Author Topic: Calling all introverts! Did you become more social after retirement? How much?  (Read 3727 times)

Caoineag

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On anything that rates introversion on an introversion - extroversion scale, my husband is a hair short of 100% recluse and I am usually high 80s.

My hypothesis is that after FIRE we won't have to deal with coworkers or clients and so will be more willing to socialize. However, I sometimes wonder if instead we will just get used to not having to deal with people and grow even less social. I have never really required a lot of people interaction. So all you recluses in training, did you like people a little bit more after FIREing or did you just breath a sigh of relief that you no longer had to have forced interactions and went your merry, antisocial way?

FirePaddle

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Good question, and I wonder this as well. I'm most tired on the days interact with people, I need to recharge after many social events as well, even if they are very fun and positive experiences.

Thinkum

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I find this interesting you bring this up. While I am not retired, I have been willing unemployed for over 2 years and went from a solid "I" to just over the fence and a low "E". I find that while I do not NEED daily social interaction, I usually love the interaction I do have because it is a choice and with quality people. I am still very much an introvert at times seeking the recharge, however much less than before.

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For me, mostly, I have become a near hermit/recluse and quite enjoy myself and my solitary yet enjoyable life.

During the times when I do interact with people, it is usually more enjoyable because (A) I can mostly choose which people those are, and they're usually people I like, like my close family and friends, and (B) the circumstances in which I am interacting with people is usually relaxed or fun, like playing bridge or talking, not yucky circumstances like work.

Another thing that has happened is that, having been retired for about two years, I have become more secure in myself and less caring what people think.  So anyone who thinks I am living my life wrong can, as Flo used to say, kiss my grits.  So it is more enjoyable being alone because I no longer feel any guilt or pressure to conform in a society where the majority are extroverted.
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bacchi

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Good question.

I think I've become more sociable over the past year, especially lately. When creating my post-work life, there are certain things that needed inclusion and one of those was a stronger connection to friends and family.

On the way to the store, I have the time and energy to briefly visit a friend who works from home. Another friend works shifts and I can visit after he gets off at 2pm. When teammates want to hang out after the game on weekends, I join them because I don't feel rushed to get other things done before Monday.

That's not to say I'm suddenly a social butterfly. My natural inclination is to be happily off by myself; I actively have to force myself to visit people outside of the usual ~once/month gatherings and I still avoid large gatherings because they're so draining.

FINate

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I'm strongly introverted (INTJ). For me it's not about social vs. antisocial, more about how I process things. As an internal processor it requires a great deal of energy to be around people I don't know well, or where there's a lot of external stimuli.

Since RE I've had more time to process and decompress. I don't know if I've become more social as a percentage of overall time, but the interactions I do have are more meaningful and enjoyable now. I've made friends with people at the gym. No longer bothered by going to parties,  even enjoying them sometimes. I think a key difference in retirement is not feeling like my alone time is a scarce commodity that must be protected -- I can enjoy a social outing knowing that I will have time to myself later.

Caoineag

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... I think a key difference in retirement is not feeling like my alone time is a scarce commodity that must be protected -- I can enjoy a social outing knowing that I will have time to myself later.

I am at the burned out stage where I am getting insufficient no people time to recover so I resent even spending time with friends. I don't want the social time to ever increase (a work day far exceeds my people bandwidth) but it would be nice to not resent every interaction with friends and family and to actually enjoy them. The quote above is actually what I am hoping for when we retire next year.

For those who feel like you stopped resenting social interactions after retirement, about how long did it take you? Part of our retirement will be family visits and I am wondering how much downtime we will need prior to the visits...

Stachey

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When I was working, I had to use up all my social energy dealing with and talking to people at work, so all I wanted to do on the weekends was be alone and recharge.

Now I spend most of every day doing whatever I want to do, all by myself (usually writing and painting) and I can use my limited social energy for doing fun things like: going to dinner with friends or going dancing.

For me it took a good six to nine months to detox from the workplace 'social life' and to even feel like I wanted to be around people anymore.  But I was working in a very toxic environment so it probably took longer than most ER.
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FINate

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... I think a key difference in retirement is not feeling like my alone time is a scarce commodity that must be protected -- I can enjoy a social outing knowing that I will have time to myself later.

I am at the burned out stage where I am getting insufficient no people time to recover so I resent even spending time with friends. I don't want the social time to ever increase (a work day far exceeds my people bandwidth) but it would be nice to not resent every interaction with friends and family and to actually enjoy them. The quote above is actually what I am hoping for when we retire next year.

