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There’s a common misconception that introverts don’t like people.
It’s not true. We love people and we love spending time with people… as long as we know them well, there’s only a few of them around at any one time, and they leave us alone after a few hours.
You see, the thing about introverts is that being around other people drains us. We enjoy socializing in small doses, but then we need time all by ourselves to recharge.
The Introvert’s Guide for Having to Live With Other People
That means if you’re an introvert with a family at home, you love and cherish them with every fiber of your being, but in order to stay sane, you need to get away from them on a semi-regular basis. It sounds mean, but it’s not; it’s simply survival.
Recharging yourself benefits them too. No one likes to live with an introvert who hasn’t had a chance to recharge. Trust me. There are four other people in my house who will wholeheartedly agree.
That’s why I’ve created this helpful guide for my fellow introverts.
Living with people is hard. This will make it easier.
1. Create an in-home (secret) retreat
Since you probably can’t just take off when you need alone time, you need to create a sanctuary right inside your house. You won’t be able to disappear for hours at a time, but even a few minutes can be refreshing if done right.
Here’s how to do it:
Choose a bathroom. Yes, a bathroom. If you tell your family you’ve got to go to your bedroom for a few minutes, they’ll ask why. No one will ask why you need to go to the bathroom.
Keep your favorite pamper-y items in there. For instance:
- Nail polish.
- The book you’re currently reading.
- Your favorite scented soaps and lotions.
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Okay, back to the secret hideaway!
If you’re feeling extra sneaky, make a decorative flower arrangement that doubles as a secret candy stash. Just cut some floral foam to fit at the top of a container, stick flowers in it to cover it up, and you have all the space underneath to fill with your favorite goodies.
2. Figure out your triggers
Everyone has something that overstimulates them and drives them to the brink. For my husband it’s when there’s lots of chaos around the house. For me it’s when there’s lots of noise.
Once you figure out what your triggers are, you can work to minimize them when they start to occur (or at least escape to your retreat).
3. Skip sleep in favor of alone time
Not everyone will agree with me on this one, especially people who require a lot of sleep, but it can work for some.
I don’t recommend skipping sleep on a regular basis, but when you’re feeling extra drained, sometimes an hour or two after everyone else has gone to bed is just what the introvert doctor ordered.
Disclaimer: Introvert doctors are not a real thing, so don’t go around telling people that you have to stay up late on doctor’s orders or anything like that… I could get in trouble.
4. Realize that trade-offs must be made
Even when you’re an introvert, you don’t want to be alone all the time, and most of us truly love having a family to come home to every day.
Sometimes alone time is going to be hard or even impossible to find, and you might have to deal with the fact that it’ll be a while before you can fully recharge.
The trade-off though is a house full of people who love you, which is well worth an almost drained battery.