Introvert guilt

Introvert guilt: a feeling felt by introverts who leave or avoid social activities to spend time alone.

This weekend I went on a trip for the LA studio class I’m taking next semester.  Every time I sign up for a class trip like this I’m excited until sometime midway through day two of highly structured group activities that run from 9 am to well past 9 pm.

Some people thrive off of this kind of environment and I can see why.  It’s dynamic and somewhat invigorating to constantly have people to share your opinions with.  It’s not meant for people who mentally recharge best in a quiet, empty room, maybe with a book or television for company.

The world is not designed for introverts.  It’s designed for people who enjoy, even need, packed days and constant company to fend off loneliness.  Our culture has an obsession with the idea that sociable = happy and “anti-social” = unhappy.

When I opted to go back to the rented condo at nine pm on Saturday night instead of going to a gallery opening, there was this awkward series of questions about how I was feeling (“Fine!”) and what I was going to do (“Run, read, catch up on email…?”)  But I ran the gauntlet and ended up curled up on my twin bed, noshing on hummus and veggies and reading American Gods.   

And gosh, I was so content.  I woke up the next morning at seven am, stretched, and worked out for almost 90 minutes.  I was a ball of happy energy all day.

Still, I felt a little guilty.  As it turns out, Danny DeVito was at the club that my friends went to after the gallery opening.  And after that, everyone went to get authentic LA Mexican food.  Maybe, maybe you missed out on something, my brain said.  Maybe you should have gone.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Everyone functions in a different way.  On a different night, going out would have been a great choice.  After eight hours of discussion and conversation and group meals I was ready to quietly spend some time alone.

I fought back these guilty feelings and just.. let go.  This is who I am, and it’s not hurting anyone if I want to spend an evening alone.  If anything, it enabled me to better contribute to the next day’s discussion as I felt reenergized.

Introvert guilt– not worth my time.



2 thoughts on “Introvert guilt

  1. For every “you missed this really cool thing!” there are about ten “you missed this really stupid thing!” At my summer job, I got razzed for leaving the bar at midnight when no one else was leaving yet; I’m sorry, we still had class at 8:45 the next morning, didn’t we? Then the next day, I got to hear all about this person puking and these people almost fighting and this person taking a picture of his junk etc. etc. Introvert guilt sucks, and I experience it myself, but you gotta do what’s best for you and makes you happiest.

    I feel the guilt, too, when I take my roadtrips on my own, but I’m never happier than those moments when I can be alone to think or set my own itinerary for the trip and change it at will. Don’t want to go into the city another day and would rather just go to the movies? No one to convince of the plan except yourself!

    • You’re totally right! I forget what happened recently but a lot of my friends had a miserable time somewhere and I was glad I decided to stay behind.

      Trips alone, or with one or two other people, are the best :) I’m hoping the next trip I take for class involves breaking us up into smaller groups!

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