Recovery

One of the key traits of many introverts that I think is most reflective on my type of social existence is the need to recover with alone/quiet time after being social. I love excuses to visit with people I know, whether it’s a party or a dinner or an out of town gathering. I don’t love meeting new people, but I love visiting friends and family and spending time with people I already know…BUT IT WEARS ME THE HELL OUT. I took a trip to Tennessee for a long weekend of visiting family and old friends and it filled my soul with light and my heart with love and it was exactly what I needed to get me through the month that brings so many memories of sadness and grief.

BUT THEN I NEEDED A GOOD SOLID 48 HOURS OF NOT TALKING TO ANYONE TO RECOVER.

The first 24 hours we were back I stayed on the couch and vegged with the kids without checking social media, listening to podcasts, answering emails, or replying to texts. It was like I needed to be in a cocoon where I could pretend the only people that existed were my kids and I. After that first 24 hours I finally opened up the internet and went to the library and interacted with other humans in very small doses vey emails and social media messages but HOLY CRAP, I WAS STILL EXPERIENCING A SOCIAL HANGOVER.

It’s like when I used to run endurance events (remember that? remember when I hadn’t gained 50lbs and I used to run?) and I would need a day or two of elevating my legs and soaking in epsom salts before I could even run a few miles at a time. My brain needs that kind of recovery time after socializing for long periods of time. It’s such a weird thing to observe now that I know it’s common for a lot of people. Because while I’m visiting with friends and family I’m high on life and love and I have no thoughts about the recovery process.

But…as soon as I’m alone and all of the socializing is done? My brain switches to recovery mode and I avoid people at all costs until I’m recharged…both in person AND online. I was days behind on podcasts and YouTube shows and social media. I took 24 hours before I could even catch up on THAT stuff. It’s like I had to spend 24 hours just pretending there were no other humans on the world besides the ones curled up on the couch with me. And even those guys had to let me hide in my room a little bit and read.

It’s just funny when you read something representative of a certain personality type and you are like OH MY GOD THAT IS SO VERY MUCH ME. I love being around MY people which wouldn’t normally scream “introvert” but then I experience that involuntary agoraphobia that makes me unable to leave me house or talk to people for a solid 48 hours after intense socializing.

So, recovery time is over. I’m back to being part of the human world again. What did I miss?

6 Comments

  • Elizabeth

    This is me too! I spent a week with beloved friends last summer and I wouldn’t have traded that week for anything, but the “introvert hangover” was *harsh*. I definitely empathize with your hibernation/recovery process and knowing that others experience this makes me feel (a little) less weird.

  • Elaine C. B.

    I always describe myself as a people-loving introvert. I love people but THEY WEAR ME OUT, even my best, most-loved people. I do better in small doses for sure, and definitely need time/space to recharge after. I’m glad your heart is happy after a good visit!

  • kelli oliver george

    YES, to all of this….

    Sometimes, I will mention that I am an introvert and I will a “what? No way!” response. I explain that no, I am not shy and I love social interactions but they do wear me out. I live in a very social neighborhood, surrounded by extroverts and on more than one occasion, I have to literally drag my butt out of my house and force myself to go to things. I never regret it because I have a great support network here, but sometimes, it really takes an effort to make myself be sociable.

  • Cheryl

    I read one time where the definition of extrovert is a person who’s battery gets charged by interaction with others, and an introvert is someone who’s battery gets depleted by interaction with others. And I loved this explanation because it isn’t about shyness or outgoingness. Like Kelli, I’m not shy at all, but I am an introvert in that spending time with others exhausts me. I know that I will enjoy it, I know that it’s good for me, but I also know that after family brunch this weekend, I will need alone time to recharge myself.

  • Misty

    You know I never really thought of it this way, but it’s SO SPOT ON. I love being with my friends and family so very much… but once it’s over? I need to nest and rest a bit. I have to… recover. EXACTLY.

  • Lucy McConville

    OH MY GOD, THAT IS SO VERY MUCH ME!!! Haha…it really IS, though. It has been bad over the past several months, so I have just not spent time with ANY people. That is not the answer, because I have become isolated and depressed. So, last night I had dinner with an old friend. It was so enjoyable! But…today…I’m sitting at my kitchen table, happily alone in my “social hangover”. Haha.