I like parties, but I like them under my terms! I am an introvert, and after a certain amount of time around people, I run out of energy and get cranky and want to go home and be alone. Yadda yadda yadda. You know all this stuff already.
But, my husband is an extrovert and loves being around people. Rut-roh.
For years, I dreaded the party conundrum. Sometimes I wanted to leave a party early–but he was having a great time. Or, perhaps I wanted to skip a party altogether but he didn’t….and what kind of partner would I be if I made him go alone? That’s not very nice.
Gatherings became something I would dread because the night would often end in frustration–mostly at myself. Do I have a right to want to go home early? Enjoying parties is normal, right? So I’m the weird one because I want to leave early. But then I’d think–that’s not fair! My desires are just have valid as his. Me wanting to leave early is just as valid as him wanting to stay longer, isn’t it? Should I just suck it up and pretend to have fun even though I was miserable, or could I bail? Then, if we did leave early, I felt guilty that I made him leave when he was having fun. It was a problem with seemingly no solution.
But then I found the solution.
Take two cars.
I can’t tell you HOW AMAZING it feels to have an out. I have the freedom to leave when I want and my husband can stay as long as he wants. Plus, I don’t have to feel guilty about making him leave early, which is huge. Everyone wins!!
(Note: I wrote this post years ago, before Uber and Lyft were very popular. Of course these ride-share apps give you even more options!)
Related blog posts: Taking a break from a party
Being in control of our comfort/needs’ fulfillment is a win-win. Glad you found this solution!
I really appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into this site and I totally identify with you and feel for you- my husband is also an extrovert. Your suggestion about the two cars – genious!!
We are happily married, but I must admit that we’ve had many an argument sorrounding this very issue. He always wanted us to accept social invitations and I always wanted to decline. We would end up having huge fights. Part of the problem was that many of these invitations would be spontaneous – and I felt that I didnt have time to prepare mentally for them. Also they would be from friends of his that I didnt know well, and I had no control over what was going to happen. If I persuaded him to decline, I would feel so guilty. For years I seriously thought there was something really wrong with me.
Happily, I can say that now things have improved!! In time he has learned to better understand how much anxiety certain situations produce in me, and he really commends me and appreciates it whenever I make the effort to ‘go’ to these events. He also understands that if I say ‘no’ its because the proposed plan is really beyond me. One book that has helped me a lot is : How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes. One little coping mechanism I use is: ‘prepare a few subjects in your mind that you can talk to ppl about- in case inspiration doesn’t hit’. So before I go to a party now I think about who I will meet and what I could ask them/ what might interest them. It has helped me loads in reducing my own anxiety and to better enjoy myself. I still get home feeling totally exhausted but at least having survived! During my ten years of marriage Ive had to go to many great and small social gatherings. But I think that,thanks to the fact that my husband is an extrovert- it has forced me to make more of an effort and I feel better able to cope with these kind of events now. I would even go as far as to say that 9 times out of 10 I enjoy it much more than I anticipate doing.
About two months ago I learned for the first time about the meaning of being a HSP- and what a jaw dropping moment that was!
One last thing I wanted to get off my chest (sorry to waffle this long), I think that one way to explain to ppl how it feels to be an introverted hsp is: imagine a highly sociable person, who loves company, thrives being around others, loves talking on the phone , and this person was forced to spend a great deal of time alone not being allowed to have contact with anyone. How would that person feel? Would they enjoy it? Would they feel comfortable and at ease? So everyone gets that scenario -and it’s the same the other way round – why can’t people understand that introverts are constantly forced to be in environments that they don’t feel comfortable with… at times we need a break from being around people. It’s not that we are unfriendly, it’s not personal. We just need a bit of space….. is that so hard to understand?
Hi Susannah, I love that comparison!! I am going to have to start using that 🙂 Thank you for sharing about your party-going behavior, I’m so glad you & your spouse were able to come to an understanding!