Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You

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I am told our desire to get away from everyone every now and again and again is perplexing and sometimes painful to extroverts. They don’t understand how we could enjoy being alone, period. Even more confusing, we sometimes choose to be away from people we really like.

The truth is we see all people as stimulation and potential energy sucks. Sorry.  It doesn’t matter if you make us laugh until we wet our pants or we find you so attractive we agree to make babies with you (or at least practice). We will need a break from you.  We even need a break from other introverts, but speaking only for myself, not as often.

What Happens If We Don’t Get Our Space?

The other day I heard a fun-loving morning show radio host say she needs to be in the house alone often in order to be civil.  Having someone in another room of the same house isn’t good enough.  She can feel them there.  I loved that she said that because I am the same way.  Also, she’s a highly visible and outgoing personality, yet she still requires time to herself (completely) in order to carry on as a decent human being. Introverts are not all recluses hanging out in dusty homes with cats and classic books (not that there’s anything wrong with cats and classic books;). We get out and rock it, but then we need to withdraw from that buzz because if we don’t we will feel like an overdone steak, no life, no juice. Our minds will be zapped and cottony. Our speech may come out slowly with pauses between words. There may be tears or swearing or both.

We Don’t Mean to Hurt Your Feelings.  We Just Can’t Stand You Sometimes.

I’ve heard from readers and experienced it in my own life, extroverts miss us and feel lonely and rejected when we pull back from them. It’s like we take away their light.

It’s especially difficult for children. I’ve seen my daughter’s friends question her relentlessly when she says she is going to play with her dolls after school instead of playing at the friend’s house. You mean you’d rather play alone than play with me? 

School is highly stimulating. Downtime afterwards energizes introverted kids. My daughter is primarily an extrovert but she is sensitive and needs quiet time as well. She jabbers and narrates as she plays, writes, and fixes herself a bagel. She thinks out loud. Sometimes I ask her to think in her head (so that I don’t lose my mind).  I ask her very gently but I still see the hurt in her eyes.

That hurt is there in adults’ eyes too. They don’t understand how one day we can spend every waking moment with them working, conversing, giggling, lightinsidewomanbywatercreating, smooching, etc. and the next we want to watch Downton Abbey by ourselves. They want more of the high-energy or deep listening us, but unfortunately that fun dear girl or guy can grow fangs or grow weepy if pushed to be out-going and devoted for too long.

Our brains process everything so deeply it’s tiring. We need time to live in our inner world. We need to recoup bubbly energy by visiting our thoughts, creativity and feelings. We need to go internal in order to express ourselves generously externally.  Solitude expands us (and everyone really). It makes space within us so that we can take in more from the outside.

It’s Not You.  It’s Us.

My best advice, don’t take it personally.  It is most likely not about you (if you’ve been approved as a friend and we’ve shared at least one deep and meaningful late night talk). All we ask is that you don’t make us feel bad for needing space.  If we work up the courage to ask for it, please respect our request. It is vital to our well-being.

Do introverts puzzle you? Have you ever been hurt by an introvert’s need for space? Do extroverts drive you nutty sometimes? 

If you found, Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You enlightening, you may also love:

There’s Nothing Wrong With You.  You’re an Introvert. (space2live)

Introvert Relationships: Love Me or Leave Me but Please Don’t Need Me (Too Much) (space2live)

In Defense of Introverted Parents  (space2live)

What’s Wonderful? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (space2live)

The Introvert’s Love Affair with Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo? (space2live)

Space2live’s Top 10 Posts for 2013 and A Personal List of Lessons Learned (space2live)

264 thoughts on “Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You

  1. I have been in a loving, close relationship with an introvert for almost a year. He was very honest about his need for space and how people “suck” the energy from him. I’d never thought about where I lose and gain energy before talking with him. I usually fall in the middle of all personality tests and do know that I need some serious alone time to be a happy person. In fact, during times of serious emotional stress, I see tendencies of becoming a “shut-in” and make myself go do things. Even if it’s just heading down to a local pub to read a book while I have a beer and eat. Anyway…this boyfriend, after talking to me about his introvertedness, then paid me an amazing compliment: he said I don’t drain him of energy. He finds me relaxing to be around!! Help though – I need help talking with him about respecting both of our needs when we aren’t in the same city. When he travels to see friends, he won’t communicate at all while he’s gone. He says that he doesn’t miss people while he’s gone so he doesn’t call, text or anything until he’s back. I think staying connected with someone while apart isn’t about you missing them as much as keeping a connection. I don’t see how a 5 minute phone call once a week while you’re away is out of the question. Just because an introvert doesn’t feel the need to keep their sense of connection doesn’t mean their partner doesn’t. I feel like I’m compromising a ton by not talking everyday for a few minutes…even just to say goodnight.He has stated that his non-missing of people while he’s away has caused lots of problems in his past. I don’t want him to miss me, I want him to be enjoying himself while away and for him to know I am in a good place too. BUT, I do want to feel connected. It seems that there should be a way for both people to feel that their needs are being respected. He seems to feel that if he doesn’t feel the need to communicate while he’s gone, he should be true to himself – that his complacency with no communication is more important than my needs. I don’t feel that either person should be totally catered to – there should be a compromise. Relationships need to be invested in and sometimes that means realizing that you are not being untrue to yourself by meeting your partner’s needs halfway. Do you think an introvert communicating for a few minutes once in a while during an out of town visit is excessive or damaging to their sense of self? Whew…lots of stuff there and it feels redundant but I’m going to leave it. Okay…this actually was getting better the longer we were together. But Then! He joined the military and shipped off to basic training …he left Aug 4th. We decided to stay in a long-term, committed relationship. He called me from the airport that night and told me he loved me (in front of other people). That felt pretty amazing. He doesn’t feel that he should have to say he loves me, he should be able to show me. Not too much of an issue when we were in the same city and could be with each other. I received one phone call 4 weeks into basic training, again…he loved me, missed me(he never misses people), didn’t want me to stop writing (daily letters with my thoughts, fun memes, some of the comics he follows), etc., and had a list of things he wanted to do with me our first weekend back together (no clue when that will be). He lives a separatist life….his family, friends and I are all separate. This translates into me never being around them. His brother and all of his friends know I am in his life, he uses the word girlfriend when he talks about me to them. He’s not told his parents about me because we all live in the same city (or did until he left for the Air Force) and this might lead to us mixing. They’ve known since February that we were dating (through mutual friends) but I didn’t get invited to his dad’s BIG 60th bday party in July because they thought we might have broken up since their son never mentioned to them that he was dating me. What else is in this equation?? Ahh, yes, basic training graduation. So after not seeing him for 9 weeks, I didn’t go to his graduation because he just wanted family. There is something in his mind that a girlfriend around friends and/or family is not a thing. I do have plans to ask him about this when I do see him. I should have asked before but I thought he was just slow to blend different aspects of his life. I plan on asking him why I am separate from his friends and family. I want to know why. I can then tell him how it affects me and hopefully we can come to some compromise understanding. I feel like he’s going to have to work through this with someone in his life. I mean, how do you build a life with someone if they can never be around your friends or family? His brother’s girlfriend (of 2+ years) is included in all of their family plans and he loves her a bunch and does not see her as an intruder. His friends ask him to visit them (out of stated) to vet their new boyfriends/girlfriends so it’s the norm in his social circle for partners to be in the social grouping. Just before he left, he was getting so invested in us and asking me to stay at his apartment while he went to the gym for an hour so he could “come home to me”. The night of his dad’s party, he asked if he could come over to my house when it was over – even if it was really late – so he could come home to me. This felt good on the one hand and pretty crappy on the other. His dad and I both got grief for me not being there. His dad apologized to me but said that until he dropped his son’s car off aat my house the day of military departure, he had no idea we were still dating so he didn’t invite me. Boyfriend’s parents have learned that to solicit information about their son’s private life is met with such a withdrawal from him that they wait for him to volunteer information. So for graduation, wow. Not seeing him for 9 weeks, having the opportunity to spend Thur-Sun with him and family…no chance he just wanted family. They actually only spent Thur & Friday with him, leaving early Saturday. We could have had 2 days together. He doesn’t even acknowledge that I might have felt rejected. This is after him thanking me so many times for the being the only person happy and supportive during the months leading up to his departure. He wanted/needed my support but didn’t want me there to celebrate. So hard. So I am in love with an introvert who makes me feel loved and cherished and desired when we’re together. Now we’re looking at a long-distance relationship. He never lost his sense of connection with because of my letters. I’ve been strong and positive even though I’ve had no connection other than that 9 minute phone call half-way through basic training. I had our normal level of communication to look forward to, right? Maybe one text a day – a phone call every day or two if we couldn’t see each other (that was our pattern when we lived in the same town. We spent every Wednesday together and every other weekend. If not the weekend, then Sunday night). I felt like I could definitely work with that. I could handle it and not feel unwanted or disconnected. Nope. He’s into “out of town” mode. No communication. He called twice on Monday (he just got his phone back) and they were great calls. Wednesday I called him and he seemed distant. I immediately went into, “how to be respectful of the introvert” mode and opened a conversation about his needs of communication after a traumatic basic training two months. When we talked about me moving with him after he gets his first permanent base assignment (he’s in tech school for 9 weeks before that) he wondered how I would do if he needed to withdraw for a week if things got stressful for him. He used to work for EMSA and knew he could retreat and be cold and how hard this could be on his partner. I told him that as long as I was already secure in the relationship and he could tell me he needed a week’s space, I would be fine. I’ve been through it before with a husband battling depression and I really did well. So…Wednesday I asked if he felt the hibernation need right now? He said a little and asked why. Well, I related that while he had never lost contact with my brain, I was pretty much starved for his words and person because he’d had no time to write back or call (he was a leader in basic training and graduated at the top of the honor’s graduates…lots of dedication and time and I totally understood but this left me with no communication). He sounded surprised when he admitted he’d never thought about that. He didn’t want to set up any communication parameters…he told me to just call him when I wanted to talk. He then told me he would text me his new address so I could send a birthday card for him…Saturday birthday. He didn’t want any presents because of limited travel space. He wanted to receive any presents when he got to his first assignment (which might be Japan for 2 years). He didn’t text the address. I texted him a hug Friday morning…no response. I left him a voicemail Saturday morning. He called back after 5pm, he was so busy doing birthday things with new friends that he just had 10 minutes to talk to me. :(. I had been away from my phone for 8 of that so he was just about to leave when I called him back. I told him to head on out for ice cream and he told me thanks and said he’d have more time to talk later that night. He called again around 7. I was just getting off the phone and didn’t click over in time. I called right back with no response. I listened to the message he left…he was just leaving again with friends. :(. I didn’t hear from him by 9 so risked a call (don’t want to smother him) because lights out was at 10. He was watching a movie with other airmen but said he wanted to step away to talk. I know I’m feeling totally rejected and am soooo careful not to be needy. I asked him about his day, celebrated that he found friends to hang out with, told him happy birthday, asked for his address so I could still send him a card (he had gotten me confused with his friend Rebecca – he’d sent her his address, not me), and told him about my the car I’d bought that day. He knew my car had finally kicked the bucket but had been so busy he’d not checked in to see how I was doing. We talked for around 10 minutes total. How am I going to feel secure and loved in a long-distance relationship with someone who doesn’t say I love you except for in the most extreme of circumstances and who doesn’t communicate very much when they’re out of the city? By the way, when we were living in the same city, he would call and leave me a vmail or text something nice about me once a day…”I’m just the right size to cuddle with”, “this line in this song made me think of you”, “I really appreciate you because of this/that”. <<< this is amazing to be on the receiving end of and made me feel very loved. Sigh. When he's away this doesn't happen. He's always going to be away now. His full time job in the AF will have him gone about 200 days a year. Before he left we did talk about this and I thought we were on the same page. He does not want to talk about an understanding on communication. I know that right now, I want WAY more than he could possibly give so I just want to open a conversation. He shuts down. Can you think of a way for me to approach this that will not have him shut down? That will respect his introvert needs while stating mine in a kind, loving, thoughtful manner? Letting him know that we do need to talk about this for me not to feel rejected and him not to feel smothered/pressured. I am a ridiculously confident person and am fairly happy on my own. This 9 week separation, being banned from graduation, and no "I love you"s since he's had his phone back has me feeling insecure. It's not a feeling I am used to or enjoy and I really want to discuss and resolve it before it becomes an ugly monster. Oh yes, he also told me (during our discussion of my moving with him) that in his life, all of his girlfriends have left him so he assumes I will too. He's been called emotionally unavailable and this has caused lots of problems for him. I plan on visiting him Nov 7th weekend if he does well on all of his work and can get a weekend pass. I don't think this communication needs/expectations talk can wait for that. What do you think? I know this is a crazy-long post. I forgot to tell you that I work with his dad (we're both teachers) and boyfriend worked here for the year before he left for the military. His dad sent a mass email to the entire school about his son's graduation and had everyone sign a card. Not only did I feel rejected when told he didn't want me at graduation, I felt rejected every time someone asked me when I was leaving for graduation, was I excited to see him at graduation. Oh my gosh, I felt rejected every time this came up! I feel like I am drowning in rejection right now. He doesn't see it. He feels so secure, loved and supported by me. I need any advice you can give. Thanks even if only giving me a space to write my thoughts.

    • First of all, I’m going to validate you for having reasonable expectations for a relationship that has been going on for almost a year. I would guess your man is the type who uses technology and tools to obtain what he wants in the most convenient way. Human cooperation is not all that important or useful to him. He doesn’t play by the cooperative social rules. I could be totally wrong but it seems like he is perfectly happy doing his thing and likes your support but has no interest or knowledge of how to reciprocate. With this kind of man you almost have to exist where he exists – meaning where he lives, works and plays. He isn’t going to make any special efforts to connect you two. Achievement is very important to him. You may have amazing discussions when you are together but when you aren’t he’s on his own path.
      I would suggest backing off for a while. Don’t send so many emails/texts. As an introvert, LONG lengthy emails are daunting. So much to read and respond to. It’s like you’re talking really fast and for a long time at us. We want to respond thoughtfully but there is so much to respond to. Our minds are blown.;)
      If you are not happy with his level of communication while he is gone I suggest you find other activities or partners to make you happy. I don’t see his nature or style changing. I know that’s rather blunt but that’s what my intuition and experience says. You deserve a partner who honors your needs as well. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Pingback: What Happens When Others Need Us Too Much? : The Shadow Side of Sensitives and Idealists | space2live

  3. I’m an introvert and understand all too well the need for time and space alone. However, I want to say this as gently as possible to everyone who’s dealing with a significant other who is an introvert (or appears to be): Maybe he or she just isn’t into you, and this is their way of breaking things off. I’ve been on the receiving and giving part of this. I’m happy to say that I’ve matured and don’t break things off this way, anymore. The difference between someone who truly wants to be with you, but is a lots-of-space-and-time-alone person, and someone who isn’t into you is vast, and the latter is, indeed, a sad and painful thing to learn.
    I love this community!

  4. Oy! Have I been dealing with one complicated introvert. I manifested what I wanted in my “soulmate” more so: the right one for me (no more duds please) and a month later I met..him. At a bar, of all places. Two weeks of texting back and forth I was getting hooked on his silly personality and smarts. First date was magical. He mentioned to me that he was happy that he didn’t cancel cause he likes to hang out by himself and he doesn’t like to hang out with his groups of friends anymore, but he was having a really great time and he wants to do it again. towards the end of the night the sparks were flying..Any way jump to a month and half later having only hung out with him that one time but visiting him at his place of work once he started having trouble with our semi long distances and he wanted to pull out. Saying he wished I lived closer, well thing was that I was moving to his side of town because I was going to be going back to school, that was actually what our first conversation at the bar was about: how much I wanted to live by the beach again and that I was going to by Sept. Well we went on another date and it was amazing and he texted me that night when he got home but then I didn’t hear from him the next following days, so 5 days later I let him know that I moved and then I said farewell. Didn’t hear from him at all. My heart was so sad. But I had a gut feeling that I should break the silence after I moved into my new place in Sept. And I DID. And it was awesome. I visited him and he was happy to see me and asked me so many questions about where I live and other things that I am assuming he was curious about. I asked him if he wanted to hang out and he said yes and told me his days off he has. .. SO then i texted him a few days later asking him to hang out and he couldn’t but we ended up just texting for 5 hours just silly banter..and the next night as well..and the next day and i told him I want to see him and so we made a plan. any way, we met up and he was super closed off. Just scratching the surface he told me some of the issues he has with his parents and what he is dealing with as of that day. He didn’t want to go into it so I didn’t want to pry.. Oh man this is so long, anyway at the end of the night he walked me to my car and said we should meet up again and i hugged him good bye but it felt so aqward and he seemed guarded. I guess I was hoping to rekindle the flame that once was there but it could just been that he is going through family stuff that night. So I texted him that night that I cared and if he needs me he can text me. No reply. Next night i texted him and he replied and I told him thanks for not canceling when he had every reason to (cause of his family)and he said thanks. I texted him back that I’ve got his back and that he’s got this (that sorta support talk). No reply. 3 days later I text hi how are you doing? no reply, so a week goes by and I text him if he’d like to do something with me if my work sched isn’t that crazy, and noooo reply. He told me he’s an introvert a while back and I’m wondering if he’s doing an introvert thing or he just doesn’t want me in his life. PS: This was so much longer and i cut out so much, I really like him and I want this to work out somehow, but this is going at a snails pace, and especially if he just stops responding to me. OR am I being selfish cause i am ready for a relationship now and he may not be and I should just have more patience?

    • Having just gone through something very similar with an introvert, I’ll give you what I’ve deduced from the situation. He probably does have a lot on his plate and needs some space. If you have any issues that you bring with you he may feel you are too much to take on right now especially since he is already swimming in family drama. I am not justifying his lack of response. I find it highly hurtful and disrespectful when someone doesn’t communicate their feelings/wishes. Just withdrawing and going into silent mode is maddening. I am an introvert and I don’t do that. I make it clear how I feel even if it’s not working. I think that’s the intuitive feeling introvert in me. We have to be authentic. Other types of introverts seem OK with ducking out and fading away. Many introverts have a hard time divulging their private lives. He may not want to burden you. I would let him come to you from now on. You have shown/told him that you are there if he wants you. In the meantime, be your own independent self. Do what makes you feel alive. Nothing is more attractive than a woman/mate who is whole all on his/her own. Best of luck! I hope he comes around but no guarantees. He may be in a serious/secluded/recovery time in his life or he may just feel you are not the right woman for him and not be able to convey that. I would give him space and see what happens. Consider for yourself if this is the type of man you could have a long term relationship with. Could you love someone who withdraws when unsure/overwhelmed?

  5. Thank you for this article….

    As someone who has been dealing with the effects of being a introvert my entire life, here are some thoughts.

    One of the things that I keep going back to is this: Think about it like an oxygen mask on an airplane. They tell you to put your mask on before your child’s. You cannot help your child if you yourself succumb to the lack of oxygen. By not taking care of your needs, both of you will suffer. This is the philosophy I go to when I’m being pressured or put down by others for various different reasons. Some understandable, some not. Either way, I need to make sure my needs are met or we will both suffer.

    I came across this passage and it really resonated with me. Its also something I come back to often, especially the last 2 sentences:

    “Don’t ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life to begin with.”

    As a natural “people pleasing” introvert, I truly enjoy helping others. However, I want to be useful not used. I don’t expect anything in return for helping others, but I also don’t want to be expected to always be available to help. Being an introvert, it depends on my energy level and if it’s something I am comfortable doing. One tip that has helped is to notice the reaction when you say “no” to someone that you have helped in the past or “no” to someone who asks for something you’re not comfortable doing. If someone truly appreciates and cares about you, they will understand. If you get a negative reaction, chances are that person doesn’t care about you. Good to know, time to move on.

    I can’t expect everyone I meet to magically be psychic and know exactly what I’m thinking and how I tick. It’s my job to let them know my boundaries and if they are crossing them. Communication is key. (As a natural people pleasing introvert who wants people to like me, setting boundaries is tough but it’s something I have learned is necessary for me to have healthy relationships.) If they know my boundaries and continue to cross them anyway, I move on. Hard to change the actions of someone who either does not understand or simply does not care. Of course, this is easier when the person you are moving on from is not someone you’re forced to interact with on a daily basis. In that case, I just try and tune them out and think to myself silently, “thank God I’m a person that knows how to respect other people’s boundaries.”

