The common misconception about introverts is that they hate people. However, the reality is that introverts often hate how they feel around people, because social interaction takes a lot of effort for them. People drain an introvert’s batteries; solitude and quiet time recharge them.
Another misconception is that you can tell if someone is an introvert by the way they behave. You can’t. At least, not always. Some introverts enjoy socializing, even though it tires them out. These people are social introverts. They may exhibit extroverted behavior but instead of feeling energized afterward, as a true extrovert would, a social introvert will likely feel drained. Social introverts are the ones who will totally go to the party or that dinner thing, conversing and laughing just like everyone else. And then they come home, collapse, and turn into a couch potato for the next three days.
It’s all about understanding who you are, how you function best, and what kind of self-care works best for you. Here are five ways that social introverts take care of themselves.
1. Carry emergency meds.
Not all introverts take meds, but if your introversion, which is a temperament, overlaps with anxiety, which can be an actual disorder depending on the degree to which you experience it, you might be prescribed, say, Xanax or some other anti-anxiety medication which can help mitigate or even ward off an incipient anxiety attack. Keep that handy. (Note: your medication may be chocolate. Or books. Whatever works.)
ONLY if necessary, obviously.
2. Schedule downtime after going out.
You don’t have to avoid social activities simply because you are an introvert. However, it’s wise to plan for time to recuperate. Maybe don’t plan on back to back events. Space them out so you can come home and potato out if you need to.
3. Connect with friends online.
If you are peopled out but still craving interaction, boot up the laptop or grab your phone and message your computer friends. This can be easier than face to face communication, especially when your energy reserves are running low, but it IS connection. And you don’t even have to put on pants.
4. Be transparent.
Tell people (you trust) that you are an introvert. They may not know. If you tell them, they will have context when you need to leave early or aren’t up for that next-day get together.
5. Only say yes to activities that serve you in some way.
However much you enjoy being social, try to be realistic about your bandwidth. Don’t waste your energy on activities that are not meaningful, important, or enjoyable. In other words, don’t tire yourself out simply because you feel obligated or embarrassed. Is this thing fun? Does it make you happy? Or does it at least serve some purpose for you? Be considerate of your own needs.
Remember, you are great just the way you are.