down. I become more zombie-like, until I re-fuel. Also noticed if I eat continuously throughout a party and drink a lot of water, the energy reserves stay a little longer, and I don’t shut down.

  • Heather says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a teen and young adult, I was accused of being “anti-social”! Now, in my mid 40s, I still need to know who will be at family events and how long I “have to” stay. I love them, but it’s exhausting! Now I have a way to explain my state of mind to others!

  • Magali says:

    Like many readers here, I just want to say “thank you” and “that’s exactly how I feel”. I work as a teacher and – although I love my job – I feel both happy and drained by the end of the day. I commute by train and have a bunch of friends who commute with me. Sometimes I miss my train on purpose to be on my own. Does that sound familiar?

  • Find me an introvert who didn’t already know this.

  • Jag Ben says:

    there is another cure for this “hangover”, it is called alcohol.

  • Dave says:

    Good read, I can 100% relate to this. Depending on the experience you had with me you wouldn’t have a clue if I’m an introvert or extrovert. When I’m in that anti-social mode everyone is challenging to communicate with comfortably. It’s rare but it happens.

  • You’re conflating a few things here–I am about as extreme an introvert as exists, and I have no inner voice that makes fun of me or tells me I’m a bad person, like, ever…I don’t know why you think that’s a part of introversion, but it’s just not. It could be Social anxiety you’re talking about, or having the common female challenge of being encouraged to self blame for external events, or it could be some more dire mental challenge, but I guarantee you it is not introversion.

    As an introvert, I just get tired. That’s it, just vanilla tiredness, with increasing exhaustion as the social event drags on. Tiredness can lead to blurred vision, I suppose, and headaches, and a bunch of other normal tiredness side effects, but let’s not make it sound freakish. It’s just tiredness, like everyone experiences if they are totally mentally & emotionally drained from something. It can take a day or two to recover–it’s rarely only an hour or two that I need if I truly get exhausted.

  • Taka says:

    I am from Japan where most of people are introvert, and we usually keeps small but very intimate social circle. We respect others but not necessary to interact when it’s not needed. Here in US it’s hard to be introvert because there are too many occasions where I have to socialize and repeat friends small talks without intimacy. I can relate!!

  • JazzD says:

    Thanks for this fab article and your honesty Shawna! I now have a word for how I have often felt during/after a time of socialising. In fact I currently feel like I have “Introvert hangover” this morning after a busy day yesterday with a birthday party to top it off last night! Feeling more exhausted than normal. I have come to accept the fact that I need down/alone time more than others in my life, but it has taken me a long time to get to this point. I had to realise that my brain was wired differently and was relieved to find out about Introversion. Prior to accepting myself, I did have those ‘inner voices’ that said “you’re not normal” & “why can’t you socialise & be like everyone else”. But, now they have stopped cos I know who I am and what I need. I had family members who didn’t get or accept me until I wrote them a long message explaining how I am geared and wired, which doesn’t mean I love them any less by not always being around them. It bothers me that many folk do not sometimes allow people to just be – if they’re not like them, then “there must be something wrong with them!”. I now choose my friends wisely and spend very limited time with family members who drain me.

  • Matt says:

    Strange. My gf, and I are both fairly introverted. I don’t get any physical symptoms at all. Just a strong desire for solitude. My idea of a good time is a day in the woods or on the beach reading or listening to music. I think perhaps she gets all of what is described as she becomes sort of upset when we stay at social gatherings too long. I definitely think too much during and after social gatherings, but it doesn’t make me feel physically ill, just mentally exhausted. I actually enjoy small gatherings, but get overwhelmed by big ones. Ultimately, I guess everything falls on a spectrum rather than being binary, which is what the research tends to show for most personality traits. So the real question is how introverted are you? And I also think that life sometimes alters this factor. My work requires that I be pretty social for a good portion of the day, so I guess I am building some “extrovert muscles” even though I would rather be alone.

  • Jenny Wadley says:

    I appreciate this article, and want to throw in my vote for some of these feelings and reactions being social anxiety. I definitely identify as an extrovert, and most of the time, large social gatherings with my boisterous family or friends don’t trigger any negative reactions. However, when I’m having social anxiety, the inner voice and other symptoms described are exactly what I experience and I have to leave the event or simply avoid it. When that happens, I too need recovery time. As I have gotten older, I’m much more accepting of my own limits and I gauge my current feelings to see if I’m up to social events. And, at least in my case, alcohol makes the anxiety worse, leaving me in a more depressive and anxious state.

  • What a lot of introverts. Mine is Waiting for the company to go home!

  • Mary says:

    Thanks to all for sharing your stories…so much like mine. How many times someone has said to me, “You sure are quiet” or “Why didn’t you speak up in class” or “You sure are talkative today, usually you are so quiet.” Now after 60 some years of wincing every time I hear that, I finally came up with a response: “Why are you so loud?”