For those who feel like you stopped resenting social interactions after retirement, about how long did it take you? Part of our retirement will be family visits and I am wondering how much downtime we will need prior to the visits...

About 6 months for me.

Holyoak

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I'm hard-core, hyper introverted, but when out and about, you would mistake me for a very extroverted person...  I will volunteer, try to help others in need by listening (I'm emphatic too), but I NEED a lot of quiet time alone.  Being FIRE'd allows me the opportunity to live my life in a way that I can avoid soul sucking crowds, heavy traffic, and follow the rule that "no" is a complete sentence, if I don't feel like doing something.

Introverts can seen as suspicious to many, if not weirdos...  Like others, my give an eff field is barren, concerning this, and only grows stronger.  Not to knock anyone, but early retiree sites can seem to have folks feel as if they are missing out, wasting their lives if they are not planning/went on a world-wide trip (with plenty of stylized, well selected photos to show) living a non-stop life of excitement, building a cob house earth ship in <fill in cool location>, sky diving, or doing a total home tear-down and rehab...  Heck, I'm thrilled to fill my bird feeders, watch the regulars swoop in, and enjoy a nice cup of tea listening to soft music.  I know I am an anachronism, out of phase with a lot of what goes for living now-a days, but I'm very OK with this. 

The world (US) seems to becoming so coarse, so divisive, so unfriendly, so stratified, and so not what I value, that my innate introversion is only made that much stronger.  It's like an old friend I can count on, and trust.  Make sense fellow introverts?   

secondcor521

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Make sense fellow introverts?   

Absolutely.  Although I had never connected being introverted with the simpler life you describe in your post, even though I am both an introvert and a fellow simple-lifer.  I'd be curious if those two things are commonly correlated.
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Mr Griz

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In my job, being an introvert is a handicap. Iíve developed coping mechanisms to overcome it. But it wears me out so when Iím not working I just want to be left alone to recharge. Iím hoping that when I retire (next year) I can develop ďrealĒ ability to interact with folks on a genuine basis.

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Make sense fellow introverts?   

Absolutely.  Although I had never connected being introverted with the simpler life you describe in your post, even though I am both an introvert and a fellow simple-lifer.  I'd be curious if those two things are commonly correlated.

I'd venture that there may be a causal link between the two. Introverts process stimuli differently, so it makes sense to me that we're happier with fewer stimuli. I used to love to travel, but would find myself quickly exhausted. Now, I love my quiet life.

OP, it took me about 6 months of digging my heels in like a petulant child, thinking "NO, YOU CAN'T MAKE ME", to recharge and realize that since I was no longer exhausted by toxic work interactions that I could enjoy socializing and then comfortably retreat to my quiet nest when depleted.

ShortInSeattle

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I had an extremely extroverted job, and I always tested as mildly extroverted. In ER, I'm an introvert! Work bent my personality, I suppose, and now I'm reverting.

For my first 6mo of ER, I had major hermit feelings. Other than DH, I wanted to be left the heck alone! That's gotten better, and I think it was a part of the work-detox phase. 😁 I have energy now for friends and family, but 2 social events a week is plenty, and I prefer one-on-one to parties.

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I'm hard-core, hyper introverted, but when out and about, you would mistake me for a very extroverted person...  I will volunteer, try to help others in need by listening (I'm emphatic too), but I NEED a lot of quiet time alone.  Being FIRE'd allows me the opportunity to live my life in a way that I can avoid soul sucking crowds, heavy traffic, and follow the rule that "no" is a complete sentence, if I don't feel like doing something.

Introverts can seen as suspicious to many, if not weirdos...  Like others, my give an eff field is barren, concerning this, and only grows stronger.  Not to knock anyone, but early retiree sites can seem to have folks feel as if they are missing out, wasting their lives if they are not planning/went on a world-wide trip (with plenty of stylized, well selected photos to show) living a non-stop life of excitement, building a cob house earth ship in <fill in cool location>, sky diving, or doing a total home tear-down and rehab...  Heck, I'm thrilled to fill my bird feeders, watch the regulars swoop in, and enjoy a nice cup of tea listening to soft music.  I know I am an anachronism, out of phase with a lot of what goes for living now-a days, but I'm very OK with this. 

The world (US) seems to becoming so coarse, so divisive, so unfriendly, so stratified, and so not what I value, that my innate introversion is only made that much stronger.  It's like an old friend I can count on, and trust.  Make sense fellow introverts?   