    There are over 7 billion people in the world, there is no way to please everyone. It would be great if we could all celebrate our differences, but unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world. On the positive side, there are over 7 billion people in the world. Just like there are people who won’t ever understand, there are awesome people out there who will love and cherish you just the way you are! Looks like this community is one of those places. So glad I came across this site. :)

    • Thank you Andrea for your thoughtful comment. I took a few pointers from it including your oxygen mask metaphor and the idea of being useful not used. The reminder that everyone is responsible for their own happiness was timely as well. I forget that one occasionally. It seems so darn important to make others happy. Grown ups know how to make themselves happy.

      I’m still fortifying my boundaries. I have this deep desire to be close to people which leads to mushy boundaries. I let them in and let them be in control. Saying ‘no’ is getting easier though. My kids tend to wear me down. Too often I’d rather give in than use the energy to fight. Not a good plan. I know.

      I’ll keep being open and honest and see who comes along for the ride. Thanks again for your insight. I truly appreciate it.

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  7. Thank you for this. I recently fell in love with an introvert and he asked for some time away from me (we spend a lot of time together). I’m more of an ambivert, so I kind of understood. I still got a bit sad and moody, but this post really helped me to understand why he may have needed some down time not just from me.

  8. Oh my God!Hello Brenda,
    It feels like I finally found home.Every single word that I read is like reading my own notes.I’ve felt this way since I was a teenager but I never really understood why all these feelings occured and they made me feel weird.
    I kept having the need to be alone even if I had the best time of my life.I even remember breaking down to tears as I was in a wonderful trip because I had no time for myself.
    Right now,at 23 living with my boyfriend and his relatives has been hell for me.But now,only now I understand that there’s nothing I should be ashamed of.
    My boyfriend keeps asking how can I not be bored alone or how do I wanna sleep alone or things like that.I finally understand that it is my ultimate need and if I don’t satisfy it I become grumpy and almost somehow depressed.
    Reading your articles really helped me understand that there are others like me and I found the words to express myself.
    Right now I am so greatful you can’t even imagine!

    • I’m so happy space2live feels like home to you! That’s one of my main objectives for the site – to make others not feel so alone. It’s confusing to want time to ourselves because our culture espouses the opposite. Know that your feelings are perfectly normal and there are ways to make relationships and life work for introverts. We just have to shift our thinking and embrace our nature. It all evolves around managing our energy. Hugs and strength to you new friend.:)

  9. Pingback: Establishing Boundaries to Create Profound Intimacy: Drawing the Line in Introverted Relationships | space2live

  10. Hi Brenda,

    I have been reading and re-reading your blog posts for the last four months or so and I want to say how grateful and appreciative I am that I have access to your writing. I have been dating a man for almost 5 months now – about a month in, he let me know that he is an introvert. Thankfully, I only slipped up once with a comment about shyness, before I started doing a great deal of reading about introversion to educate myself. Your site has provided me with a wealth of information and has become a source of solace.

    I’d like to think that I’ve been a very patient, supportive girlfriend over the last few months, even though it hasn’t always been easy. Like many others who have posted on this site, I am struggling with the painful feelings of rejection when my boyfriend suddenly shuts down. As many others have experienced, he and I will have wonderful weeks/weekends together, but this will be followed by little or no communication for a few consecutive days. The pattern of attention/no attention, and the accompanying rollercoaster of emotions, is very difficult to manage.

    I wonder if you might have any guidance that you can provide on how to approach him respectfully about this? I feel I have a good understanding about his need for solitude and space, and I want to continue to be supportive. But I also know that I have reasonable needs too – the need to be told when space or solitude is necessary, how long it will last and when I can expect to hear from him again. Thinking about this conversation, I am obviously nervous about coming across as needy or demanding of attention… I also know that springing a topic like this on an introvert doesn’t always make for an effective conversation.

    Any suggestions that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    • I have actually found myself on your end of the stick – where my partner needed more space than I did so I felt like the ‘needy’ one. We had very open communication but I didn’t want to always be the one to ask for time together. What would have helped us is if he would have let me know he wanted to be with me and then given me a date/time when we would get together after his hiatus.

      I would let your boyfriend know you understand and respect his need for solitude. You’ve done some reading and are more aware of the traits of introversion. You can even show him some of the posts on space2live (other readers have used them as springboards for discussion). But then gently tell him that if your relationship is to continue and grow your temperament needs to be honored too. Not that you are going to force him to socialize or engage with you when he is depleted but that you would like respectful communication when he needs space and some reassurance that he will want to reconnect with you in specified amount of time. He may not know exactly how much time he needs to recharge, so tell him to overestimate, that way if he misses you sooner rather than later it will be a pleasant surprise.:) I also suggest that you find areas of interest that fill you up other than your relationship. I know when I wait for my partner to have fun/make plans/have engaging conversations that puts a lot of pressure on the relationship. When my calendar and spirit are full from my own doing, then my relationships flourish.
      Thank you for sharing your story. I hope I offered some helpful ideas. I can tell you’re a caring and thoughtful partner. Best wishes!

      • Thank you so much for your thoughtful response! I really appreciate your insights and guidance!

  11. I wish I read your blog earlier before breaking up with my boyfriend. We possibly could make a perfect match in many ways. I just didn’t know how to handle introvert & when I didn’t get enough attention & responses from him, I thought he is no longer interested in me to make extra effort!
    Sad but at least I learned something…….Thank you 💖

    • Aww Joy, perhaps he wasn’t the one or perhaps your timing was just off. May you take what you’ve learned and apply it to your beautiful life and any future relationships. Thanks for commenting.:)

  12. Hi Brenda. You just replied to me 5 min. ago and wanted to respond back. Thank you again for your thoughts. No, nothing happened right before. So out of the blue but actually a miracle happened yesterday and we spoke for a very long time. the first time was over 3 hrs and the 2nd time was 4 hrs. He told me he was so very sorry and had felt awful for shutting me out. He said the issue for him is it’s been him and his kids for 5 years so he has a routine and is in “his” comfort zone so he just didn’t know how to bring me in the mix sorda speak. I get that. Change is great but at the same time everyone knows that change can be dreadful at times whether it’s at work or whatever. I explained with very much empathy that people don’t grow when they stay in their comfort zones and that if we could just grow together and if he would communicate then we could help each other. He seemed on board and he confirmed he didn’t want to be alone in life. I asked him if I needed to stop reaching out or if he wanted me to give up as I really couldn’t do this again and again as it’s been so hurtful being completely shut out. He was very sweet and said he could NOT say that and didn’t want that so this made me feel better. I was supportive and encouraging and told him that we could just move forward growing in our relationship and he agreed. I told him I didnt need to burden him or consume all of his time and I wasn’t expecting marriage tomorrow. I just wanted us to continue on the great path we were on and growing together. ‘t said he has felt incredibly horrible and guilty for how he has treated me (being completely shut off and no contact). He also said that after awhile it was like how do i call and what do i say? So i understand and I forgave him and if he didn’t care for me, we obviously wouldn’t have spoken for 7+ hrs yesterday, right? I assumed after reading the blog that he was an introvert but who knows. He seems to have these behaviors and I would almost be afraid to say something as he might think I am trying to say he’s mental or I am trying to diagnose him. What do I do? What are your honest true thoughts on the above? I am just at such a loss. I will explain why. So we got off the phone late and I told him I was sending him an email and it was just encouragement and letting him know I was there for him to help me and he could lean on me in life and so on and thanked him for spending the day talking to me on the phone about everything. It was fun also but here we are today and I had some exciting news that he knew I was dealing with after a meeting today so I texted him telling him it went well and asked how he was and that was around lunch time and haven’t heard back. I feel like I am freaked out inside because I am afraid that this is a repeat of what just happened over the last few weeks then I tell myself to calm down. So I don’t know what to think. I don’t want to do anything to mess this up because I truly love him with all of my heart. He told me again yesterday that I have all of the qualities that he has looked for and just got stuck in this comfort zone which I completely get. He is packing as he is moving and I guess I had hoped that I would get to see him tonight but maybe that’s why he hasn’t called because he wants to be alone. I don’t know. I am trying to not be freaked out inside but I am a little scared only because of what just has happened last few weeks. Do you have any encouraging words for me or help? I don’t want to bother him or push him or anything like that. Also we are in our 40’s and are past the non sense of the dating game like he is chasing me or she is chasing me or she is needy or he is needy so we have always been on the same page till this shut off but he explained yesterday and maybe I just need to not jump to conclusions. I hate this feeling so freaked out inside. I keep thinking maybe he is exhausted from packing all day and didn’t feel like talking so then I think well maybe tomorrow he will and hopefully will want to see me. I just don’t know….. Help! Thank you!

    • He has you a little rattled security-wise. That is natural after being shut out for so long. My suggestion to you is to breathe and get busy doing something for you. If you let yourself watch the clock tick by waiting for him to reach out you’ll go crazy and probably present yourself as insecure when he does call you. Be assured in his interest in you. He does seem taken with you. I would take it slow, see what happens. He may need more time away from you than you would like. You’ll have to proceed and see how your temperaments gel together. Like I said, the best thing to do is find your own passion beyond his companionship. If you are happy with or without him, you can’t lose.
      Do not pressure him or he’ll back off. My best introvert advice. You can choose how much, if any, you want to follow.:)

  13. I can understand why some people might be offended when I turn down their invitations to hang out or accompany them to social gatherings. I tend to hang out with the same people at coffee shops or something relaxing. When I invite some people over to my home and not others, I can see how they can think it’s because of them. I actually don’t mind spending time with those people, but I usually prefer to do it at work or school. Taking home the person that is just on another level of energy than I am is a little tiring. If it’s not someone that is as calm and collect as I am then they are the ones I tend to run away from every now and then.

    • I’m sorry it took me this long to respond to you. I think public meetings are generally shorter. Having someone over to your house requires more work and generally seem to be longer visits. I’m with you. Pick and choose who gets invited to your home. Thanks for reading and commenting.:)

  14. I am so greatful for this blog. After a hard effort trying to explain to people to comprehend exactly how i feel and want i need this does it! Thank you!!

      • I am so happy to have found this website. I have been seeing someone and he reconnected with me after 14 yrs and it has been a true blessing. Everything was perfect literally. Then he said he needed to take a step back as he was overwhelmed. He is a single father of 2 kids. Anyway, all I have read on here is what I believe to be true about him. He is an introvert. This is fine. It would have been nice and less painful to know this. Anyway, I know he wants to be with me because he told me and I felt it and also he said that there is nothing I could do to lose him. Well I haven’t spoken to him in a couple weeks. I have reached out a couple times and am not getting a response so from what I’ve read I guess he is trying to recharge? I don’t know. I love him so much and we have had many intimate talks and connected on such an amazing level and he was so grateful that we reconnected. I just don’t think that he would be willing to throw “us” away. I know deep down in my heart that he wouldn’t do this. We are literally connected on all levels and our goals match up and we are both strong in our faith and want to build “us” on that foundation and he told me he has never felt this way ever not even with his ex wife. I feel the same so that is why this is so completely hard to not talk to him. I guess I am an extrovert because I want to be with him and talk with him all of the time so now that I have read literally every article on this site, I guess even though him and i were on the same page (he said this multiple times), I guess it was “draining” for him. I don’t want to lose him and I have met his adorable kids and just cannot imagine my life without him at this point. We are in our 40’s and are more mature and wise and when I expressed my fears back in April and May about getting hurt, he completely put my mind at ease. I told him I was committed to him and his kids 100%. He told me that him and the kids were committed over 100%. He told me I was exactly what he wanted and needed in his life. He told me that I get him. He said it’s meant to be. All of these amazing things but then has shut me out and hasn’t responded to my “encouraging” emails or texts. I sent them just trying to explain that I wasn’t going anywhere and I respected him needing some time to figure things out. About a week and a half ago, I sent an email apologizing for continuing to reach out when maybe I should have given him uninterrupted space to think. I didn’t hear back. This is all so bizarre to me. He expressed to me that communication is extremely important and it frustrated him with his ex wife because she wouldn’t communicate. That is one of the things he loves about me that I do communicate well. But it seems as if the tables have turned and since he won’t talk to me I cannot help but think have I screwed up reaching out to him? It’s not like there were rules set in place for him taking a step back because at first he was still in contact but less frequent. Then maybe 3 wks ago it has been nothing and the last time I reached out was towards the end of June. I am so upset inside and keep praying for him and praying that I continue to be patient. Have I said I love him? haha It’s true love for me and I cannot let it go. If he needs time to recharge or whatever, then I am good with that but just need to know, however, he is not “communicating” which was so important to him. Lastly, he has said this a couple times to me that he needs me to realize and understand that he hasn’t had any “women” interaction since his divorce which was almost 5 yrs ago. He did go on a few dates last year but never had any connection with anyone and was so happy that things with us worked out in our favor. I told him I understood. I think he tells me this because he is a little rusty since he hasn’t had that interaction but quite frankly I am rusty also because I haven’t dated in so long either. So with all that being said, I hope maybe you can give me some insight or reassurance on what I can do. I’m assuming if you are an introvert that you don’t announce this to your partner so I am having to guess here but I feel as if this is exactly what I am dealing with. If this is the case I just want to educate myself to where I can understand and that way i won’t get hurt because I will know this time to recharge is needed….. HELP!!! Sorry for the long post. I have never done this before and I am begging for help because I love this man so much. I am willing to do whatever it takes to fix this. Thank you!

        Just a girl with a huge heart! M

      • Hmmmm. It sounds like you had a solid, communicative, mature relationship going. Did anything happen right before he decided to take a step back? Were you moving to another level of seriousness in the relationship? Did he start a new job that requires more people interaction? He may just have cold feet regarding getting serious again. Even if he is an introvert he should connect with you in some way to let you know what he is thinking. Both introverted and extroverted temperaments should be honored in a relationship. If you do get to talk to him you may mention that you have been doing some reading and are educating yourself on introversion. He may have questions or he may feel tremendously supported. Does he even know what a true introvert is? Did he ever mention introversion?

        I would say the best thing you can do is possibly send him one more message saying you respect his space but you’re feeling confused. Say that you would like to communicate with him just to make sure he is alright. You care about him and understand he may need to recharge but it would help you if you knew when he may be available to connect again. That’s not unreasonable. Calling or texting him every day would be pushing it. I think you’ve handled it well so far but 3 weeks is long enough. He should respect your feelings.

        In the meantime, I suggest you do what you love. Introverts are often drawn to independence.

        Hope this helps a little. Best of luck to you and your introvert.:) Thanks for sharing your experience.

  15. Pingback: Where’d My Energy Go? 12 Causes of Over-Arousal for the Introvert and/or Highly Sensitive Person | space2live

  16. Pingback: I Feel People and They Feel Me: The Blessing and Curse of Feeling Deeply | space2live

  17. almost found myself here… the only thing is that I tend to “care” for people. According to the MB test I am an INFJ which seems to be very rare. What I need to know – how do I combine my need for solitude with the need for interaction with my highly introverted girlfriend? Even though I fully understand her need for space and solitude, when she shuts down for 2 weeks in a row (which happens frequently) the rejection felt is almost overwhelming…

    • Do you know what type she is? Is there an F in her type? Two weeks is a long time to go without connecting. I don’t know that I could honor a two week separation from someone I care about. I’m sure you’ve talked about it with her. Could she honor your temperament more? I assume she is worth the wait. Don’t sell yourself short though. My best suggestion is to expand and grow and do things that light you up while she is having her alone time. Fill yourself up, instead of letting your cup go empty. Plan trips, read books, follow your energy. Your joy doesn’t have to be tied to her presence. This is advice I give myself all the time.;)
      INFJs are rare. I sometimes come up as one (but usually an INFP). I’ve read that INFJs are often mistaken for extroverts. I think the F leads us to people, interactions and caring. I have the same need for solitude as well as interaction (especially meaningful interaction). It is a difficult dichotomy to balance. That’s why I write about it.;) Trying to figure out ways to manage our contrarian desires.

  18. Pingback: Introvert Exhausted: Counteracting the Drain of Emotions, Sugar and People | space2live

  19. This is a good article. It kinda makes me feel a little less weird. I’m having a tough time trying to get someone that I like to understand me. He claims to understand me, but when I shared with him about the challenges I have being a “girlfriend” (as an introverted person), he said that I was being ridiculous. That really stung. I even shared this article with him, because you’ve done such a good job explaining it. I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that most people aren’t going to understand me. Thank God, I don’t mind my own company.

    • Ooooh ridiculous is a strong word that would put me on the defensive. I’m sorry he couldn’t understand your perspective. I think you’ll feel less ridiculous and alone here on space2live. There is more and more awareness about introversion. Someday needing time alone won’t be such a difficult thing to grasp because it will be a mainstream request. If your friend truly likes you he will take the time to ask questions and learn about you. Appreciating and honoring your introversion are not too much to ask. Good luck! Until then, advance yourself and as you said, enjoy your own company.:) Thanks for commenting.

  20. Pingback: Introvert Dating in Her 40s: It’s Good. It’s Bad. It’s Different This Time Around. | space2live

  21. I wish all extroverts could read this post, that way we could be understood more as introverts I liked when you said ” They don’t understand how one day we can spend every waking moment with them working, conversing, giggling,

    creating, smooching, etc. and the next we want to watch Downton Abbey by ourselves, don’t take it personally.  It is most likely not about you (if you’ve been approved as a friend and we’ve shared at least one deep and meaningful late night talk).” I believe that should be enough. Introverts need their space to collect themselves how I wish my friends could understand that, that for me going out means I have to come back and meditate with myself and I can’t do it everyday it would kill me!

  22. Pingback: Turned On by Intuition: Are Introverts More Intuitive? | space2live

      • So me. I move faster than when at work. Thinking of that alone time and relaxation. Taking a shower seems like a chore. But oh the bliss when I finally reach my sanctuary and slide between the sheets, lay my head down and take a deep breath. I’m plugging in and recharging. It does feel exhilarating :)

  23. Thank you for this post. I’m at work trying not to cry because for almost a year now I feel like I have no space for myself.

    Me and my guy of 11 years moved to a new city and I luckily got a job right away. He has been relentlessly looking for work with no luck. He is so hard on himself for not having a job and even though my salary is enough to cover our bills, it’s his mental well being that is the hardest to deal with. He’s been battling depression since the move and lives for when I come home from work for my company. The only alone time I have is driving to and from work, which more often than not I’ve spent crying. I want to be supportive of him and I feel so terribly selfish when I say that I need my alone time and personal space when he asks me what’s wrong on those days that I just want to be alone. Which I still don’t get, but have tried to express that I need, but it pushes him further into depression. So I just push my feelings down and live for him, waiting for something to give and to balance things out again. I know if anything were to happen to him I’d be tormented by guilt and wishing I could take any of those ‘alone moments’ to be with him again.

    The newest development is that he might start working at the same place I do. As soon as I heard this I got the worst feeling in my stomach and it triggered an anxiety attack. Of which I also tried to hide my feelings about. I don’t want to stand in the way of an opportunity for him to feel productive and earn a paycheck, but I almost can’t bear the idea. The fact that going to work is my only escape is bad enough, but now he might be there too.

    I don’t talk to anyone about this because I don’t want anyone to think of him differently or voice my truth because it’s hurtful, so I keep it all hidden away within. I feel so terrible about myself for feeling this way and I don’t know how to handle it.

    • I feel sick for even putting this comment out there. I’m terrified someone I know will see it somehow. I just needed to vent it out. Even being at work right now is really hard. I so desperately need to be alone. My co-workers keep asking me what is wrong because the fact that I’m sad is written all over my face. It’s taking everything I have in me to act seemingly normal.

