We leak. Somewhere a steady drip of our physical and emotional energy drains from our bodies. Most of us really enjoy people…in small groups, in a quaint coffee shop or strolling a forest trail.
You will find introverts in larger groups…even speaking in front of crowds, facilitating teams and planning major events. Introverts are pastors, teachers, and business owners. We are not only homebodies or hermits high on Netflix. Maybe our showing up and then our hiding away is what gives you the mixed messages: you are left wondering are we “people” people? do we like hanging out with you? are we mad at you? did we enjoy the party? are we going to come out again?
We make appearances in larger groups. We even enjoy ourselves. But when we are engaged in highly social or emotionally charged situations we leak like a faucet that has now been turned all the way on. And not one of those old faucets that barely have water pressure, when we leak…think dam breaking or Niagra Falls. The overflow can feel intense. Our emotional/relational resevoir drains out rapidly. Every ounce of capacity for social interaction will leave our bodies. We will be run dry and sometimes, it doesn’t take very long.
Extroverts…your social/emotional plugs remain intact longer. You have a different capacity to thrive through the music concerts, the birthday parties, the festivals and the board game nights. And you can do it all again the very next day…and then the day after that. In fact, you are often surprised by your exhaustion wondering what on earth you have been doing to get so tired and worn out. Us introverts look at you shell shocked because we would be comatose if we kept to your schedule, but you really can do much more on your reserves than we can. You start to leak when you don’t have anything planned from one day to the next. Activity recharges you…it doesn’t typically leave you drained.
This is what happens when introverts are drained. I know, I know, you extroverts don’t understand this…and you find it hard to believe, but for just one moment pause…we want you to understand, it isn’t personal, it is just they way were were made.
Our sleep patterns are affected. We may fiftfully toss and turn because we find it harder to settle when overstimulated. Our five senses are attuned to any further threats or invasions. Our hearing is heightened…(yes, your snoring and sleep talking is heard with greater intensity, we are not making it up), we notice details more sharply, (could you please remember to clean out the sink after you shave? and yes, we do see you drink out of the milk carton) some of us even have a keener sense of smell…(something in this fridge has died, I know it! did you shower today?) We may not want to be touched…let’s be honest…don’t touch us if you know we are leaking (seriously, you want to do what? after the day I just had…really??? I am exhausted).
And the next day will be a full day of recovery…alone, or as alone as humanly possible. Dogs, cats, or other small pets are exempt. We welcome pets during the recouping period.
We will say no to further invitations to go out with you.
Some of us who are still warming up to the idea of our introversion will feel guilty saying no. The guilty will say yes at first and then bail at the last minute. On behalf of all introverts, we are sorry.
If this feels familiar to you. The struggle of saying no and embracing your introversion, it’s ok…you are not alone. Introverts world-wide have joined in on that dance a time or two. It gets easier when you begin to realize that fully embracing and taking care of the way you experience the world is so good for you. It is exceptionally good for your relationships when those close to you understand how you take in the world. And how you pour out into the world, too.
Introverts unite…in small groups…for short periods of timeour slogan
Extroverts, please be informed. We, introverts, are not anti-social, shy or dull. We are not broken or boring. We are not high maintenance or overly sensitive. We are impacted by the environment differently than you. We recover emotionally and physically by spending time alone or with a select few. We get that you get recharged by being in the group and would find too much time alone unsettling.
We are, also, your people who carry heavy emotional loads with care and our whole hearts. We pour ourselves out for you! We help you keep your feet on the ground and your heads out of the clouds. We help you problem solve and avoid the holes in the road. We love deeply with all of who we are and we keep pursuing meaningful connections with you. We are forgiving. When you have to change plans we understand because sometimes we all need to recharge. It’s not personal.
Sometimes, we just leak.