Introverts need their alone time. We all know that, introverted or not. But, it can be difficult to know what happens when introverts don’t get alone time.
Plus, you don’t know when they’re ready to enjoy spending time with other people again. It’s different for everyone, so be sure to ask the introvert in your life.
However, there are still signs you can look for when you’re debating texting your introverted friend about a hang out. This blog will help you identify when an introvert is not taking care of themselves because they’re spending so much time with other people.
This post is all about what happens when introverts don’t get alone time.
WHEN INTROVERTS NEED ALONE TIME:
1. They don’t answer your phone calls
Just like everyone else, introverts who push themselves past the limits of their social batteries will, unfortunately, experience social burnout. It’s tempting to push your limits to try and meet social expectations, especially if you are an introverted people-pleaser.
This is what leads to the introvert in your life avoiding your calls and texts. At a certain point, when they’ve pushed themselves too far, their bodies will force them to take much-needed alone time. Every introvert is different, and they each experience introversion on a spectrum.
So, ask the introvert in your life for their individual preference and how you can support them when their nervous system is recovering from social exhaustion.
2. They ignore personal growth and the importance of self-care
When introverts don’t get the alone time they need to process and recharge, they get exhausted. They experience so much external stimulation that they start living with one goal: getting through the day.
Instead of finding ways to thrive and grow as a person, they focus on functioning without letting the mental fatigue win.
This is when you notice that they act lethargic, neglect their favorite hobbies, and avoid truly engaging with people the way that has brought them comfort and joy in the past.
3. They’re uneasy around extroverted people and might even snap
Extroverts and introverts function differently even if you can be both. The main difference between extroverts and introverts is the source of their energy. Introverts need alone time to regain their energy, whereas extroverts recharge by engaging with others.
This is why it can be difficult for introverts to spend time with extroverts when all they need is a little alone time.
Extroverts often don’t recognize the signs of an introvert hangover, so they can’t provide introverts with the support they need. So, when introverts are overloaded with social activity, extroverts don’t notice it and think the anger and mood swings come out of nowhere.
4. They neglect physical health and possibly physical hygiene
Once introverts go introverts go into survival mode, they struggle to complete tasks that don’t fulfill their basic needs. introverts who are exhausted from social interactions struggle to find the energy to shower, eat, and complete daily tasks.
So, they might seem unkempt to outsiders, especially when these outsiders don’t experience this social exhaustion that leads to neglecting basic needs.
5. They exhibit symptoms consistent with social anxiety disorder
Avoid diagnosing yourself or others with social anxiety disorder based on content from the internet. Always consult a mental health professional for a diagnosis. You can objectively identify symptoms of social anxiety disorder that are consistent with your introvert’s actions.
The most common symptoms of social anxiety are physical signs of anxiety like sweating, blushing, and trembling, while other symptoms are less obvious. They may struggle to respond to people when spoken to directly, which causes them to leave situations out of fear.
All of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder come from the fear that you’ll embarrass yourself in some way. This fear of embarrassment can be crippling to the point where someone can’t interact with others without their anxiety telling them they will make a mistake.
6. They struggle to come up with new ideas and engage in creativity
Everyone, when they’re at their best, has the freedom to be creative and come up with new ideas. However, when we start living in survival mode, we lose the time and patience we need to engage in creativity. This is the same for introverts who wear out their social battery.
Unfortunately, the more an introvert ignores the toll of social stimulation on their body, the more they will lose their desire to be creative.
Once in survival mode, the creativity that fulfills them and helps them be their truest self is no longer reachable. They may be uninterested in familiar activities, unlikely to propose new activities to try, and uninterested in spending time with the people they care about the most.
7. They’re constantly tired or overwhelmed with mental exhaustion
For people who don’t experience social exhaustion, it may sound silly to hear that constantly engaging with acquaintances can lead introverts to get tired. This kind of tiredness is sustained and stays with them long after they stop hanging out with people.
In this case, an introvert needs a lot of alone time to get back on track with their goals outside of being around other people.
They need to decompress and process all of the interactions they have without being bombarded with new interactions. This is why it’s easy for introverts to get fatigued when they have multiple social gatherings one right after the other.
8. They stay in their comfort zone when spending time with people
You might notice an introvert getting out their phone, staring off into space, or leaving the room to go do a temporary activity. These are all examples of an introvert finding pockets of their comfort zone within a social activity that requires them to leave their comfort zone.
Introverts should challenge themselves and meet new people. For all they know, those new people might just be the new close friends they need.
However, when an introvert is already socially exhausted, this will be the way you see introverts trying to steal small moments of social isolation long enough to get more social energy.
9. They’re irritable when you spend quality time with them
It’s frustrating to be friend with an introvert sometimes. You know they like deep conversations with their closest friends. So, when it’s just the two of you and you’re trying to talk to them, it’s annoying when they’re irritable.
Maybe they snap at you or ignore you when you’re watching TV or playing a video game. They value their friendship with you and connecting on a deeper level. But, they aren’t getting the much-needed time alone to recharge.
So, even though you two aren’t hanging out in a group setting, they still don’t get that long period to decompress because they still are engaging in social interaction.
10. They smile and nod but do not contribute to small talk
While it’s common for introverts to be irritable, some introverts internalize their exhaustion and withdraw from social interactions. This allows them to keep all of their stress and overstimulation inside of themselves.
