Introvert struggles

people-2558290_1920Things have been good overall. Work is going well and I’m keeping busy and have lots to do. My weekends have been a lot of fun and show no signs of slowing down until after August. But I’ve been getting more quiet time during the week to compensate and it’s helping. I’ve been ramping up my workouts after a bout of illness. I’m getting back to where I was before and the endorphins are always a plus. I’ve been having a lot of fun with my dance classes. I’ve been attending classes for nearly 5 months and have gotten to know a few of the other regulars at the studio. I’m in the middle of planning out my next adventure this autumn which I’m excited for. There are a lot of awesome things going on in my life right now.

But at home I’m pretty stressed out. Apparently a closed door means I want to be disturbed with questions. And there’s more to it than just that. I feel claustrophobic and dread going home sometimes. Despite the fact that it’s my own place.

She’s younger than I am. I totally understand living on your own can be scary. It takes time to figure things out. Even I don’t have everything figured out, that’s life. But she’s extremely clingy, copies everything I do, and wants to spend every waking moment with me. It’s stifling. We’re stuck together for the foreseeable future and I’m not sure if anything is going to change. I’m willing to talk but she soon forgets what we’ve discussed and we’re back to square one. It feels like she’s not listening at all.

Any advice or ideas to help me out?

5 roommate tips

people-2561065_1920I wrote an earlier post here on roommate challenges. They’re definitely still there but I had a good conversation with my roommate last night and I’m hopeful. I can’t remember how it began. But we ended up talking about our differences in energy and how much social time we need. I’m hoping I was able to articulate how essential quiet time is for me. It’s also helped me better understand how she functions. It was comfortable and hopefully leads to some small positive changes. I wanted to share a few things that have helped me and given me a more balanced perspective on things.

1. Communication is key.
This is vital in any relationship but especially if you live with the person. I need to tell her when I’m feeling burned out and that I’ll be recharging for a couple of hours. That way she won’t feel like I’m purposely avoiding her. Having a self-deprecating, “it’s me, not you” kind of attitude can help too.

2. Door closed = quiet time.
If I want to be alone, I shut my door. That’s the signal that I’m recharging or busy. I also hang a sign on my door with a cute illustration and the words “recharging – do not disturb”. I’m also working to create a peaceful oasis in my room for maximum relaxation.

3. Reset your perspective.
As an introvert, dealing with an extrovert’s chattiness can be a challenge. But it’s just as challenging for an extrovert to deal with an introvert’s aloofness and not take it personally. Extroverts need to socialize as much as we need them to leave us alone. When you have a roommate, the shared spaces are no longer places to recharge. They become the social hub. So if I’m in the living room, it’s because I’m mentally prepared to talk.

4. Find other escapes.
Shutting the door isn’t the only way to get alone time. I like to go for long walks after supper for some much needed quiet time and reflection. Even a solo gym or coffee date can help me decompress as well.

5. Compromise.
I need a lot of quiet time and I will take what I need. But I value my friendship with her and don’t want her to feel that she’s living with a stranger. So every night I’ll spend some time with her. We’ll either eat dinner together or chat for a bit before bed. We get to connect and I still get my quiet time.

Any other ideas?

6 roommate pet peeves

bonding-1985863_1920It’s been a busy weekend and it hasn’t slowed down yet. So I’ve been treading water and looking forward to a quieter weekend coming up. I wanted to share a post on the lighter side. Here are a few examples pulled from seven years of shared living experience.

1. They want to constantly socialize.
As soon as you walk into the kitchen, they pop out of their room and start talking. It may start with a question about your day. But it inevitable leads to a monologue about their own. Or they’ll talk to you the entire time you’re meal prepping and have no way of escape.

2. They monopolize the shared spaces.
Now I understand the living room and kitchen are shared spaces. But they spend hours in the living room scrolling on their phone. Or they have loud phone discussions I can hear through my door. If you went into your room I wouldn’t be able to hear you.

3. They leave things empty.
Almost every time I walk into the kitchen for a glass of water, the pitcher is suspiciously low. It’s never empty. But there’s only ever a mouthful left sitting in the bottom. Please fill it up once in a while.

4. They let things pile up.
Life is busy. Having a few dishes in the sink doesn’t bother me. But it becomes a problem when the dishes take over both sinks. As I no longer have room to do my own dishes. Also, please stop leaving random stuff in the living room for months. Just put it away.

5. They forget important things.
Like turning off the lights before they leave. Do they wonder why the electricity bill has doubled since they moved in? Or failing to lock the door on the way out. Please stop.

6. They leave things to smell.
Rather than taking out the garbage when it’s full, they balance things on top. Or they leave their stinky shoes/gym clothes at the front foyer and that’s all I smell when I walk in.

What are your pet peeves?

Reminders to recharge

boat-1483365_1920I’ve been reminded of the need to recharge twice this past week. A week ago, I attended a group waltz class. The last time I attended a dance lesson I had plenty of quiet time before and after. Unfortunately this time was different. I had a busy day at work interacting with both clients and coworkers. I drove home and sat through a one-sided conversation with my roommate as I ate dinner. I was only able to carve out a short 30 minute break in my room before it was time to drive to the studio.

The lesson itself was a lot of fun and the instructor is fantastic. I had to practice with an assistant for part of the time. Now I’m a complete beginner and I understand there’s a lot to fix. But the assistant kept stopping the dance to correct me. We’d dance three steps, they’d stop, correct my form, continue a few more steps, stop, correct something else, and the cycle continued for 10 minutes. Now I can only focus on changing one thing at a time, that’s how my mind works. Trying to incorporate all the changes became extremely frustrating. As you can imagine, I was relieved when I got to dance with the actual instructor again.

Then a couple of days later, it happened again. My roommate told me they wouldn’t be home until 10 pm due to work. I was excited for a quiet evening alone. I arrived back home that day, puttered around the kitchen, and settled down with my laptop. I had a few things planned but my main goal was to relax and recharge. One hour into my quiet time, I heard a key rattling in the lock. Frustration washed over me. My roommate didn’t work that day after all. She tried to make conversation but I ended up retreating to my room for the rest of the evening.

I realized I hadn’t been taking the time needed to recharge. I was overwhelmed and getting burned out. That’s why I reacted so strongly in both situations. It also reminded me I need to be more intentional about scheduling in the quiet time I need.

How’s your week been?