    • I switched your name to anonymous if that helps. I understand your fear of someone reading your honest but potentially hurtful words. You are definitely in a difficult position. I feel for you sweet woman.
      You are obviously very sensitive to your boyfriend’s feelings. The fact that his mental health is at stake is extra pressure. Please don’t beat yourself up for your thoughts. I would feel the same if I was in your place. I have had the same guilty feelings regarding my own children! Are there friends or family in the area that could fill in for your presence every once in a while? Serve as a buffer or distraction from you? Does he have any hobbies or outside interests he could cultivate? Fitness? Could he take a class or two?
      Solitude is a real need of yours in order to maintain your well-being. There is no benefit to you both suffering. As cold as this may sound, we are all responsible for our own happiness. You have to care for yourself so that you can keep it together.
      Working together would be a lot of together- time. You are not crazy to be leery of that plan. Have you expressed your uneasiness with that setup to him? I know it’s been difficult for him to find anything but if he saw how strongly it affects you emotionally he may reconsider. I used to like to go to the gym by myself in order to get away from my family. I would put on headphones and zone out on the treadmill. Then my husband started joining me – running on the treadmill right next to me. I asked for space and he resented me. It’s not easy. They feel it as rejection. Please share some of the posts on space2live with your boyfriend. Let him see your needs in a neutral light so that he doesn’t take them so personally.
      I’m sending you peace and strength. You have a lot on your shoulders/mind/heart. Please be gentle with yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. Hug*

  24. Reblogged this on Komposisi Kehidupan Kennissa and commented:
    I thought dating an extrovert psych major would solve all problems assuming he completely knows about types of personality and how to deal with each of them. I was wrong. I don’t know why every single thing he learned in college seems to be forgotten when it comes to relationship. Why can’t he just apply those theories to our relationship, for God’s sake? Yes. An extrovert, even a psych major one, let alone the one whom I mostly tolerate, can drive me crazy sometimes.

  25. Pingback: The Daydreamy Introvert’s Approach to Love | space2live

  26. Reblogged this on 1degirl's Blog and commented:
    This post you’ve written has a lot of wonderful information about introverts. I have struggled in the past with those around me who do not understand my need for time to myself. I call it time to replenish. I appreciate your post and hope more will take a look at it that are curious about introverts. Often, people mistake me for an extrovert for many of the reasons you’ve explained. In particular, the stereotype that introverts remain indoors with their ‘cats’. Thank you again and I just had to reblog :)

    • Thank you for your kind words and for re-blogging. I truly appreciate it. I love the word replenish! Yes! Yes! Solitude is like sleep or water to an introvert. It restores us, brings us back to ourselves. Needing our space so often feels like rejection to the other person. I know. I’ve been on the other side of an introvert’s request for space. Mainly, there needs to be an understanding of introversion and a respect for everyone’s feelings. A sense of humor helps too.:)

  27. Hi there. Not quite sure where to start, so i’ll just say that i’m struggling a bit.

    A little background: i had my girls early; both before my 22d birthday. i don’t regret that; i figured that if i had them early enough, i would be able to do some things i want to do later. One difficulty, though, was that my younger daughter was always high maintenance; she was diagnosed at 15 with bipolar disorder, so her whole life she was a LOT of extra work, extra attention, extra resources, etc. My husband is a type 1 diabetic, so he also has always been high-need. When my younger daughter and her husband separated for their divorce, she and their little girl moved in with us. We love having that little one around, but consequently i’m back to doing a lot of parenting. Please don’t misunderstand me: i love taking care of that girl — she and her cousin (from my older daughter) are my heart. i left my full-time job last summer to be home more with that little one before she heads into kindergarten this coming fall, and also because we had some concerns. It’s just that, at this point in my life, after having to be so functionally extroverted for so long and taking care of everybody’s needs for so long, i thought that i would have a little more time to myself. The line in the article about needing not just a room in the house but the whole house to myself is so, so true, and it’s just not happening. Today, for instance, between when my husband left for work and my daughter came home (five hours early), i had the house to myself for exactly 32 minutes. My next “break” will come Monday around 5pm; today is Tuesday. When i express my need to have some solid, effective alone time, i’m told that i’m being hurtful and rejecting. That may be, but i’m also just about to go out of my mind, and that doesn’t do anyone any good. i don’t know what to do. Some days i just want to run away. i don’t ask for money, clothes, jewelry; i just ask for some time alone.

    Thank you very much for listening. :)

    • First of all, I validate everything you are feeling.:) My goodness! You definitely deserve some alone time. I sincerely hope you don’t spend too much time feeling selfish or guilty for asking for it. I’ve had readers show their significant people posts from space2live in order to explain what introversion is and why solitude is crucial.
      I have been in your shoes. You can only extrovert and give to others for so long without losing it. I start to feel raw and edgy and become short with everyone. That is not a good way to be especially when setting an example for young ones. It’s crucial you have time to renew.
      It sounds like you are very empathic which also drains you quickly. The only way to recharge is to get away from others needs and feelings for a bit.
      Could you leave the house and go somewhere? Do your daughters have backup childcare? I hope so.
      I’m in your corner. Uphold boundaries. Be understood. Be heard. There’s nothing wrong with you. Honor your introversion.

  28. Pingback: Building Beautiful Introvert/Extrovert Relationships | space2live

  29. First I would like to thank you for the article. This was sent to me last night by my current girlfriend as we are currently going through some difficulties and I am hoping that maybe she now understands me a little better hearing it from someone else.

    I am an introvert but also have an extrovert side. Unfortunately that side of me is fully used up every day with my job as I am responsible for multiple engineering departments. I enjoy my work as it is complex and requires a lot of creativity, deep thought, as well as faced paced to an extent where it is almost chaotic at times. I enjoy the chaos as it forces me to make many decisions and the day flies by but all of the personal interaction leaves me drained by the time I leave work. I have to chair meetings on a regular basis in front of large audiences, which is probably the hardest for me because when I look out in the room as I am speaking or doing a Q&A with the group I feel as if every person looking is draining some of my energy to the point that when the meeting is over I usually have to go find someplace to sit for an hour, if I can, just to get through the rest of the day.

    The real reason for my post is that recently I have felt completely overwhelmed at work and my girlfriend is very demanding of my time although we live in separate places. I have communicated all of this to her and she is having a very difficult time understanding. I recently took a couple days off work and told her that I really needed to spend a couple days to myself. By the second day she snapped feeling as though I was ignoring her even though I fully communicated that my intentions were to just sit at home, read, watch some TV, do some cleaning and relax with some music. Her fighting with me made me feel guilty do by the end of the second day I wound up feeling obligated to spend the other time with her. Of course this little bit of time and the arguing certainly did not help me get my energy levels back and have continued to haunt our relationship for the past two weeks. Two days ago she was upset telling me that I am not loving and I am withdrawn and so many other things that we had finally come to a head. I told her last night that we need to break off the relationship and she doesnt understand why. I need to be alone. I need time to myself. She is extremely demanding of my time and attention and if I do not give it to her she says there is something wrong with me. She went so far last night to say I have a chemical imbalance and that I need medication. She wants to believe I am depressed or that something else is wrong with me because she cannot understand why I would want to be alone.

    After we got off the phone last night she must have been researching why someone would want to be alone and found this article and sent me the link. I don’t know if she understands it or not but it certainly resonated with me as I have always been the type of person that could go to a party or family get together and have a good time and speak with a ton of people but by the end of it when I get in my car or back to my house I feel a sense of tranquility by being alone. I also liked in the article that it was mentioned that even a person being in the same house can sometimes feel overwhelming when I want to be alone. I wanted to comment on this article because in my experience many women seem to be extroverts and I am sure it is difficult for you if you find yourself with an introvert. We can be difficult to understand. In order to maintain a healthy relationship we will require time to ourselves no matter how good the relationship is. In my opinion, or at least in my circumstance, the person is asking for time to be alone. If they are telling you they need time alone and are out with friends I would take that as a red flag. Not saying that there is anything wrong with someone want to go out with their friends but that is a different matter and at least in my case that would not help me regain my energy. When I want time alone I want to be alone completely. I do not want to be around anyone. I want to shut off my phone, not read emails or texts and just be in silence. It does not mean that we do not care. We would jump and and be there in a flash if we were truly needed for those we care about but unless it is critical we need that time for our own mental health. I can personally say that when I do not get it I become irritable and short tempered. I will fire off at people when it gets to far and then I get upset at myself because I feel bad for snapping at them. When that happens I know I have to disappear and I will take vacation and become distant.

    Being with an introvert is not for everyone and it requires patience and understanding. I think most of us try not to be selfish and I personally know I will push myself to be with my partner even when I know I would rather be alone. I would do this for them but when the time comes that I need to be alone I have to take it. I really have no choice in the matter because if I don’t I am intolerable to be around and I know that.

    Thanks again for the article and I hope that maybe this helps get the message out there to more people.

    • Well said! Thank you for giving the male introvert perspective. As a female introvert I can say that I feel much the same way. I enjoy people but after a while I need a break. I need time to myself preferably with no one even in the house.

      I understand the measures you had to take with your girlfriend. Sometimes we don’t have the energy to keep explaining our needs. Your girlfriend may have commented on another post. Or at the very least, your story is familiar.:) I always think it’s a good idea to be very honest and up front about our need for solitude. It doesn’t go away. If a partner needs more attention then perhaps they need a different partner.

      What are some things your girlfriend could have done to make your relationship flow better? I know giving you space is a requirement but what about texting or email? Is that OK? Were you able to “parallel play” with her. Be in the same room but doing different things?

      Thank you again for sharing. You made excellent points. Space2live readers and their significant others will benefit.

  30. Wow! This sounds very much like me. I’m glad to hear others say that we’re not really alone if there’s another person in the house. My husband of 20 years now Finally gets it that I require a great deal of alone time. He took it as a personal rejection for a long time. He tends to think out loud. He’s noisy, always humming or singing or talking to himself or the pets. It can drive me nutty. It can make me irritable. Shut the F Up! I’m very fortunate these days. I’m a homemaker, with no kids, 3 cats and a dog, so I get to spend all day alone. Once a year I go to a Vipassana meditation retreat, which is 10 days of completely silent meditation. Heaven! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a hermit. I was only happy and comfortable when alone. For a long time I felt that there was something wrong with me because I did not have the desire for all the human interaction that others seem to want and thrive on. They’d say, “You’re just shy. Just force yourself to do it, and it’ll get easier.” Well, I did that. I forced myself into more interactions. It would get more and more difficult, I would get more and more depressed, to the point of being suicidal. Now, at 47, I’ve decided, realized, that I’m okay, I’m good the way I naturally am. Since there have always been stories of hermits and recluses, there is clearly a small segment of the population for whom this is “normal”. I’ve accepted myself, and am finally happy. I look at our society, and the intense, almost constant, interaction which is considered normal. I just don’t get it. And, frankly, I’m a bit proud of that! You won’t catch me texting or on a phone while driving. Reading books and posts about introverts has helped relieve the feeling of being some kind of freak. Actually, I think it’s kind of sad that so many people can’t stand to be alone. Well, I guess it takes all types! Here’s to quiet introverts, and hermits, and recluses!

    • So awesome that you ‘own’ who you are! Hermits are cool! :) I’m going to look into a Vipassana meditation retreat someday. I think I would get a lot out of that. It frustrates me when people think they are helping us by saying we need to get out there more and interact. As if it’s not OK to abstain from grand socializing and busy-ness. Thank you for sharing your story. May you continue on your happy path.

  31. Hi, I’ve been dating this guy recently who I really like. He’s very expressive and sweet and affectionate when we’re together, but when we’re not together he doesn’t call or text much. Sometimes he does not reply to my texts (unless I ask him a direct question). He often goes MIA, and I will not hear from him for days, even weeks. Sometimes he will cancel our plans at the very last minute, saying that he wants to be alone, or he’ll tell me that he’s sick or something. I’ve asked him about these mixed signals but he says that he likes me, he just sometimes needs time alone. I’m not sure if he is introverted, playing me, just a jerk or if he has a mental illness of some kind. In any case, it is tough to be with someone who does not talk to me regularly or who sometimes cancels plans.

    • OMG Jane I feel you, I am on the same boat as you and I was anxiously scrolling down for a response to your post but done see any. My boyfriend is exactly like yours to the tee and now I’m always left wondering if he loves me, playing me or have mental disorder it is so frustrating, can somebody please give a response to this as we dying to know what’s happening. I have tried breaking up with him but he would not take it but then he still wont change and whenever I ask him he would say he loves me. Please someone respond I am dying to know.

    • As Zanele pointed out, I somehow missed your comment and didn’t respond. I’m so sorry. I truly try to be responsive. Perhaps by now you have figured your guy out but I’ll still comment.:)
      It’s very possible that your guy is an introvert. I will tell you that I tend to consider time with someone the most important time and the follow-up with texts/emails/calls as extra or icing on the cake. Calls/texts feel more like interruptions, especially if we just saw each other. When I am really into someone I don’t mind daily texts or emails. But if you have been dating a while (a few months or more) I can see where multiple contacts a day might be too much. Daily connection is not too much to expect or ask for. Your temperament should be honored too but once a day is all I’d expect. Is your man very dedicated to his work or a certain passion? If so, his level of concentration may be so deep that it is difficult to pull himself away. I wrote a post called, Does Your Partner Need a Lot of Space…, I suggest you check it out. It lists the signs of introversion AND disinterest.
      Hope this helps. So sorry for the delayed response.

      • Thank you Brenda for your response to Jane’s post. I am pretty sure my boyfriend is an introvert from everything I’ve read on this blog. He is so into his work and has a high position with responsibilities so he always tells me that his job is demanding so when he’s not working he just wants to be on his own, it is so difficult to love an introvert yet I love him madly. But this blog has helped me understand him better I have sent him a link I hope he takes time to browse through.

  32. AMEN! I’m so glad I found your site. This post nailed it. There are some days I feel like my internal being is screaming in pain from too much human interaction. Those extroverts in my life don’t understand how my recharge is to be ALONE.
    I need to wear the title to this article around my neck like Sandra Bullock in 28 days. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling the way I do when I have to be in constant interaction.

  33. Pingback: Does Your Partner Need a Lot of Space?: Introversion or Just Not That Into You? | space2live

  34. I am neither really extrovert or introvert (i love hosting parties but i love being alone, too and I don’t feel lonely when alone nor overwhelmed by people when at a party, for example), but I wil say that quite a few of the self-proclaimed introverts I have met have been selfish, self-centred and generally make Zero effort to maintain any sort of friendship above the most trivial level. No rsvp to invites and then surprise when you do not expect them to show, cancelling last minute, etc. Also, I really find the ‘i am just observing’ excuse as a bit one-sided really. So what? Everyone else has to just deal with someone sat there likena bump on a log who cannot be bothered to contribute to anything going on at the time?
    I find that sort of behaviour boorish and rude.
    No, I don’t always feel like going to this ormthat event, but if I do, I don’t act as though I am not even there.

    • Eeek! I apologize for the rude introverts you have met. I would say showing up at a party without letting the host know you’re coming is bad form for any personality type.
      If we aren’t contributing it’s because we’re processing or don’t have what we want to say well formulated yet. Most innies will respond graciously if drawn out by someone. Also what often happens is the introvert thinks of a way to contribute later. It’s frustrating for us sometimes because we’d like to light up the room and take charge of a conversation but it just isn’t as easy and natural for us to do it extemporaneously. I’m sure there are pretentious boobs who keep their thoughts to themselves just to be austere and mysterious but most introverts (people in general) don’t want to be rude.
      Thanks for sharing your experience. All feedback is welcome here.:)

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  37. Is it possible to be the two……..introvert and extrovert? You bet! I can be out there and funny and want to do many things but when I need alone time, I surely need it and my friends wonder what is wrong with me. I like the ‘balance’ of both. I can run a party and be there full force and yet I enjoy working alone without all the drama of personalities. I think I came to this realisation when my long term marriage fell apart and I had time to reflect on my life. Wow, life!!!!! Merry Christmas everyone and all the best for 2014!

    • We are all somewhere on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. I’m with you. I can attend a party or host a get-together and enjoy myself but love doing the party prep alone and often need an empty day (doing nothing but restocking my energy reserves – reading, resting, movie watching) afterwards. It often takes a big change to make us create space to ponder. Love that growing space.:) Thanks for contributing Linda. Love your perspective. Merry Christmas!

  38. Such an INCREDIBLE true description this story is. Almost frighting how real this is and how deep the controversy can go between introverts and extroverts.

  39. Then how does an extrovert have the security that they’re ever going to live with or marry the introvert? Seems like the pair just won’t work. I ask because my boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years and I’m tired of his alone time being more important than spending time with me when I a have free day. I have kids and we live separate. when kids are with dad and i have a day off he still want to be alone when he’s not seen me in days. I don’t understand it at all. I want to marry and live together and do everything together, how is that possible if the need to be alone requires one to not be present in the same house? I Hate alone time! (totally do not understand it, even after reading ur post.) The only way I see to understand it is to extrovert to be with extrovert and introvert with an introvert

    • I have been in your shoes exactly even though I am an introvert. I dated an introvert who always seemed to need alone time when I finally had time to be with him. I have children too and it was the same setup. We didn’t work as a longterm couple although he was the most amazing match for me in so many other arenas. Even though I am an introvert I was willing to work my solitude in around the times I was able to meet with him. I had more time to myself in general but I put him first whenever I could (working around kid schedule). I even offered to do household chores together or help him at work in order to be with him.

      So, some introverts are willing to bend for a quality relationship that gives them energy.

      Do remember that his temperament won’t change even if you get married. He will need time to himself. It’s a delicate balance between relationships and solitude. Keep the communication very open. If you can be “alone together” (reading, listening to music, working on projects together but on different tasks) in the same room that is wonderful too. If he feels safe telling you he needs time alone that is a major bonus. Please respect that wish. But he should honor your temperament as well. There will be give and take. There has to be no guilt or shame in it.

      If at all possible let him come to you. You asking him for time is honest but too much can feel like neediness and this may scare him. He may foresee his time and energy bleeding away. Independence is attractive to introverts.

      Best of luck. I know we’re not easy to comprehend. Big credit to you for reading space2live and being open to introvert awareness.

      • I also want to add that as i read the blog and talk to him i understand more and changed my point of view in many things, I live a busy life work, friends, family suck the life out of me, recently i started to take time and meditate about many events thru the day and how they made feel, for so long i been trying to hang out with people doing fun things i didn’t get to do since I got married so young, but i honestly think that is not me i do not feel confortable being around so many people…i enjoy more a
        Peaceful trail walk or morning beach run, I feel so recharged….I get annoyed hearing people I can’t absorve so much information anymore….I feel mentally exhausted…Now Im taking the little time I have to connect and find myself…maybe you should do that too catherine will help clear out your mind and see things different….as single moms we are always on the roll and I learned that men wether introverts or not don’t like to be suffocated and needing so much of them will make them go away….Brenda’s blog is amazing not only to understand introverts but it kind makes you sit back, think and slow down.

    • Catherine, i was on the same boat but as much as I love him i gave up, i became aware of the site after the break up, I understand him not but he made me feel so unsecure which i never was. Im a single mom my kids are 24/7 with me. I have a great career with the marines, Im also a personal trainer In the little time we both had i look into being with him but because his personal and financial issues the need of being alone (shut down) drove me insane I could not understand why this amazing loving man would not miss me? But yet he would get jealous if guys made comments on my facebook photos he had a little of insecurity too because Im in a great shape and he does not do type of exercise so i made dure i re asure him everyday on how special and handsome he was for me. Last night I posted a picture of a party with a guy (my former boyfriend made a comment i went to read it but he didnt only deleted it but also left fb) does he care for me? I think he does, he knows i care for him but I can’t deal with the poor comunication and alone time…I believe you have to be happy in order to make others happy, But i also know love conquers anything, I hope you have better luck than me:)

    • I’m tired of living with my introvert husband. By default, I’ve become introverted too because I was hoping I’d have someone to go to church with me, parties, social gatherings, etc. He goes out to eat and then to a movie once a month. I can’t take this and its unhealthy. I actually quit doing all these things because I wanted him to with me so much. Now I’m so oppressed by it. We’ve put up a room so he can be alone in his room. A bed so incase I don’t go to bed by 11:00, he can just go to sleep in there. All his introversion, has left ME ALONE and I’m not that introverted. I’m not an extreme extrovert, I am balanced, or at least until the last 7 years. My daughter is suffering because of it too. We don’t know what to do. What’s worse is I moved here away from my family to be with him and I thought he had a good family and he doesn’t get along with his family either and so it makes it awkward for me. I’m lost now. I’m dying socially and spiritually, I have no out put. I don’t work or have a job either. I bought two dogs and he hates one of them and says its too much. I can’t take it. We don’t believe in divorce and I still love him. He doesn’t believe in counceling..doesn’t trust anyone. He also changed his belief system after we got married which is even harder. He doesn’t understand why I don’t “respect” him. OMG HELP. lol

      • You need to develop your own life. Would you go to social events on your own if you weren’t married to him? Of course you would, and you should continue to do so. Find ways to fill your social needs and give him the space he craves. It will improve your happiness and potentially save the marriage. If not, you may have to reconsider your relationship

  40. Great blog… so SO true….

    I’ve often wondered why someone would go walking on a private, quiet, beautiful trail (the exact type of place where I go to get into my own head) and spend that time talking on the phone. It drives me crazy to see that. I want to scream, “Can’t you unplug for 5 minutes?!?!” But then it hit me. Oh, duh…. that person is an extrovert. He (or more often she) needs sound and contact and stimulation to recharge. Different from my need for silence and aloneness, but no less valid. I just wish they wouldn’t do it in “my space.”

