Introverts Holiday: More Responsibility to Value Recharge and Recover

This morning on a news interview about, how to ace an interview, the interviewee’s comments are a reminder that there is still so much confusion about introvert versus shy.

When I heard her start to give her top tips she credited a previous Forbes list, and I heard, “It was really meant to help introverts. People that are shy …”

“What!!” I screamed at the woman on the television business news broadcast.

If the understanding that introvert equates to shy is still a misconception, let’s walk things back a bit and clarify what the key distinction is what it means to be more introverted.

Many more people today understand that a key distinction of someone more introverted – how they get their energy, their stamina – is from their inner self. That’s opposite from the extrovert energized from all things and all people going on around them.

Because life naturally has so much extroverting in it, especially around the holidays, we want to be responsible introverts and take care of our energy. Why bother to recover and recharge?

introvert-holidaysIntroverts Holiday: More Responsibility to Value Recharge and Recover

But listen to this 18 seconds clip to refresh what the misconception is:

1) Introverts who ignore signs and symptoms of energy depletion, might appear: aloof, anti-social or disinterested.


Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Sometimes I will attend a family member or friend’s holiday party and start out matching the pace of the conversations. Wrong! Talk about energy depletion fast. But being more mindful of what is in the moment snaps me back to adjusting my pace.

With our sensitivity to all things outside us, we can continue to deplete your reserves without taking action for yourself.

When I need a quick remedy to over-stimulation, I hop over to Thriving Now Radio and listen to the 17 minute “How Do I feel Good Around Others?”  It always helps me to realize that my awareness of my energy is the first step to recharging.


2) Introverts are much more vulnerable to disengaging our strengths when we – keep on going and going.

Recently I was asked,

What do I say to extroverts who ask what seem like intrusive questions? “What are your plans for the weekend?” or “How did you spend the holiday?” Maybe they mean to be polite. But how many times can you say, “I read a book, played with the dog, and watched TV” without sounding antisocial or boring?

I cannot presume how the person feels or what emotions they might have with this exchange.

Then, the person wondered aloud with me saying,

“It’s even tempting to make up something and at least sound more interesting.”

This approach could be like a Venus flytrap: alluringly scented but deadly.

What if your made-up-something then prompted an invitation to next week’s local college tailgate party? Avoid getting caught in this trap.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

One approach to answering questions is to pretend you are with one of your closest friends. Take a deep breath and talk about what interested you about the book embellishing as you go.

Talk about something in the life with your dog either in the past 30 days, as if it were that weekend. Or tell a little interesting tidbit about your furry friend.

Or after you mention what was your favorite television program that weekend, ask what they did?

Or you could say something like, “We love our alone time. It’s how we get charged up.” Nothing wrong with either direct or indirect statement of how you like things that way. Then, add the conversation to take the focus off of you and your routine. Ask, “What are you/were you up to?”

Be considerate, be willing possibly to stretch your conversation but shift the focus to the other person.

Become comfortable with who you are so there is no stress in drawing your strengths into the uncomfortable situation.

Know your introvert strengths and then in your creativity find an empowering statement or two you can make to satisfy you and your querying neighbor, friend or family member.

The bottom line is to take your eye of your worry and focus on the subject. Go deep and go wide. Play around.

3) For our quiet effectiveness to have a positive effect in what we bring to work and life, we want to check in with ourselves to bring in our best.

Both our mental and emotional states are affected when we are over-stimulated. During times like the holiday season with all the festivities, we may forget to take a time to tune purposefully in and take some time for ourselves.

How do you know when is enough is enough to stop and take care of yourself?

How much lack of focus is your cue to stop and recharge?

How much overwhelm will you tolerate?


Image courtesy of nenetus at

We all need to be out in the world with people – in our work, with our family, and with our friends. But introverts are different than our extrovert co-workers, family, and friends.

Being alone is what gives us what we need to be with them. So let’s not screw things up or perpetuate negative myths about ourselves.

If we stop and acknowledge that we are losing are steam, and then it’s – our responsibility to recharge and recover.

Notice, nothing is about how rest and recovery reminders might help out someone shy. That’s because being shy is incredibly different than being more introverted.

Here is an article from the archives that might help you understand this distinction between introvert and shy: Introvert Myth: Are Only Introverts Shy?

Now enjoy your …

Introverts Holiday: More Responsibility to Value Recharge and Recover

Why do you think it’s important that we recover and recharge?

How do you recover and recharge? Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?


Originally published on: Dec 9, 2009 as introverts-3-rs-responsibility-to-recharge-and-recover

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  1. Well, I just keep going. I had not given this much thought. So, for once, I really have little to add.

    I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo You are suggesting that introverts look inside and see what is there so they can take away what is not them leaving the the true self.

    Here is a rule that applies to extroverts also: If at first you do not succeed then skydiving is not for you.

  2. Patricia you are really doing a great job of explaining to extroverts what being introvert entails. Am learning a lot from you and now am able to understand when I’m dealing with an introvert and act in ways that make it possible to focus on their strengths. By the way, getting tired from doing too much and being over stimulated happens to all of us, unfortunately:-)
    catarina.alexon recently posted…Are you a disruptive innovator?My Profile

  3. Hi Pat. I always learn so much from your posts. Thx for explaining to me (a blatant extrovert) that introverts don’t like being asked about their activities. As a journalist and an extrovert, it is part of my nature to ask people what they have been doing, how they are, what they have planned, etc. I never do it to be nosy. I do it because I CARE about and am interested in what the other person is thinking, going thru, enjoys, etc. I ask without judgement, and never thought for a moment that it would be thought to be a negative attribute!

