So this happens every single time I go on a business trip to anywhere: I get Facebook messages and twitter comments and emails saying “You’re here?!? We have to get together!” Sometimes it’s from a genuine, on-and-offline friend. Sometimes it’s from someone I know only online who wants to get together for drinks.
Either way, I’m always ridiculously flattered that people actually want to spend time with me. And I always have to say no.
Business trips don’t leave much room for free time. They’re not designed to. Whatever company I’m working with tries to pack as much as they can into a small amount of time, so that I can be away from home less. The trip I just got back from was 34 hours long, which is pretty typical.
Still, lots of people manage to fit drinks and dinners with friends into those trips. But I can’t, and the introverts reading this will understand why.
If I just spent all day surrounded by people on an airplane, or in meetings and activities, all I want to do at the end of the day is go back to my hotel room and sit on my bed and rock back-and-forth quietly. I’m not really exaggerating. I waste some time on Facebook. I get some work done. I only turned my TV on once while I was in North Carolina this weekend (and in a creepy old-hotel moment, the remote control spun around by itself, but that’s another story). The rest of the time I was in my room, I needed quiet. No stimulation at all. (And no, emails and Facebook aren’t stimulating. At least not for me.)
As much as I wanted to see a few people, I knew it would end up being terrible for me afterwards. I know so many people who thrive on being around others, and sometimes I wish I were like them, but I’m not. If I don’t get a good deal of alone time – not having to talk to anyone, not having to deal with anyone else’s logistics – I get really agitated, and it takes me a while to get over it.
And who pays? My family, when I get back home. It’s hard enough on them when I go out of town, so I don’t want to do that to them when I get back.
People who don’t know me well are probably really surprised to hear this about me. I’m not in any way shy or quiet, traits people often confuse with introverts. In fact, I’m usually the loudest person in any group. The two things have zero to do with each other. Once I’m done being social, I need to shut down. And I can’t do that if I’m using all of my down time be with other people, not even if I know I will have a good time, not even if I really really love those people.
So, please give the introverts in your life a pass. We like you, we really do. And we want to see you. But we know we will pay for it later, and it’s just not worth it.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.