    • I am with you. Nature trails are supposed to be natural – no cellphone blabber. I try to be understanding but have been known to ask someone to take their conversation elsewhere. Then I ruminate on that bit of conflict for the next hour.;)

      Just today in the grocery store. A woman stated loudly to her husband every move she made as she packed up her groceries. “I’m going to put the bananas on top.” “Your dad can help us when we get home.” I think she even annoyed the other extroverts.

      Thanks for your comment. I totally relate.

      • “Ruminating on that conflict…” lol. I often blow up at people, which obviously is not good either. It seems I have a conflict with myself on whether to say something or not, and then I let it go until I can’t take it anymore. On a nature trail, that person passes me and is gone. Being on the same general route in the grocery store, or standing in a long line, or in a restaurant, different story. I really don’t want to be privy to someone’s one-sided conversation. And the bathroom! What is with people on the phone in the bathroom??? Really? Do those people just have an inflated sense of their own importance and need to show it to the world? I assume no one but me cares about my private phone conversations. Listening to others’ and trying to shut them out is a total energy drain, even more so than dealing with inane small talk.

        I really like your last paragraph. Why is it so hard for us to ask for space? Why do we need to work up the courage to ask for it? A couple weeks ago, I was checking out at Walmart and the cashier was just going on and on and on, and I was in my own head and not really paying attention to her, and then she gives me this pained look and asks me if I’m alright. What? I realized she was totally misreading my non-responses to her, thinking maybe I was ill? I don’t know what she was thinking, but clearly, in her mind, the communication issue was mine and not hers. My immediate response was to protect her feelings by actually allowing her to engage me. What on earth for? I should have said, “there’s nothing wrong with me, I just don’t talk much.” I’m getting better at that, but it’s still hard.

      • There is a tiny bit of shame in not wanting to connect with others. We are conditioned to think that “good people” give their attention to others as often as possible. The most liked people always have a smile and quick comment for everyone. We all want to be liked but sometimes it is painful to give and give to every person who wants to speak (so many people yacking away vapidly). I know I try to save my energy for my high-value people (kids, friends, family) but so many others want my attention. I wish I could absorb and respond to more people like the friendly, likable extroverts but I can’t. I focus on my other strengths like: high concentration, in-depth conversations, long lasting relationships, independence, high empathy, help others filter and slow down.

        Thanks for your comments LB.:)

  41. I’m really confused of my introverted girlfriend, cause sometimes we have a great conversation and sometimes not… Before she wants to see me often at least twice a week but now that she’s so busy with her work we see each other just once a month now… and even through message, she rarely message me now unlike before… And it’s confusing to me if she really love me or not… And also she still likes to go to night clubs to party with her friends, she even don’t tell me that she goes out with them…
    I also want to know if introverts don’t want their gf/bf knows of what they’re doing or where do they go…

    • Hmmm…it sounds to me like she is just not that into you. As an introvert, I come back a LOT. I don’t need to retreat for a month… Maybe like, 3 or 4 hours. Or a day or two if I spent a whole day with someone.

      • It is confusing and hard to tell if a person is really an introvert? I thought my ex was or is an introvert he broke up with me over a month ago, at the time i didnt know his shutting down drove me
        Insane…although he said he has strong feelings for me is best we go apart to avoid increasing hurt. He claims i dont lusten to him or show care? but he never went out without telling he was caring…however i saw him today to return his belongings in my mind was a drop and go but he came out of his car to say thank you? Gave me a huge hug kissed my forhead
        Then pop kiss me in the lips i was shocked cold as stone we both walked back to our cars and left..he seemd nervous and Im still WTH? Haven’t talked to him since then….Im an extrovert i tried understanding but from being the most loving people they can go to go away!! Too hurtful to stand by you have to do what is best for you.

      • I wish we weren’t so confusing. Even in our own minds we can be frustrated with our desire to connect and our need for alone time. Ideally, your ex-boyfriend would be more communicative and let you know his thoughts. It’s hard to say words that may hurt someone. We introverts are very selective. Relationships take energy and they can give energy as well. We have to choose those that don’t drain us. It’s a delicate dance. May you find love in a more receptive partner.

      • I need some advice on how I deal with my introvert girlfriend. She loves me but does not show it as much as I would like. We live coast to coast and do long distance once a month sometimes two. I cannot move yet because of my kids and she has kids. She devotes all of there energy to her 3 boys. She says she does not want another person in her life. I feel rejected sometimes and trying to learn how to deal with her needing alone time. Though when we first started dating, she was calling and texting me all the time to where I thought it was a little weird….. Now the fun texting has disappeared, seeing each other becomes a little strenuous probably because I want more and she is wanting less. We have dated approx. 2 years. I really could use some direction from the introverts or extros who have had to deal with this type of situation.

    • Hmmm…it sounds to me like maybe she just isn’t that into you.

      Introverts need time to recharge. A few hours. Maybe a couple of days if we have spent a very intense and/or long time with people. But not a month.

      Also, the night clubs thing…I can’t speak for all introverts, but sheesh…you couldn’t get me into one of those for more than 15 minutes more than a couple of times a year. Talk about introvert drain.

    • Did I not respond to you? So sorry. My gut tells me that you can do better and your girlfriend is drifting away from you. It is true that we all need space sometimes and that can definitely include going out with our friends but she seems to be on a permanent hiatus from you. If she hides her outings from you that feels bad. Communication and honesty are key elements of a healthy relationship.
      Introverts need time alone but a month is quite a retreat. Do you feel that is a good relationship? My gut says you don’t. Don’t assume all introverts are like her. We are loving and are quite capable of long term relationships.

      • It really all started when she gets so busy, she’s into sales so lots of talking to other people that I think drains her… And from that point we rarely chat cause when she got home she’s tired and needs to recharge… She even don’t message me the whole day during her off day, and just message me the other day that she miss me… But I don’t feel her love and care that she used to be before… Is it because of her busy schedule that she can’t handle both? Cause when I ask her to talk about it she just said “I have nothing to say”… So I’m really confused of what we are right now…

      • Sales could definitely be draining her. She may feel bad about not being able to juggle her job and your relationship. She also may not be passionate about your relationship anymore. Only you can discern that. I suggest a break for a week or so. See if she seeks you out. Let her know you are there when she is ready to connect (only if you are willing to do that). Best of luck.

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  43. Brenda, thank you for your words i wish i found your blog a month back :( I was doing well following your advice and my heart but i don’t think i will be able to just be there for my ex boyfriend, I saw on facebook a tagged from a woman I got jealous and asked him if she is the reason he left me. He didn’t know what i was talking about later he txt me to say he checked facebook and removed the tag which was a mistake by his friend and that he has no one. I do believe him somehow but I also realized i can’t and I won’t be able to stand by his side supporting him as a friend which is sad but i have to do what feels good for me. Thank you for responding for sure i learned do much again thank you!!

  44. Thank you brenda. Thank you so much. Ur words resonate with me. I am a 16 year old girl from india. I am not an introvert (mostly) because i dont get that suffocated with people around. I have a select few friends and am very comfortable around them. Though sometimes all i feel like doing is to run away from them. To shut them off,cut them out and be my on my own. It doesnt happen with my girl-friends. But with my boyfriend (all past and present) it happens always. I need to get away from them . I just tell them i need some time to analyse myself. But that hits the wrong button and the guy goes like ‘ur breaking us? What did i do? Why are u doing this’ .
    Am kinda confused why this is happening to me? I mean am comfortable with these guys. And i love them too. But still, how can i want to run away from them? Am i introverted? What is this?

    And now, am in a beautiful relationship with a guy who love me a lot. I love him too. Before we committed we had a strong friendship. Even back then i knew his feelings for me. So, even when we were friends i had shut away once or twice which resulted in him feeling very bad. I didnt even feel guilty then. Cos i just knew i had to do this. Now, we both are together and happy. Still somedays when i wake up i feel the need to cut him out of my life. But then somedays i want to be with him for my whole life. Its all very confusing.

    I have completely stopped asking for me times because i dnt wanna hurt him. So instead what my natural response to him has become is, if we fight on something then i tell him i am leaving. And he gets so broken. He starts crying. And he then does next to anything to make me feel loved and cared for. It disturbs him a lot. But it makes me feel loved and awesome to have a guy who loves me so much. Recently he told me how disturbed he gets when i do this. It made me feel very guilty. I dont do it purposefully. Its just a natural response.

    I dont know what to do. How do i handle this​? Should i just ask for me time? And show him this site so that he gets what i am going through? But then the problem is he and i know very well that m not that introverted, so he wont belive me when i say that is the reason why i need to go away from him sometimes.

    p.s. U write so beautifully. And ur words connect with me. Not the extreme parts like getiing suffocated by peole,but the want to be alone, it couldnt be expressed in a better way. Please always continue writing. I am glad that i found ur blog!

    • I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Thank you for writing. I believe you are an introvert or at the very least an independent girl. You are an introvert if you get energy from quiet time. You can still be quite social but you need time alone or with one person in order to recharge.

      I had a boyfriend like yours when I was in college. He would cry and get very upset when I wanted to do things with my girlfriends or just be by myself. He made me feel bad so I gave up a lot of what I truly needed in order to fulfill his needs. I eventually broke it off with him because there wasn’t much of a relationship beyond his begging and my need to pull away. I felt very free after I was away from him.

      You are sixteen years old, very young. You do not have to think about spending the rest of your life with anyone. Perhaps you have a lot you want to accomplish yourself before you settle down into a permanent partnership? Perhaps you haven’t found a partner who fits splendidly with your temperament? I love that you are very self-aware. You know when you need space and you let the people in your life know too. This is good. You are establishing boundaries.

      My advice to you is to listen deeply to your inner voice. Be honest with your loved ones. If they are always unhappy with your genuine, heartfelt requests then they are not allowing you to be your highest self. Relationships require respect and honor from both parties. Don’t settle for less.

      Best of luck. I think you know what feels right to you. Follow your energy.:)

      • thanx .. i will show this to my bf and we will talk about it. see what we can do about it…
        u know how i stumbled upon ur blog? i googled for “how to tell a loved one that u need time away” …i read all the comments and saw that i needed real advice on this “me time” thing…
        about my being very young, yes of course thats right…and i do want a lot to accomplish is my life before settling with him. we are in a healthy relationship (read: no sexually active stunts) ….but i do want to remain with him without having to give up on myself.
        shall keep u posted on what we decide after “the talk” . i think we’ll solve this out too..
        thanx. :)

  45. So thankful for this site i learn so much and thank you for taking the time to respond…my i ex boyfriend (broke up about a month ago) he tells me he has feeling for me and he cares so much but it seems like i dont care to listen to what he has to say, i didnt want to ask much because when stressed he shuts down. He took that as i dont care, so he thinks we have no future because he does all the listening. Instead i thought he was just making excuses because he met someone else. Anyhow i told him Im here if he needs to talk, he sends me forwards with funny emails, something he didnt before….not sure how to act, he text saying he only slept 3 hours and was tired and working in the heat. I asked if he need it anything. Of course he said no! Anyway i dropped off a nice refreshing smoothie and a sandwich to his job…i didnt see him just dropped off! He appreciated but do i keep my distance? do i ignore him? do i follow up and ask how he is doing? Not sure what to do, I love him but I cant read him and I dont want to get hurt more.

    • You are obviously a thoughtful person. I think you are doing the right thing by letting him know you are there for him but keeping a slight distance. You have different communication styles. One of the most loving things you can do for someone is listen to them with your whole being. If he does come around and want to see you I would plan on doing more listening than talking. I would also ask questions about him and his work, ideas,family. Don’t make it all about your relationship. Make it about HIM. If you can do that, you obviously have the ability to give in a relationship. He will see that and feel validated at the same time. But… be careful not to sell yourself out. Be mindful of what feels right to you. It should be a two-way street. Best of luck.:)

  46. Pingback: Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving | space2live

  47. I have been having same space issue with my partner! Like everyone else I feel its an excuse when he ask me for his space and feels really insulted..we have been friends from last 5 years so in the beginning of the relation I thought it will be perfect one since we have been best friends. But it has been really difficult, I feel I have been with a mad person. I just cant understand what he wants. If I leave him alone for a while then he says I don care and if i devote my time to him, he says I suffocate him. Please help me as the relation is almost dying..

    • Admittedly, often there is a fine line between suffocating attention and appropriate space for introverts. As an introvert myself, I’ve witnessed my own personal need for solitude as well as a deep desire to feel connected within a relationship. I go back and forth. Ebb and flow. It primarily depends on my energy levels. Time alone fills me up and gives me energy to reach out and fulfill my need for intimacy/connection. It sounds like your partner has a hard time respectfully expressing what he wants. You should not be on an emotional roller coaster all the time. If you believe this relationship truly has potential I would lean towards giving him his space and letting him come to you when he wants to connect. If it hurts you too much to be away from him then perhaps you should find a partner whose ideal “togetherness” is more in line with yours.

      Don’t settle for less than what feels good to you. Thank you for writing in and sharing.

      • Thanks for your reply.. I should have check this site before the relation.
        It has been crazy.. Unfortunately its like my first true love and letting go of it, is really hurtful. I would like to try by giving the space..:)

  48. I really wish I had read this arcticle yesterday, I am the extrovert and it really does crush me when my girlfriend or ex, as of about an hour ago, exhibits that behavior. It has been bothering me for months and I thought it had something to do with me. I finally got fed up and let her have it (verbally of course) and I find myself sans one beautiful, lovely woman. So now I feel not only stupid for not looking it up before but heartbroken as well. Hindsight is a Bitch! (pardon the swear, feel like I’m allowed one right now :( )

    • First of all, don’t beat yourself up for feeling hurt or taking your girlfriend’s need for solitude personally. It feels like rejection. No one likes rejection, so we react. I’ve been in your shoes (as an introvert) with another introvert. It stings. As an extrovert, I’m sure it was difficult to understand how she felt when she needed space. It probably didn’t make sense to you because you get energized from interactions.

      Now you have more awareness. Perhaps you could approach her with this post and your new understanding? Remember, she will still need a break from you occasionally. It’s her temperament. If you think you can handle that with good communication and respect then I would not give up.

      Best of luck.:)

  49. Thank you for this article! Finally, I found something that describes exactly how I feel! Been going crazy, trying to constantky explain my need for space, my yearning for solitude, dreaming of those moments when I have the house to myself…etc. And all that time, I used to think, and feel, well… alone! Now I know that I’m not.

    • No, you are not alone in your desire for aloneness.;) In fact, up to 50% of the population may be like you according to Susan Cain’s book, Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. If you have not read Quiet, I highly recommend you do.

      It helps to be validated doesn’t it? You are not strange, wrong or selfish. You are simply wired to re-charge in solitude or quiet.

      Best of luck with your new found self-awareness.:)

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  51. I have read your post and the responses to it. While I understand and appreciate the needs of the introvert to save themselves from being overly drained, I do have to say, as someone who loves an introvert, this post does not explain enough for me, or justify some behaviour. The man I have found myself with began our relationship pushing himself outside of his introversion. He gave and he promised. There were times when he would cancel or go missing in some way. These times left me feeling rejected and confused but at the heart of it and in my gut I felt like I knew what we had was real so I fought past the hurt feelings. He would tell me that he would spend a year and then some making up for his cancellations or disappointments or rejections. I would believe him; however, eventually I learned that he just couldn’t make up for it, even if he wanted to. So, my thought regarding all of this is yes, be true to your introversion if that is who you are, but when you fight against it and reel in a partner who decides to love you, then you flip the switch, it is not fair to lay blame or point fingers at your suffocating partner. When someone decides to need you because you present yourself as someone who also needs them, then you all if a sudden don’t, then accept the part you had in creating that need or “kryptonite” as you had mentioned in one of your blogs. The point I believe I’m trying to make here is simply be careful with the hearts of others as you work to protect yourself…no one deserves the hurt.

    • As someone who has been on both sides of the hurt/hurting, I agree with you. Hearts are fragile and should be cherished. I feel sometimes introverts want to be highly engaged with their partners and feel they should be so they push themselves until they realize they can’t do it anymore. It’s usually not intentional to hurt their significant other. It simply happens after a time of over-extending themselves. On the other hand, I have felt the frustration of having a partner appear to be committed and then pull away. This hurts… a lot. The only salve is transparent communication and a willingness to understand each other’s needs. Introverts need to be open early on in a relationship and explain the importance of time alone. It’s difficult because in the beginning of couplehood the emotional intimacy is so heady that we often get carried away in the wonderful feelings. Later on when the relationship requires more effort the introvert may panic a little as he/she watches their energy flow out. All relationships take work, of course. An introvert just has to be mindful of their commitments and their need for re-charging. It’s a delicate balance but can be workable if the partners see each other’s gifts as well as the challenges.

      I know introverts often feel bad for letting their special people down. I can also tell you it feels like drowning when you can’t get any space for yourself. It isn’t fair for an introvert to mis-represent themselves as someone who can provide continual attention but sometimes they don’t even know their own needs. I didn’t understand my need for solitude (introversion) until I was in my mid-thirties. By then I was in deep with a marriage and three children. I never intended to be misleading.

      Thank you for giving your perspective. I absolutely respect it. May understanding and communication help with your relationship.

  52. Hello,
    I can totally related with some of this post too. That is crazy. I am an extrovert and my bf is an introvert. We are so opposite but it’s scary when he is always asking for me time. I did not understand what that mean b/c I am so loving and caring and nuturing. I like to be part of a big circle of people. I feel that since I start to date him all my friends has gone away. I feel isolated with him. I do not know if that is me anymore but I do feel that a little of me is lost bc i am trying to always please him instead. I get sad bc of how he always wants to go to his cave. It confused me but when he get mad. He keep saying he can just leave me like that. I have been dating this person for more than a year now. I do not know if our relationship will last bc of our differences. He does not trust me like I trust him. So confuse.

    • It makes me sad when I hear extroverts say they give up some of their light in order to be with their introverted partners. Both parties should be equally respected and honored. Communication and awareness are key to making an introvert/extrovert relationship work. I have been in a relationship where I gave up my friends in order to please my boyfriend (also an introvert). I was miserable and eventually ended it. It took me a while but I was much happier and wiser for the experience.

      There has to be trust in a relationship. I know you have invested time into this man but I’m bothered by the fact that he keeps saying he could leave you at any time. If he truly loved and cherished you he wouldn’t threaten you with that. Others will appreciate your loving, nurturing nature. Ask yourself how you feel when you are with him. If you don’t feel full, loved and content most of the time then it may be time for a change.

      Thanks for sharing your story. Best of luck in your journey.

  53. I am learning about my relationship of over a year now. My boyfriend is an introvert. EXTREME! and i am an EXTREME extrovert. There are alot of things I don’t understand about being introvert since I am extrovert. My feelings seem to get hurt a lot by him. I have a really hard time understanding why he does not want to go and view the world. I am slowly learning about it in my learnings of introverts. I get really excited about anything and everything. It is hard for me to realize that not everyone is like that. I don’t want my relationship to end because of how opposite we are. I am trying to understand him better and I hope that he can do the same with me but I don’t think he is willing to try on his part. I feel like I have lost myself for giving into an introvert for over a year now and he doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. I am sorry I am just babbling now because I need someone to talk too.. Thanks for this blog it has opened up my eyes!

    • Thank you for being so candid about your relationship. It’s great that you are gaining understanding about introverts. You are not the only extrovert that has said they feel like they have lost themselves in trying to give to an introvert. The interesting thing is I think introverts feel like we cater to extroverts all the time. You must not lose yourself. It’s vital to stay true to who you are. If you are constantly altering your behavior and dreams in order to fit in with your boyfriend’s ideals, you will lose yourself and be miserable. There needs to be a mutual respect and honoring of each other’s temperaments. It sounds like you have been very open with him about your feelings and he is not willing to put much effort into addressing your needs/wants.

