7 Surprising Signs You Have an Introvert Hangover, According to a Therapist
Hey, Google, please add "restorative hibernation" to my calendar.
Zoom parties. Group texts. Chatty conversations over outdoor brunch. These things are supposed to be fun. And yet, while you might enjoy them in the moment—or simply participate because your friends make you—it's often at the price of experiencing an introvert hangover for hours (or even days) afterward, if you consider yourself to be one.
Unlike extroverts, who need to socialize in order to feel energized, introverts gain their energy by spending time alone, therapist Saba Harouni Lurie, LMFT, ATR-BC, tells HelloGiggles. "No matter how much an introvert may love other people," she says, "being social can sometimes be draining because it is requiring energy rather than giving energy."
While you don't get an actual "hangover," it can feel a lot like one. In fact, "the drain can be enormous," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, tells HelloGiggles. "[And] the bigger and longer-lasting the social event is, the more [you'll] be affected." Sound familiar? Here are seven signs you have an introvert hangover, as well as what to do about it.
7 signs you have an introvert hangover:
1. You've run out of things to say.
If you couldn't possibly utter another word, consider it a sign of an "introvert hangover." While every conversation comes to an end, for introverts, it often feels like hitting a brick wall—and that feeling can stick around for days.
Whenever you get this way, try to focus on yourself, as much as possible. If you live with other people, Lurie suggests telling them, "Hey, I need some time to recharge before being social again. I'm going to go hang out by myself." You can say the same thing to anyone who's texting you, too Let them know you've hit your limit and won't be responding for a bit. Then take that time to do you.
2. You've zoned out.
Consider your social battery officially drained if you can no longer hear what other people are saying. The same is true if you "suddenly become incredibly quiet and have a blank look on your face," introversion expert and speaker Daisy Simonis says.
While this might happen while you're still out socializing, this "spacy" feeling can last long after you get back home. Again, you'll want to find a way to recharge that works for you, whether that means taking a long, quiet bath or watching a movie by yourself.
3. You canceled all your plans.
Even if you had fun socializing, an introvert hangover can have you swearing off get-togethers for the foreseeable future. As Dr. Manly says, you might crave "restorative hibernation"—aka, closing yourself in your room—in order to feel balanced again.
Don't feel bad about canceling plans, or spending time alone. But do take this as your cue to set up better boundaries (learning to say no, not over-booking yourself, etc.) so that you don't feel as burnt out in the future. The better you get at striking a balance, the less likely you'll be to give up on socializing entirely.
4. You've lost track of your emotions.
"Introverts can be very empathetic, especially if they are sensitive," licensed psychotherapist Stephanie Gardner-Wright, LMSW, says, which explains why you often feel lost and overwhelmed after having long convos.
It might even get to the point where you can no longer tell which thoughts are your own, and which ones belong to the person you're talking to. This is why "it's vital for introverts to connect with their own thoughts and feelings," Gardner-Wright says, "so they can distinguish what's 'theirs' versus someone else's emotions."
Again, you'll want to find ways to rebalance. Dive into your hobbies, call your mom, walk your dog. Check in with yourself, and the hangover will start to fade.
5. You feel exhausted.
After you get home from that aforementioned brunch, consider how you feel. Tired? Exhausted? Shattered, even? "These are words that introverts often use," Simonis says, because all of your energy got used up. It's why you've crashed in bed with the lights on—almost like you have an actual hangover.
If you know this tends to happen, Simonis recommends scheduling alone time after social events, even if that social event is just a Zoom call. Sometimes simply knowing you'll get to be alone later in the day is enough to prevent a hangover.
6. You're jumpy.
An introvert hangover can also put you on edge, Gardner-Wright says. Think along the lines of jumping when someone comes in the room, or getting startled when your phone rings.
This is due to the stress hormone cortisol being released, she says, but "regulating the nervous system through activities like exercise or gentle movement, going outside, or talking to a trusted person can help."
7. You feel numb.
While it sounds a bit dramatic, if you feel like a "shell of your former self" after socializing, you definitely have an introvert hangover. "True introverts often cope with social events by adopting a 'mask' or creating a 'wall,'" Dr. Manly says. "This can result in a sense of numbness in the hours or days following the social event."
While there's nothing wrong with being an introvert—or having an "introvert hangover"—it can certainly be draining at times, and may even hold you back from doing the things you want (or need) to do. But if you have little tricks like these in your back pocket, it'll be possible to recover quicker. And hey, maybe even fully enjoy those brunches.