    It is a little sassy, but maybe could be said politely 🙂
    Best wishes to all!

  • prd x says:

    LOL.. and my grandma said that I have to go see doctor for being alone tinkering in my room too much.

  • MaryDean says:

    My girlfriend is a major introvert I’m told. The only time it manifested itself was when we fought initially and she exhibited passive-aggressive behavior. She beat introversion into my head every 3rd sentence, and while I believe it’s real, find she uses it as a crutch to avoid things she doesn’t want to do. Being an extrovert who feeds off the energy of others I’ve had to make major adaptations to her social needs. For the most part I have no issue with what’s necessary for her to function. Just when it’s a crutch or excuse. Yes, I know her that well it’s easy to tell.

  • Kim says:

    I wish people with psychology degrees would stop diagnosing others online. We aren’t stupid, and we don’t take everything we read on the internet as gospel. So why don’t you go find someone to charge a lot of money to tell them what’s wrong with them, ffs? I agree with Cat, above, don’t be a dick. (And thank you, Cat, for being human.)

    For some of us introverts, just relating to another’s experience is helpful, because god knows we aren’t going to ask someone about our feelings! Not everything applies to everybody, and THAT’S OKAY. But if we get an inkling that we really aren’t deficient, or broken, or abnormal in some way, it’s a good thing. A Very Good Thing.

    As to the physical symptoms, I get those after spending too much time *in a bookstore or library*. So, not an anxiety thing for me, more overstimulation.

    Apologies for sounding cranky, but I’m still recovering from an Introvert Hangover from last week!

  • Becki says:

    So true!! Sometimes I feel like I had a lifetime of social energy to start out, but as I get older, it lasts less long for each outing 😉

  • That “being apart for a while, undisturbed” — it’s so helpful…! It’s a retreat from the stress of the social or sensory overload. I call it “cocooning”….

  • Great article. I definitely identify! My thought: it’s not “rude” vs. not rude but extrovert vs. introvert and how folks recharge and relate. I’ve had anxiety anxiety and introversion, and my overloading from too much overstimulation was from my introversion with a combination of being highly sensitive and having a highly sensitive wired system. It’s always a red flag when someone wants to label being sensitive/introvert “social anxiety” when that’s not what it is. I had “social anxiety” the other day when I drove and had my first animation class the other day. I was nervous, my stomach hurt, felt fear, etc. I had overstimulation as an introvert/sensitive when I drove half the day, had the class, and then expected to listen to kids all afternoon and drive around to a ton of activities with no break in between. Two different animals.

  • Kara says:

    LOVED this. My quick and easy solution is to hide in the bathroom. Usually even the most extroverted of extroverts treats that room as a sanctum and will not disturb you–usually. Five or fewer minutes of recharging is enough for me to remind myself “this won’t last forever” and “I can get through this.” And, “if I needed to stay in here the rest of the day, I could, even if it would raise a lot of questions.” 🙂

  • Lynne says:

    I’m a classic introvert and a retired teacher. I enjoyed my job and loved my students, and I was exhausted for nearly 30 years. I thought that was normal though. 5 months after I taught my last class, I felt so rested and alive, it actually shocked me. I didn’t realize I could feel this good physically and mentally!

  • Azza says:

    Who says there is such a thing? Not someone in any position to make a claim. Result = world hypochondria rates goes up. Take social responsibility, start living and stop being self-centred enough to need to pray on others’ weaknesses

  • Claire says:

    This is so true. During busy, noisy Friday nights at the college bar I would escape down to the computer room several times an evening to play a few games of minesweeper, which enabled me to plunge back into the fray. Eventually I discovered that if I worked behind the bar, I could see everyone without having to converse at length with anyone (the strain of being an introvert double by the strain of trying to hear over all the background noise).

  • Lerato Kgatle says:

    I resonate so profoundly with the message presented here, if Introvert ‘hang over’ is how you define hating having your mom around continously talking and engaging one into cyclical speech then i guess i am drunk on Introversion. In the beginning the guilt was burdensome to bear i resented myself for constantly wishing my mother away to have her literally disappear and leave me untouched after she quit her job i found myself having to share the space we live in together which was a novelty because between her job and my schooling there was plenty of time to be alone the journey to acclimatize to her constant presence at home was an arduous one. Whenever she communicated with me i couldn’t help but feel a tinge of irritation and annoyance sometimes i gave discouraging responses which subliminally insinuated my aversion to interact i felt like my mind was being compressed into a very small box i found it hard to be myself and be free, and the guilt of feeling this way never let go, she’s my mother after all. What i learnt? Avoidance is the worst remedy for this malady they notice it and it hurts them deeply, secondly, its strange but i can’t be myself around my mother like i can be with my brother it sometimes feels like theres a lot between me and her. So how did i fix this? Whenever i dont have classes and of course mom is home i sleep in till late in the day hit the gym and come back later in the afternoon when i know she’ll leave to run a few errands. I feel guilty of this solution too but it beats having to be inauthentic and snappy towards your mother atleast in this way i am able maintain healthy conversations with her upon my return from the gym, though still counting the minutes till she bounces. Im horrible arent’

  • M.T. says:


    …I have been interested in MBTI and introversion for years now; I’ve had many, many conversations with my wife about it all , but this is the single BEST description of what I experience that I have ever read. It is 100% dead-on – this “hangover” is EXACTLY what I experience.

