The other evening I had a dilemma on my hands. I had already put in a very full day of coaching, parenting teens, grocery shopping, and dinner prep, and I still had a gathering for a friends’ birthday gathering ahead of me.
Here’s the dilemma: I had used up all my energy for interaction and couldn’t imagine how I could pull off spending time in a noisy tavern trying to connect with people. I just couldn’t do it, even to celebrate a girlfriend. I was depleted.
Do I sound disloyal? Picky? Over-sensitive? Anti-social? Pathetic?
I’ve wondered all these things and more about myself. The truth is I’m a Sensitive Introvert and my alarms were all going off telling me I’d had enough that day.
I argued with myself a little bit. “You said you’d be there. It’s your friend’s birthday celebration. How can you be so lame? You really should go, at least for a while. ”
But here’s where I’ve had some personal growth in the last few years. In the past I would have beaten myself up and then gone to the gathering anyway, used every last ounce of energy, and been totally depleted the next day. And then berated myself for that.
Another possibility, I would have argued with myself for long enough that it would be too late to go and then been guilt-ridden that I didn’t show up. And then berated myself for that.
To some this behavior might sound pretty crazy, but to the Sensitive Introverts out there, this undoubtedly sounds familiar. I’ve talked to women all over the country and one of the questions I hear frequently is, “How do I manage my energy so I don’t get depleted and my friends don’t hate me for being a party pooper?”
This is a challenging balancing act for those of us who are not extroverts (and hence, not the norm) and who absorb so much from each situation that we can be exhausted by everyday life and have nothing left to give interpersonally (and so, also not the norm).
Here are my tried and true suggestions:
1. Know yourself really well. Be aware of how many tasks, gatherings, interactions, etc. you can handle without going over the edge energy-wise. Don’t let anyone talk you into a social wing-ding unless you’re really up for it.
2. Keep your calendar obligations as slim and spaced out as you can. Rather than grouping all the intense things close together, give yourself some recuperation time in between. Look especially at your weekends and make sure you're not going from one thing to another.
3. Learn to say NO. A simple No thank you, or Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m booked, or This sounds great, but I promised myself I wouldn’t add anything more, will do. No need for big explanations—because THAT would be exhausting.
4. However, let the people in your inner circle know what you’ve learned about yourself and ask them to be understanding. Tell them that you still love them, but sometimes you’ll need to say no to social gatherings so you can meet your need for downtime, quiet, solitude, etc.
5. Get over the guilt. Accept yourself for who you are and stop trying to be someone you’re not. If you’re not an extravert who can keep going 20 hours a day without a break, that’s ok. You’re human and you’re worthy of love and belonging—in whatever way belonging works best for you.
It’s taken me a long while to recognize why my needs are different, learn the patterns for SIs, research the strategies that work best for this temperament, put it all together—and practice it everyday. While my understanding of Sensitive Introverts continues to evolve with each one I meet, I’ve amassed a huge amount of knowledge, strategies, mindset shifts, tools, wins, and compassion that has already helped my private clients to accept their temperament, love themselves, and succeed in creating a life that works for them and their families.
Now I’d like to share that with you through my new program designed by and for Sensitive Introverts. If you’re a woman who resonates with the traits of Sensitive Introverts you may be a good match for Welcome Home to Your Self if you would you like to:
+ step more fully into your authentic self
+ let go of limiting beliefs that have held you back
+ gain clarity on your true purpose
+ find out how to manage your energy and create healthy boundaries
+ learn tools to curb overthinking and anxiety
+ align your everyday actions and life values
+ create a life that supports your temperament
If these are things you desire, but you’ve been banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why what everyone else is doing doesn’t work for you, let’s talk. SIs are not like “everyone else”. We have different ways of absorbing and implementing information. We have different comfort levels around sharing about ourselves. We are unique in how much we can handle before we’re overwhelmed. This program is designed to take all those little things into account so that it supports Sensitive Introverts to thrive in the ways that work best for them.
Curious what I did to address my dilemma the other evening? I checked in with myself one last time. Did I have the energy to go? No, I really didn’t. So I texted my friends to let them know I couldn’t make it, made sure my kids had everything they needed, and I walked outside with my dog.
As soon as I got outside I knew I’d made the right decision. It was a beautiful late summer evening with a little bit of fall in the air. I walked to the arboretum near my house and enjoyed the sky, deer, and quiet, and felt refreshed. Dilemma solved. I'll make sure to celebrate with that friend soon. Maybe we'll go for a long walk!
P.S. If you think you might be a Sensitive Introvert or you know someone who is, click HERE to check out the program.