Beware! Crank alert! All peopled out!

introvert cartoonI’m an introvert. I know. No one believes that but I am.

I require a good bit of “me” time. That’s “by myself” time without needing to be nice to anyone. I’m not real good at being nice for a long time. Unless you are a cat…or a dog….or even a rabbit. I could do gerbils, hamsters and birds too for that matter. Just not people.

I have a dear friend who introduced me to her 90 minute rule. She’s also an introvert. When she gets an invitation, she thinks of it as short commitment. There is no stress. You can do anything for 90 minutes. Then she goes home.

She leaves them wanting more. Everyone thinks she is out-going – the wild and crazy kind – but she’s not. Keeping it brief keeps the illusion. She is a manufactured extrovert. We do that to be successful in life but it doesn’t change our innards.

I get energized when I’m around people but it’s exhausting. Depending on the level of connection it’s either intoxicating (that would be without alcohol) or downright work. Did you ever have to be nice to someone for hours on end? *whacks head on desk*

I need my down time to recover. Lots of it.

People go into two groups — my two-hour friends which includes a lot of people (most of them I like a lot) and people I could actually live with (very short list partly because no one would want to live with me).

We’ve recently done a lot of socializing. Most of it was fun. Only one event got truly tedious and it was one that I didn’t control. I was entertaining at my house for what I thought was a regular (read that to mean two hour) visit. We ran damn close to five hours.

It was painful revisiting the same topics. Could it be that I was the only one that noticed the conversation lagged and sagged and repeated itself? Do I have supernatural powers that others don’t? No, I just have less patience.

I did all the socially-accepted gestures to “wrap it up.” Nothing worked. When I was about to announce that I was going to bed (leaving the beloved husband to sort it all out), they went home.

It’s a casual friend I like but they fall in my two-hour group. Next time we meet, we are going out to dinner. It’s hard to make that last forever. (Hairy eyeballs from waiters losing tips, cranky coughs from people in the waiting line, lots of signals that it’s time to end it…)

How about you? What is too long for you?

PS: This doesn’t necessarily (although it could) include events with an activity like a concert or play or picnic. You don’t have to be nice during that! Picnics usually have enough people who you can rotate and seem interesting to all. (It’s a skill!)

PPS: For those that think this is cow pucky, I suggest you read Quiet by Susan Cain. It is eye-opening.

PPS: This is for Louise and Fred (especially Louise) who totally understand me (even when the beloved husband is perplexed). They have taught me ghosting but that’s another post.

 

 

45 thoughts on “Beware! Crank alert! All peopled out!

  1. Pingback: Ghosting, more techniques for introverts – the tutorial | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  2. I totally get you! I’m an introvert married to an extrovert. He has unending stamina for people and I have to measure it out, and I do! I need a lot of time on my own and if I’m with friends for an afternoon or evening, I need a corresponding amount of time alone and with quiet. A book I really enjoyed is titled “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” I highly recommend!

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    • That’s the book I was referring to but I didn’t use the complete title. My husband is also an introvert but very different from me. Next to him I am a raging extrovert. Put him with is old childhood friends and I have no idea who he is!

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  3. I had an old boss who used to comment about people who’d make extended visits to our offices, “The Curse of the Extrovert.” I cannot believe anyone stayed at your home that long! Good grief, they must have had an exaggerated view of where they fit into your lives.

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    • When I worked there was an older guy in his 70s still working part time but much less engaged in the work (that means he should have retired but needed a place to go to 3 times a week). I liked him a lot but any visit was a wasted 45 minutes. He would bring 200 pictures of his vacation, give extreme details of anything, chatter on about his family. It got to the point where if I heard him in the area, I closed my office door until it was safe. I hated myself but I didn’t have the time he needed. We eliminated him in a downsizing (after a year of no production from him) and then he hated me. Sigh! The person who hung around is middle aged and single. I was thinking maybe loneliness but who knows. We enjoy the company and will do a much more structured meet next time.

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  4. FIVE hours. Release the hounds!
    I’m not really good with large groups or groups in extended periods of time. (Even Family reunions are a struggle and I’m sure we are thought of as rude since we only stay a few hours, but it gets to a point where being polite is so difficult …better to leave than scream “You’re an idiot and I can’t take it any longer.)
    I managed fine with sales and business, but once I walked away from that, it was so nice. Quiet research units full of intorverts was so much easier…except that onedept head who thought we should all be happy to meet on weekends at her house for lots of “parties” (and each of us bring food) She never ran out of ideas for her really mandatory gatherings.(I’ve found elementary principals never grow passed that even if they move into other organizations.) Gads – five hours of that and I was ready to gnaw my own foot off to have a reason to leave.

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    • It’s funny how rude you can get after that much time! My ex in-laws were an odd bunch. They planned their outings as all day affairs. When I could finally extract myself after 8 hours of painful conversation, they had all this stuff they had to tell me as I was walking to the car and driving off. I’m never one for company parties. Don’t want anything to come back and bite ya on the rear.

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  5. My son-in-law tells me he’s an introvert. He learned to do all the outgoing stuff when he was an army officer (doing his ROTC duty). It helps him get through the day now that he’s an executive. But he does love his quiet time on the sofa.

    As for me, I like getting together with friends, but it’s amazing how boring people can be after a while (me included). I mean, how much do we really have to say? Wait! Here’s something I haven’t told anyone yet: Yesterday I heard on NPR that they’ve found a correlation between the rising popularity of pornographyand the rising rate of erectile dysfunction. Go figure.