    At a recent church gathering, I literally walked away and spent an hour just sitting in the woods exactly as described by the OP. “Suddenly driving into a narrow tunnel”? A few months ago, after helping with a kids’ function, I was so physically drained that while driving my family home I nearly got us into an accident for exactly this reason.

    And then… yes, the inevitable “what is wrong with me?” “Why can’t I be normal?” I don’t believe this is social anxiety. In fact I suggest it may have different roots for different personality types. For me, as an ISTJ, I think it stems from feeling like I am “failing” to live up to “who I ‘should’ be”.

    It’s worth mentioning, in contrast to the National Post article ( by which I arrived here, that I don’t at all consider my introversion to be a “strength” or “superpower”. I wish I didn’t have it.

  • Celine says:

    So true! I don’t experience the physical symptoms–ear ringing, hyperventilation, etc.–but I know when I’ve had enough of people. If I can’t physically withdraw, I withdraw mentally. Also, I don’t switch gears easily. If I’m in a solemn setting, afterward I can’t join in celebrating or playing games. I need time to ease into the change in atmosphere. Also, I hate driving and shopping: too many people with their own agenda in my way. UGH! A cabin in the woods is calling my name!

  • Just a little clarification here: Although a well written article, this information is misleading.. Here’s why: Not ALL introverts suffer from “over stimulation, yet it is fair to say that ALL Introverts who are HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE can and do “suffer” from over stimulation.

    As we know from Dr. Elaine Aron’s research, 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive people — HSPs — and 30% of that percentage are actually Extroverts — and there are BIG differences between the Extrovert who is an HSP; the Introvert who is an HSP — and the Extrovert or Introvert who is NOT an HSP.
    The ONLY time I have witnessed my non-HSP Introvert spouse “suffer” from over stimulation was after his knee replacement surgery when he became physically exhausted from trying to recover too quickly. He is like an “ever-ready” battery — always able to “go, go, go .” Although he does not particularly enjoy “social or noisy outings, especially with people he doesn’t know” he does NOT need to return home to rest, recuperate or recharge. He merely resumes his normal activity.
    The HSP Extrovert OR Introvert, on the other hand, DOES need to recover from external overstimulation, usually via rest or being alone. One of the self-assessment questions on Elaine Aron’s Self assessment is: ” Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation? ” The answer for the HSP – Introvert OR Extravert is YES. The answer for the Introvert or Extrovert who does not identify as an HSP is most always no.

  • Destany89 says:

    Guys kj didn’t say the introvert was rude but that the extrovert was by staying at a thing for 4 hours and for bringing 6 friends not just one over. That’s what they said was rude.

  • Robyn says:

    First, taking a quiet break isn’t rude. Secondly, 2 hours is my social limit too. After that, I say say ridiculous things, over eat and drink to compensate. ( I’m normally very judicious in all three) The next day I feel like I have the flu. At times I have run a slight fever. If you are at a function and you are kind, polite and express gratitude for being invited you should be able to leave when you want.

  • I experience this all the time, and not only after big gatherings with lots of people.

    I spent the day with my boyfriend’s mum and sister the other day. It was just the 3 of us having a nice, quiet afternoon tea followed by Mary Poppins at the theatre. And yet still, the following day, I was exhausted and desparate for some alone time.

    For me, it’s not always the volume or the amount of people that causes an introvert hangover, but the amount of time I spend in the company of others. I find I can only manage short burst, of maybe 2-3 hours at a time.

    I’m proud to be an introvert, but if there’s one thing that I dislike about this aspect of my personality, it’s the introvert hangover. The fear of a ‘hangover’ day stops me from saying yes to even small social events like the one I had the other day.

  • Veronica Vautour says:

    I used to get an introvert hangover after my own family’s holiday dinners! I’ll never forget the Christmas when I went out onto the bank porch to have a cigarette before the turkey supper and my mother came out YELLING “Get in there! They’re going to start soon and you’re going to miss it!” Now, we’re only talking about my siblings and their children. No big deal. The last food dish had just been brought into the dining room. I told my mother I’d be in as soon as I’d finished my cigarette. I don’t remember what she said to that. I didn’t care. Less than a minute later my Dad opened the door. “You okay.” Yeah. “Too many people?” Yeah, but I’ll be okay. Just steeling myself with some nicotine. Be there in a sec. “Okay.” Once told my mother that my Dad understood my ‘problem’ beter than she did. “Oh no he doesn’t!” Oh yes – he does. BTW, I was over 45 yrs old when that happened!

