Introverts Share The Most Inconvenient Time Their ‘Social Battery’ Ran Out
When it comes to being social, introverts have a tough hill to climb. The outside world can be a bit much at times. For them, it’s all about being themselves. “I gather strength from solitude: reading, hiking by myself or going for long drives. Things like that give me energy while being around people drains me of energy,” writer Seth Adam Smith told Huffington Post.
One way to measure how well an introvert is handling things is by looking at his or her social battery. If it’s running low, the introvert will do whatever possible to escape from the situation. These brave introverts discuss what incidents drained their social battery. From work problems to a night out with friends, they’ve gone through the wringer. Fortunately, they made it out of there in one piece.
#1 I’m Sleeping Here!
My wife and I went over to another couple’s house for dinner and a board game. The game ended around 10 p.m. and I was drained at that point. It was a perfect time for goodbyes… but then, my wife went into the sitting room and started a whole new conversation with them. Twenty minutes later, I faked being asleep just to get them to leave.
#2 One Too Many Sleepovers
I had a sleepover with a friend. She looked at me and asked if I wanted to sleepover again. I told her that, even though I had a good time, I kind of just wanted to go home. She gave me this anxious look and said, “Oh, well I canceled everything so you would sleepover.” As an introvert, those guilt-trips are my biggest weakness. I ended up sleeping over again. Sigh.
#3 Didn’t Want To Bring The Mood Down
I was doing well after starting college. I joined a jiu-jitsu club, I was doing well in my classes, I got on antidepressants and I started counseling. One day, I woke up and just didn’t know how to talk to people anymore. I was scared, I stopped going to the therapist, and I couldn’t even have conversations with my friends anymore. I had just paid $200 to go to a jiu-jitsu camp and I didn’t want to not go, so I forced myself out.
In the end, I didn’t really go to any of the workshops they had. I just helped out in the kitchen with as minimal talking as I could. People kept trying to figure out what was going on and it was just getting worse and worse realizing I was ruining it for others. I didn’t really recover from that. I ended up missing a few weeks of class and stopped going to counseling.
#4 Stand up? More Like Lie Down
I do amateur stand up and I’d been doing well at an open mic, so someone invited me to do a set for his event. I rely on energy and wit to get through—I only prepare a little bit and most of what I do is random. If you’ve seen Ross Noble, you know the drill. I tell weird stories, go off on tangents, and just stream-of-consciousness for however long they let me.
It means I have to be mostly awake and alert. This time, I was at an event where a million things were happening at once and the standup was about two hours later in the evening than I was used to. I went on stage and totally blanked. No ideas. It would have just tortured the audience if I’d tried to dredge up nonsense where no-nonsense was available, so I thanked them and left. I’m very introverted off-stage, so I didn’t say a word to anyone else.
#5 Too Tired For The Ladies
When it was my birthday, I went to the movies with my friends. I was ready to go home and sleep afterward, but my friends wanted to get midnight tacos. There were these two girls who kept looking at me, and one was even brushing up against me. I just wanted to go home. My friends kept insisting I go with them, but I was too drained. I called my mom and went home.
#6 Roll For Boredom
I occasionally play Dungeon Master (DM) for my party when our main DM needs a break. I’ll put in a ton of work to prepare a fun one-shot or two to three session adventure. Then, I’ll be in the midst of the game with everyone engaged and enjoying themselves and my social battery will just die. When that happens, I just want to be off somewhere alone.
#7 She’s Got The Look
I attended a very fancy Canada Day gala. I’m face-blind, so I couldn’t tell who I actually knew or who knew me. I was forced into a dress, makeup and heels (something I’ll do twice a year tops) and I had to make so much small talk. Halfway through, I hit 0% and darn near had a panic attack. It’s the worst feeling ever. You just want to isolate yourself and recharge.
#8 Is The Date Still Happening?
I went to my husband’s after-work event that was about thirty minutes on an NYC subway ride from where I worked. I was just about to chat with this woman he worked with who was incredibly sweet and nice about setting up a double date between us and her husband. It was like a curtain fell over my eyes. I couldn’t pay attention or get interested in what she was saying even though I really liked them and wanted to spend more time with them. Even though it was 9:30 pm, I was mentally done for the day.
