When is a safe space not so safe?

Last updated May 16, 2022 | Being introverted

When is a safe space not so safe?

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The introvert hangover is a real thing that many introverts associate with. It’s a feeling of intense exhaustion when working with (too many) people for (too) long. Typically it happens at conferences etc. Active recovery for introverts talks about how introverts can recover more quickly from the introvert hangover, or even prevent it happening.

An introvert safe space at conferences is in a room specially designed for the purpose of escaping from people for a few minutes, allowing one to recharge one’s “people energy”.  There’s no harm done when one uses this special room and other’s don’t even notice you using it. It’s a small room, so others can’t get in there, there’s a lock on the inside and a chair – albeit a chair with a hole in it. I recently gave a presentation about introversion and mentioned this tactic. After giving the presentation a a delegate sent me a news cutting that made me smile (or shudder, I’m not sure).

When a safe space goes wrong

A woman had to be rescued by firefighters at a beauty spot in Washington State, US, after falling into a public toilet. She dropped her phone into “the vault” (a container buried in the ground that stores the excrement).

To get it back, she took apart the toilet and lowered herself down, using a dog lead, then tried to grab the phone. The head of the local fire department explains how she fell in but luckily, grabbed her phone and could use it to call the fire service. She was uninjured, and refused medical assistance, explaining that she “only wanted to leave”.

The introvert energy drain

For many introverts, being surrounded by so many people for a long day can be draining. It can be a combination of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion.

If you’ve ever owned an old mobile phone (or even a modern one with a battery more than a year old) you’ve probably seen something like this. You quietly charge the phone, it’s up to100% charge and then you start to use it for talking…..you can watch the battery’s energy drizzle away in front of you. You can’t control it or stop it and the more you use if the faster the energy drains. It needs to be put quietly on one side for a recharge.

You might like to read “What is an introvert hangover?” for more about the issue

Active recovery for introverts” for ideas to survive and recharge yourself on the go

7 tips for introverts to survive work social events”

or, if you’re planning an event “Planning parties & work social events for introverts

The science behind introvert energy drains

Most introverts you talk to will be able to describe a similar feeling, some suffer more than others (Introvert / Extrovert ) is a spectrum so some people will be further towards the introvert end than others. But even extroverts can feel tired out eventually.

It’s connected with the hormone Dopamine. Introverts are more sensitive to dopamine and may get socially tired earlier than less sensitive extraverts, as sensory inputs (noise, people, lights) lead to overstimulation (according to Fishman, Ng and Bellugi). Click for more about what is an introvert.

But above all…..

Don’t drop your phone and be careful when picking it up!



Other posts you may enjoy reading

Or listening to

In this episode of “Activate Your Introvert” I answer the common question – what is an introvert?

Don`t copy text!