I'm surprised at how much the above, especially the boldened portion, resonates with me.  My sister retired a few months after me, and although we look similar in many respects (both high energy, involved in a multitude of things), I'm seeing how fundamentally different we are.  She is signing up for classes, taking multiple trips, up to her eyeballs in being out of her house all day every day, and I'm very happy to sit in my house, bake, drink tea, and spin and knit.  It's fascinating. 

Metta

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I'm hard-core, hyper introverted, but when out and about, you would mistake me for a very extroverted person...  I will volunteer, try to help others in need by listening (I'm emphatic too), but I NEED a lot of quiet time alone.  Being FIRE'd allows me the opportunity to live my life in a way that I can avoid soul sucking crowds, heavy traffic, and follow the rule that "no" is a complete sentence, if I don't feel like doing something.

Introverts can seen as suspicious to many, if not weirdos...  Like others, my give an eff field is barren, concerning this, and only grows stronger.  Not to knock anyone, but early retiree sites can seem to have folks feel as if they are missing out, wasting their lives if they are not planning/went on a world-wide trip (with plenty of stylized, well selected photos to show) living a non-stop life of excitement, building a cob house earth ship in <fill in cool location>, sky diving, or doing a total home tear-down and rehab...  Heck, I'm thrilled to fill my bird feeders, watch the regulars swoop in, and enjoy a nice cup of tea listening to soft music.  I know I am an anachronism, out of phase with a lot of what goes for living now-a days, but I'm very OK with this. 

The world (US) seems to becoming so coarse, so divisive, so unfriendly, so stratified, and so not what I value, that my innate introversion is only made that much stronger.  It's like an old friend I can count on, and trust.  Make sense fellow introverts?   


I'm surprised at how much the above, especially the boldened portion, resonates with me.  My sister retired a few months after me, and although we look similar in many respects (both high energy, involved in a multitude of things), I'm seeing how fundamentally different we are.  She is signing up for classes, taking multiple trips, up to her eyeballs in being out of her house all day every day, and I'm very happy to sit in my house, bake, drink tea, and spin and knit.  It's fascinating.

Here's the thing, though, it resonated very strongly with me as well and I always test out exactly in the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale. Sometimes when I take the Myers-Briggs test I end up as an extrovert and sometimes as an introvert but it is always "slightly extroverted" or "slightly introverted". Further, I've noticed that many introverts are also interested in travel rather than in a simple life at home. I'm guessing that a fair amount of those interested in slowly traveling in an RV are probably introverts since it seems to me to be a very lonely way to live. The more time I spend Post-FIRE doing what I want to do at home, the less interested I am in travel. The beauty and diversity of life around me is amazing. I don't need to spend time elsewhere to open my brain. I can do it right here.

What I have noticed for myself about socializing is that I am socializing a bit more Post-FIRE as far as voluntary social activities go but seeing fewer people overall in a week. More surprlsing to me is that my relationships with friends are deepening. My relationship with my family is better and also a bit deeper. My ability to be generous with my time (now that I have time) has helped I think. Even my relationships with people I see during perfunctory contacts (grocery store clerks, etc.) are better. They recognize me and greet me happily, asking about my novel and so forth. I am guessing that I am a nicer person to be around and people must respond to that.

Caoineag

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We will be in the slow travel in a van group (at least for the first portion of retirement) but also plan the back half to be homesteading in the middle of nowhere. Slow travel, especially when boon docking can be isolating. Neither my husband nor I mind that but I suspect most extroverts would end up finding a park to go to in order to socialize.

It will be interesting to see where we end up on this spectrum. Before I met my husband, I did a lot of things alone and spent a lot of time alone. I remember experiencing stir crazy but not ever needing to see other people. I do know that after a prolonged period without seeing a lot of people, I am a lot more friendly.

snappytom

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Not FIRE yet but I am hoping to become a more social being when FIRE'd.   
I think it will happen ..... am am an ISTJ and a boss with 20 direct reports.  The workday forces me to engage with a lot of people I would have nothing to do with given the choice and it can be exhausting.  Not having forced interactions and choosing who I talk to is something I am looking forward to.

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I'll pile onto this thread!

My wife is a hard introvert...I'm not that far behind.

I enjoy social interaction and friendships more than she does.  She retired almost four years ago while I work in a job that requires a LOT of social interaction.  I've found that I enjoy a lot of that social interaction, except for the cocktail parties that involve making conversation with a bunch of people I don't know. 