#9 Yawning At The Club
A former friend dragged me into a nightclub for the first time. We came in at 10 p.m. The music was bad and there were a lot of people, so my social battery ran out pretty quickly, like an hour into being there. But since he was an aspiring DJ, I had to stick around. I had no choice anyway because I couldn’t leave without him. The sun was up when we were in the parking lot. He dragged me into another club two weeks later, promising the music wasn’t bad over there, and since they played basically the same songs, I dragged him out an hour after we came in. Screw nightclubs.
#10 A Rough Travel
I am an introvert with social anxiety. I needed to attend a meeting for work 2,000 miles away. It was for an important client and a bunch of top executives that I typically didn’t interact with. Introvert stress was on overdrive. I’m an okay flyer but will do things to cope, like select my seat in advance, etc. After the predictably poor sleep on the night before, I got to the airport at 11 a.m. to find the plane had been downgraded to a smaller model.
I had been assigned a middle seat, which was not ideal for anxiety management. I asked at the gate if I could change and was brusquely told no. Because I thought the trip was useless but couldn’t get out of it, hadn’t had much sleep. I burst into tears and was not able to stop until the Xanax kicked in 20 minutes later. So not only did that suck, it was embarrassing to sit in a crowded airport waiting room uncontrollably crying over a seat assignment.
#11 Existentialism On Prom Night
Senior prom. I was with the first girl I was seriously in love with which made the situation worse overall. I just couldn’t deal with all the people and the dancing and all that. I kind of just wandered off for a while and when I came back, I found my girlfriend crying. I felt so terrible that I ruined her only prom. I still feel horrible about it to this day, three years later.
#12 So Many Questions!
I was giving tours to eighth-graders at my technical school. A kid would come up to me asking me a bunch of questions. I’d blink a couple of times and attempt to talk but the kid could tell I was kind of dead, so they just went off for a while. Eventually, when they came back, I managed to answer the questions. All of the kids thought I was on something. Nope, just done with talking.
#13 What A Caring Boss!
It happened during a performance review at work. At the time, I relied on my “social battery” mainly for putting up a front because I was very unhappy with my life, being stressed from going to school 15 hours a week and working 45 to 50 hours a week. My boss wasn’t happy with how slow I was, and I couldn’t put up a face so I just cried my eyes out. Luckily, my boss is cool. He handed me a box of tissues and said, “Here, usually I’m the one who needs these.”
#14 No Compensation At All
I was working for my father when he asked me to drive 100 miles to drop off one of his truck drivers. I like driving long distances—I find it fun and calming, but the guy who was with me was a really hard person to deal with. The first 30 miles were fine but we ran out of things to talk about and I began counting the miles until the destination. Once we got there, the truck was not in working condition and I had to drive both of us all the way back. The worst part was that I was never paid for this.
#15 You Had One Job
It happened in the middle of a job interview when I was first out of college. I hadn’t really figured out how to “charge” myself yet. I was already tired when it started, but a little over halfway through, the interviewer noticed and asked if I was okay. I started fidgeting a LOT, barely making eye contact anymore, tripping over my words, etc. I’m sure he thought I was on something. I told him that I had anxiety and we carried on as usual, but I still believe that’s the main reason I didn’t get the job.
#16 Rather Read Books Instead
I was hosting a holiday party for my hubby’s relatives. About an hour into the “festivities,” I grabbed my purse and car keys and walked out the door to go to the local library for some peace and quiet. Ever since then, no one has asked to host at our house. Totally okay with that!
#17 Sick Riff, Bro
I had a guitar solo in my choir concert and I was so nervous. Right at the hardest part, I had a huge anxiety attack. My fingers were shaking and sweating, my vision started going blurry, and I wanted to cry. I managed to make it through, and I did really well. After the concert, a bunch of people wanted to talk to me about my solo, but I wanted to scream. I was hot, sweaty, and panicking. I wanted to strip naked and sleep, but I had to hold back my tears and keep the conversation going. Having a panic attack mid-solo is not fun. Some people can relate to this.
