Being On When You Feel Off

I am a stone cold introvert, which is not to be confused with someone who is shy. I’m outgoing and I have little to no problem smiling and conducting small talk with the very best of them. But once it’s over, I just want to find the nearest blank wall and stare at it. For an hour. Alone.

As an internal private bring, there are a ton of days where there is just too much going on around me. I found this being particularly relevant when I found myself at a conference this week of over 700 people and could not seem to break away from the constant inundation of people. On these kind of days, I specialize in the personal mini mental vacation. If I’m out with friends or at a work event, I will spur up a conversation and then once it’s up and running between others, I will find shelter in my mind and regroup while others chat.

I also find an advocate in every social group. I spend a great deal of time at work functions now and a college friend works with me. She networks on my behalf so when she meets people that she thinks would be beneficial for me long terms, she suggests I have a conversation with that one person which I can totally handle. She also handles introductions unless I am introducing her to someone. This is totally possible to do in any circle. Find someone who is extroverted and has your best interest at heart and then hold on to them.

Seek refuge where you can. Got an event? Ride there alone or with your nearest and dearest. Whatever it takes to bolster yourself for an onslaught of interaction. I use this method for work each day when I know I will have to put on my shiniest face.

It’s also important to know how much you can handle. I know that I can handle, six hours of work and three hours of social interactions before I am drained. I leverage those moments where I feel “on” to balance out the times where I know I will be off so that when I need to slip away, the people won’t think I slithered off because I hate them. It’s important to make it clear that this is who you are and that you are not just responding this way because you aren’t friendly. This is important to me because my coworkers are actually wonderful and I wouldn’t want them to think that I dislike them.

If you are an introvert or just someone who finds themselves in a slump, what do you do to make it through the off period?

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