I am curious how we will develop relationships once work is removed, especially since since our FIRE plans sounds like a a song "You don't have to go home but you can't stay here".  No desire to stay where we currently live, don't want to move to our hometown, ect
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Iím not retired but what an interesting question. I am very much an introvert. I often can go a couple days without any other human interaction. It bothers me how little this bothers me.

I would like to think I would become more sociable in retirement but I find groups of people drain my energy at a quite prolific rate.

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I became less social since being fire'd and to be honest maybe too much. I could use a little more chit chat here and there but not to much. I seem to be the person people like to bitch to about all their problems and its usually when I am focusing on my own things. I'm not good at being phony when people are bugging me.
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Linda_Norway

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I am also an introvert and find it scary to start talking to strangers out of the blue. Although I like it when they take the initiative to talk. When I put myself to it, like recently having lunch at a conferance and sitting down at a table full of strangers, I can make conversation.

After FIRE I hope to meet new people from the activities I will be doing. But as we need to free up money that is in our house, we need to move and start over again making friends. It might be challenging. I hope clubs and so can help.

FINate

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Iím not retired but what an interesting question. I am very much an introvert. I often can go a couple days without any other human interaction. It bothers me how little this bothers me.

I would like to think I would become more sociable in retirement but I find groups of people drain my energy at a quite prolific rate.

Curious, why does this bother you?

This past summer I did a 4 day solo backpacking-archery hunting trip in a wilderness area. Didn't see anyone else the entire time. A little lonely at times, nights were somewhat eerie, but overall it was wonderful. I'm done trying to conform to societies extroverted expectations, and this doesn't bother me in the least :)

Stachey

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I agree.  I keep hearing about this study that "proves" that people with a wide social circle are healthier, happier and lead longer lives. 

The majority of people do nothing but stress me out and make me unhappy.  I can't imagine all the stress they cause creates a healthier life for me.
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Quote
Curious, why does this bother you?

This past summer I did a 4 day solo backpacking-archery hunting trip in a wilderness area. Didn't see anyone else the entire time. A little lonely at times, nights were somewhat eerie, but overall it was wonderful. I'm done trying to conform to societies extroverted expectations, and this doesn't bother me in the least :)

I do spend a lot of time on my own and I am very independent. I do find most social situations very difficult. So ideally I would like to be better at them, to handle them better, enjoy them a bit more as in some ways this holds me back a little. Itís largely the reason Iím single where ideally I would have liked to have found the right person to travel through life with. For some reason everything largely just makes sense on my own.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 03:05:56 AM by never give up »

LaineyAZ

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I am also on the introvert/extrovert cusp.  I agree it's an individual's right to decide how much socializing fits your personality.  It can be a relief to put the work-related mandatory interactions behind you when you retire.

But.  I'd like to add an additional consideration:  as people age, our social circles shrink.  Many times I've seen couples who were perfectly content to be each other's whole social life.  That works fine until one of the two becomes very sick, disabled, or dies.  Now they literally have almost no friend or even acquaintance outside the family (assuming they even have family nearby). 
By that I mean, no one who could give you a ride to the airport or loan you $50 no questions asked or just hang out and have a coffee or beer with.

I agree that strong introverts are born, not made, but I also think a little effort in maintaining someone to socialize with, even very occasionally, can make life overall easier.

TartanTallulah

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But.  I'd like to add an additional consideration:  as people age, our social circles shrink.  Many times I've seen couples who were perfectly content to be each other's whole social life.  That works fine until one of the two becomes very sick, disabled, or dies.  Now they literally have almost no friend or even acquaintance outside the family (assuming they even have family nearby). 
By that I mean, no one who could give you a ride to the airport or loan you $50 no questions asked or just hang out and have a coffee or beer with.

I agree that strong introverts are born, not made, but I also think a little effort in maintaining someone to socialize with, even very occasionally, can make life overall easier.

This is something my husband and I will have to be aware of, although I hope staying on good terms with our children will help. DH is an extreme introvert; when he was a SAHP and the children were at school I was always bewildered that he didn't go out and seek some sort of work or social contact but stayed at home and developed a Netflix habit instead. I straddle the I/E axis and will find casual or voluntary roles if I retire before DH, but when we're both retired there's a risk that we'll become one of those enmeshed, emotionally self-sufficient couples.