    Of course, I never push if people don’t want to engage in conversation, but I always engage in interaction out of true interest and sincerity.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring CancunMy Profile

    • Of COURSE you don’t ask questions to be nosy Doreen. And how would you know. Rule of more introverted: little self-revealing. I bet the 30 day rule of disclosure would work for questions also though. So when you are interested in what someone has planned, for example, just say something like, “within the next month or so.” That might work. Who knows though because we are all so different. Thanks!
      Patricia Weber recently posted…Sing the 12 Days of Christmas like the Introvert You AreMy Profile

  4. Thanks for being a great advocate for introverts everywhere.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…Ugly Sweater Cookie FunMy Profile

  5. Being an introvert myself, I prefer to not attend major functions when I can get out of being there. However, shy I am NOT! Big, noisy functions give me headaches.

  6. Jeannette Paladino

    Patricia — I’m finally getting it. The difference between an introvert and extrovert was brought home to me earlier this week. I saw a fabulous production of “West Side Story” and there was a talk-back later with the two actor/dancers who play the gang leaders Riff and ‘Nardo. Their parts of extremely physical and vocal. Yet the young actor who played ‘Nardo was very quiet during the Q&A — he explained that he’s actually quite calm and not at all like the character. ln contrast to his fellow actor, I could actually see the wheels turning as he thought about a question and formulated an answer.

    He didn’t have many opportunities to do that because the other actor was definitely an extrovert (takes one to know one) who would jump in immediately to answer every question. He gained his energy from the audience members who stayed for the informal discussion. Yet on the stage shyness was not the word you would use for ‘Nardo who played his role to the hilt.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…The Downside of the Decline of Blogging Among the Fortune 500My Profile

  7. Beth Niebuhr

    I think you summed it all up with your remark: Become comfortable with who you are. Getting into those conversations that you don’t want to isn’t who you are. How about deflecting the question back to the other person who probably only asked you so that he or she would get a chance to tell about his/her own experience.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Sometimes It Is Best to CompromiseMy Profile

  8. Roslyn Tanner Evans

    As a retired career counselor, I used the Myers-Briggs Personality test with some clients. I often spent the most time discussing Introvert vs Extrovert being about where we get our energy. Although I am an extrovert, in large groups, I become more of an observer and slowly make my way to a comfort spot between all the noisy folks.
    Unfortunately, many use the term shy & introvert interchangeably. It’s great that you are writing to introverts and about them.

  9. Thank you for this, Patricia! Especially for pointing out (and like you, I’m still stumped as to why this still needs point out!) that :”a key distinction of someone more introverted – how they get their energy, their stamina – is from their inner self.” That’s truly it. While introverts can be the life of the party at times, it’s the going within again to recharge that keeps us ticking.
    Great post!

  10. Such great info you are spreading about the difference between introverts and extroverts and that being an introvert doesn’t always go along with being shy. My niece who is in high school is coming to terms with her own shyness and coming into her own, which has been a great thing to watch.

  11. I hate when there are misconceptions about being an introvert. The biggest is a misconception by extroverts that there is something WRONG with us.
    That being inward means we are weak, etc.
    Also, I like being alone, and to others this makes me weird, as if I am the weirdo who has a dead mother in my attic and I speak in her voice.
    Thanks for sharing your posts with us, as always you do us introverts a great service with your knowledge.

  12. Lots of good stuff in this post. I enjoy socializing and being with groups, but I need alone time to recharge and process the world. I sometimes find it as hard to understand how some people don’t need that alone time as they find it hard to understand I do. We all need to try to understand each other a little better.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Raglan CastleMy Profile

  13. When I was young, I was painfully shy. People mistook me for being aloof and standoffish. I’ve transformed my shyness through years of inner work, and no-one now would ever imagine that I was ever shy as I have become comfortable talking with anyone about almost anything.

    I’m also an introvert. I have always had a rich inner life and do not do well in large groups of people. When looking at my astrology chart it makes so much sense. Most of my personal planets are below the horizon. Many extroverts personal planets are above it in their charts. I often stand back in large groups of people and let whoever I am meant to connect with “find” me.

    When we were doing my branding for my new website, I told my designer I’m an extroverted introvert and we came up with the word “InOutrovert”. I do like people, however, I do not get energy from them. It’s great to have so much attention coming to light about the distinction between a shy person and an introvert. They could go together and yet they also might not. Really enjoyed reading this piece, Patricia. Thanks for helping to clarify so many societal misconceptions.
    Beverley Golden recently posted…You Should Take Fun More Seriously!My Profile

  14. I find I tire very easily of small talk and too much going on at once gives me a headache. I have definitely learned over the years to pace myself… but at work, I can go and on for hours! LOL
    Lisa Swanson recently posted…Exercising The Most Important Muscle In Your BodyMy Profile

  15. Asking what you’re doing this weekend is intrusive? Sounds to me like someone’s got some serious issues. It’s called “making conversation” and “showing an interest in your life.” Who cares if it sounds boring to other people? It’s being you and that’s the important thing.

    • What I find relevant in your comment Jackie is the encouragement to have the strength to be yourself! And in this particular example, just saying what you want to say is the important thing. We are each at different places on the spectrum of introversion to extroversion. I don’t judge someone’s assessment of a particular question being asked of them. Judging is almost a sister to comparison. And I gave up comparing myself to others – unless it’s an obvious situation of rudeness or vile hate or the like – several years ago. Thanks!
      Patricia Weber recently posted…Business Networking Tip: How to Make and Utilize Contacts, Not Lose ThemMy Profile


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