Deciding To Go Out: One Introvert’s Thought Process for Accepting a Social Invitation

(originally posted on on 10/12/14)


As a self-diagnosed introvert, talking myself into attending some kind of event/party/meeting/seminar/class/friend date/anything that requires leaving the house results in a pretty intensive, although totally predictable, thought process.

Friends may wonder why I’m generally not very spontaneous. It’s because I have to allow time for this process to talk myself into going to whatever it is I’m invited to. It goes a little something like this:

  1. Receive invitation. Read it and pretend not to have seen it for at least two hours. (I say read, because all my good friends know that I don’t do phone calls. Text messages and emails are my preferred modes of communication.)
  2. Two hours later, read it again.
  3. Look at the date/time this event is to take place, and hope there is already something on the calendar.
  4. Realize there is nothing on the calendar and that I have no reasonable excuse to not go.
  5. Think up alternate reasons why I may not be able to go. Don’t I have some kind of deadline looming or something? Doesn’t someone need to be driven somewhere? Is my favorite TV show on at that time?
  6. Realize I have no good alternate reasons not to go.
  7. Decide to do nothing about the invitation for the moment, until I can think about it some more.
  8. Next day, revisit the invitation. Imagine what it might be like to go, if I decided to go.
  9. Think about who I might see, what I might wear, how long the event could go, how much energy may need to be expended.
  10. Fight the urge to just not accept the invitation for no reason.
  11. Ignore invitation again for a little while until I can think about it some more.
  12. Look at the invitation again, and think about saying yes.
  13. Do nothing.
  14. A bit later, practice saying “yes” by telling my husband that I think I might go to this thing.
  15. Feel disappointed that he can’t come up with a reason for me not to go.
  16. Do nothing.
  17. Eventually, come to terms with the fact that I am accepting the invitation.
  18. Finally, after exhausting all options, accept the invitation with enthusiasm.
I realize I am outing myself to all my friends by admitting to this thought process. Please don’t hate me or stop inviting me to things! I think what is important to understand is that I don’t go through this because I don’t want to go to something. I actually do generally enjoy myself once I’ve gotten out of the house. But I know how much social energy it takes for me to enjoy events, and I know that I have a limited supply. Too many things happening back to back exhaust and deplete me, and I worry I won’t have time to re-charge when I need to. This is simply a tool of self-protection. I agree that it’s kind of ridiculous and needlessly confounding, but it is how I am. My inner introvert insists on it.
Anyone else out there relate to this? Do you have a crazy personal process you go through when confronted with social opportunities? Does it make you feel guilty?