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Tips for Introverts Who Love People Time

Tips for Introverts Who Love People Time

I am an outgoing introvert.

Oxymoron, you say?  Nope, you said wrong!  People frequently clump shyness and introversion together as the same thing, it’s not.  It was an ah-ha moment when I learned the actual definition of introversion.  It has nothing to do with shyness, which is a fear of social situations.

An introvert is someone who is introspective by nature.  Engaging in said introspection is what recharges an introvert. This is to say, being alone to sort through one’s conscious feelings and thoughts is imperative to the introverted person. Introverted folks need to be alone in order to feel sorted out, or recharged. Extended social time is draining to an introvert. When shit hits the fan an introverted person generally doesn’t say,”I need to call so and so now,” they say, “I need to be alone, bugger off!”

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There’s a range of introversion (like everything, ’tis a very gray world, not black and white), and some introverts would really prefer everyone bugger off most of the time.  Then there are people like me who adore people time, but get exhausted from it.  I love connecting with others.  I need to connect with others.  I adore talking story/shooting the shit.  I’ll get just as cranky if I go a couple days without decent conversation as I do if I don’t get my recharge time!  It’s a very careful balance, and one that perplexed me before I pinpointed exactly what was going on.

To sum up, folks on this area of the intro-extroversion scale need to have quality people time, just as much as we need to have quality no people time.  If either side weighs too heavily we feel “unsorted”.  Bajiggity.  I know that’s not a real word, but I find it perfect to describe the anxious-spazzy-emo-crankiness that I get from unbalanced people time expenditure.

Tips!  I’ve done some research on this topic, primarily by feeling awkward at social commitments, just to give fellow people-time loving introverts these tips:

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Figure out how much CaveTime (sorting out alone awesome time) you personally need.

For me it’s three good chunks (four-ish hours) a week, at least.  Any less and the bajiggity sets in.  I generally enjoy even more!

Make time for CaveTime.

Actually schedule it, and commit.  It can be hard if something comes up to be like, “oh, no, I have plans to hang out by myself”.  Remember that it’s more than that.  It’s what you need to recharge and maintain a balanced and pleasant mental landscape – it is important.  If you do need/want to do something else, reschedule CaveTime and make sure to fit it in later.

Make CaveTime plans.

How exactly are you going to spend your treasured alone time?  If the answer is “I dunno, dinner and hanging around the house”, that’s not good enough! What are you going to cook?  Are you going to watch a movie?  Pick out a really good one in advance.  Are you going to do something creative?  Get amped about whatever you’re making.  Will you hike?  Where?  Find new music?  How?  Pin it down.  Planning a proper night will help you commit to CaveTime, as well as making sure that you get the most out of it.

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Kick FOMO’s ass.

I used to have a serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, it’s totally a real thing), I had a really hard time saying ‘no’ to invites. Then I’d wind up upset, wishing I was home with a paintbrush, or a notepad, or Netflix, or whatevs.  Now I say ‘maybe’.  Maybe is a magic word.

Pick your people time carefully

.  Check how you feel after spending time with someone or a group of people.  You will find some people to be more draining than others.  Choose people that you have a genuine connection with.  I wrote an article awhile ago about pros and cons of coupling and a few readers commented that they found partners that don’t even count as “people”!  Like, they can CaveTime with them there and still feel recharged!  That’s the big dream, huh?

Try going out alone.

I find that I often enjoy quality introspective time, as well as snippets of fun and interesting conversation when a book is my only partner in crime.

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Prepare for people-filled times.

Wedding weekend?  Vacay back home?  These things are a delightful nightmare for me.  I have a total blast, but don’t recharge for a few days, then all of a sudden I feel super-duper bajiggity, and wind up missing out on being present for some really great times.  Boooo. Recharge beforehand, make excuses to hang out solo at opportune times, and chill out CaveTime when the event’s over.

People time vs alone time is a topic to be figured out for everyone, even those strongly intro or extroverted.  As introvert-leaning I’m biased to say that we should all really take some time to think about what suits us – however, as someone interested in maintaining balance in life, maybe I oughta find someone to discuss this with…

Featured photo credit: Brittney Bush via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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