Getting to Know Me, Introvert Feels & Recharging

I’m an introvert. Sometimes people don’t believe me when I tell them that. But it’s true. I am.

I can do the whole social thing. I can be peppy and friendly and outgoing and all that happy horseshit, but in my little heart of hearts, I am 100% introvert.

This is a thing I’ve known about myself for a lot of years, but it took me a bunch of them to figure out what being an introvert really means for me. I’ve taken most of the quizzes on the internet, and they’ve all declared my introversion without hesitation. They’ve told me I’ll always pick a night in to a night on the town, that I dislike crowds and how I need time to recharge after prolonged social contact. And sure, that’s all true. Crowds make me nervous and angry, days of socialization leave me mentally and physically exhausted and I’ll almost always pick a night around my dining table with some lady friends to a wild night out.

But it’s more than that.

For me, being an introvert means it’s really hard to convince myself to be willingly social sometimes. And while I will openly declare my abhorrence for most people, there are a handful of humans I really enjoy. So it’s not like I don’t like people or that I don’t have friends, it’s just that sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I don’t want to be out, I don’t want to be around a big group of strangers, I don’t want to be on or friendly or any such shit. I just want to sit on my couch in pajamas, curled up with one or three critters, a bowl of popcorn and a tasty beverage.

And then there’s the whole recharging and recovering thing. I’m not a fucking iPhone. I can’t be plugged in. I’m not solar-powered, I don’t come with a gas tank or a jet pack. So, how? How do I recharge? How do I recover?

It took me a long time to figure this out and mostly, I have found, it varies.

Sometimes, when I’m totally and completely done with the world and everyone in it, I hide out in bed for half a day, reading a book, drinking some tea and only leaving my bed-nest to let the dogs outside and make popcorn.

Other times, it’s running that saves me. It’s my sport of choice because it is a solo sport. I don’t have to do it with anyone else, don’t need to phone a friend or consult a schedule. I just go. And yes, I do participate in races every few months or so, but I’m still alone, even in a crowd. It’s still just me putting one foot in front of the other. I don’t have to be social at races, don’t have to talk to anyone. I can retreat into myself on a race course and just be.

Books help too. So does ignoring my phone for a few hours, snuggling the dogs, taking naps, cooking dinner for and by myself, putting together a puzzle or drinking a glass of wine on the back porch at dusk. Mostly, it’s just being alone. That’s what helps, that’s how I recharge.

The nice thing about being in my 30s is that I give fewer fucks. I can say no to weekend plans when my daily, weekly or monthly threshhold for social activity has been met or exceeded. I don’t feel guilty for staying in on a Friday night and sometimes my company is the only company I want. And it’s nice to know that about me, even if it took until now to know it.

9 comments Add yours
  1. You describe me so well, friend (ha! ;)) I kow why I feel that I connect to you on so many levels. <3
    It's nice to arrive at conclusions about oneself, figure out how to 'be' and not give a damn about so many people/things anymore, isn't it? (BTW,I think the introvert thing is also why I took up and have enjoyed running solo so much – people keep telling me to join a run club, and while this sounds fun occasionally, I know why I haven't made the effort.)

    1. They always to half marathon and marathon training teams in my area and they have been suggested to me SO MANY TIMES, but I’m like, eh, nah. I’m good. I am all for linking up with friends in other cities to run the same race, and my Ragnar experience was great, but I love that the actual running part is is just me and the road beneath my feet. ❤ And I knew you’d understand. Our souls are friends, I think.

  2. I feel this – deeply. I’m right on the edge of being an extrovert, in that I do love being with people & don’t mind being the center of attention sometimes & get so much joy from being in a loud, happy group of friends. But I am tired out so quickly. Extroverting is hard work., & it exhausts me. As soon as I’ve done even a LITTLE bit of it, I need a break – & I am always so relieved to be alone again, in the quiet, doing some solo activity. Like you said: There is something so immensely satisfying about being a goddamn adult who doesn’t owe anything to anything & doesn’t have any guilt about staying in on a Friday – or all freaking weekend.

    1. YES! I used to feel such guilt when I even considered turning down weekend plans and now it’s like, yeah, no, the dogs and I are going to have a cuddle party and I’m going to drink on my couch, kthxbai. Sometimes adulting is sort of nice.

  3. Obviously, I relate to this so much. Especially having to FORCE myself to be social. My number-one inclination is to stay inside with my dog and my books. And that’s fine and I really couldn’t give a single fuck what my friends think of that (luckily, a lot of my friends are introverts and the extroverts in my life understand my need for solitude). But I also have to be careful to not spend too much time alone and to make sure I reach out to friends regularly to hang out. (And to say YES more than NO, even though “no” is always the answer I want to give, ha.) And I’ve had to really come to terms with my social anxiety and the fact that it means I will never look forward to social events – even when I know I will have fun! – the way other people do. It’s just not the way my brain was wired, but that doesn’t mean I should give up on social events and hanging out with my friends. But it does mean I can be very discerning about what I say yes to and I feel no guilt when I tell a friend no. My introvert recharging time is PRECIOUS to me and I won’t give it up for ANYONE.

  4. I’m so happy to hear that you came to this revelation about yourself! I love hearing about other people’s story in terms of realizing that their introverts — once you know that you’re an introvert when you are one, it’s sort of freeing. It offers an explanation for why we act the way we do, as well as why we can be by ourselves for hours without feeling bored. I recently found the term introvert as well, and I’m so glad I did. There’s a novel written by Susan Cain that actually provides scientific research for why introverts shouldn’t be regarded as “anti-social” or ” overly shy” anymore — it’s called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and it’s an AMAZING book. It totally changed the way I viewed my introvertedness, and maybe you’ll enjoy it as well. 🙂 I enjoyed reading your post!! 😊

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