#18 Death In The Family
It was my grandfather’s funeral. We had a lot of extended family and friends who came to the service. My grandmother was in poor health at the time and in a wheelchair, and also mourning her husband of 50 years. My parents were off dealing with her in private. I’m the oldest sibling, so I became the de facto hostess at the reception. After receiving probably 150 people, most of them near-strangers, and all with stories of my grandfather, I hit a wall. I had to make my 19-year-old sister take over while I “went to look for mom” and sat in my car for 15 minutes instead.
#19 Not An A+ Social Battery
I was having a bad day at school. I had a nervous breakdown trying to explain why 100% is an A+ to my teacher. She said that you have to go “above and beyond” to get an A+, which was completely unfair). The other kids started walking up to me, asking if I was okay. I snapped, saying “NO! I am NOT okay! Now leave me ALONE!” They didn’t leave me alone. I was at below empty when I finally got home. Then I watched YouTube for the rest of the day.
#20 I’m On A Boat
It happened while on a party boat for my cousin’s birthday in the Chicago Harbor. It was extremely crowded, the music was loud as heck, and I couldn’t sit down or really walk around. I also couldn’t get off the boat as it was out cruising, and I had no idea how long it would be before it docked again. Fortunately, I found that the front of the boat had this large quiet deck that was almost totally deserted except for a few couples who were there. I got a couple of glares but I sat far away on my own with my beer and nothing escalated. I actually started enjoying myself there with a view of the city lights.
#21 Drained By A Lie
The worst time I can think of was when I was out with my older cousin and younger sister. It was just supposed to be the three of us, so I felt somewhat comfortable, but it turned out my cousin blatantly lied about that. After a somewhat pleasant dinner, she forced us to join her for a trip to the beach at night, and her friends were waiting for her. It was seriously overcrowded—people were yelling and I couldn’t say a word to anyone.
Eventually, I just ran away to some corner and cried. Everything got worse when they came up to me trying to help. It was terrifying. They were also playing music obnoxiously loud, and rather than scaring me, that just made me more uncomfortable. I ended up ruining the night for them, but in my defense, my cousin did lie to me.
#22 Typical Nerves At Graduation
At graduation I was doing fine—I was just talking to my close friends while we got seated. Then, the guy started reading off names. I looked behind me to see 3,000 plus people behind me, all the families watching the ceremony. That’s when I hit 0%. I started freaking out and shutting down at the same time. I felt like puking, passing out, and dying as the rows got closer and closer.
Eventually, it was my row’s turn to stand and walk-up. I was stiff and my arms refused to move. My legs moved by themselves, and I shuffled closer and closer as they kept on calling names. After what seemed like a century had passed, they finally called my name. I fumbled and almost dropped the diploma case they handed me. I was a floppy fish as far as any handshakes were concerned.
When I sat back down, I just lost track of everything. I think the term is dissociation, but I lost all sense of who I was. It was like watching a movie, except I was the main character in the first-person perspective. I don’t remember much after that, up until I got in the car to go home. Even then, with my headphones on and something to fidget with, I didn’t go back to “normal” until two hours later.
#23 The Rowdiness Of The Crowd
Sporting events. I enjoy the atmosphere at most of them, but sometimes, especially when it’s quite hot, I just don’t want to be around anyone for the rest of the weekend. I also start to feel really claustrophobic despite being outside, but I don’t want to leave due to the excitement of the game. Thankfully, student ticket prices for football games reached triple digits, and that was out of my budget. I will miss the atmosphere of the night games, but I won’t miss that claustrophobic feeling
#24 Partied Too Hard
I had broken up with a girlfriend. A very extroverted friend of mine asked me to hang out and party with him and some of his very extroverted friends. I said screw it and went. It started out good, but by the third bar, I was exhausted and ready to crash. The worst thing was that we took my car and I couldn’t leave without them. We ended up going to this high-end club in Chicago and they bought bottle service for like $500.
They all got intoxicated and started urging me to get loopy too, so I had to sip on water pretending that it was vodka. I pretty much spent the night trying to avoid the hoards of intoxicated people raving to loud dance music while I had to manage my anxiety so I didn’t completely meltdown. Afterward, I dropped them off, went home, and completely shut myself out from the world for a week.