I've never not had a job that involves lots of human interaction, and will be interested to see whether I go looking for a similar level of interaction when I'm no longer working and recovering from all that talking and listening.



StetsTerhune

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I would say I am the exact opposite.  I'm a moderate introvert , but worked in an extremely introverted industry. I was always annoying my coworkers with my attempts to chat around the office. Now that I'm retired though I don't spend anytime trying to socialize with anyone.

Mostly I think it's because my wife is around all the time and I get all the human interaction I want from her. When she's away I fairly quickly start to need contact, but as long as she's around (which she pretty much always is), I don't have any desire to talk to anyone else

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I only recently took the introversion stuff seriously in thinking about myself...and yes, quitting my career job with forced interactions has been great, and I also enjoy the mostly voluntary people interactions I now have much more (and I am more present and compassionate with the non-voluntary ones too, as my people processing reserves are regularly topped off).

But I am also feeling a bit of the downside...not so much of "being around other people" but of having the kind of social interactions that I find rejuvenating: meaningful conversation with one or a few people I feel a connection to (and that connection could just be having a meaningful conversation).  Most of my friends are still caught up in the rat race of work, and/or hyper-scheduled with kids' activities, so I need to do some more work to get time together.

The other phenomenon I find interesting is how understanding introversion and extroversion--and in particular, how our culture treats introverts-- better, has made me both more frustrated and at the same time, more able to deal with what was previously a nebulous ball of conflicting emotions.  Now, while I perhaps resent it in a more focused way, seeing HOW it is unfair, I also have the ability to intentionally and mindfully deal with it because I can recognize it (and here I'm talking about being seen as 'moody' or 'anti-social' or 'having a problem' when I'm just exhausted by others who thrive on those things that exhaust me, and need a break).  Hearing from others makes this all feel better, even if it also feeds the sense of injustice...
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 08:59:39 AM by spokey doke »
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What an awesome post.
   Personally I used retirement as an opportunity to indulge in my introversion. Been 6 years and has not gotten old yet.

I agree.  I keep hearing about this study that "proves" that people with a wide social circle are healthier, happier and lead longer lives. 

The majority of people do nothing but stress me out and make me unhappy.  I can't imagine all the stress they cause creates a healthier life for me.

Yeah I keep hearing about that study too! I think it was written by the same people who believe every mass shooter is an introverted loner.

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Not FIRE, but as an extreme introvert, having more energy for being social is one of the main drivers for working towards FIRE.  I sure hope that my vision is true, or life will be lonely on the other side. 

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I identify with so many things that were mentioned in this thread.  I am very introvert, the kind who needs a half-day recharge after attending any social gathering with more than a dozen people.  My job was putting my in a rather social position; being the manager of a team with multiple clients, I had to both be aware of the needs of my reports and those of my clients.  This meant a steady streams of one-on-one meetings, team meetings, and the occasionally dropping by happy hours to see how every is really feeling.  In FIRE, I rarely see more than one person a day.  I love it! 

I think I have more social energy since I don't have to deal with work related interactions anymore and I suspect I would do fine attending a party now and then, but I frankly have little desire to do so.  I can better catch up with my friends on a one-to-one basis, be it in person or over the wire.  Solitude is such a fulfilling state Ė I want to make time for is as much as I can.

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I feel I am becoming less social after retirement.  Now I don't have to "put up" with people at work, it is so sweet. 

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I'm an introvert. My husband is more extroverted, but in age getting less so. I used to work 40 hour weeks in healthcare. So it was nonstop people interactions with patient, family, doctor, nurses, etc. It was exhausting so much so that I didn't much feel like socializing at all even on weekends which somewhat annoyed my husband.

Now in pre-tirement I work just 2 days a week. These days are exhausting but it gives me so much more time to recharge that I actually feel like I can be social on other days. My husband works in a school and it is nonstop interactions too. I can see once he retires early that he'll want to be be much more social which will be good. Once I am social I actually have a good time, it is just the buildup that for some reason I hate.
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Jantoven

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I'm strongly introverted (INTJ). For me it's not about social vs. antisocial, more about how I process things. As an internal processor it requires a great deal of energy to be around people I don't know well, or where there's a lot of external stimuli.

Since RE I've had more time to process and decompress. I don't know if I've become more social as a percentage of overall time, but the interactions I do have are more meaningful and enjoyable now. I've made friends with people at the gym. No longer bothered by going to parties,  even enjoying them sometimes. I think a key difference in retirement is not feeling like my alone time is a scarce commodity that must be protected -- I can enjoy a social outing knowing that I will have time to myself later.

