Anti-social. Selfish. Snob. Rude.

All words used to describe many of the tenderhearted introverts roaming the planet.

And in defense of our extroverted sisters and brothers, sometimes we introverts don’t properly explain our need for alone time, so we can come across as inconsiderate or standoff-ish.

And no wonder! It can be complicated business to find gentle and direct language that will assure our family and friends that:

  1. Alone time will not last all year. Once our energetic well is filled back up, they’ll hear from us very soon.
  2. Wanting solitude is not a personal attack on their company. We’re not covertly trying to tell them that we don’t actually like them. Not at all.

And on top of that…

How can we communicate all of this without feeling like we need to apologize for just being ourselves?

Definition of an apology: “a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.”

Being more introverted is not something to regret. It’s how we’re built. It just is.

And wanting time away, even from our nearest and dearest loved ones, is certainly not an offense or a failure, so it does not need to be apologized for.

I know this now, but for years, I felt guilty for wanting alone time. I thought it was selfish and meant I was abandoning my friends and family instead of supporting them by sharing my time with them.

To make matters worse, I also bought into the myth that success required a hyper-outgoing, boisterous personality, so clearly, my introverted longings had to be stamped out, right?

I tried to fake it. I tried to pretend that I didn’t want silence and closed doors. But I did. I do.

And then (hallelujah!), after years of masquerading as an extrovert, I decided to let that lie die and finally be the introvert that my cells know me to be.

After making that decision, I knew the first thing I needed to do was tell someone.

I needed to communicate my introversion (and all that it means) to the people in my life—with compassion, clarity, and not even a whisper of shame.

Here’s what I came up with:

Four mini-scripts to explain your need for solo time.

1. When it’s a flat out NO.

That’s such a thoughtful invitation. I really appreciate it. Like, REALLY. 🙂

My calendar has been a wee bit jammed up lately though, and I’m feeling like I need to take it easy tonight / this week / this weekend.

So I’m going to say: no, thankya. A bubble bath is calling my name. 🙂

Hope you have a fantastic time!

2. For when you’d rather hang one-on-one and nix the big group action.

Hey lovely, thanks for thinking of me. 🙂

Any interest in making plans with just us two? I’d love to see you, but I need to take a breather from the buzz of big groups.

How about Saturday night on my couch? Pizza and a bottle of Malbec?

3. For when you want to delay the fun.

Oh my gosh, you asked the right person because that sounds AWESOME! Which is why it’s super hard for me to say: I’m gonna pass. For now.

My energy’s been pulled all over the place lately, and I need some deep rest to recharge my batteries.

Any chance we could make plans to do this later this week / month / year instead? It sounds like a fantastic idea, and I wanna be in, just not right now. Whadya think?

4. And last, but not least, for when you want to keep it short and sweet.*

“I’m going to take some time out to be alone right now. But not to worry, I’ll be back.”

(*All credit goes to Stephanie Watanabe for the simple loveliness of this one.)

Try these scripts on for size. Customize them for your situation and normal way of speaking, or simply let them be inspiration for your own words to bubble up.

But whatever you do, if alone time floats your boat, don’t pretend otherwise.

Say what you feel. Ask for what you need.



Annika Martins is a spiritual curator, which is kind of like being a museum curator. Except instead of curating paintings and sculptures, she curates spiritual practices from around the world. From prayer and meditation to surfing and self-touch (oh yeah), pack your curiosity and prepare to expand your definition of what’s high and holy. See God. Your way. It’s all goin’ down at

*Image courtesy of gmayster01 on & off ….