I’m sure you’ve heard the term Dopamine before. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in how we feel pleasure or reward. Meaning the amount of satisfaction we get from doing certain activities.
Now there is a system that controls the flood of this neurotransmitter through the four major pathways of our brains. Like everything else in our bodies, this system is made of genes.
But what does this have to do with our need for alone time?
The Introvert Overstimulation…
Do you recall those times in school when the teacher asked you to answer a question in front of the whole class and you pretended you didn’t know the answer just to draw away the attention from you? Or how spending more than a couple of hours at a party or any other social gathering makes you drained, cranky, and wanting out!
Don’t you think there is something in your nature that made you avoid attention in class when other students thrive on that attention and literally jump in their seats asking for permission to answer? you’re obviously different from those who party hard all night and manage to keep bubbly and energetic the morning after.
Yes, we introverts are naturally different from our fellow extroverts and it goes all way to our genes.
Researchers found that extroverts have an A1 allele on the D2 receptor gene in the dopamine system (mentioned above) that introverts don’t have, this slight change in the dopamine system resulted in introverts being sensitive to dopamine, meaning we are easily stimulated by smaller doses of dopamine, unlike extroverts who require larger doses of dopamine to be stimulated.
Extroverts also feel more pleasure from external stimulants than introverts due to this genetic difference in the dopamine reward system. So it goes this way, the more extroverts are exposed to external stimuli ( like social gatherings, outgoing sports ..etc) the more pleasure they get.
While introverts will only get overly stimulated as time goes by, and the overflood of dopamine in our brains will often result in mental and physical exhaustion, inability to concentrate, and increased anxiety. I’m sure you’re familiar with these symptoms when you get overstimulated.
Our Need For “Introvert Alone Time”
In order for introverts to understimulate and recharge, we need to reduce the flood of dopamine in our brains by cutting off external stimulants and avoiding them. We manage to do this by seeking time alone reflecting inwardly and doing solitary activities like reading a book, going for a walk around the neighborhood, or in my case taking a long warm shower.
Planning for our alone time during the day or throughout the week is crucial for us introverts to create a balanced lifestyle and avoid being overstimulated as much as possible. And it won’t be that hard. Most of us enjoy doing solitary or indoor activities anyway.
Introverts Needing Alone Time in a Relationship
For introverts, being in a relationship can be a beautiful and fulfilling experience. But you need to recognize that introverts still need alone time, even when they’re with someone they love.
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that introverts suddenly stop needing time to recharge their batteries and focus on their own thoughts and feelings.
Needing alone time in a relationship is especially important for introverts. Spending time alone can help introverts recharge and feel more energized, which can ultimately benefit the relationship as a whole.
When an introvert feels drained and overwhelmed from too much social interaction, it can be challenging for them to communicate effectively with their partner, and they may experience feelings of irritability or moodiness, or even withdraw from the relationship entirely.
It’s crucial for introverts to communicate their need for alone time to their partner in a kind and respectful manner.
This might involve setting aside specific times during the week where the introvert can have some space and time to themselves, or simply communicating when they need some alone time in the moment.
By doing so, both partners can enjoy a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and develop a more supportive and compassionate relationship.
Do introverts want to be alone all the time?
No, not all introverts want to be alone all the time. While introverts generally prefer more alone time than extroverts, they still have social needs and enjoy spending time with close friends and family. However, introverts may need more alone time to recharge their energy after socializing.
Why do introverts enjoy being alone?
Introverts enjoy being alone because it allows them to recharge their energy and reflect on their thoughts. Being alone also gives introverts the space they need to engage in activities they enjoy without the pressure of social interaction.
How much alone time do introverts need daily?
The amount of alone time introverts need daily can vary depending on the individual, but studies suggest that introverts generally need more alone time than extroverts. Some introverts may only need a few hours of alone time each day, while others may need more.
Why do introverts need downtime?
Introverts need downtime to recharge their energy and process their thoughts. After spending time in a stimulating or stressful environment, introverts may feel overwhelmed and need time to relax and reflect. Downtime can also allow introverts to engage in activities they enjoy without the pressure of social interaction.