This is totally me!  I find it requires a significant amount of energy for me to be in a social situation.  I am still working, and I find that at the end of the work day, I feel extremely exhausted.  I have a desk job that isn't too stressful, but there is a lot of interaction required.  My wife has noticed that I tend to be very quiet on the weekdays after work, but on the weekend, I tend to interact quite a bit more.  When I thought about this trend further, I realized that I'm basically draining my "social battery" at work, and when I get home, I just need to recharge for awhile.  On the weekend, I don't have to drain that battery too much, so I'm able to get more out of conversation/interactions.

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I'm semiretired and an introvert ( INF/TJ). I work in a demanding face to face job: still, I enjoy it, but I am aware it uses up the majority of my social spoons. If I am lucky enough to be off for a few weeks, I start looking for human interaction. I've long been aware I have a limit on how much social interaction is comfortable or enough for me. If I worked in a job with no personal interaction my social life would be much better. Its one reason I will move to full retirement soon: I look forward to being able to invest more social time with friends/family.
Journalling at Happy Aussie Downshifter

Aegishjalmur

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I am extremely introverted. I have told my wife before that I can generally handle groups of 3(including myself) without starting to feel stressed out in a short period of time(provided she is one of the other 2, otherwise my tolerance is even lower). It will be very interesting to see what kind of impact losing work as my daily people exposure will have. On our week long vacations(Just DW, myself and the dogs) I haven't desired more people interaction but I am so burned out it's hard to tell just how much of an impact that has. I suspect the first 2-3 months I will have no desire to see a lot of people. After that, we will see....

The extreme introversion makes family time 'interesting' as my mom is the exact opposite, I don't think she has a single introvert trait. She objects if I leave the room for 5 minutes when we have had 3 days w/ parents and sibling. My poor wife (who is more extroverted than me but that's kindof putting the bar in the ditch) runs interference.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 09:20:05 AM by Aegishjalmur »
Plans are useless. Planning is indispensable.

Accidental Fire

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I'm hard-core, hyper introverted, but when out and about, you would mistake me for a very extroverted person...  I will volunteer, try to help others in need by listening (I'm emphatic too), but I NEED a lot of quiet time alone.  Being FIRE'd allows me the opportunity to live my life in a way that I can avoid soul sucking crowds, heavy traffic, and follow the rule that "no" is a complete sentence, if I don't feel like doing something.

This sums me up pretty nicely.  I just semi-retired 2 months ago to 20 hours a week at my job and so far I'm finding that I will perhaps need some more social interaction.  But for me, that interaction has to be the way I need it which makes it harder.  I need small groups or mostly one-on-one, and a chill atmosphere.  No parties etc. 

I've tried doing the "go to the coffee shop to write" thing to see if maybe I could meet someone but no dice.  It just makes me feel uncomfortable and if it's gets crowded I need to get out. 

I'm early in this semi-retirement so I'll just have to find a good place to settle with my interactions.

Bicycle_B

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Nope.

Carolina on My Mind

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Great thread.  Iím a strong introvert as well, and my experience in retirement is similar to others who've already responded.  I retired three years ago and spend huge amounts of time alone at home (my husband, also a strong introvert, still works full time).  It took me almost a year before I was willing to commit to a volunteer gig, and when I finally did volunteer it was . . . drumroll . . . shelving books at the library.  :) 

One pleasant thing that I noticed almost immediately after I stopped working, though, was that I was much more willing to accept social invitations.  When I worked full-time, if I had even one social obligation on the weekend, I felt as though Iíd had no weekend at all.  Thatís how badly I needed the alone time at the end of the work week.  And doing something after work was all but out of the question.  Now I get all the alone time I need during the week, so I can accept (or even plan!) social stuff without feeling overloaded, and on the rare occasions that I start feeling overcommitted, itís easy to dial it back as much as I need to.  Thatís been great for my relationships with family and friends and has been one of the very best things about being retired.

So to answer your question about whether Iíve become more social since retiring, I guess the answer is yes and no.  I spend much more time alone since I retired, but I am much more receptive to social opportunities and tend to enjoy them much more.  Best of both worlds, I guess.

never give up

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Wow that really sounds like me Carolina on My Mind. I hope retirement does the same for me as it has for you.