      I am an introvert who loves going out into the world and I get very excited and passionate about many things. I go out, have a ball with others and then head home for a bit of mellow-ness and/or solitude. If you are giving your boyfriend a good amount of space and he still doesn’t get excited about being with you and exploring the world then perhaps you should take on the world without him.

      Do not take his need for quiet and alone time personally. It is how he is wired. It’s how he gets energized. The key to an introvert/extrovert relationship is awareness of each other’s traits and a willingness to respect and admire your differences. Communication and honesty are so important.

      Best of luck. Don’t settle and do be mindful of your own happiness.

      • Yeah I just learned recently how much I changed to please him. I am a worrier and a caretaker at the same time so it use to worry me how he always wants to believe alone or just to be with me and no one else.

        What I have learned today is to not take offense if he ever wants to be alone. I honestly can’t wait for him to get home from work today so I can tell him that! lol.

        I am slowly getting back to myself and who I was before I met him. It will either drift me away from the relationship or make us stronger. I am hoping though now that I am learning about who I am as an extrovert and who he is as an introvert that it will make it easier and us stronger. Only if he is willing to a little bit of compromise which he tries a little but for the most part he is just happy in his room playing video games. I guess I don’t understand how one can be happy just doing that 24/7 and how they can not feel they are missing out on this world? I love life. life is short and I have been through a lot of bad things that make me appreciate living and I have tried so hard to get him to see the little things that it ended up changing me. So I told him I am done trying. You are who you are and I am going to start living again and you will realize what you are missing out on when I am gone all the time. That will happen or he will just continue on being happy by himself and I will drift off into this world being happy else where.

        I do have one question?

        He always says he doesn’t need anybody. Sometimes I get offended when he says that because I think to myself well then why are you even in a relationship?

        I guess I would just like to hear someone else’s thoughts on that one….

      • I think what he is saying is he has a very satisfying inner-world that nourishes him. He can always go internal. He doesn’t have the same need for action and companionship that you do. I think you are being wise by continuing on as yourself. If he truly loves you he will miss you and ask for a way to compromise so that he can have his time alone as well as time with you.

        Personally, I need time alone but I always come around to wanting human connection too. I would do what makes you feel charged and happy (without him). The good ones come into your life and stay. You don’t have to chase him. He will find you if there is a worthwhile connection.

        Best of luck. Keep us posted.:)

    • I am an introvert and LOVE my space. I live with my boyfriend who has an adult son that is mentally handicapped (autistic). The boys mother takes her son 4 days a month (2 weekends) the rest of the time he is with us. He is involved in activities in the community, but regardless the majority of the time he is here in “my space”. I frequently get angry with him over petty things, sometimes just because I can hear him in his upstairs room.
      My boyfriend and I on our own function quite well. He likes to stay busy with his tasks and I with mine. I do still desire to be with him throughout the day just not all the time. When his son is here I feel suffocated and horribly on edge. I think it is to the point of unhealthy. He has talked about the possibility of his son moving out, but I don’t want that repercussion of that on me. Not to mention it seems that there is never anything done about it. He frequently gets mad at me for letting his son bother me.

      Thing 2 about me. I am from a large family. This does not allow me to be who I am, introverted. Well at least they don’t understand. I have felt my whole life that I am weird or maybe off (black-sheeped, may be the proper term). I don’t fit into clicks and have a few close friends. I have the tendency to do my own thing. But I then over process the fact that I am not the one carrying on over “whatever” with the other woman and feel left out.
      To deal with this handicap of mine I started to drink years ago. After a few drinks I would relax a bit and deal with the social situation that I was placed in. I do not handle social situations well and in our society that is extremely frowned upon. Too, I don’t feel I totally accept my introversion. I at times wish I could socialize better or feel more comfortable socially, I just don’t. I don’t believe in medicating either, I don’t dislike myself that much. I just feel really miserable inside at times. I also sound crazy, but this is my life.

      • I have felt like you do with your boyfriend’s son around. There is a heavy guilt for wanting to be free of others, particularly when they are children and/or family members. Know you are not alone. You are an introvert who needs solitude. It’s innate. Things are compounded when our own family doesn’t understand or support us. It can feel very lonely and make us think there is something wrong with us. It may help to talk to a therapist or some neutral party.

        Using alcohol to ease your social frustrations is a form of medicating. I understand the desire for a relaxed feeling while socializing. Is there any chance your family or at least one or two members would benefit from further awareness about introversion? Could you direct them to space2live? I think it’s cool that you do your own thing. Are there other lone wolves that you could bond with?

        It breaks my heart to hear how miserable you feel inside. I have been there. The only relief I found was by connecting with others with similar feelings. Also, finding a passion that makes you want to get up in the morning also helps. Meaningful conversation and work can change your world. Hugs, peace and strength to you. Thank you for sharing so candidly.

  54. Wow, perfect blog, my boyfriend of 10 months just broke up with me, i gave him a hardtime about going missing, he told me he shuts down when he is stressed, i thought he had someone else but he told me after 10 months I dont know him well and show no intetest to understand him. He said with how he feels about me no way he wants to increase any pain. He also said is better we break up…He is going through financial and career issues, bad relationship with his daughter, i feel so bad i didnt understand him, his siter told me he has no one else you just put him against the wall when he need it space…I truly wish he would give me a change to make things right. Thank you your blog opened my eyes.

    • Yes, I’d say your former boyfriend has the classic characteristics of an introvert. Don’t beat yourself up for not understanding at the time. When extroversion is your personality type it can be easy to take an introvert’s need for space personally. Since solitude and quiet are not your natural ways to recharge it can feel like rejection or as in your case, make you suspicious. I’ve been on both sides of the this scenario. Give him space for a while – like weeks and then gently let him know you want to support and listen to him. You could even tell him you have been doing some research on introversion and have a much better understanding of how he is wired.

      Best of luck. Remember constant interruptions and demands on an introvert’s time are just going to push him away (even if he enjoys your company).

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Thank you for responding, he actually talked to me today, and you are right he says he has feelings for me and he cares a lot for me but he sees no future, where few days ago he wanted to be part of my world…so i had to suck it up and instead of demanding and asking I said im here if you need me…hard for me because i want a response right away :( so hard!

      • I’m sorry things are not ideal in your relationship. I believe you are doing the right thing by letting him be. If there truly is something there he will find you. Pestering him for a response would only drive him further away. At least he communicated openly with you. Make the best of this time and reflect on what you learned. You will take that knowledge with you into your next relationship. Strength and quick healing to you.

  55. Hiya Brenda,
    I just want to say thank you so much for posting this! I’m finding it really hard to feel ok with myself in a school setting as nobody seems to understand why I want to lunch alone or don’t talk before school starts. People find it so weird that I don’t crave going out to parties or hanging out with others after school. I’ve always found it really surprising how nasty other students can get, for instance the “What’s wrong with you, that’s so weird.” is a classic. But finding out that there are others who have had or are having the same needs as you is really comforting. Thank you again for the great post! :)

    • I’m so glad you have the awareness to know there is nothing wrong with you. May I ask how old you are? You are you. Be true to your nature. It’s easy to sell yourself out and go with the crowd. The more you live according to your temperament the more likely you are to find soul deep friends or soul deep solitude.:) Fill yourself up.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your story.

  56. Dearest Brenda,
    Like so many have already said, I feel like you expressed precisely what I’ve never been able to put into words. In fact, until very recently, I never even realized that we have special needs; I always assumed I was just…different. As I was reading through this post, I kept waiting to read something I disagreed with (“Oh, now THERE, we’re different.”), but everything was spot on. Thank you for giving us voice, and for helping me to realize that being this way is okay.

    One note: I wonder if having to respond to so many comments doesn’t take too much out of you. Doesn’t the demand on your time get to you?

    • You are so thoughtful regarding the time involved with responding to comments. I love connecting with others over a topic that is obviously near and dear to me. It buoys and encourages me to know that others are looking for the same kind of validation and understanding. I am nourished by the connecting. Now that I get consistent responses to my posts it does take a fair amount of time to follow up. I still love it. My only tiny issue is that I need to make a living and all this connecting does not pay monetarily (but does enrich me in so many other ways). I am worried that once I start working for a paycheck I will be hard-pressed to fit in time for thoughtful responses to my readers. I do not like to let people down and I do not want to become a crazy-overloaded shrew either.;) I hope to remedy this by committing more of my writing time to actual “work hours” and not just my writing “hobby”.
      Thank you for your kind words and thoughtfulness Andrea.

      • Brenda,
        Okay, I get it. Talking about introversion and connecting with others like you doesn’t necessarily suck life out of you like I thought I must. Your answer makes sense.
        I have another question, if you’re up for it: Do you think introverts tend to be people-pleasers?

      • My knee-jerk answer to your people pleasers question is, yes we are people pleasers. We don’t like conflict and we are fairly in tune with others’ feelings. I do know some introverts though who do their own thing and don’t worry about making everyone happy. These are mostly male introverts. What do you think?

      • I agree, Brenda: Most people-pleasers I know are introverts. I hadn’t thought about the gender lines but, now that I think about it, yes, most of the “do-their-own-thing” introverts are male.

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  58. The problem I have with alot of the relationship type comments is the extroverts always say but I leave them alone so we should be ok!!

    As an introvert with many extroverted friends and a spouse that is not true. An extroverts idea of leaving me alone is singing to me from another room, checking on me every 15 minutes, talking to themselves next to me, blasting the radio, walking in the room and looking at me and then walking out, sending funny links via text. etc.

    These are not examples of alone time extroverts!! And in fact in today’s modern world true solitude is hard to come by so we need your help! Trust me that the more true solitude an introvert gets the less they will need to be alone. For me personally every interruption almost triples the amount of time I will need to feel better.

    My husband now is very great support for me. He will hold my phone while I’m recharging and he wears headphones while he listens to music. He also sets a timer we agree on so he can come get me.

    With frustrations from the extroverts side like lack of compliments, awareness of your achievements, lack of affection that is indeed hard for us. My husband has talked to me quite a bit and I have put alot of work into it. I do use calenders to bring birthdays and holidays to my attention.

    Some of the other skills we use are things like he can ask me for compliments. ex. How do you feel about this promotion? and…? and…? Leading me this way gives me time and the opportunity to say what I feel without having to be spontaneously articulate about it all at once.

    He’s also allowed to show me what he has accomplished in the house chore wise. “Look here honey see I did the floor today”. And I say “hey that looks brilliant” and he says and..? I say “I’m grateful you did that for me since I pulled my back the other day, your so thoughtful baby.”

    Yes affection can be difficult too. Not only because of our temperament but also because it seems to open the flood gates for extroverts to jump on you being all “my gosh you really do like me lets do 15 impossible things before bed right now!!” The consequences of compliments and affection can start to seem a bit frightening especially if you are already depleted.

    My husband knows now that when I get home from my customer service job that I will just dive into a book and he needs to ignore me. But I also know that when I’ve made a conscious decision to rejoin the world I also need to give him the affection he was pining for, so I ask for cuddle time and he is only too happy to oblige.

    Sometimes I have a tough day and I do get sucked into a book or project. He will gently come up to me and clear his throat and say hey you’ve been reading for 1hr 15 minutes :P and I’ll look up from the book eating my face and realize that yes I am refreshed and I am happy to see him and yes we will cuddle right now.

    The rewards for us learning to work together this way means that I am not a recluse the entirety of the weekend or afternoon. I do host parties and goto parties. He gets intense fun and affection from me. I feel safer and I am more naturally complimentary and affectionate. We do more plans with friends spur of the moment since now I do spend the majority of my time topped up and not depleted.

    Ultimately romance between E’s and I’s is the same as it always has been. Communicate, be honest, work hard, be creative, respect the other persons needs and care deeply for each other. It’s the two of you against the world!

    • Oh wow! I love this comment! You gave so many great examples and genuine solutions. You were truly helpful in showing how an Extrovert/Introvert relationship can work. I agree it is all about communication, honesty and respect. We can benefit from each other’s gifts if we honor the differences. Thank you, thank you for taking the time to share so candidly. I will refer to your words many times when helping E/I couples. Continued warmth and love in your relationship. :)

  59. I am so glad I stumbled upon this.

    I’ve never been great at explaining things, especially when it comes to my introversion. I felt like you wrote everything I was feeling, thinking, and wanted to say to my loved ones. I’m from a family of extroverts so it was difficult growing up when all I wanted to do was have “me” time. This was very difficult on my mother. It wasn’t like I was intentionally trying to hurt, it was just how I was and I always carried guilt ’cause of it..

    I am now an adult, living with my boyfriend in his home state. (I’m from New England, he’s from the Midwest) All my familiarity was pretty much left at home when I moved out. I’ve lived here for a year now and am still finding it difficult to adjust. Since I don’t know people well here it’s hard for me to be able to connect, voice opinions and have meaningful conversations. I mean, I’ve made strong connections with people before but those friends and family are back home..

    My boyfriend’s family are all really sweet and they come over our apartment to visit every so often. My boyfriend and I actually had a talk about this. He’d noticed that my mood would change if/when any of them would stay for more than a day or two. I would get really uncomfortable, physically sore/tense, and hole myself in our room. It’s really difficult for me to remain social for long periods of time and the distance isn’t due to me disliking them..

    I think he’s getting better at understanding :) Though, I will show him this because I definitely think it will help.

    Thank you for this post. :)

    • I am very much like you. After two days of guests or constant companionship I am ready for a break. It used to be hard when family would visit us from out of town. I was always excited to see them but then got more irritable after two or three days. I carefully craft time in my schedule (buffers between activities) in order to replenish my energy wells, but when I am constantly surrounded by other people, their needs and their desire for action, those buffers disappear. Hence my crabbiness.;)

      I moved around a lot with my husband and children. I would just get my close meaningful relationships established (after 2 or 3 years) and then we would move again. I have been in the same city (Minneapolis) for almost 9 years now and have a large social circle. Give yourself time and be open to lovely friendships. I suggest looking for friends in the places you feel most alive. For me it was writing class, fitness clubs and music lessons.

      I grew up in a family of introverts and extroverts. I’m glad there were both influences but I will say as a young person it felt like the extroverts always won, got their way, were more valued. It feels different when we get together now. I see the gifts and strengths of the introverts. It feels like a more level playing field.:)

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Best of luck to you in your new home. The Midwest isn’t so bad.;)

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  61. WOW!! just WOW….I felt I was saying the words from ME…it was me to a T. I read it outloud to my son and we just knowingly looked at each other. We are so much alike so he totally related! Thanks for a fabulous read!!

    • Oh that’s perfect! I love it when my experiences resonate deeply with others. Very cool that you have such a close connection with your son. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

  62. Hi,
    Thank you for this great article. I recently just discovered that the guy I’ve been seeing for a while now, is an introvert. I’m not even sure if he knows. I have been talking to him for 7 months now and I’ve had a really tough time understanding why he just goes missing sometimes and I was completely taking it personally. I now see that his distance wasn’t a sign of dislike…it was just what he needed. I do not, however, understand how a relationship w an introvert works completely? How do we keep the connection going and how do we keep building? He and I have a mainly texting relationship and recently he really started trying to push himself. I actually saw him more. Also, in this time with him I saw him grow more comfortable and safe around me. he opened up more and i appreciated all of this. I know he spends a lot of time w friends he’s had for a long time so he does have it in him to let people in. I think it’s a lot though for him because I am new to his life and likely more draining than a friend he’s had forever would be. After seeing him a bit more I think I got excited and started asking for and wanting more rather than enjoying what I got. I didn’t know about the introvert stuf then though. Anyways, I now worry I’ve pushed too hard and pushed him away for good. Is there any way to help make him feel safe again with me? How do I let him know that I want to be with him and I am working to understand him and feel ok giving him space if he is also reciprocating by trying to give me a little bit more time (even if it’s just texts). I think if I understand him I can be ok with all he needs.

    Finally, he has also started a completely new career in the last 6 months. What impact does change like that have on an introvert? The new career is something he says he really enjoys but it’s around a lot of people and involves a whole day of interacting as well as many major responsibilities.

    Thank you in advance for your response.

  63. Thank you for this. I feel normal knowing I’m not the only who acts like this. I just wish my boyfriend accepted the fact space is all I need. I disrespect him, and often curse at him, but he still doesn’t just let me be. Do you have any advice?

    • One thing I’m learning is to respect the extrovert’s way of being. My daughter is my best teacher. I see the pain in her eyes when I tell her I need time to myself. Extroverts need interaction as much as we need solitude. It’s almost as if we take away their light by leaving their side. They see our need for space as rejection of them. No one likes rejection. Help him see this is how you are wired, not a reflection of how you feel about him personally.
      With my daughter, I try to fill her up with meaningful connection time and then ease away to do my thing. I’ve also explained to her that I love our talks and time together but I need alone time like I need sleep. It’s a slow process but I think she is grasping introversion a little.
      I always recommend that extroverts read Susan Cain’s, Quiet:The Power of Introverts… in order to understand the introverts in their lives.
      Best of luck. All you can be is honest. Boundaries are key.

  64. Hi! I am in love with an introvert and I really appreciate your blog about I’s because it helps me to understanding them deeper. Thank you!

    I would like to know, do you have any recommendation on how to make them (I’s) happy? To make them smile in a simple way? How an extrovert like me help them in their time of solitude or make them relief when their down?

    • One of the nicest things anyone ever said to me was, “Your mind excites me.” I would suggest outwardly showing that you appreciate and respect the introvert’s inner world. You could do this by listening deeply to them or simply stating what you adore about their thoughts and ideas. Making sure you are honest and genuine in your words, of course. Respecting your introvert’s need for space and then inquiring about what they uncovered in their alone time are two very real and lovely ways to make them glow.

      Also, remember their love of meaningful conversation over small talk.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope your introvert honors your desires as well.

  65. I hate that there’s never any advice on how to help extrovert partners. I am an extrovert and I lose my mind if I have to spend time by myself. What am I supposed to do while I am giving my partner space? I have just moved to a new city, so don’t have many local friends yet and I can’t afford to go out to clubs or classes. I am very respectful of my partner’s need to be alone, but I find it incredibly hurtful that he won’t respect my need for company and intimacy. I am fed up with bending over backwards and receiving nothing in return; can’t you introverts make some occasional sacrifices to meet our extrovert needs, as we do for you?

    • Funny you should say this… I was just working on an outline for an introvert couples workshop. I see this question all the time in different variations. It seems there should be a sweet spot that satisfies each partner’s need for space and/or intimacy. I believe we all (Es and Is) need both, just in varying degrees. I agree there needs to be intimacy in order for there to be a relationship but the introvert needs space in order to BE, period. I also know introverts want deep connection. Quality time ranks higher than quantity with an introvert. I feel there should be give and take on both sides. Could you be satisfied with less time with your partner if the time you get together is very high quality when you get it? Could you find things to do together that are very meaningful? Could he give you his attention for everyday things in exchange for solitude later? What would you ideally like your partner to do/give/say? I am curious about how to help introvert/extrovert relationships work. I welcome your ideas, perceptions and stories.

      Thank you for sharing your extrovert perspective. I know the world needs both Es and Is. I am keenly interested in learning how to honor both temperaments.

  66. I’m in love with an introvert, and I have no other words but to describe her as a wonderful person. However, her introversion can put a serious strain on this relationship and I do find myself asking many times if all the efforts i’m putting in are worth the return. Sometimes we go weeks without a touch, not even a holding of hands for a few seconds, and I wonder if I am strong enough to keep giving without receiving my share. I am at a point where I feel like giving up and just letting it go, but every time we get a bit distant from each other both of us seem to long to reconnect again and we get right back together. I admit I am a bit lost in this…

    You blog helped me understand how introverts think and feel and what they need to be able to survive in this hectic world. I am very supportive of her and I want this to work out, but I need to find a way to make her understand that I need more than the little interaction we have. I can not keep living “on the hugs that I give her” for too much longer. My question therefore is: How do I enter her space without disturbing it, I know she has deep feelings for me and she knows that I love her, I don’t think that this is the issue here… What is it that makes an introvert realize that she is about to destroy something we both cherish…?

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and candid comment. I have a few questions before I respond. Is their deep emotional intimacy? Is it only physical intimacy that is lacking in your opinion? How long have you been together? Are you an extrovert?

