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3 Essential Guidelines for Introverts Living in an Extrovert’s World

I’m an introvert. Always have been and always will be. My energy drains quickly when I have to be around groups of people for a long period of time and sometimes it takes days for me to fully re-charge.

Though I love teaching and leading others, I hate being the center of attention and would prefer one-on-one interaction any day over being in a group.

introvert

Perhaps you can see where I’ve had trouble trying to take care of myself while still fitting in with the generally-extroverted-American way of life – and if you are an introvert yourself, you know exactly where I’m coming from (and, for the record, it’s not just the American culture, because I struggled with this even in Korea, where it is generally seen as an introverted society – but that discussion is for another post).

As a people pleaser on top of being an introvert, there were times where I really felt unsettled and out of control. I felt like I just kept going down this assembly line of social expectation just because everybody else seemed to be doing it. Until I reached a moment where all I really wanted to do was jump off and run out of the building. Not really the best way to handle things is it?

So here are a few general guidelines that I’ve found work for me to help maintain a balance between social connection and alone time.

 

It’s OKAY to leave a social event early.

If you’re at a social event and you are completely drained, tired, and all you want to do is go home and re-charge before going to bed, work, or whatever is next on your schedule, then know that IT’S OKAY to leave early and say, “Sorry I’m feeling tired so I’m going to head home now, so I’ll catch up with you later”. Honor yourself by acknowledging your own feelings and you’ll feel so much better.

Set one-on-one meet times with friends.

If you’re at all like me and do SO much better communicating one-on-one than in groups, then set regular times to meet one-on-one with friends. You may want to set up as a regular weekly meet-up with the same friend for coffee, lunch or dinner or you may want to switch it up as you feel is appropriate. Also, if your friend happens to be an extrovert, then chances are they won’t always understand the concept of you intent for “one-on-one time”. So in order to avoid them bringing other people along, state your intention before the meeting. There’s nothing wrong in saying something like, “Hey I’m setting this up so only the two of us can chat, which is something I would really enjoy so if you don’t bring someone else along I’d really appreciate it”. If they ask if they can bring someone along, then there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’d rather you not bring them” if you don’t feel comfortable with it right now.

Set some time in your week for your own “introvert time”.

If you’re constantly around people at work or school and then come home to be around people again, then be sure to set some time for your own alone time. Go exercise by yourself or spend some time reading or writing early in the morning or late at night. Perhaps even set time every week to paint, make crafts, play music, or some other hobby to do by yourself. In America, it seems that the common place for introverts to hang out are at coffee shops. There is the noise of coffee makers and quiet conversation, but it’s generally the introvert’s dream place (at least for me) to read or do some extra work without being bothered.

If, at any moment, you’re struggling to find a balance between your recharge time and social time and you’re not sure what to do, then honor your feelings in that moment. If you are feeling drained or overwhelmed, then acknowledge that you are feeling that way and do what you feel is needed to feel better. You and only you have the power to be fully aware and acknowledging of your feelings. Nobody else can or is responsible to do that for you.

 

Be an empowered introvert TODAY!

If you’re an introvert, how can you adjust you day today to have more quiet time for yourself?  Maybe get up earlier or stay up late?  What can you do to help balance your relationships?  Share your thoughts and experiences below! 🙂