Metta

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I am extremely introverted. I have told my wife before that I can generally handle groups of 3(including myself) without starting to feel stressed out in a short period of time(provided she is one of the other 2, otherwise my tolerance is even lower). It will be very interesting to see what kind of impact losing work as my daily people exposure will have. On our week long vacations(Just DW, myself and the dogs) I haven't desired more people interaction but I am so burned out it's hard to tell just how much of an impact that has. I suspect the first 2-3 months I will have no desire to see a lot of people. After that, we will see....

The extreme introversion makes family time 'interesting' as my mom is the exact opposite, I don't think she has a single introvert trait. She objects if I leave the room for 5 minutes when we have had 3 days w/ parents and sibling. My poor wife (who is more extroverted than me but that's kindof putting the bar in the ditch) runs interference.

My husband is also an extreme introvert. He once left a four-person yoga class because it was "too crowded". His family are all introverts. They had a Family Reunion and everyone just sat in the living room and read quietly. I was mystified.

Dee

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Spending time quietly in the same room with others, each reading a book (or doing something else quiet), maybe with some soft music in the background, sounds dreamy. Your husband's family reunion is the only one I've ever heard of that I'd like to attend!

Aegishjalmur

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I am extremely introverted. I have told my wife before that I can generally handle groups of 3(including myself) without starting to feel stressed out in a short period of time(provided she is one of the other 2, otherwise my tolerance is even lower). It will be very interesting to see what kind of impact losing work as my daily people exposure will have. On our week long vacations(Just DW, myself and the dogs) I haven't desired more people interaction but I am so burned out it's hard to tell just how much of an impact that has. I suspect the first 2-3 months I will have no desire to see a lot of people. After that, we will see....

The extreme introversion makes family time 'interesting' as my mom is the exact opposite, I don't think she has a single introvert trait. She objects if I leave the room for 5 minutes when we have had 3 days w/ parents and sibling. My poor wife (who is more extroverted than me but that's kindof putting the bar in the ditch) runs interference.

My husband is also an extreme introvert. He once left a four-person yoga class because it was "too crowded". His family are all introverts. They had a Family Reunion and everyone just sat in the living room and read quietly. I was mystified.


Take that up to 11 with me. I don't even like other people in my space. The people just being in the same room with me would have the same impact even if I didn't have to interact.
Plans are useless. Planning is indispensable.

Jantoven

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Great thread.  Iím a strong introvert as well, and my experience in retirement is similar to others who've already responded.  I retired three years ago and spend huge amounts of time alone at home (my husband, also a strong introvert, still works full time).  It took me almost a year before I was willing to commit to a volunteer gig, and when I finally did volunteer it was . . . drumroll . . . shelving books at the library.  :) 

One pleasant thing that I noticed almost immediately after I stopped working, though, was that I was much more willing to accept social invitations.  When I worked full-time, if I had even one social obligation on the weekend, I felt as though Iíd had no weekend at all.  Thatís how badly I needed the alone time at the end of the work week.  And doing something after work was all but out of the question.  Now I get all the alone time I need during the week, so I can accept (or even plan!) social stuff without feeling overloaded, and on the rare occasions that I start feeling overcommitted, itís easy to dial it back as much as I need to.  Thatís been great for my relationships with family and friends and has been one of the very best things about being retired.

So to answer your question about whether Iíve become more social since retiring, I guess the answer is yes and no.  I spend much more time alone since I retired, but I am much more receptive to social opportunities and tend to enjoy them much more.  Best of both worlds, I guess.

This is what I hope my future holds.  I have noticed that I am likewise more receptive to social engagements when I have had a considerable amount of time off.  If I'm working and around people for 8+ hours a day / 5 times a week, I need a ton of time to re-charge my social batteries and stay away from people.  After work, I just go straight home thereafter - I'll decline any kind of get-together or hang-out type event.  Right now, 1-2 social gatherings per month (on the weekend) is more than enough, with 1 really being the ideal target.  I'm perfectly content spending time with just my wife. 

BTDretire

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  I'm an introvert, but trying to socialize more since working less.
I have breakfast with 4 or 5 people twice a week. I follow Meetup
for a hike or a bike ride. After starting this thread, I sent emails to organizers of the Vintage bike group asking to get a ride organized!
 Meetup is worth checking into, if you want some activities, they have dozens of widely
varied groups.

gerardc

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Introvert too, but usually when I stop work for 1-2 weeks (which is rare) I become more pleasant and more social. This is because work causes me pain and nobody wants to talk with someone who is suffering; they want to talk to happy, relaxed, comfortable people.