      • Thank you for your reply, and I’m late answering so I apologize for this. Anyways, I’m neither an introvert or extrovert. I do, like any introvert, need my time on my own and my personal space to be able to “live” as who I am. As to the relationship, the emotional intimacy does exist but I can not say that it is very deep, or at least I must admit that I have experienced more in my previous relatiosnhips. What we have however is definitely worth building on. We do not see each other very much and our interactions are limited to brief meetings during the day (we work in the same area) and every two weeks for an evening/night. This does not allow for much progress. As for the physical intimacy, there is definitely an attraction between both of us and we do get along very well. But physical intimacy can not progress without emotional intimacy and I am a very emotionally connected person, which in turn affects the physical interactions we have and leads to frustration. I have tried to explain to her more than once that seeing each other once very two weeks is very limitng and that even with us seeing each other more often her need for space would not be affected, as I have the same requirements…

        We have been together for quite a while, on and off because she thinks I am “too much work” and we keep drifting apart just be get back together shortly after. I have reflected more than once on this situation and considered to walk away from it, but the potential of this relationship seems to be more than I have ever experienced and I would be a fool to let this go without trying and giving it the extra effort. I am however getting close to what I can handle and need to find a way to touch her heart and mind so she realizes that there is no threat in this but a very possible bright future…

        Any thoughts and hints you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

      • My gut feeling is that she doesn’t want to make a commitment. I wouldn’t take that personally. Is she very passionate about her work or other areas of her life? Based on my own experience and the input I receive from my readers, most introverts are looking for meaningful ways to use and create energy. The fact that she hasn’t given you much time to develop emotional or physical intimacy tells me that she wants to put her energy elsewhere or that she is not getting enough energy from your relationship. It seems you have been very accommodating and you have similar needs for space, but she is still resistant to true intimacy. I know a couple, double introvert, where the woman has decided that she would rather be with the man than without him, so she accepts his longish absences. I don’t know for certain, but I believe their emotional intimacy is high and bonding.

        Check out my post – My Introverted Love Creed:If We Can’t Be Magnificent and Independent Together I’m OK Alone. Your partner may want to be together but also magnificent and independent. Do you think she feels good about herself when she is with you?

        Would a long term committed relationship with this woman truly be fulfilling to you? Is there enough love and light there? How do you feel when you are with her? When you are without her? Do you feel at home or on edge?

        I hope I didn’t sound too cold. Only you know your relationship so take my words with a grain of salt.

        I hope you find some guidance in my response. One other important point – if she is an introvert, her need for space is not going to change. It is her nature. Space is where she recharges.

        Best of luck.

  67. Pingback: The Space We Need: An Introvert Wakes Up, Slows Down and Starts Living According to Her True Nature | space2live

  68. “It doesn’t matter if you make us laugh until we wet our pants or we find you so attractive we agree to make babies with you (or at least practice). We will need a break from you.”
    Thank you for this wonderful post

  69. Pingback: custom screen printing printed t-shirts customized apparel shirts

    • I love your idea for introvert t-shirts! I’ll buy one.:) I completely understand your introvert motherhood feelings. I’m right there with you. Create healthy boundaries as soon as you can. That’s what everyone tells me.

  70. Thank you for posting this. I am an introvert and my some family and friends don’t seem to understand the way my body functions. I posted this on my facebook wall so hopefully they will understand.

  71. Thank you for this blog. I have been doing a lot of exploration into why I am the way that I am and this blog has helped to provide some context in a clear and concise way.

    Can I make some suggestions as for future blog posts? I would love to hear your ideas on good places/cities for introverts vs. one’s that are not as good.

    Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on how it is that sometimes even when we are OK with being around others, it seems like some people draw down our energy more so than others. For me, it works like this: I have some friends who I know that I can only spend so much time around because they are constantly expecting me to interact with them either verbally or non-verbally and then I have friends who are content with respecting me decision to not interact with them even if we are physically in the same room. For me, when the former occurs I find myself then wanting to have some alone time when I did not necessarily want that in the beginning. It’s hard to explain but sometimes it is like the mere presence of some people are more draining, even if they aren’t saying anything. Have you heard anything along these lines from anyone else?

    • I found two excellent resources/forums for place to live happily as an introvert. Here are the links: http://mapscroll.blogspot.com/2009/05/new-and-improved-geography-of.html and http://www.city-data.com/forum/general-u-s/1175521-best-cities-introvert-2.html. Seattle and New York seem popular. I know there is anonymity in a big city. I used to live in Chicago. I loved exploring and enjoying the amazing food and museums. Walks along the lake, nourishing. It was always so wonderful to get home from work (2 trains and a bus), shut the door on the outside world and breathe in the quiet of my little cocoon of an apartment. One thing I’ll caution you on about living in a big city. Everything is competitive. You have to fight for parking, a machine at the gym, a spot in the always full yoga class, a spot for your child in school, etc.

      I live near Minneapolis. I figured out I was an introvert while living here and meeting other introverts. I’d say introverts thrive here.

      I believe the reason some people drain you with their mere presence is because they need your attention. Even if they are not talking with you, just knowing they are in the vicinity and have the POTENTIAL to disrupt your thinking is draining. Some individuals have a calming intuitive presence. They read you and understand your needs. Their voices are softer and their actions are less frenetic and more fluid. Others are the opposite. My former mother-in-law psychologically needed to be busy. She couldn’t sit with her thoughts for very long. I always knew when she visited that I would be on high alert. She is an amazing lady with the ability to get things done and I admire her greatly but it was hard to keep my energy up when she was visiting.

      Thanks for the blog post suggestions. I am intrigued by both of them. I’ll look into exploring them further. I always welcome writing ideas.:)

  72. Yeah, it’s awesome being an introvert and needing my extrovert spouse to bend over backwards for me. It’s so great that she understands my difficulty communicating even as she has bent-over backwards for me for the last 13 years, hoping that I will meet her half-way. It’s so great to come across these one-sided websites where I feel understood, acknowledged and catered to. Too bad my wife has no similar sources of validation.

      • Just a bit. :)

        Seriously, though. At what point is it OK for extroverts to stand up and say “Alright, now it’s MY turn. I have needs too, and they haven’t getting met.” I am a very loving, understanding and nurturing person, but I also have needs and I feel like I should be able to get them met.

        For instance, when I communicate with my husband in the same way he communicates with me (nothing extra or unnecessary, non-emotive, non-expressive) he asks me what’s wrong and assumes I am angry with him. How can I make him understand that’s what life is like for me every day? I’m pretty sure he loves me. He smiles at me when he comes home and he tells me he loves me. But that’s seriously the extent of the romance.

        We’ve been in 2 rounds of marriage counseling about it. I don’t even bring it up any more because it makes him feel bad and makes me disappointed because I am pretty sure nothing will change. It just makes him feel guilty and me feel unloved because he freezes up any time we talk about it. He gets “emotionally flooded” during these serious conversations, so I back off to give him time and space and then…nothing…ever…happens…to change the situation.

        Why is the advice always for how the (relative) extrovert in the relationship can cater to the needs of the (relative) introvert? It’s the same with “how to save your marriage” sites. They always assume the reader is female, and the advice is always about what a woman can do to save the relationship.

        I’m just a little bit sick of it.

      • Thank you so much for candidly sharing your experience from the extrovert’s perspective. I want to have time to mull over my response but know I haven’t forgotten your comment. I do hear what you are saying.

      • I’m going to reply to you as someone who went through marital strife and a disconnect with communication styles/temperaments. The only time I thought there was a glimmer of light and hope to make our marriage work to both of our satisfaction was when we took off for a weekend by ourselves with no plan whatsoever. We only went 20 miles away but it was like being in a foreign land. We were forced out of our routines and roles. The introvert/extrovert lines blurred and we just became man/woman. We ended up meeting a woman who does annual group tours to Peru. We both got excited about taking a trip to Peru together. I wrote about this experience in my post 2 Ingredients 2 Kickstart Love. Space and excitement make you see each other in a different light.
        You definitely deserve to have your feelings heard and respected. As does he. I’ll be honest and say as an introvert it often feels like extroverts get a lot of attention just because they are more gregarious and apt to be comfortable in the limelight. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be listened to and appreciated. Both temperaments are valuable.

        Much luck and peace to you. May you break the routines you have fallen into and see each other with new eyes. It will take both of you communicating and taking action. I hope your husband opens up.

        Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

      • First, let me thank you, sincerely, for taking my point of view seriously. I very much appreciate your thoughtful responses and the time you took composing them.

        To give you a better picture of the situation~

        In the time that I have been with my husband, I have quieted so much as to be a different person. I have gone from someone who throws dinner parties every weekend to someone who throws parties once or twice a year. I always give my husband plenty of advance notice and tell him he doesn’t have to be here when they happen. Every time, though, he not only stays but he is a very charming and helpful host.

        In fact, he has even mentioned to me that he sometimes wishes I would “drag him along” on social outings more often just so he can force himself to be more social. But why would I want to do that? To make him more uncomfortable and so that I can feel guilty for doing this to him while simultaneously having bad time because he’s having a bad time and I want my husband to be happy?

        The whole situation is really very sad, because I love my husband very deeply, and I think he loves me deeply, too. Three weeks after I met him I knew he was the one to make my heart sing, and he still is. He’s brilliant and funny and fascinating and kind and a GREAT father. When it comes to the “big” things, he’s quietly but steadfastly supportive. When I first mentioned to him that I was considering going to graduate school he didn’t hesitate to support my decision. He has always said that he doesn’t care what I do (work, school, stay home with our son, whatever), as long as it makes me happy…and he has never, ever once given me any reason to think that’s not true.

        How great is that? He’s genuinely awesome, and I am not leaving him. And I am pretty sure that he is not leaving me. He says he’s not, and that he doesn’t want to, and that he doesn’t want to be with anyone else. He just can’t/won’t communicate that to me in a way that I can process and internalize.

        When I am verbally and physically expressive with him, he gets obvious satisfaction out of it. He likes being loved and complimented and supported and validated and affirmed and nurtured. But he never returns that.

        For instance, when I graduated with my master’s degree from one of the best programs in the country he said, with a slight smile, “Congratulations. I’m proud of you.” I would expect that from an old friend I ran into on the street, not from my life’s partner. From day to day I can’t tell if he wants to be with me or not, except that he keeps coming home. I give him plenty of space. I don’t bother him when he’s busy. I make sure he has time alone every day. I try to make his life as comfortable as possible….and I give him regular, genuine reassurance that my feelings of love and admiration for him have not changed. But I never get anything in return. It’s like it just doesn’t occur to him, and I think that might be the case most of the time.

        As of today, my husband has been out of the country for seven days. If someone were to read our email exchanges, (after the first day, when I gave up trying this time) they would not be able ascertain the nature of our relationship because there is no emoting from him and I am responding to him “in kind.” Not out of malice, but because I was too tired to keep working at it when he obviously had nothing to say to me.

        We went into counseling because I was worried that this was taking a toll on our marriage–because we basically stopped communicating when I stopped doing all the work–that it was, in fact, dying. He said in counseling that he was “shocked” to hear me say that. He even recognizes that when it’s happening and he doesn’t seem to be able to overcome the issue. Not to be overly dramatic, but the whole thing seems tragic to me.

        Or, I could just be lying to myself, and my husband doesn’t really love me as he says he does and is only keeping me around until our son is in college. Sometimes I feel unfair for having those suspicious thoughts, but the truth is that things like that DO happen. How much should I trust someone who doesn’t seem to willing to put any real effort into reassuring me other than to come home every day and tell me he loves me from time to time (after I say it first, of course)?

        Frankly, I am at a loss. I have been described as a “fountain of love and encouragement.” If that’s the case, then my husband is kind of the opposite….except with our son. He’s great with our son and I am very, very glad about that.

        SO, to wrap it up, my emotional pain stems from the fact I feel like my husband doesn’t think I’m worth whatever little effort would be involved in going out of his way to demonstrate his love for me. Seriously. He forgot to buy me a Christmas present last year. The decorating, the cooking, the celebrations at work, me bringing home all the gifts I got from my students and co-workers and “Secret Santa”…the links I sent him to what “we” were giving our boy for Christmas…and he totally…freaking…forgot to buy me a Christmas present…not even a card. Not even one he drew on Christmas morning, as he does on Valentine’s day and Mother’s day. In his defense, he has been working very long hours, and my 11 year old son *also* forgot Mommy this year. But still, I think you can see how that might sting a little bit. How much slack does “the absent-minded professor type” get, anyway?

      • You seem to be caring for your introvert properly.;) Giving him alone time and toning down the amount of socializing that goes on in your house. It does make me sad that you have become a different person in order to accommodate his nature. I know what it’s like to lose yourself in the process of keeping a happy home.

        I would “drag him” to some of your social functions. You said he is a charming and helpful host at your dinner parties. I would recommend a social event that has some kind of meaningful conversation (or activity) potential. Introverts don’t do well with a lot of small talk. Boisterous drunkards, flashing lights and lots of stimulation probably not good either. Engaging is good.

        Regarding the lack of gift or card giving, I’m going to say that is not right and downright hurtful. But, speaking only for myself (consummate introvert), I am not good at gift giving. I always want the present to be perfect and touching and well liked. It almost paralyzes me. Perhaps your husband feel like that. I agree a handmade card is not too much to ask. He should have went shopping with your son. Father/son time bonus.

        It sounds like he is loving to your son. Does he have a lot of other people in his daily orbit? Constant interactions could make him want complete solitude in order to stop chafing from all the buzz and noise of others.

        I don’t want to make excuses for him. Only he knows what is going on in his head. There does come a time when you will have to decide how much you are willing to put up with. Don’t settle.

        Is there a possibility that your husband feels inferior to you and needs to be away from you in order to shine in his own way? Your comment about the low key response to your graduation made me think of that. I’m just using my own experience here. I am not a licensed therapist.

        Hope this gives you insight. I’m cheering for you both!

      • Thank you, again, for respecting my request for anonymity. Thank you also for another great response. You are awesome. You should consider doing this for a living. Not in person, but online. I believe you have a gift. :)

        I think you hit the nail on the head with the “wanting the gift to be perfect” thing. He has told me in the past that this is one of the reasons he gets “emotionally flooded” and freezes up when we have serious talks about communication–basically, he runs through every scenario in his head wanting his response to be perfect. What happens in real-time is that I ask him sometime important, or ask him FOR something important (like positive feedback) and he just sits there and says nothing.

        In this way, he has trained me to stop asking for what I need. Mostly, because if I am feeling bad enough about a situation (e.g. super bad day at work, he’s been seeming really distant, I feel I failed at something important, etc) that I feel compelled to *ask* for him to say something nice about me, to me, and then he is able to produce nothing in response at all…I can’t help but think it’s because he can’t think of anything nice to say about me. He says that’s not the case. He says he just freezes because he doesn’t want to make a mistake or imply something he doesn’t intend.

        Over the years, one solution I have suggested that he avoid that pressure by keeping a list of nice things that occur to him when we are NOT in those intense, emotional situations. Then, he just just whip out his ongoing list in times of need. He agrees this is a good idea. He has never followed through. Not that I ever asked that frequently for this kind of verbal support. Maybe 10-12 times in the 14+ years we’ve been together. As I said, I have stopped asking…I do not think he would be proud of this if I brought it to his attention.

        On gift giving~
        My husband buys things from the hardware store for his male relatives for Christmas. Sometimes as a joke, for instance if their car battery died during the year he would get them one of those jumper-cable restart boxes you carry in the trunk. For the past 14 years (since before we were married) I have been doing almost all the gift shopping since he will literally put it off until the day before. I think he doesn’t know what to get, so he puts it off…and off…and off…and then he’s stuck getting a drill bit set and rechargeable batteries. Practical, but not exactly heartwarming.

        In the early years I had several serious conversations with him about gift giving and how you aren’t getting the gift for YOU, you are getting the gift for THEM, so it doesn’t matter if it’s something that you like or not. If your Aunt loves ugly sweaters from JCPenney, you get her the ugly sweater. You don’t refuse to buy something that would be perfect for her and make her happy just because you think ugly sweaters are one of the four major evils and you don’t want to “support her habit.” I think he “gets” it, but he’s still too stubborn to buy into anything that feels gimmicky or inauthentic to him. (Points for him, right? And…also sometimes makes me pull my hair out because of frustrations related to impracticality.)

        On social situations~
        Clubbing? I haven’t been clubbing in years, and I used to be a bartender!
        I think I tried to take my husband out 2 times when we first started dating. It was a disaster because he had such a bad time. He really tried to suck it up for my sake, but I was looking forward to him enjoying the experience with me..not just suffering through it with a stiff upper lip. He enjoyed seeing the interesting costumes (I’m goth) and meeting my friends (lovely people) and watching me dance, but he had such a bad headache we had to leave after an hour or so. That pretty much made it not worth the 2 hours I spent getting ready. :)

        Also, I mentioned before that my husband has been working long hours. He works very long hours, in a crowded area. With some really loud, seriously obnoxious and immature doofs. He takes noise-cancelling headphones in with him to work, and I think that helps some but he is also really good at what he does. (Brilliant, in my opinion.) So he gets bothered a lot with questions and requests for help. On the bright side (and there are major bright sides to our marriage) I think being married has helped his communication skills immensely at work. He is much more able to own his successes and even be *gasp* a tiny bit self-promoting in interviews with superiors.

        I will take your advice, though. Now that I am off for the summer I should have more energy to try to reach out to new places socially, and find more focused outings. I think that was a sterling nugget of advice, by the way. You really are very good at this.

        With regards to feelings of inferiority, I think there’s a little of that on both sides. :(

        Anyway, thank you again for having such a great ear and being so genuine and thoughtful and respectful and responsive. The situation I am in is complicated, as life and love generally are, and getting some well-considered, compassionate insight from an experienced introvert has been soothing, uplifting and helpful.
        Thank You.
        :)

      • Also, if you would like to keep this thread on your page, please remove my identifying information. I know it’s a public thread, and I think it could be helpful, but the more I open us the more I worry about my husband stumbling across it and being inadvertently hurt. He is very private, and I am usually much more circumspect. At the moment, I don’t even think he knows I have word-press account, but should he do a random Google search (or should one of his colleagues)…

    • I feel your situation completely. I am having a serious problem with my dream woman. I fell in love with her in 2005, but couldn’t make it work logistically until 2013. She makes my world light up. I want to have a family with her, and she does with me too. Problem: I found out about my grandma getting close to death on June 7. Ever since then I have been emotionally unstable. Not angry or mean, but needy and sensitive. She died on June 28. I have been even more needy and sensitive since then. My girl has supported me, but only in a limited capacity, she help me when I cried, made banana bread, and picked me up from the airport. She also sent extra text messages to let me know she cared and such. But when it came to the big things, like venting about my father not being willing to give me a ride to California, or my inability to be stable and lightheartedly happy like I usually am, she crumbled. When I vented, she told me to go vent elsewhere, when I let little things bother me, she responded by becoming cold. When I agreed to give her space recently, I said a week was too much, and agreed to 4 days.

      I knew something was wrong. I knew she was considering breaking up. So I just asked her, and she said she didn’t think that talking about her thoughts would help, that she didn’t want to make any big decisions today. Pretty clear she was considering a breakup. I backed off. I cried all night and then slept. I woke up and thought that I need to draw a boundary with her. I texted her and said I still wanted to give her space, but that I deserved to know if we were breaking up. She said she didn’t want t breakup but still needed space. I said ok, but asked her to consider that me waiting to hear if she is going to breakup with me every time we have a problem is not a workable option. That I would work with her on giving her space in the future, but that it might need to look differently. Seriously, if we married and lived together, I don’t want to have to leave my home every time she needs space. That just isn’t reasonable. She might have to go out of the home herself.

      I bend over backwards to accommodate her. I will list all the ways, they are far too many for this post. She sent me an email later saying that I made her anxious with my texts, which is understandable, and that she was making up that I was trying to control and manipulate her by not giving her space. Well, that was the last straw for me. While I understand that I should not have contacted her. I was only trying to stand up for myself and take care of my needs as well. After all, a relationship is a give and take, not a give and give…

      So, here I am, feeling like I am losing my dream woman. I packed her stuff (we don’t live together), and I am probably going to breakup with her the next time I see her. I don’t want to though. But I cannot envision a life wherein my girl cannot give me more while I am grieving. I don’t want to live through so much pain. I can give a lot, even more than 50%, probably 80%. But my bottom line is this: What if I lose my job, lose a loved one to death, have an incredibly hard time over an extended period and need support. Is my partner going to give me the bare minimum support and then make it all about her again? That doesn’t seem like living to me. Can an introvert compromise to give more during extended difficult times, and if so, how can I ask for that, and how can I behave during those times that will enable her to give more her fare share over a longer period of time, say, a month to a year…

      Seriously, I need help. I don’t want to leave her, but I don’t want to be hurt this badly either.

