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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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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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