#25 Time To Play The Game
My friend of mine from the USA came over to the UK. We met for the first time and after two hours of us playing couch games like Overcooked, I was tired. I just wanted to play a single-player game. I showed my friend my Oculus Rift and she loved it—she played with it for a good hour after I set it up, meanwhile, I left the room quietly to play with my 3DS. To this day, she never knew I abandoned her for an hour.
#26 For The Children
It had been a long week at work. It was too hot and my train was delayed. I got on and there weren’t enough seats I noticed this one family with two really little kids was standing up without anything to hold onto and no one was giving up their seat. So I gathered up what energy I had left, poked the most able-bodied looking people and told them politely to get up and give their seats to the kids. My “battery” totally died after that and I sat on the floor in a corner of the train, freaking crying like some sort of crazy lady. That wasn’t a great day.
#27 Bait And Switch
Some friends asked me to dinner. It was kind of “understood” that it would be just the three of us. I went over to their house and there were lots of people there! It was somebody’s birthday party, not dinner. I went up to them and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not staying. We can have dinner together another time. Bye.” And walked out. I didn’t care who thought I was a jerk. Don’t pull that on me because you know better.
#28 Missing Out On Some Overseas Fun
My family was so excited to be in a different country and wanted to go check out various pubs. I had to leave them because I was so low on social energy, I was getting a very bad panic attack. I felt really bad. Sorry guys. We never get to have trips like that and we finally get this chance we may never repeat, but I had to leave. It really sucks.
#29 You’re Speaking My Language
When I was in Ukraine for two weeks visiting some family, we had been outside for at least 12 hours every single day in the city, full of lots of people and having to speak. We went to see the churches, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I sat down on the floor whenever we stopped walking and switched back to English mode for the rest of the day. Whenever my family tried to speak some Russian or Ukrainian to me, I just couldn’t respond since it would require me to use some of my willpower that was reserved for walking.
#30 Awkward Welcoming Speech
I ran out in the middle of onboarding a program director. I work in HR and I had to do the onboarding by myself because my boss was out of the country. In the middle of giving my “welcome to the company ” speech, I just completely lost it and went flat. I went from being very energetic and bubbly to sounding like Spock, trying to add emotions into his repertoire.
#31 Speechless Over Milk
I was about to go inside a gas station to get a bag of milk. I felt confident enough. I got to the cash register and completely forgot how to speak. She was looking at me like I’m some sort of weirdo. When handing over the cash, I was trying to conceal my nervous shaking but made it so much more awkward. I wanted to say sorry but I just left.
#32 Where’s The Funny?
I run Pub Trivia. We’ve had events with hundreds of people and usually, I’m pretty good about staying fairly social. That said, a few months ago I hit an absolute wall. I stopped cracking jokes, didn’t talk to as many people, and just ‘went through the motions’ for the rest of the night. At the end of the night, I had a few of the regulars come up and ask me if everything was okay.
It was a pretty gut-wrenching moment for me to be out in public in a large group and not be ‘on’ like I normally am. I kept myself together and just said I was having an off day. From then on, I’ve made sure my batteries are full before standing up in front of a crowd with a microphone. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to be an introvert AND constantly be the center of attention, I very much understand comedians and rock stars that need their alone time before and after their shows.
#33 Some Guys Have All The Luck
I had a very real shot with probably the most beautiful girl I’d ever laid eyes on. She had a face that was seriously striking—not a line out of place, ridiculous blue eyes, beautiful smile, and long blonde hair. To this day, almost 10 years later, nobody quite matches up to that sort of beauty. Things were going great. I was obviously into her, and she seemed really into me.
I went on a double date with her and her best friend. I was so nervous and so focused on not coming on too strong and putting her off, that I accidentally focus fired all my killer lines, friendliness and flirting toward her best friend. I was trying to come across as friendly with her friends… I really saw nothing in her friend at all and was only trying to be nice. Unfortunately, nobody saw it that way. These days, she’s swanning around with a really nice guy several fathoms below her league. As far as I can tell, he’s the luckiest man in my hometown… And I am a freaking idiot.
#34 Happy Birthday To…You?
My coworkers don’t believe me when I say I don’t want any birthday attention. At my first IT job, I walked into the common room to hear “Surprise!!!” It was a surprise birthday party for me. I just stood there for a second and said, “I told you guys not to do this.” I turned around and went back to my office. I guess it was a jerk move, but I really didn’t want that. There was no fallout that I’m aware of, but it sucked to be in that situation.
