Last night, Jack and I were at a small gathering with friends. I love my friends and was very happy to see some people I haven’t seen in a while.
With that being said, there comes a point where I get a little grumpy. After a couple of hours, I felt like I had exhausted all of my spoons on socializing and nudged Jack to start saying his goodbyes.
Once we got home, I was still a little irritated. I reassured Jack that I wasn’t angry at him, I just needed some space to decompress. An hour later, and I feel better.
As an empath and intuitive person, I tend to feel weighed down in certain situations. When it comes to my friends, I suck it up because I enjoy their company.
This is something common with introverted people. We are not anti-social, it just takes a lot of energy to socialize.
But why do some people feel drained after socializing?
Well there is some scientific research that may explain how some people become introverted.
In a WebMD article, some studies show that introverts have higher blood flow to their frontal lobe than extroverts. Which is part of the brain that helps you solve problems and plan ahead.
That makes sense. If there’s an event, I usually like a heads up so I can plan my day. I don’t like last minute invites because I might be doing something important. Or I didn’t plan on going anywhere that day, so it feels a little inconvenient.
The article also points out that introverts react differently to the hormone dopamine than extroverts do. While extroverts feel a type of high from the release of dopamine during social interactions, introverts feel run down by it.
It explains why Jack gets stir crazy if he’s not collaborating with other artists. Yet, I see writing as a “solitary” art. I am open to collaborating with another artist, but I’m not in any rush.
I have a few other reasons why many introverts run out of fuel after social gatherings.
1. We hate small talk, but it’s a necessary evil. I really hate talking about mundane things for no reason. But I am also aware of social cues. Small talk isn’t about talking for the sake of talking. It’s a little dance people do to get comfortable around each other.
It’s normal to feel a little nervous when meeting new people. So, small talk is just a way to find common ground.
However, for an introvert it can be a struggle to initiate a conversation. We like to think before we speak and sometimes we get anxious because we don’t want to say anything offensive or insensitive.
Being super mindful of our words is great, but it takes a lot of energy. Thank goodness for extroverts that can talk for ages.
2. The mind of an introvert is pure chaos. Most introverted people are quiet on the outside. Many people may think there’s nothing going on in our noggins. But the inner workings of a quiet person’s mind would blow you away.
We examine our emotions, our life choices, and our relationships. We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and reflecting on our minds. Sometimes, this overthinking can lead to depression and anxiety.
Mix that with a social situation and it can be difficult. Introverts do need social time to get out of our own heads for a while. But we also cherish our time alone to think and plan our next move.
3. We can get overstimulated. There is such a thing as information overload, it happens when too much information is being processed over a short amount of time. With introverts, processing all the scattered conversations can be too much.
Sometimes, when I’m at a party or event, I find a quiet place to sit down and regroup. All the music, crowds and different energies can wear me out. Before the night ends, I’m ready to go back home and take off my makeup. Even though I did have a good time.
4. Sometimes we don’t have enough time to recharge. As an empath, I get something called empathy fatigue. Which is when I need a break from interacting with people. But there are some cases where I don’t get a chance to relax before the next social outing. I get grumpy and kind of mean. I don’t mean to, I just don’t have the energy to deal with people after a certain point.
Introverts need time alone from the overwhelming social gatherings. When we start running on fumes, we can’t keep up the social cues. I usually like to take a bubble bath with candles or watch a documentary. It really feels nice when you can reset and relax.
So these are the main reasons introverts get worn down after a party or social gathering. Of course, not every introvert is the same. But if you have a partner or friend who’s an introvert, this can help you better understand them.