    • LadySama says:

      I think this is why I’ve often used the bathroom escape. People are more understanding and come up with their own excuses they can relate to, even if none of is is true. 😉 The only problem is when there’s only one bathroom and it’s occupied when you need that escape.

  • Lynne Hammann says:

    Once at a family picnic w/my ex-in-laws–wonderful but noisy–the “original” family decided to go to the front of the house. The in-laws (& me) sat quietly, & I said, “isn’t it quiet w/just us left?” So we all laughed gently, because we’re all quiet. As soon as everyone came back, noise level rose drastically again–not fighting, just loud voices & laughing & teasing & liking to argue just for the “fun” of it.

  • Pam says:

    One or two people at a time, thank you very much! And I have hid out in some very unlikely places just to be rid of the chaos. Even still, pushing 60, the inner voice will assault me, and if I do not realize what is happening, early on, will give those around me a live demonstration in what can happen when this introvert has reached overload. Not pretty at all. Apologize? Why? I would prefer to be able to trust certain persons to be aware that I might not realize when I’m about to get hungover.

  • Sarah Stevenson says:

    One thing I have done since childhood–and it both made me laugh and made me feel better when I found out other introverts do it, too–is hide in the bathroom if I was brought to large social events! Sometimes I’d even bring a book, and steal 10 or 15 minutes if I thought nobody would notice. 😀

    Now, as an adult, I’ve realized another thing about myself–if I’ve gone on a trip, especially a family visit or conference, I need at least a day afterward to rest and recharge. Just knowing that about myself helps me plan my time and energy much more effectively.

    Thanks for this great piece!

    • LadySama says:

      This. Is. Me. Though, I would just steal a few minutes every so often and hang back when I knew no one would miss me. I also need a full day to recharge, even if it’s just going out for a movie. I’ll enjoy myself, but I have to put myself in “people mode.” I run out of “people mode juice” after 5 hours.

      Apparently that’s a very common INFJ trait, but I used to think it meant my health was poor. Then, after I got into fitness more, I noticed the same thing. It’s very psychological, and that’s what becomes taxing on our bodies. The mind itself needs to recharge, not just our bodies.

  • Lauren says:

    I am suffering this right now. Too much in 2 days, including live performance. I LOVED seeing everyone, feeling the good feels, bathing in the compliments, shining. But almost literally at the stroke of midnight no matter how much I knew it was a great night, all I felt was exhaustion & even pain. Nausea. Dry mouth even though I’d had 1 club sodas. Headache & a horrible backache.

    I was still smiling, still happy to see my friends, but every word hurt me, like I was being stabbed… in my soul. That’s really what it felt like. By the time I got home I was a raw, open wound. And I knew exactly what it was. And I am not going ANYWHERE tomorrow. Not. Anywhere.

  • QuirkyTurtle Mckinnis says:

    I wish that my family would understand this. I would show them this, but I’m too scared that they’ll think I’m being to mean, or that I’m sending them some sort of passive-aggressive message. It also doesn’t help that my family and I aren’t close anymore. Also the fact that my dad constantly tries to get me out of my room when I told him I need space for a minute.

  • diana says:

    Ahh so this is why I am always exhausted for days after spending a lot of time with people. Also why I refuse to ever go on holiday with anyone but my husband, far too draining.

  • LadySama says:

    This really helps me understand why I’ve felt so exhausted after even just simple family outings, over the years, and why I feel anxious and apprehensive when I’m asked along on last minute family/friend outings. I never knew much about my personality type, nor my struggle with anxiety, when I was a kid. As a young adult I’d try to find ways to train myself to handle things better. I’m sure I’ve made my family get upset with me when wanting to skip out on stuff, but sometimes I just really needed the solitude.

    My way of coping has been bathroom breaks and earbuds for music. Sometimes I’ll excuse myself for the bathroom/restroom, and take extra time to “primp.” I’m not an overly fashionable person, but I have a routine of checking for anything awkward. But it’s also a more legitimate excuse to give myself time to re-align myself. If I’m in a position to listen to music, I may step back for a bit and listen to something instrumental. My favorites lean more ambient.

    And yes, holidays are more tough, even down to just having an extra guest over. I do feel like my senses get overloaded, but I try my best to remember that I’m creating memories of a life filled with happiness, and that I’m very blessed to have the family I’m in. Some family members have been through traumatizing times early in life, and if my presence somehow helps them or means something special, I’ll do what I can to show them how much they mean to me just by being there.