I read a tweet recently from Steph Crowder, who runs a great community over @ Courage & Clarity btw, and is an ENFP if you're wondering :)
Here it is:
How I know I’m an extrovert: I crave alone time, but the most “alone” I wanna be is having lunch by myself in a busy restaurant. 🤷♀️ introverts do you like this type of thing? Or would you rather have alone time in solitude?
It got me thinking about my relationship with 'alone time'.
This is a post about alone-time in general, and also about time spent alone vs time spent with others.
The thing is, I feel like a bit of a contradiction here.
On the one hand, as an introvert, I absolutely adore being alone. Whether it's writing on my sofa at home, or watching an episode of something on Netflix, or reading whilst sat outside... I love being alone. (I also like a train journey, there's just something about train journeys...).
Basically, I love my solitude, I really do.
BUT, as much as I love it, it's also a fine line for me. Being alone for too long can eventually become *not* such a good thing, and if I'm not careful I can slip into feeling isolated.
I've gotten better at understanding myself and my energy levels.
For example, I quickly realised that being at home alone all day is *not* the best thing in the world for me. I'd much rather have, say, a half day working from home, and then the second half working from my gym cafe or somewhere else where there's at least people *around me*, even if I'm not talking about them.
So, for my alone time, I like it to be a mix of *actual* alone time, and alone time where I've got others around me.
Or, if I'm at home alone, I'll have music/TV playing in the background, which helps me not feel so *alone*. Does anyone else do this? Is this weird?!
It really is a fine balance between the two for me.
Other things I do to manage this balance:
- Each week, I try to socialise in person with a friend
For me, I have noticed just how crucial friendships/relationships with family members are to me, and nourishing. It's *all* about quality over quantity. (i.e. no to small talk, yes to interesting chats, or otherwise doing an activity in each others' company - e.g. reading in the living room, watching a theatre show)
- I'm part of a couple of online groups, and I have a video call with my Mastermind Group every week, which helps me get interaction & support
As someone who works remotely/from home, these communities are *great*. For now at least, I don't do co-working spaces due to the cost and the distance. Being a Londoner, I'd rather avoiding spending 90mins' travel each day (though it used to sometimes be 90mins *each way* in the past!), as it's not conducive to my time or energy, though I *do* often write on train journeys.
- I avoid stacking a particular day with lots of activities or socialising or events
(e.g. after I've had a nourishing chat/social event, I can then get carried away and arrange meets with other friends / otherwise put my down to do stuff. I still sometimes get carried away, but I've gotten better at taking a step back, breathing, and realising that - if I get *too* carried away - it'll all come crashing down and I'll feel exhausted the next day)
- If I've had a day (or two) where I've been particularly "social", I schedule the next day or two to be less energetic
(The weekends for me are a mixture of doing something fun, or just chilling out, depending on what my mood/energy levels are saying. I am trying to nudge myself to try and take more advantage of everything there is to often in London, and experience more things & places).
e.g. I was out for dinner last night, got back around 11.30ish and then stayed up for a couple of hours after that... I was still feeling a little 'hyper/energetic' after 3.5hrs of socialising)\
Needless to say, I had a lie-in today and got started with work slightly later on, and today is far more chilled!
In summary, for me, I adore my alone time but I also balance this with not-so-alone time, in the form of working from cafes and coffee shops (usually my gym one), or actually 1-to-1 or small-group 'hanging out' with friends. (Of which I have a small circle, and am consciously trying to spend time with others who are likeminded, and whose company I enjoy & find nourishing).
My feeling is that ALL of us, whether introvert or extrovert, need alone time vs not-so-alone time to differing extents.
What about you?
I'd love to hear your thoughts, just comment under the post.