      • If I were you, I would do some internet research on grief, and then send her links or quotes from the information that resonates with your situation in relation to your grandmother’s death. It sounds like you were close to her, and that you feel your father let you down when you needed him. Perhaps it’s not the first time this has happened with him?

        The death of a loved one is a serious, long term pain. Perhaps if you could explain to her that it’s not something that you get over in a month, and that there are a lot of complicated emotions involved and that what you are experiencing is a normal (if painful) part of life, and that it will pass eventually. Grief also comes and goes. One day you may wake up feeling fine, and then something happens at lunch that makes you tearful. This is normal.

        Explain that just knowing that she is there for you, even if she is not physically there for at all times, is comforting, and that the fear of losing her so soon after losing your grandmother is very difficult for you.

        Maybe you could ask her what she would be comfortable with as far as scheduling time together. It might be very draining for her to be around you constantly. She might feel like she doesn’t know how to help. She might be stressed out that she needs to be baking bread every day and always saying comforting things and always hearing your pain and not knowing what to do with it so she internalizes it. That can be a lot to take.

        She might feel better about it if she knew that she only needed to provide that level of support every other day or something. That would give her time to process and let go of the stress and still give you the reassurance that, if you can’t talk to her about today, you can cry and grieve on your own and then you can talk to her about it tomorrow. Because you know she will be there for you.

        The goal here is that you both get your needs met, and that you stay together, right? The first thing I would do is remind her of all the reason why you love her, and tell her that you know she is a good person and good partner and that you want to meet her needs without ignoring your own. So I to would propose work out a very short term “relationship contract”–say a week–that you are both pretty happy with.

        It sounds like you both want to stay together. Make that the first part of the contract so that you both feel secure in your partner’s dedication to the relationship. It sounds like you also both want to be happy in the long run. So make adjusting the contract PART OF the contract, so that you can both come back and discuss what is/isn’t working. Then you move on to your need for support vs. her need for space.

        Find a way to work it out so that you each get some of what you need. Emphasize that this is just a short term agreement so that you both know what expectations are and you don’t want a marriage made of contracts. This just seems like a good way to lay out a communication about it and come to terms that will keep you together through this rough time in your relationship. An old woman once told me that “it’s the bad times that make a marriage…anybody can stay together through the good times…”

        I hope it works out for you, whatever advice you follow.

    • This post might have been from my wife. She is very social, likes parties and makes friends easily. She keeps in touch with people from decades ago, and knows what their kids are doing, and their friends, and their friends’ kids, and so on. I have one high-school friend on Facebook and that’s it. I couldn’t tell you what work my cousins do.

      I love my wife’s family. They are very warm and loving. If you come as a guest to a family gathering, you’re considered part of the family. I look forward to family parties, though I don’t like parties. I have a hard time with the loudness, drinking, and talk about things that don’t interest me. Once we’ve eaten, I find I’m just standing around by myself wishing we’d go home.

      My wife does have an uncle (by marriage) who is very introverted. Once he gets to the party, he hides out in a room by himself and watches TV. I consider that just plain rude, though I understand why he does it. I think good manners trump social sensitivity.

      I’m afraid sometimes that my wife is withdrawing from the world. She doesn’t go out as much as she used to, I want her to be happy, not withdrawn.

      Another point I wanted to address was the feeling I’ve gotten from these introvert sites that introverts are better than other people. I know I am no better than anyone else. I’ve spent most of my life wishing I could go into a crowded room and chat people up, get their phone numbers, see them outside the party. I realize I’ll never be that person but I think I can see myself from extroverts’ point of view and understand why they might consider me hostile, rude, or cold.

      • Your description of yourself and your wife’s uncle remind me of half the men on my side at family gatherings. The women flit about preparing food, talking and shooing children while the guys wait for the meal, eat and then retreat to a corner to doze or stand around having inconsequential chats between them. I’m sure some of them are ready to leave right after the meal is over.

        It’s good that you are aware of your wife’s withdrawal from the world she used to inhabit. Is she withdrawn or have her preferences changed? As we get older, we get more sensitive. Noise and hubbub tend to get old faster. Nevertheless, I hope she is not going against her nature, that tends to spawn resentment and dissatisfaction.

        The intention of space2live is to honor and celebrate the sensitive and introverted individual. My personal belief is that we are all somewhere on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Most of us have a dominant personality type but even so there still exists a portion of the non-dominant type in us. Introverts are different not better than extroverted types and vice versa. Extroverts are encouraged and celebrated every day in our culture, in my opinion, more than introverts. I want to provide a space that evens the playing field a little. We need each other to make this world sing.:)

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope your awareness gives you the confidence and understanding to communicate freely with your wife.

    • I love your post, they make ME feel so validated, your name says exactly how I feel right now. I am an extrovert, and a sensitive and emotional cancer to top it off. My boyfriend is a very stubborn introvert taurus. I suppose I didn’t really know this about him until I had already fallen for him. He use to buy me extremely thoughtful gifts not often but when he did they were perfect, hug me and kiss me a lot, he never was able to express feelings verbally at some point he ended the relationship abrubtly and said he felt “extremely drained” and that it was “all too much”. I didn’t understand what went wrong then but either way I quietly stayed around as friends not expecting much from him since we were not actually together. Then he told he had been thinking for a long time and realy wanted us to put an effort in and work on things together. So here we are back together, he was spending a lot of time with me but never complimenting me, touching was very minimal, and absolutely no communication about us when I started any conversation he became extremely quiet almost like he was ignoring me. After a few days of being spending a lot of time together he seems so distant and abbsolutely no affection. I impulsively brought it up before we going to sleep, I expressed my feelings, he did not respond in a way which I thought showed I or my feelings were important, this made me more upset. I cried, he did nothing, this made me more upset. I accused him of being cold hearted and pretty much went on an emotional rant. Then took a step back now to realize what happen and realize I behaved irrationally and impulsively although my feelings were real and I would like them to be acknowledged in some way. Now, he is convinced that i will never be happy with him because he can not give me the type of physical and emotional attention I need. I am so confused because I really love everything about him and feel that I understand him and his need for solitude much more than I previously did, I understand that he isn’t witholding feeligs to hurt me. I sit and think about how great he is in every other way and start to realize how much time he spend with me and things he did that were out of his comfort zone. I feel like a selfish jerk. I have apologized to him told him some of what I feel but at his point he has responded that he feels completely mentally drained from all of the relationship talk. So now I am here with all of my thoughts and feelings alone. I don’t know how I should even persue him if talking about things is draining to him, I am trying to give him his space. I don’t know if I should walk away because I am doomed to a life of feeling alone and trying to bend over backwards as to not “drain” him. I feel he is so worth my hardest efforts and I actually believe that alot of people would not be able and willing to understand him and sacrafice some of their own needs. This makes me feel more like I am the person for him. I just feel so confused to if I leave him be, will we all be much happier if he finds another introvert that doesn’t drain him or ask him for the things that I need. Finding this blog and reading everyones comments has made me feel like I understand even more and that he does care and I was completly off base with my emotional rant and accusations, I feel like I am at such a loss as to what to do. I also find it funny that everything on the internet I can find is from extroverts trying to figure out what to do and change for their introvert and not so much the other way around.

      • Your comment is very illuminating for me – the introvert. I can see where you would be frustrated and hurt. I also understand your boyfriend’s reaction to all of your attention and “relationship talk.” I have been over the moon for someone but STILL drained after a weekend together. I needed to talk less with him, touch him less, listen less. I needed quiet togetherness and/or alone time. It comes down to your willingness to accept this need for low stimulation/interaction. The one thing I can offer in consolation is that after a period of alone time introverts often come back more thoughtful and loving than ever. We are full and have love or attention to give. We also may have ideas and creativity to share.

        Thank you for sharing your story. I will add that your boyfriend’s nature will not change. He may be able to push himself into extroverted territory for a while but eventually he will return to what his temperament requires.

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  74. Thank you for posting this. I am very much an extrovert, and my long-term boyfriend is definitely an introvert. Just as you wrote, I often feel lonely and rejected when he needs “me time.” Although I appreciate having time to myself, I don’t need it the same way he does. Even though he has explained to me hundreds of times that it’s nothing I have said or done, he just needs to be alone, I have trouble understanding it. I do my best to respect it, but I still cannot truly grasp the concept because it is so foreign to who I innately am. Hearing it from someone else has been very helpful.

    • It sounds like you two are open and honest about your needs and differences. Kudos! Awareness is key and so is respect for each of your temperaments. Yes, do not take his desire for alone time personally. He just needs to recharge the introverted way.;)

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Always good to hear from the extrovert perspective.

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  76. I am posting (with his permission) a heartfelt letter I received from a reader regarding his regret for not understanding his introverted partner’s need for solitude. He sincerely hopes that others will learn from his story. Thanks for sharing so candidly Brad.

    Dear space2live,
    My name is Brad Patterson, I do not know if this will be worth mentioning on your site or not, however, I have destroyed one of the most meaningful relationships I have ever been in due to not paying attention to someone when they told me they were an introvert. I’m in tears as I write this letter to you. I am ashamed that I did not take what they told me as anything other than an excuse for them to spend time away from me. It wasn’t until I looked on your site after she had posted on a comment on Facebook that yes she was an introvert as well. This got my attention and I started doing a little research. I was flowing tears like a river as I read some of the posts on this site about relationships and introverts. I was ashamed at the way I had treated her and the things I thought, that she just wanted to get away from me and spend time with someone else, this was the furthermost thing from her agenda. I learned that she needed time to recharge and renew her energy. I felt so bad I didn’t know what to do. I feel like she used to get energy from me and being around me because it was easy at first. But the more she wanted to get away from me the less I understood why. I could never apologize enough to her now. She has blocked me on her phone and everywhere and I am so sorry for what I said to her. I wish she could forgive me and we could start over. But I feel I have done so much damage that it cannot be repaired. I love her with all my heart I just wish I could tell her. I pray that she find it in her heart to forgive me and start speaking to me again. My advice to anyone is this: if someone ever tells you they’re an introvert you had better listen to them and you better research the situation. Learn everything you can about an introvert if you’re going to love one, because it may be the difference in them loving you.

    Thank you,
    Brad Patterson

    PS if you would like to post this on your site feel free I want everyone to know the mistake I made and not to make it themselves.

  77. Thank you for writing this. I have always been an introvert, and while others misunderstand my need for solitude, I have found a select few who understand that is something that I “need”. I now understand what my friend said when I was little when she said that I was able to feel empathy, where others were not. I didn’t understand until I got older, and now as a college student I find that it comes in handy. As an introvert I have found that being hyper-sensitive to others feelings is both a burden and a gift. I have found new friends based on this all by asking them how they were feeling. But, I do sometimes need the social interaction of a large group, if only for the use of an “off” switch for my brain. I have been able to describe my brain activity to others in this way, my brain is like a car with six cylinders, imagine running on all six cylinders at all times, everyday without end going a hundred miles an hour in a hundred different directions. I love your perspective on the introvert and feel that I can relate to it completely. I thank you because I was able to share this with my friends and feel that it will help resolve some hurt feelings.

    • Those select few friends who understand your need for solitude are priceless aren’t they? I was in my late 30s before I understood my need for solitude AND found friends who honored it.
      I found it interesting that you mentioned empathy. I,too, sense others feelings strongly. It can be exhausting and enlightening. My daughter, who has a lot of extrovert tendencies, is one of the most empathic individuals I know. She is highly sensitive but talks as she thinks. I wonder if there have been any studies linking empathy to introversion.
      Does your mind ever rest? If so, where or with whom? My mind rests with certain people but often it takes solitude to give me that slowed down, brain clarity.
      Thank you so much for your response. Fascinating insight.:)

  78. There are so many insightful comments on here. It’s so refeshing to know that I’m not alone and that there are so many others who are just like me out there; thank you so much for this wonderful post. It’s unfortunate that society frowns upon introverts as if there is something wrong with us, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. We just manage social interactions and our day-to-day lifestyles differently, and it doesn’t make us anti-social hermits for needing time to ourselves.

    I had a friend during college who was a wonderful person, but as another commenter mentioned, he was one of those types who could be classified as a Grade A Drainer. He was such an extrovert and so high-maintenance that I couldn’t handle him in large “doses” or for long periods of time without recharging first. I’m the type who has managed having roommates out of necessity, but I always function much more efficiently when I have my own space.

    When you have already worked and interacted all day, you typically just want to come home to some peace and quiet, and it’s exhausting to live up to expectations that you need to socialize even further in crowded housing situations. As a child, I was always equally content to play alone as with friends, and I’m sure that’s something that many introverts can claim. We don’t love others any less intensely and we don’t enjoy life any less thoroughly just because we sometimes need time to withdraw. We shouldn’t have to be the “odd ones out” just for being ourselves. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself among like-minded individuals; this is so refreshing! :)

    • Thank you for your alternate viewpoint. I don’t agree with you but your experiences have given you a different perspective and I respect that. I believe it is stimulation that drains me and requires me to seek solitude. I am selective about my companions and I do love people. I have many friends but recharge in quiet.

      • I read that “alternate theory” and find that its not helpful. To say that humans were all meant to be extroverts is like saying that everyone is supposed to be left handed. Its just not so. Introverts aren’t introverts because they were hurt by extroverts in their past. Its simply an inner need for solitude. I’ve always been this way since childhood. I could spend days alone. I love my friends and have always been more one on one in my hanging out with friends. I really feel drained in group activity and I definitely need my space. I get antsy around people who are constantly going from one activity to another. That’s just too chaotic for my needs.

        Instead of doing armchair psychological evaluations of introverts that aren’t true, why not just accept the fact that personalities are diverse and that there is a need for introverts. In relationships, particularly romantic ones, I’ve seen plenty of introvert-introvert pairings and extrovert-introvert pairings, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an extrovert-extrovert couple. Extroverts need introverts more than introverts need extroverts. My best friend, though, is an extrovert and I admire his personality and easy social manner, but the inability for him to be alone, and of requiring constant attention and stimuli is just too exhausting to me.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more. The ‘alternate introversion’ theory did not sit well with me either. There have definitely been relationships that affected my decision-making but they did not make me an introvert. That is an innate quality that has been been influenced but not created by external sources. I have felt in the past like I was wrong to be so introspective based on cultural mores but I now know there is nothing wrong with having an introverted temperament. There are beautiful gifts found in every temperament.

        I’m trying to think of any extrovert/extrovert couples that I know. I may know a few but I do know more introvert/extrovert couples.

        Thanks for contributing your thoughts. I always respect other points of view and am glad N shared there thoughts but I do not believe there is anything wrong with having an introverted nature.

    • Your alternate theory is amusing. It operates on an assumption that I am afraid of people or interaction with them due to some trauma I’ve suffered as a kid. I am not afraid of people nor I am afraid of being rejected. I am not an introvert because I am afraid. I am an introvert because I don’t respect the stupidity and lack of common sense that people my age seem comfortable with. I’ve adopted my entire current approach to social interaction and designed it to deter people from starting needless conversation. I chat with who I chose, and deal effectively with those who I don’t wish to talk to.

      I chose my friends very carefully and neither I nor them feel the need to share every waking moment. If they serve a purpose for me or I for them, great. On a rare occasion we may hang for fun. Is it that hard to understand that I may enjoy science, maths, and learning in general more than constant social interaction and “fitting in”?

      I am fully functional in a social setting. I can make the jokes and tell the stupid stories. I choose not to. There are very few people who’s company I genuinely enjoy.

      I only reply to you because your theory treats my behaviour as a negative psychological condition. I feel that it is a broad generalization against all introverts (though it may be true in some cases), much in the same way much of the older generations would consider me a sinister and force me to use my right hand to “correct” my “defect.”

      Personally i think it is unique, possibly a gift. Much as I am forced to become ambidextrous with all the strengths, physical and mental, that enhances, being an introvert is not a weakness, but a source of strength. I am not totally concerned with the opinion of Tom, Dick, or Harry. I am more free to do what I believe needs to be done. I am more free to face adversity and speak against the popular opinion, the mob’s opinion. To blanket individuals who do not conform to the extroverted social expectations of the masses as psychologically damaged is quite pompous.

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    • Introvert/extrovert relationships are fascinating and can be very satisfying. It helps if there is a respect and awareness for the different temperaments. Enjoy each other fully.:)

  80. Reblogged this on Meanderings and commented:
    I had to reblog this post “Introverts Explained”. This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. This is one of the best explanations I’ve ever come across.

  81. This is one of the best explanations of being an Introvert that I’ve ever read. After a lifetime of struggling with being so misunderstood and “chameleonizing” myself as best I could to fit in, it was a huge gift to be given the Myers-Briggs personality test (I was in my mid-30’s by then and had suffered miserably up until then!) and then to find out that being an Introvert was okay…it was an life-changing relief to find out that I wasn’t a freak after all. I’ve since been able to see that, when we learn to manage our hard-wired need for solitude and allow it to empower us, we then have the potential to be powerful gifts to those around us. Thank you for writing this, as soon as I can figure out how, I’m going to reblog it.

    • Yes! Harnessing our ‘hardwired need for solitude’ and using the resulting insights and reflections for the good of others as well as ourselves is a true gift. We have a beautiful presence and purpose that sometimes gets overshadowed by people more comfortable in the limelight.
      I’ve chameleonized into extrovert colors to fit in. Exhausting.
      No, you are not a freak. You are introspective and amazing. I’m sure of it.:)
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  82. Thank you for writing this. It explains me to me and the ones I love. My need to be alone at times is hurtful to the ones that I love the most. It’s hard to make others understand that it’s not meant as anything against them…it’s just a NEED that is within me. If my alone time is taken away i’m the biggest bitch ever.

    • The hardest thing is watching a loved one feel hurt because you need time to yourself. I have struggled with much guilt because of this. It feels like you’re both drowning and you are choosing to save yourself. I keep thinking they’ll see how much more amiable, patient and loving I can be if I am given space to myself and ease up on the hurt feelings but often they “need” my attention as much as I “need” time alone. I never want to be a bitch but my wiring requires reflecting time. Thanks for commiserating and understanding.

  83. Sometimes it is the other person. The more externally and internally imposed guilt associated with the friend or loved one, the higher they rate as an energy suck, increasing the time and distance required.

    Sometimes there are people you can be alone around and reharge with, but it still doesn’t replace the quality of recharge in being completely isolated from time to time.

    People also fail to realize that work is often categorized as social experience. If it involves interacting and counter balancing other people’s personalities and energy, it counts.

    I often have to budget any and all social experiences so that I only deal with so many in a period of time. Or go bonkers.

    • You made so many beautiful points! In my experience, you are absolutely right about others who impose guilt. They are the most draining.

      I have found people that energize me. I can rest and recharge in their company. I still need space for solitude but these bright/light-filled individuals make company appealing.

      As I re-enter the workforce in the near future, I am carefully monitoring the culture of potential workplaces. I know my preferences better now. Ideally, I could work from home or very independently.

      If I see days crammed with activities on my calendar I get edgy. I always try to put space in between events. Buffers of sanity.;)

      • The line about feeling other people who are in the same room- that is tiring, demanding, and sometimes confusing. Sometimes those people do not feel good – regardless of whether the person is well. And it takes something to tease out whether one is feeling one’s self, or the person in the same room, or even a person in another room altogether. Empathy takes place in time and space, it is a something, and so being automatically empathic, picking up on and distinguishing someone else’s vibe – and trying to sift through your own thoughts or focus on something – that’s multitasking, which can be a drain on the executive decision making function.

      • Well said. Our intense processing of vibes and emotions (our own and those of others) is both a gift and a challenge. We are constantly multi-tasking with our minds. I sometimes wish for an “off” button. I just want slow, relaxed brain activity amidst the chaos of the external world.;) Thank you for an insightful and intelligent comment.

  84. Nice! Forever, I thought I was an extrovert. Recently I started a biz where I speak publicly – I love love love my time alone. As a matter of fact, after being out and about all day yesterday, I have not left the house today! I love my home office and time alone. I get recharged. Thank you for sharing this! I will share it with my Social Community!

