Yes, like the M&M guys, we do exist. Just because we’re introverts doesn’t mean we hate people. I mean, sure, some of us genuinely prefer a good book and solitude to socializing 100% of the time. But some of us still like to get together with friends, go to crowded events or *gasp* go to a party.
Running an energy tab
As I’ve mentioned before, the biggest difference between extroverts and introverts is how we recharge our batteries. For the most part, I enjoy socializing. One might even accuse me of having FOMO. However, as much fun as I’m having, socializing is work for me and every interaction has an energy cost.
Small talk with acquaintances, for instance, can be fairly pricey, but doesn’t tend to last long. Hanging out with my best friend is very low-cost, but over an extended period, the tab can really rack up. Add a few more close friends and the cost increases. Put us somewhere crowded, like a restaurant or somewhere loud, like a bar or concert, and the bill starts to go through the roof. I might be having the time of my life, but I’ll be running on fumes and likely need a full day to recharge.
Hitting the wall
At a certain point each day, I’m just done. It might come earlier some days than others, depending on how much recharging time I’ve been getting. If I’ve had plans every day after work, which is sometimes the case, and haven’t had some good quality quiet time a night, I’m no use to the world by Friday.
For this reason, it’s not uncommon for the social introvert to bail. The social part of me is excited to make lots of fun plans and see the people I care about. The introvert part of me, however, may have other things in mind. It can come across as flakey, inconsiderate or downright rude, but please know that I really did intend to do the thing I committed to doing. It’s just that I spent all of my social energy and simply can’t afford to use up any more. Just like you wouldn’t have a shopping trip when your bank account is in overdraft.
Trust me when I say that at that point, it’s better for all involved if I don’t try. Trust me when I also say that I’ve likely wrestled with the decision of whether or not to cancel for an absurd amount of time. I’ve pictured myself going through the process of getting to my destination and having interactions and the thought alone exhausts me. I do feel bad about bailing on you. It’s just that the guilt is soon replaced by a glorious sense of relief that I don’t have to be “on.”