Introvert Friend

Dear Emily,
I have a dear friend whom I love, well, dearly. She is an only child and I come from a loud and boisterous family. I like hanging out with her but she never knows when to leave. Sometimes I need a little time to be alone to recharge and she doesn’t really understand that. I hate thinking of just kicking her out but I don’t know how to ask her for some space. How I nicely ask her to leave when she’s overstaying her welcome?

I’m also totally someone who also needs some time to recharge after hanging out with people, so I’ve been there. Sometimes we just need time at home without feeling like we need to entertain or talk to another human being, and that’s okay!

It sounds to me like you’re a great friend. You recognize that you and your friend had different families growing up and see that maybe she didn’t learn how to take certain social cues, like when to leave someone’s house.

In this situation I’m thinking you’ve gotta employ two little things called boundaries and communication. When you tell your friend you can hang out, give an end time. I know that may sound a little strange, but it’s the most basic solution. You don’t have to have an excuse for not continuing to hang out, just say something like, “I’d love to hang out, how about from like 2-7? I have the evening to myself tonight and I totally need some alone time before this weekend.” Of course, make it sound like you. Give a gentle reminder an hour or 45 minutes before 7. “Hey, what do you want to do for the last hour? Maybe we can [insert fun activity or whatever you two do together] and then part ways.” Again, I know that sounds awkward. It does because you have to make it your own, and believe it.

Sometimes, even with reminders and hints, people don’t catch our drift. So, you may need to explain to your friend that you love her and want to spend time with her because you love hanging out, but you need some alone time after a while. It doesn’t have to be serious. Joke about it, bring in references, show her memes, just be honest. You’re not trying to be a jerk or rude, you just want some time to be your weird self….alone.

Best of luck,
Emily

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