The Social Introvert

Pace yourself, Introvert, you've got a long way to go.

Pace yourself, Introvert, you’ve got a long way to go.

I am working hard at being more social. And for me it is hard work.

If I were to be perfectly honest with myself about how much energy and effort it takes for me to do a casual chat over coffee then I would count social engagements as accomplishments on the same level as balancing my monthly finances or getting the whole apartment clean in one day: it’s not a very flashy accomplishment, but someone broke a sweat making it happen.

I’m not saying this to gripe. I do enjoy being social: I enjoy meeting new people and I enjoy casual chats over coffee and I enjoy being out in the world being a part of the human race. It just wears me out.

Yesterday I had three engagements: a visit with my sister after picking her up at the airport, and coffee with two new contacts that I met at a networking event last week (See: Schmooze and Eggs). All three went off without a hitch. All three were delightful visits. And all three wore me out. When I made it home I literally fell asleep face down on the floor in my studio. There was a drool spot on the carpet. It didn’t matter that I had consumed enough coffee to wind me tighter than a seven day clock: I got home and shut down.

A friend of mine wrote about a similar experience and called it something like “Introvert’s fatigue”. (I’ll link the post as soon as I find it again.) This is a gal that works in promotions and runs a successful podcast so she is one hard working introvert indeed. As she points out it is possible to go in spurts of being very social but there will also be spurts of fatigue when you don’t even want to be social with daylight. She likewise noted that you can get introvert’s fatigue from being social online as well as in person. I’d never thought of that. One no longer needs to leave home to socialize, and as a result, become fatigued from being social.

I am working hard at being more social but it is hard work. All my fellow introverts out there- how do you cope? How do you fend off Introvert’s fatigue when you have people to see and places to go?

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 6, 2013.

6 Responses to “The Social Introvert”

  1. Have you read the book, “The Introvert Advantage?” I think you might really enjoy it!

  2. I cope with evenings in bed with hot tea and Netflix 🙂 But when I’m feeling like I’m about to hit my social quota, it’s a lot of “faking it ’til you make it.”

    And then I retreat into a cave for 24 hours.

  3. […] know I wrote about Introversion just the other day in my post The Social Introvert but I saw this helpful little comic and it was too good not to […]

  4. […] in February I wrote a post called “The Social Introvert” and was privileged enough to have a reader named Pat comment on it to recommend that I read the […]

  5. I may not be able to read your eyes, but I can see a lovely smile, nice hair and an equally nice sun hat:D hehe

    I get the feeling you are more productive than me though you may be more fatigued by being social than I am. I suffer terrible social/public anxiety I could discuss at length rapidly and make your head spin with my worries. But, I like helping some people and exchanging stories. I simply struggle with breaking the ice. This also affects my social/love life. Friendships…that’s another story I may never have a clear view of in my lifetime. I am great at “bedside manner” and “customer service”, but I can be just as harsh with my honesty and fragile in the presence of strangers/a crowd.

    I do get internet fatigue in my poor attempts at socializing behind a screen. My eyes suffer…as does my mood. There is a negative energy that seeps from the light of the screen over time. It affects me like alcohol sometimes. I know I need to get away and get some sun.

    Guzzling coffee doesn’t seem to help anyone in any way.

    I do suspect some people have such busy social/schmoozing lives that they exhaust themselves. I have siblings that tend to over-extend themselves among friends and “contacts”. But, they aren’t exactly introverts.

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