Some introverts would rather internalize this than accidentally yell at someone when added external stimuli is enough to push them over the edge. This is why introverts may not contribute to conversations, even though they appear happy and interested.
11. They avoid putting time and energy into close relationships
It’s frustrating when you, who are more extroverted than your friend, want to hang out with your introverted friend and they don’t reciprocate.
They thrive on intimate gatherings with meaningful conversation. But, that doesn’t mean they’ll feel up to it when they’re socially drained. This doesn’t make it feel any better when you feel like you are the only one putting work into the relationship.
Keep in mind, in these situations, your introverted friend will be ready to hang out with you again and truly enjoy the time together once they’ve had enough alone time to recharge.
12. Their energy levels are low and sluggish
Anytime you notice your introverted friend disconnecting from the people around them and staying cooped up in their home, you’re seeing low energy levels. Unfortunately, one result of overstimulated introverts is depression.
While it may seem far-fetched, anyone who gets stuck in the cycle of surviving through life can become depressed. It’s difficult to get to the end of the day, feeling exhausted and overworked, and realize you have to do it all again without a reprieve.
Take note of moments when your friend starts disconnecting from your life and reaching out. This doesn’t have to end with a hangout, but it should end with them knowing someone cares and you have an idea of how they’re feeling.
13. They overreact to loud noises by getting angry or leaving
Loud noises can be what takes an introvert over the edge when they’re already focusing on surviving social situations. It usually seems random for an introvert to yell at someone out of nowhere or get up and leave.
But, this comes from them feeling overstimulated from social events and already feeling on edge. Their nervous system is on high alert. A loud noise stresses them out even more which makes them react in unexpected ways.
14. They haven’t spent time with a family member for a while
Friendships and partners are important, but there’s no substitute for time with family. Whether that’s your parent, sibling, or chosen family member, it’s important to spend time around people who have this deep, knowing connection with you.
They may not understand what it means to have an introverted family member, but it can be rejuvenating to spend time with people who know you so deeply.
It may take less energy for introverts to hang out with family because they don’t have to act more interested than they are or fake a happy mood when they’re not feeling it.
So, when introverts stop spending time with the people who know them best, this is a major warning sign that they’re stuck in a downward, socially-exhausted spiral.
15. They show a lack of interest in any activities outside of the home
The stereotype for introverts is that they never leave the house. Introverts can interact with people within the home just as much as they can stay isolated outside of the home, so getting them out should not be the goal.
Instead, if your introverted friend is drained and needs a quiet place to rest, let them be. Be vigilant and communicate with them to watch out for signs of depression.
Also let them recharge without forcing them outside of the home. Remember that there are ways to get them out of the house without making them engage in social settings, so take advantage of them.
16. They get irritated with new people and avoid engaging with them
Introverts who are tired of being around people can force themselves to still engage. Some of them are good at faking it and making it seem like they want to be present to anyone who doesn’t truly know them.
However, there is always a point when introverts neglect their mental health so badly that they can’t fake it anymore. This is when you’ll notice an introvert get irritated around new people and avoid them.
If you’re used to the introverts in your life faking it all the time regardless of how they feel, this will seem like it comes out of nowhere. While that’s frustrating, it’s also worth considering in the context of how worn out and drained they feel.
17. Their stress levels are elevated and they refuse to talk about it
We shut down when we get overloaded. Overloaded can mean that we’re stressed and overstimulated. So, introverts don’t like to talk about why they’re stressed, like most people when they get to the point that talking only refocuses on that stress rather than alleviating it.
Notice when the introvert in your life shuts down. They may also show visible signs of stress like withdrawing from the conversation and fidgeting.
They might getting stressed out by the anxiety of being around people when they aren’t ready to put their best self forward due to a lack of rest and recovery.
18. They struggle to concentrate on conversations or tasks
Watch out for moments when the introvert in your life zones out. They may completely ignore what you’re saying because they’re focusing on what’s going on in their head. They might be obsessing over a social interaction they just had or wishing they could be home taking a nap.
Most of the time, it’s clear when an introvert is not present in the conversation and they’re thinking of something else. If you notice this happening, you can gently bring them back into the conversation with a question and ask them about other areas of their life that require focus.
Ask them how work has been, if they’ve been understanding lectures, or how much time they’ve spent on hobbies lately.
19. They’re unresponsive and lash out when you get their attention
There’s no worse feeling than trying to connect with someone and getting yelled at. Maybe they’re looking somewhere else or their eyes glazed over as you’re trying to talk to them.
Then you call their name repeatedly and maybe even touch them to bring them back to the conversation with you. Getting yelled at after trying to talk to someone you care about feels horrible. It’s frustrating and it isn’t fair. But, it’s also a sign that they need a break.
They may have only gotten so much alone time recently and they’re feeling the strain of it. It’s not right to take it out on you. You care about them, and you are trying. But, this can explain what’s happening.
20. They randomly disappear at a social engagement to self-isolate
Maybe you’ve been at social events and found yourself searching for your introverted friend. If so, then you’ve probably seen them attempting to get some quiet time in the only way they know how.
They leave the social situation and find somewhere quiet to recharge. You might find them in the bathroom, wherever the dog is sitting, or outside of the venue.
This little time they use to sneak away from the party is one way they cope with needing time with their own thoughts while hanging out with a bunch of people they barely know.
It may suck to turn around and see your friend missing, but this also might be the only way they can spend time around lots of people for hours at a time.