Dear Social Butterflies (you know who you are),
I enjoy being with people. I love seeing my family when I visit home, and nothing makes me happier than spending a night with close friends and laughing so hard my cheeks hurt, or reconnecting with friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I love meeting new people (when they’re nice) and I have always made friends very easily.
Now that all that is out on the table, I want to clarify a few things. I am, and have always been, an introvert. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them this, because I’m pretty outgoing and I have lots of friends (not to get braggy, but it’s true). However, I have always been perfectly happy spending time alone.
When I was a child I could spend hours playing by myself. I didn’t even need an imaginary friend to be happy; I was completely content on my own. As I’ve grown up I’ve maintained an exciting social life, but have noticed more often that I need time on my own. If I don’t get that time to myself, I feel drained (not to mention, I get very cranky). Being around other people takes energy, which I am most willing to give, but in return, every once in a while I just need some time away.
Now to my next point…needing to be alone does not make me boring. It does not mean that I don’t like being around people, or that I’m socially anxious. It is not in any way meant as a personal affront to you, Social Butterflies. I know that you love being with people, and some of you feel the need to be around people all the time. I don’t mean to offend you when I leave a party early or sneak into another room to read National Geographic instead of staying to chat after family dinner. I just need to recharge my batteries. I promise I’m not leaving forever.
And most importantly, doing this one little thing for myself does not make me a selfish person. It’s common knowledge that resting your mind can improve productivity, mood, and creativity. It just happens that my mind is most peaceful when I’m alone. Whether you call it R&R, re-centering, or just vegging out, taking time to rest is important for everyone. Most people don’t make time for it, and therefore end up cranky, tired, stressed and unhappy, but I can recognize when I’m reaching that point, and I make an effort to recharge. That’s not to say that I don’t have stress, but doing this little thing is one way I can live a more relaxed, happy life.
So please, don’t get upset when I turn down an invitation, or say I just need a night in to watch Downton Abbey. I still love hanging out with you! And please don’t stop inviting me to things either. I’ll make it to the next one, promise.