For those who go through life as an introvert, it can feel like the rest of the world was designed by extroverts and you can never fully relax. To be clear, being an introvert is not the same thing as being shy; I'm actually very outgoing and I have no problem being the center of attention from time to time, nor do I fear speaking (or performing) in front of a group or a crowd. An introvert is more about personal energy, in that I am most relaxed and am energized when I'm alone. On the other hand, extroverts constantly need to be around other people as they thrive on the energy of others. In order for me to be comfortable around others, I need to offset that energy by being alone for an equal amount of time during the day - the opposite is true for extroverts.
You can easily determine which one you are judging by how you handle social situations, crowds and interactions with colleagues. Neither one is bad or good; each one carries its own pros and cons. For me, there are quite a few cons of being an introvert that I still struggle to cope with and my hope is that another introvert can share some advice on how they deal with the following situations. Here are six of my major woes and where my problems lie:
1. Parties - There are plenty of times that I enjoy hosting my own parties, but that's not the hard part. I'm someone who has a threshold for company and when I want to go to bed and be alone, I want it to happen instantly. Unfortunately, I don't know how to be an asshole and tell people to get out of my house, so the end of my parties consist of me sitting awkwardly or getting up and walking around nervously in the hope that my remaining guests will get uncomfortable and want to leave. Usually, I have one or two charismatic friends who tend to be group leaders and when I pull them aside and tell them I'm tired, they immediately turn to the group and get everyone to leave. Whenever they are absent I have a really hard time getting people to leave, and it usually requires me planning out my exit hours in advance.
2. Going Out - Obviously, when I'm not hosting a party and I'm going out instead, there is always the possibility that I can leave anytime I feel tired or just don't want to be around people anymore. However, going out with a group of friends is nothing that I can do at the very last minute. Knowing that I will be going out requires several hours of mental preparation; the amount of time I spend with others has to be offset by the amount of time I spend alone. Another consideration that needs an immediate answer is how easily can I leave a party and travel back to my apartment - especially if the party is in the middle of nowhere. My escape from the party usually requires more thought than any other aspect of the party.
3. Events - Similar to going out, it requires a lot of mental planning to be able to get ready to go to a show, concert, movie, or really any place where there will be a crowd of people. The sucky part is a lot of my friends are not aware of this "quirk" and often try to coax me out to a show or movie at the last minute. Even if my favorite music group was putting on a show, and you gave me only a couple hours notice, I probably would have to decline because would have had no time to get my head in the right space to be able to tolerate being squished around other people.
4. Shopping - It's a good think I love LUSH products so much, otherwise I would never shop there. The main reason is because their employees are trained to be salesmen (and saleswomen) so they constantly feel the need to follow you around the store and try to help you find something that you weren't even looking for in the first place. When I want to go shopping, I want to be left alone until I ask for help. Some people enjoy the connection, but it genuinely bothers me when someone decides to interject themselves into my shopping experience. As a result, I have to time my visits to stores carefully; as in when they are helping other people.
5. Exercise - This is something that has to be done, but unfortunately I'm struggling to find the appropriate balance and motivation because exercising is something I would prefer to do on my own. Every time I'm in a Zumba or yoga class I can never fully concentrate and relax; there are too many people in the room who I constantly assume are judging me or are busy evaluating my technique (or lack thereof). So far, walking about 4 miles in the evening is the most exercise I can muster that relaxes me.
6. Work - Most jobs require some sort of human interaction, but constant human interaction in a job makes me extremely uncomfortable and stressed out. I discovered this as a teenager while working mostly customer service jobs, and between working with incompetent employees and rude customers I learned quickly that this is nothing I could handle long-term. My very first desk job was a breath of fresh air because I could be left alone to concentrate and do my work in peace. The last job I held gave me absolutely no peace, and I reached a breaking point very quickly.