• Resolving Problems

Introverted? Put a name on it.

Published: May 21, 2014 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
An introverted friend doesn’t know how to tell her extroverted friend she needs downtime.


I am having trouble balancing my introvert tendancies with my friendships. I value my friendships very much, and most of my good friends are introverts as well and understand my wanting to spend time alone often. However I have one friend in particular who does not understand it in the least. She would never be alone for a second if she had it her way!

We have been friends since grade school, and are now in our late twenties so we have been very close for quite some time. As I have gotten older, I have really started to value my time alone, especially now that I have a home and a fiancé to come home to.

She is one of those friends who has always taken the lead in our friendship, and I have a lot of trouble standing up to her because I am afraid of being put down by her response. I have taken to ignoring her texts, which is very unlike me. I feel terrible about but I know she will ask me to hang out and I dread having to say no.

How can I help her understand that I value her friendship but just would rather spend a quiet night at home with my family than having to entertain?

Signed, Patti


Hi Patti,

Perhaps it would be useful to actually explain to your friend that you are introverted, even using the term so she understands what you are talking about. Reassure her that her friendship is important to you but you get renewed by—and require—time for yourself.

Ask her if she has ever read about introversion since there are so many popular books on the topic that have been recently been published.

It has to feel horrible to repeatedly ignore a friend’s text messages. I can’t see how saying “no” with an explanation could feel much worse than not responding.

She may not understand you right away but you will have planted a seed for understanding.

My best, Irene

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Comments (4)

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  1. Tracy says:

    As an “outgoing” introvert (new title I found) I completely understand your need for down time. It can be confusing to others if you are like me and when you are up to hanging out, you give it your all. But then you need to recharge, alone.

    You have to do what makes you feel best. Saying no is hard. Once you do it a few times it does get easier. Just remember to eventually reach out to your friend, so she doesn’t take it personally.

    I have found that when I explain who I am , most people get it and appreciate knowing.

  2. bronwyn says:

    Since this seems to be a recent issue that has arisen, I’m wondering if this is less about your friend understanding your need for “me time” and more about you not making time for her now that you have a fiancé. The fact that you felt the need to mention it sort of sets you apart, sounding a bit like, “Now that I have man I don’t need my female friends as much.” Maybe your friend fears that she’ll be left behind as you immerse yourself more in the relationship. And since you aren’t answering her texts, it would seem a valid fear on her part. Also, while you needn’t justify your need for quality time with your fiancé, you aren’t really calling it what it is. I think most people consider “Me time” to be alone time as opposed to couple time or quality time, so perhaps you calling couple time , “me time” is triggering some of her insecurities as she’s not really getting a clear message of exactly what it is you really need. There’s nothing wrong with stating you need couple time. But don’t make the mistake of ignoring all your female friends simply because there’s now a man in the picture. You can end up having far more alone time than you might ever wish for.

    I believe everyone can benefit from time to herself regardless of the personality type. Just be clearer in your messages to your friend and do her the courtesy of answering hers.

  3. Amy F says:

    Hi Patti,

    Setting boundaries is a skill that improves with practice. The same goes for assertiveness. Since you haven’t used these skills with your friend consistently, you may feel awkward and she may not respond exactly how you hope, but keep trying.

    Like you, I also need a lot of me time to recharge my batteries. I also enjoy spending time with myself and engaging on activities I can’t do when I’m with others. I lean much more toward introversion, though I have some extrovert characteristics too.

    I’m not sure if I’d use introvert/extrovert terminology. I don’t when I explain my hibernation-time, because I think some of the literature makes introverts sound like they want special consideration…almost snobbish “you could never understand, I’m an inrovert, but I could understand you since I have superior insight.” Lol. I just tell people I need a lot of me time to feel happy, energized and be at my best. I let them know it’s what I need, not a reflection on them or on their importance to me. I’ll usually text back and say I’m not up for talking but I’m ok or good or tired or whatever. My friends also know if there’s something really important or a crisis, I will be there.
    Good luck!

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