Introverts need personal space! This is not just a desire, but an actual need for them. The ability for them to have alone time to recharge. This need for space is usually is not about YOU—you haven’t done anything wrong. It is about them and their need for solitary time to recharge. If you want to strengthen your relationship with an introvert—whether it is a friendship, a romantic relationship, or even a working relationship, here are four ways you can give them the personal space they need.
- You will likely need to initiate it. Many people wait for the introvert to say they need space; however, most of the time they won’t tell you that they need it. They realize it may sound rude, or it sounds that they don’t want to spend time with you, when that’s not it at all! If it’s a newer personal or professional relationship, even asking the introvert if they need space may not work. They may answer, “no, I’m fine,” although they really do need it. But if you know them well and you have an established friendship or relationship with a lot of trust, ask them if a little more space would be helpful for them. They will probably welcome you asking them and may admit that they do.
- Don’t plan long periods of socializing. Leave them wanting more of you, not less of you! I am still surprised at the number of friends who acknowledge me being introverted and my need for solitary recharge time, but they want to hang out for hours, as if my need for solitary recharge time doesn’t apply to them. A few years ago, my husband and I were meeting some friends for a weekend in Kentucky. They had planned the entire weekend with non-stop things for us to do together. I felt myself starting to feel anxious about all of this but as I mentioned in my first point, I didn’t feel comfortable letting them know. Thankfully, my friend called me up before the trip and said, “this is a lot of together time. Do you need some down time?’” I was thrilled that she brought it up and admitted that yes, I needed down time to recharge.
- Suggest that they meet you places rather than riding or traveling with you. The idea of a long car ride with anyone outside of my husband stresses me out! Having to make conversation on a plane because I’m sitting next to a friend makes me exhausted!
When an introvert meets you somewhere, they will have time to recharge before “the event” begins—whether that ‘event’ is a date, a party, an evening out, or even a vacation. They will be much more energized to spend time with you if they’ve had time alone ahead of time. Another reason why it’s good for them to meet you is so that they can leave when they want to leave.
- If you live with or share space with an introvert, give them time alone in their physical space. If you live in the same house or apartment, go into another room for awhile. If you share an office with them, and it’s possible, take the initiative and find a conference room or another space to work in for awhile. Allowing the introvert to have space to recharge will be energizing for them. Again, they may not admit it, but they will be grateful you gave them the space.
Do you have other ways you give the introverts in your life personal space? Please share in the comments!