#35 Asking For A Timeout
I went on a date to a museum. The place was so busy we decided to kill an hour or two around the city. We walked around, got ice cream, chilled at the park, then went back to the museum. My energy ran out right at the start of the special exhibit, which was what I wanted to see the whole time. I had no energy and was so tired at that point that we just sort of skimmed through it all and called it a night. I learned my mistake from that.
#36 A Convention Nightmare
It was the second day of a four-day fan convention that I paid a lot of money for. I had two more celebrity autographs to grab. There were big celebrities present with crazy line ups, which meant that I had to stand in line with people who wanted small talk. I also attended a panel, which involved more interacting with people. I had to be social and it was so hard.
#37 Scoring The Victory
I hosted a pro-wrestling match. Ten minutes to bell time, I just had a straight-up panic attack. I had to internalize it because I was still getting everyone in the locker room situated. I had to make sure my camera guy knew what he was doing, all while running through a spot that involved me later in the event. I was standing there, talking to a wrestler who had tons of experience on TV and wrestled in front of tens of thousands of fans, and I was doing my best not to cry or pass out. On the bright side, I recovered and the show went fairly well!
#38 Not A Pleasant Time In Paris
Well, when my “social battery” runs out, it is usually followed by a panic attack, which means I first start hiccuping, then I get sick, and eventually start throwing up. The worst time it happened was when I was on a school trip to Paris, and my panic attack started right in time for a three-hour classical concert in one of Paris’ most prestige concert halls, followed by a half an hour ride on the underground back to the hotel.
#39 Scared To Say Hi
I work with my father in the family retail business. While I was working, my dad was talking to a very pretty customer. I overheard him asking if she was single. I was not prepared to talk to a girl at that particular moment. I was dirty, my clothes were messy and I was very tired. He grabbed me by the arm and starts pulling me across the store to talk to her. I told him very nicely that I didn’t want to meet her at the moment. He kept pulling.
I told him more assertively, but he just kept pulling. I snapped at that moment. I planted my feet and looked at him square in the eyes, saying that if he didn’t stop, I was going to go home. He looked very hurt and confused, then he left. The worst part is that I’m the manager and I’m 38-years-old. It was the most humiliating day I’ve had at work since I was a teenager. I should have gone over and tried to sell her something, but I just ran out of juice at that particular moment. The rest of the weekend I had to deal with my dad and another employee joking about how I “totally blew it” and they were right.
#40 Giving Thanks To The Office
My family came over to my house for Thanksgiving. There were two screaming children and many loud adults. After a couple of minutes, my hands started shaking and I was having trouble breathing, so I went into my dad’s office and started watching our fish tank, trying to control my breathing. My mom and my sister went to check up on me. I started having an anxiety attack due to all the noise, so my mom and sister came up with an excuse that would let me stay in the office. When they started serving dinner, my dad got really mad that I wasn’t coming out to eat with them and made a rude comment about my mental health in a fairly crowded room. Everyone heard. I locked myself in the office after that and only let my mom, sister, and younger cousins in until everyone left. My mom and sister had to bring me to the hospital after the party was done because I was not breathing. I ended up fine, but I refused to talk to my dad for the next few days.
#41 Board Out Of Their Mind
It happens anytime someone invites me over for a get-together but they fail to mention board games will be involved. I freaking hate board games. I especially hate when we play three different ones in one gathering. Don’t put people through this unless you know for a fact that they are as jazzed about board games as you are!
#42 This Is Corny!
I decided to go to a school dance because my friends were pressuring me to. I felt absolutely dead inside about halfway through. The music was so loud and so bad my ears were in pain. Also, my friends somehow disappeared and I couldn’t find them, so I went outside and just played Cornhole.
#43 The One That Got Away?
I met this nice girl on the bus. We had a good chat— we discovered we live close to each other and even had similar interests. It was not romantic, but I figured I could use some more friends nonetheless. Well, about halfway into the bus ride, I had no more energy at all to talk to her. I started to get quieter. I ended up just getting off at the next stop, saying I had to get some groceries. Never saw her after that again.