The more aware we grow as introverts, the more we realize that we often have to tell others what we want or need. Things we appreciate – silence, space, alone time, stillness – aren’t naturally valued in our day-to-day lives. So we can suffer, give in, shut down or become hostile (which probably contributes to the image of the misanthropic introvert).
Or, we can take a proactive stance that clearly tells others what we value and why, without apology.
A Facebook Page “like” sent a private message with the following question. Since it’s such a universal topic for introverts, I thought was worth sharing our exchange.
Q: What is a good and/or polite way to ask for alone time? It seems to be an issue to ask for alone time with roommates or significant others. Are there good ways to bring it up, or to ask for it without offending, or making someone think you are trying to avoid them?
A: It might be a good approach to just explain, simply and without apology, what you need. “I need to recharge my batteries for a bit; I think I’ll go for a walk/take a nap/do some errands on my own today.” Or, “I could really use some quiet alone time and would like to plan it for when you’re busy with other things. It’ll help me get my energy back for when we go out later.”
Depending on the relationship, tell the other person as much as you feel comfortable with: “I love hanging out with you, and sometimes the day wears me out so much, I feel like I can’t enjoy your company as much as I’d like. So every once in a while, I might decide to take some alone time. I hope you know that it’s not a slight against you; it’s just what I have to do to take care of myself.”
You can allude to the airline instructions to “put on your own oxygen mask first.” Tell them you need to get an infusion of oxygen so you can join in the fun later.
This is an opportunity to let people know something more about you while educating them on what you need…that a desire to be alone doesn’t mean you’re depressed or dislike them. You just need to go off the grid sometimes!
Please share: How do you tell others what you need? Are there any particular techniques, words or phrases work best for you?