    • I think that is how many introverts operate. Out in the world – fully engaged and on – then retreat to a quiet space to reflect and gather thoughts and ideas. Public speaking is daunting but I think I could do it if I were very very prepared. Introverts like to be prepared.:) Thanks for your insight.

    • What a great, honest and introspective piece! Huge kudos to your son for knowing and understanding himself so well at such a young age. I believe many young ones desperately want to be extroverted because that is the cool temperament. I didn’t figure out my needs and ways until I was in my late 30s. I always thought it was better to be action oriented and uber social. Now I know I expand with close friends and grow in solitude. Thank you so much for sharing your son’s writing. I enjoyed reading a young person’s perspective. Love his inner strength and integrity.

  85. I have never been able to be alone,(simply by circumstance) and therefore have not explored whether I am an introvert or an extrovert. I have always thought of myself as extrovert, and think that is still the case. I have an insight into the introvert psyche and into a place I might not have understood. It is possible, however, that I could well be introvert but compensating!!!

    • Doubtful. I’m a true introvert and when put in situations where I can’t have alone time for extended periods makes me highly unstable. My life ends up collapsing so that it can be rearranged for me to be alone. Having roommates did that to me every time.

      You’re probably an extrovert.

    • Do you enjoy one on one time or group time better? Do you think before you speak or talk as you think? Introverts think first. Solitude might be something new for you but try it and see if you’re on edge or more alive. It may make you anxious just because you haven’t experienced it. It takes getting used to. Thanks for your input. I always think it’s fun to learn about yourself.:)

  86. Reblogged this on Tech Savvy Lender and commented:
    Reblogging another of Space2live’s posts. This one is even better than the last, IF THAT’S POSSIBLE. I laughed out loud when she mentioned needing to be ALONE in the house to recharge. If someone else is in another room, you can FEEL them. Yep. LOL

  87. The stereotype lies in an introvert being a shy quiet person, and an extrovert being loud and gregarious. The fact is the only characteristic that puts you in one camp or the other is how you recharge your energy. If you feel energized being around lots of people, you are an extrovert, if you feel drained after being with people or in crowds for a longish period, and feel recharged after complete time alone (and that also includes what the author said about a person being even in just the house, but not anywhere near? Not good enough. Total seclusion, home alone) then you are an introvert.

    • Yes! It’s not all about how social someone is. It’s about how they get their energy. Thank you for helping make that even more clear. I think that may change some people’s idea of what temperament they are.

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  89. I think this was written beautifully! I appreciate the concise points and real life scenes — this is a great article I can forward to a few ppl in my life. smile. Thanks!

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  91. What you seem to be describing here are people who do not have enough self-soothing skills which then takes a longer period of time than others.

    Introversion is not about an on-again, off-again relationship with ‘extroversion’ but rather a lifestyle and way of being.

    What you’ve described here is an introvert trying to FIT INTO an extroverted world – Hope you can include that somewhere

    Thanks

    • Thank you for your perspective. I appreciate input and feedback.:) I agree that introversion is a way of being. The message I wanted to present was that introverts can be social and do like people but eventually we will need time to ourselves. I think we self-soothe best in solitude. I know long term socializing is not soothing to me but I do enjoy people (I’m not just trying to fit in). I do think our culture shows preference to extroverted traits so we may push ourselves out of our introspective comfort zones in order to gain some ground.

      • For the first time in my life I have read about me! I have tried forever to explain to people how I feel and they just don’t get it. I can understand that it is tough when a person you love feels the way I do. Sometimes it takes me 2 or 3 days of being alone to recharge. I love people and being around them. I worked in a public capacity for over 40 years but I always needed my down time. I had a hard time understanding myself but this explains so much. I would love to send this to everyone that knows and loves me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

      • The hard part is others take your need for solitude as a personal rejection of them. It’s about refueling not rejecting. I’m thrilled my words resonated with you. You are not alone in your desire for solitude.:)

  92. i think I’ve always known this about myself but always compensated to stay “viable” socially. I am so thankful there is increasing awareness. I married into an extrovert family yet I think my husband might tend introvert even though his primary activities are extroverted, talkative, high stim, and often exhausting for me. We have an upcoming trip to NY city! I am excited and nervous, especially because we’ll be visiting his hyper extrovert brother. I am hoping my awareness will help facilitate the space and time I need to recharge in such an energetic environment. Which BTW I can find to be rather calming if taken on my own terms!

    I relate to what so many have written here. I hope I can communicate clearly!

    Thank you!!!

    • I have been on many extended family vacations with energetic relatives. It is challenging but well worth it. I did have a hard time pulling away for recovery. It was unheard of among the crowd I traveled with. I did find my introvert buddies within the group and did my best to hang out with them as much as possible.

      I can find energetic environments calming too and also energizing. Like you said, needs to be on my own terms. I lived in Chicago for five years. I loved it. You can be anonymous in the crowd and I loved riding the train. I could be on a crowded train but happily inside my own head and thoughts.

      Thank you for sharing.

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  95. I love this post! My youngest daughter and I can be very social, but likewise need that down time you describe. We have exchanged the thought that we aren’t really relaxed and completely ourselves except when we are alone. I understand your friend who knows when someone else is in the house. My really tough area is constant sports shows on the TV in the main room of the house – basketball, baseball, football, hunting, fishing, Those involving hours of cheering crowds and shouting announcers that drives me to the spare room with headphones and a closed door. I feel sad not sharing what “should” be an opportunity to share a common ground for enthusiasm and fun with others, but to me it is too much white noise.

    • That is a good way to put it – we are not completely ourselves except when we are alone. That resonates with me.
      I know that feeling of sadness when you think you should be out joining in the party/event/social hour but just want to retreat to a room by yourself. I feel guilt sometimes then too.

      Society has taught us that we should want to be “on” 24/7. Our culture values quantitative productivity and socializing very highly. It’s hard to side-step those mores but I think there is a grassroots effort in place. More awareness of the introspective traits helps them gain acceptance.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing.:)

  96. While I definitely agree with the concept of needing our alone time, we introverts also need to learn the selfless skills that allow us to mesh with our outer world. Just as our “high energy” counterparts have to learn to sit still, shut up and introspect in order to function properly, so we too have to learn to create sanctuary more from internal states of mind than from extrinsic circumstance. of course always harder said than done. To place such high demands on my family such as “for a few moments, please do not exist” or “do not be in our mutual home” comes across as selfishness.

    even though its hard not to propagate (even i did above), I really dislike the stereo typing we do to extroverts, they are not the rambunctious incessant babbling fools they’re often made out to be (just as we’re not always cat stroking novel devouring tea addicts). We ought to be more careful with how we treat both ourselves and those next to us.

    • Thank you for making several important points. I have been working on creating a calm place within myself in order to connect and exist in the chaos and busy-ness that often surrounds me. I have found that if I am calm my children are calmer as well. Do you have any suggestions for creating “sanctuary more from internal states of mind”? Meditation? Breathing techniques?

      I would love to banish the “selfish” image attached to introverts. I personally do not believe it is selfish to be honest and ask for space in order to restore your energy, your clarity. If I do get time in solitude, it only serves to make me a better more giving parent, partner, friend, co-worker. I try to be respectful and thoughtful when I explain that I need downtime. I understand a home is a sanctuary/activity-center for everyone in it, not just those who need time alone.

      I know most people are not extreme extroverts or introverts. We all fall somewhere in the middle and even volley back and forth. Extroverts are not the enemy. Nor are they all obnoxious windbags. Susan Cain does a great job in Quiet: The Power of Introverts… explaining that introverts and extroverts need each other in this world. The warrior kings need priestly advisors and vice versa.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful input. You made me step-back and think about my message – always a good thing.:)

      • brennagee, thanks for replying.

        Some of my suggestions for creating sanctuary from internal states of mind include include meditation (in my case, prayer) in a variety of circumstance, progressing from maximum sensory deprivation to maximum sensory stimulus. ie, once capable of finding peaceful states in a totally silent, dark, comfortable environment, progressively train to do the same in noisier, brighter and more uncomfortable (suffering) environments. of course dont take this to the unhealthy extreme (hearing damage noise, retina damaging bright and physically damaging suffering) , examples could include finding peace first in silence, then with comforting music, then within quiet public spaces, then within loud public spaces. similarly with visual stimulation, first in total dark, then in candle light, then in normal light, then broad sunlight. and for discomfort first in comfy clothes and fleecy blankets, then in normal clothing and textures, later in uncomfortable circumstance such as cold showers or in the midst of challenging exercise. It all sounds very “Zen” but I’d call it a skill mostly.

        Just my 2cents (inflated to a dollar fifty :P ) .

  97. I am like your daughter-I’ve taken the Meyers Brigg a couple of times. Once, I scored right smack in the middle of I and E and the other time, I was slightly over to the E. Because I am fairly outgoing with a Bubbly personality, people tell me, “Oh your definitely an extrovert.” But, the truth is, I really am in the middle, so I perplex a lot of people. :-) When I am alone too long, I CAN’T STAND IT. I need to be around people and they energize me. BUT, if I am around people too long, I also CAN’T STAND IT and I need to get by myself and rest.

    • I think more people fall into that middle ground than we think. I am learning more about ambiverts, which are individuals who are a blend of introvert and extrovert. I definitely lean toward the introverted end but I too, love going out and meeting new people, chatting it up with people I know,and exploring new places. I just need to recover afterwards.

      I like to be alone just long enough to crave people or miss the ones I love. Sometimes that could take days, he he.;)

      I’m still figuring out my daughter and how best to love and work with her. She’s only 9 so it’s hard to explain to her the concept of temperament. I don’t want to hurt her feelings but at the same time need some boundaries.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective. Interesting. Sounds like you are aware of your needs and desires and energy levels.

  98. This is the thing that most of my friends don’t get, even the introverted ones, because they so often fight the instinct because it’s not polite, or they’re not being good friends. Be yourself. Honour yourself. You actually honour others more by being honest with them and trusting them enough to remain your friend even though you prefer solitude sometimes.

    • I have a good friend that always said not to take anything personally. If he declined an invitation for coffee or a walk with me, I admit I was disappointed but I truly knew he still liked me. He just needed space to do other things – often by himself. It was hard to hear that he wanted to be alone more than with me but I appreciated his honesty. I am getting better at doing this myself. I still feel awkward when I say no but it’s getting easier. It’s a relief to save and generate energy how I need to.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.:)

  99. This is me. I really need my time alone and always have. When my children were going into 5th and 6th grades I opted to homeschool them…that was 4 years ago. One of the reasons I decided to do this was because my 10 year old daughter came home from school one day and said, “When do I get to have time to do the things that I really love??” You see, she’s a thinker and an introvert just like me. She had no energy left when she came home and she loves to be in her room reading and drawing and hanging out alone. So I had to set aside my own need for “alone time” to meet her needs and I have no regrets in doing so. The way I handle it is by staying up alone until really late, and fortunately I’ve never needed a lot of sleep. When my husband and kids all leave for the day to go skiing, I feel like dancing around the house with joy, singing, “Alone at last! Alone at last! Thank God Almighty, I’m alone at last!”

    • I admire your courage and selflessness to homeschool. The idea was tossed around at our house at one point but I honestly did not think I could handle it. I thought I would lose it. Only one of my children (I have 3) is a dyed in the wool introvert. The other two have some tendencies but for the most part are extroverts.
      I also stay up late and in the summer get up early to have peace time to myself. I get edgy if I don’t.
      Now, because of the divorce I do get time to myself when my kids are with their father. I would never have wished for a divorce but the time alone is pure magic. I am a better re-charged mom when they return. I feel I have a better relationship with them now because I connect more deeply and have more patience when they are around.
      I can totally imagine you dancing around the house singing, Alone at last!! That’s how I feel too.:)

  100. Have not dated anyone in my life and I’m 20.
    I’m gay and I’m afraid my space would be taken after I’m taken.
    I enjoy being alone, but I longed for someone else too.
    I’ve never dated anyone, so I’m afraid I’ll resent him if I’m out of my comfort zone.
    I’m the type to rather not hurt somebody if I knew it would end bad, but I don’t even know what I’ll be thinking ahead for this man.
    And the thought about finding an understandable partner has shaken me, I don’t even know if I’m that lucky! Haha!

    • You are young and have many years to enjoy a partner or five.;) If you are aware of your need for solitude that helps a lot. I went into the dating and marriage thing thinking it was only right to want to be with someone all the time and to keep up with their energy. I felt I had to be busy, busy, busy, organized and always outgoing. If you find the right partner they will give you energy and understand your need to have space.

      I also have a fear of hurting others. I’d rather get hurt myself because I know I’ll be OK. I can handle being alone. At least, that is how it has played out in the past. Maybe I haven’t found the right person to completely break my heart and leave me despairing.

      Best of luck. You’ll be fine. Look for other introverts in bookstores and quiet places.;)

  101. This really made so much sense to me. BOTH my husband and myself are introverts. I love Downton Abby and he understands better than anyone my need to detach from him and everyone around me to get lost in the story. I like to open my books and put on my music to completely immerse myself in my own thoughts and in my imagination. My kids all go to school during the day, so I love having that time to myself. My middle son is showing signs of being an introvert. My youngest son NEEDS constant company and be reassured, it’s very exhausting to myself and my husband because our three other kids are very independent and can amuse themselves on their own. I love my son, but he constantly demands attention and needing to be around us.

  102. Wow! This article was amazing! Me to a T! It is hard not feeling guilty sometimes taking time for myself but I also know that I NEED that time- even if it’s just a few minutes. I want to print this out and hand to my family and friends so they understand that I DO love them and WANT to be with them but there are times I just need to be with ME. Wow. Too many things I could say about this.Thank you so much!!

    • I’m so happy this resonated with you. I hope you feel validated. You are not alone in your deep need for space. I think the whole world is actually coming to the conclusion that it is not healthy to be available all the time. I’ve seen a solid interest in solitude from introverts and extroverts.
      If you are an introvert there is an actual physiological component to your reaction to stimulation. Our brains are wired differently and process everything deeply. This is explained clearly in The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. May you find peaceful moments to yourself.:)

  103. Your comment about not even wanting someone in the house with you, even in another room, hit home. Some years ago, I invited my mother to live with us temporarily while she was undergoing chemotherapy. She tolerated chemo well and is alive today. But she is a talker and I couldn’t get away (I work at home). I would go to my room for long periods and cry. I finally blew up and yelled at her, hurting her feelings and she moved back to her home. I’ve felt so guilty but now understand why I reacted the way I did. THANK YOU SO MUCH for that sentence!

    • I have felt that deep guilt that you experienced with your mother. I most often feel it with my children. I have blown up more times than I would like to admit. I have 3 so even if two are occupied and keeping to themselves there is always one it seems who desires my complete engagement. I’ve learned to carve out alone time during the day while they are at school or if I have to in early morning before anyone wakes up. I love deeply connecting with my kids. I just need other time away as well.

      You are not alone in that deep desire for space.:) Thanks for sharing so candidly.

    • I completely understand this. I have felt guilty that I didn’t feel able to ask my mother to live with us in her last years. She was a talker too, non-stop, and after a week of being with her, I would be totally drained. There was no space at all. I visited her as often as I could, but needed to be able to retreat as well.

      • LisaAnn, We share having talking mothers. I mean they NEVER stop talking – NEVER – right? She was with us about 3 months and I nearly went crazy. Maybe I did. I should have known better. Now I do. You made the right decision with your mother. And I know NOT to try to live with any of my daughters, but don’t think they would ask me, LOL! We even stay in motels when we visit them.

  104. Pingback: Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From ... | Social Introverts | Scoop.it

  105. Pingback: Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From ... | INFP | Scoop.it

  106. I loved this, especially the part about not wanting ANYONE else in the house- even if they are just in the next room. I have the most difficult time when my stepdaughter comes home from school and wants to sit in the middle of our home- so (in her words) she is not “lonely”….sigh…. as I am going crazy with her just sitting there awaiting my engagement.

    • I completely feel for you Kimberly. I have 3 children.;) I can only write when they are gone to school. It is impossible to recharge/write/create if I know they are in another room. There is always the possibility that they will come in and need me, which is normal of course, but still disruptive to my thought process. It’s hard to get back to my train of thought.
      That constant need for engagement is perplexing to me.;) I’ve been trying to connect deeply with my kids (one on one conversations, back rubs)and then retreat for a little while. It’s working so far.

  107. Wow, this post really resonates with me. I come home for lunch by myself 5 days a week just to recoup from the office madness of the morning. When others are home, I cannot feel that same sense of solitude. This explains my favorite board on Pinterest – I BADLY want a tiny home built in backyard. It need only be 200 square feet. Imagine having that private structure in which to retreat!?

    • It is so funny that you bring up a tiny house retreat because I was doing some real estate research the other day and ran across this http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107727, which is a story about how teeny tiny houses are growing in popularity.;) Maybe that deep craving for solitude is driving this trend.
      Thank you so much for sharing. I completely understand needing a mid-day break from the office. I used to love coming home to an empty apartment after work when I was single and just had a roommate.

  108. “All we ask is that you don’t make us feel bad for needing space.” P.r.e.c.i.s.e.l.y. That’s all I can say. Plus, thanks for the article! This may come in handy some time if I desperately need my own space but don’t know how or what to say.

    • It is so hard to ask for that space! Sigh…Hurt feelings make it difficult. If my little article helps anyone gain some deeply needed solitude I am thrilled.:)
      Thanks for reading and commenting Luna. Your site makes me feel not so alone as a sometimes loner.;)

  109. I am an introvert with seven introvert children. Six are adults, and one is 8 years old. When we are all together, with our kind, the room overflows with conversation and laughter and just plain relaxed silliness. This summer, at my oldest daughter’s wedding, I finally sat back at the end of the reception. My son-in-law’s family was still bubbling, and boiling, and needing to be pushed out the door. My family all sat slumped in the corner of the restaurant, exhausted, and dying to be set free. The contrast was something that I will never forget. I have a close, introvert friend. She totally *gets* my need to get out for a while, and then go home. Another friend goes and goes and goes. She’s 24 years older, but she thrives on people, and pleasing them. I know that I perplex her.

    • I’m sorry I thought I responded to you the other day but I guess I did not. Ooops. I’m still astounded you have 7 children and they are ALL introverts. I’m a tad jealous. Not that I don’t love my extroverts but I think there would be less misunderstandings and hurt feelings in our home if our temperaments weren’t all different. I can picture the end of wedding scene you described. I would be slumped with you.;)

      I treasure those friends who get me. I’m inspired by them as well as by the energizer bunny friends I have too. I think I have found more introverted friends in the last few years. I need their understanding and comfortable presence because home life is so busy and chaotic.

      Thanks for sharing your stories.:)

    • My best friend is about the only one that understands my needs. So I can sympathize with you when you need to sit back, push people out the door and just be alone. My mind become overwhelmed and can only handle so much chaos. I work in the customer service industry and find it easier to deal with people at only a few minutes at a time. Once i have to spend extended periods of time with someone it’s harder for me to handle.

      • My mind definitely gets fuzzy when there is too much input. Are you exhausted after working with people all day? Is your job over the phone or face to face? It’s great that you know what works best for you regarding time limits.

        Thanks for commenting and sharing your perspective.:)

      • My job is face to face customer service. I’m mentally exhausted by the end of the day. I do find that their energy keeps me going but by the end of the day (my shifts are usually only 5-6 hours) I just can’t take anymore. I do love the people…it’s easy for minutes at a time. My mind does get fuzzy after a while and it’s hard for me to concentrate.

      • I love your blog!
        I have been dealing with being an introvert my whole life, from being the middle child of five, to misunderstood relationships ending in disaster, to friends trying to “fix” me or socialize me.
        In the past few years, I have grown to know more and more about my temperament and what works best for me.
        Your words is refreshing and informative not only for those seeking to understand and accept themselves more fully, but to the extroverts who so often misunderstand us and take our occasional withdrawal too personally.
        Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Oh I’m so happy you found space2live! Thank you for your kind words and sharing your story.

        I try to mix personal details with information I’ve gleaned from all of the introvert books/research I’ve read. It’s a rush for me to know others feel the same way and have went through similar experiences regarding their nature and need for solitude.

        I want every introspective to know they do not need to be “fixed”. Introversion deserves to be honored as all temperaments do.

        I have received many responses from extroverts who are grateful for the “window into” their introvert friends, family members or partners. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all respect the differences? :)

        Good luck on your quest for personal awareness!

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