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    • Putting on the mask of extrovert does help in leadership roles. Conversation gets inane pretty fast! Thanks for the info too….I think. I need a government grant to study something inane like why do cats only barf on carpets.

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  6. I am an introvert. I will be buying Quiet today. I “liked” the Introvert, Dear page on The Book of Face. I get this post. I need lots of me time and after CH retired, it took me a long time to adjust. He plays golf now and it is much better. I don’t do well with people staying at the house overnight and meeting people places is kind of rough. Family stuff I have to really work at, usually last about 6 hours and that is too long. I think two to three hours works for me but there are exceptions… 🙂 Add to everything you have posted about here and then add that I have an issue with noise. Other people’s noise. Crazy I know! There is so much crazy making about me that I am surprised I made it to 65! Thanks for this post Kate and the tip on the book.

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    • I find the older I get the less tolerant I am. When I was a kid I didn’t like sleepovers (yes, I know, I’m the only kid in the world that didn’t like them). I didn’t like waking up at someone else’s house and I didn’t like them waking up at my house. When I got older I was more social (sort of) but I’m reverting back to being less social. I don’t like my routine disrupted. I don’t like a lot of noise. I can get very snappy (but delightful in small doses).

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  7. No idea if I am an innie or an outie… My mom was an introvert and very shy on top of that, but everyone loved her. Maybe it was because she was such a sweet listener. Me, I hate lags in conversations so am always interjecting with debatable topics to get things going. But your 5 hour party would have had me yearning for bed .

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  8. I too loved Quiet. I think it was the first time that many of us introverts learned that we were ok being the way we are. I wonder if bloggers tend to be introverts? We can “talk” to a number of people without having to actually placing ourselves in a large group. I’m good with 2 hours usually, unless it’s with a group of absolute strangers… then it’s 10 minutes, tops. I’m much better with one-on-ones (or very small gatherings). I love talking to interesting people about interesting things. Then, I need a big dose of me time.

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    • I am just like you. Hate the big cocktail party thing. Love the coffee meet or dinner with friends. I spent a lot of time when I was young wondering why I wasn’t more friendly or outgoing and why couldn’t I talk with anybody about anything. My family has a big introvert gene along with a bunch of extroverts. I remade myself during my working years but as soon as I got home it was quiet time.

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  9. Very interesting post, Kate!
    All of my life, I have been labeled as an “extrovert” by many. When I tried to correct them and say that I really am introverted – most would laugh. For me, the answer came much later in my life — “extroverted introvert”. This term is now all over the internet. One of the best descriptions for me is found in the following post. http://www.puckermob.com/lifestyle/8-signs-you-may-be-an-outgoing-introvert.
    Once again, thanks for posting on this important topic.
    Donna

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m with you all the way, although I think my tolerance and attention span run quite a bit shorter than your own. I was having a conversation on this subject with one of my sisters, not too long ago, in which she told me that she thinks I spend way too much time alone. I reminded her that much of it is BY CHOICE, and that I’m okay with having quiet time and even, heaven forbid, complete SILENCE! She just looks at me like I’m some sort of strange creature, and shakes her head. And the she immediately goes back to talking about this, that, and the other. And I go back to pretending to listen. A head nod, an occasional smile, and thankfully, I get to claim impaired hearing ability when she catches me drifting off. LOL

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    • Don’t kid yourself! My attention span will rival yours! I lived most of my life alone and loved every minute of it. This evening we were invited to go to a concert with friends. It’s a great concert but the week has been stressful and I just want to be home. Makes no sense to others. Hearing deficiencies comes in handy sometimes. I’ve been known to space out when someone drones on about twaddle. Love seeing you back. Miss your posts.

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  11. I was a bit taken aback by your sentence: “I could do gerbils, hamsters and birds too for that matter” but when it comes to being an introvert – I hear you! (And I really liked the book “Quiet” too.) I need regular “completely alone time” in order to handle the social and work parts of my life. I think one of the reasons I have had so much trouble giving up smoking is that it gives me an excuse to leave social settings and regroup – get a little break from the sensory overload . . .

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    • I worked in Human Resources prior to retirement. I was good at it because I didn’t get sucked into the (sometimes manufactured) sad stories. I got to work (always early) and there was usually a line at my door with problems. When I got home I didn’t want anyone to talk to me for an hour. I needed to de-people. Cats are a lot less needy.

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  12. “I did all the socially-accepted gestures to “wrap it up.” Nothing worked. When I was about to announce that I was going to bed (leaving the beloved husband to sort it all out), they went home.” ~> After 5 hours you should be able to gesture any way you want, even if it’s not socially accepted.

    For example, act autistic and introverted like Temple Grandin and just blurt out . . . “You Have To Leave Now.”

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  13. I could do a sympathetic essay here in your Comments, but my attention rule is rather less than yours! The trouble is, there are no doubt some people out there who can hold really interesting conversations. Something other than the weather, their boring jobs, team sports and the Government (those last two were intentionally put together as it seemed appropriate). I have however yet to meet them, but I do believe that they exist (the power of positive thinking). Well that’s it! Time to get back to answering emails, and likely having a conversation with Ray! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • 🙂 That’s what I love about blogging. You make me feel normal! Without activities to break up the time, I doubt that anyone is interesting for long periods of time. Either that or my interest in a lot of stuff people talk about is next to nothing. Gotta go. Cats…you know…

      Liked by 1 person

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