About the bit that introverts need more time alone (which I experience a lot), could it be caused by the fact that extroverts are simply more skilled at social interactions? E.g. if you're a waitress or a salesman, you'll develop skills to easily fake a pleasant attitude and, with time, you become better at it, more confident, and it becomes easier, less draining for you, so you require less rest to recuperate. It seems that socialization has a snow-ball effect, or momentum, where the more you do the easier it gets, and vice-versa. In that view, extroverts would simply be people who have adapted and learned to devote their resources to social interactions, and less of the other stuff that require life energy, like deep thinking or physical exertion. Kind of like after going to the gym every day for years, your muscles are there waiting to do work for you, and it starts to feel good doing it.


Not FIRE, but as an extreme introvert, having more energy for being social is one of the main drivers for working towards FIRE.  I sure hope that my vision is true, or life will be lonely on the other side.

Same here. Reminds me of the goals people have: "Once I have that house/job/wife/car/body, I'll finally be happy!" Then they get the thing and realize they're still the same, not happy. Could FIRE be that pipe dream for us?

Although I'm pretty sure (have collected some evidence over the years) I become more social in vacation and when I reduce work.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 09:47:34 PM by gerardc »

Linda_Norway

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About the bit that introverts need more time alone (which I experience a lot), could it be caused by the fact that extroverts are simply more skilled at social interactions? E.g. if you're a waitress or a salesman, you'll develop skills to easily fake a pleasant attitude and, with time, you become better at it, more confident, and it becomes easier, less draining for you, so you require less rest to recuperate. It seems that socialization has a snow-ball effect, or momentum, where the more you do the easier it gets, and vice-versa. In that view, extroverts would simply be people who have adapted and learned to devote their resources to social interactions, and less of the other stuff that require life energy, like deep thinking or physical exertion. Kind of like after going to the gym every day for years, your muscles are there waiting to do work for you, and it starts to feel good doing it.

Yes, I think extroverts have social interaction skills that we introverts lack, but that can be trained. But I also think that introverts have the skill to better entertain themselves when being alone. Extroverts might need the external interaction more and perhaps feel more awkward being alone.

As am example I am thinking of my mother, who cannot tolerate the sound of silence and always needs to have the radio on in the background. I am often tired of sound and love some silence from time to time. Visiting my mother for days in a row is challenging for me.

Holyoak

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Yes, I think extroverts have social interaction skills that we introverts lack, but that can be trained. But I also think that introverts have the skill to better entertain themselves when being alone. Extroverts might need the external interaction more and perhaps feel more awkward being alone.

As am example I am thinking of my mother, who cannot tolerate the sound of silence and always needs to have the radio on in the background. I am often tired of sound and love some silence from time to time. Visiting my mother for days in a row is challenging for me.

Ironic, but as in my case I think it depends on the type of introvert you are; but I do agree some level of seeming extroversion can be taught, however uncomfortable, or less than genuine it may be in some cases.  I am as introverted as I think humanly possible, w/o being a complete recluse, especially in ER yet I have in the past, and in some instances now perform activities that are profoundly "extroverty". 

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, if you met me and saw how I interact with folks on a personal and through the type of jobs I have had, you would absolutely think I was a raging extrovert...  I have been an Army combat platoon leader, sales rep/salesperson, library aide and tutor, corporate employee training director, even the chief interpretive naturalist managing a state park nature center, leading groups on hikes/many outdoor activities, presenting 2-3 programs a day, doing my best "Jack Hanna" live animal demos...  Not exactly Mr. shrinking violet and guess what; it was absolutely genuine, I loved it, but I needed/need my alone time like an addictive drug.  No doubt a seemingly strange duality, but here I am.

As for silence, place me very firmly in the I could live in a Anechoic chamber, and consider it bliss.  I love being way out West in places where the only sound heard, is that of your beating heart...  God I crave it, and the solitude.  My mom like yours, needs to have ambient noise at all times.  Ironic that as much as I will play brown/pink/white noise at my road noise hell rental, others seek ambient city noise, and highway traffic clips from YouTube to relax.  Delightful what differences can be wrung from chimps with drivers licenses.     

smoghat

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I needed/need my alone time like an addictive drug.  No doubt a seemingly strange duality,

As for silence, place me very firmly in the I could live in a Anechoic chamber, and consider it bliss.  I love being way out West in places where the only sound heard, is that of your beating heart...  God I crave it, and the solitude.  My mom like yours, needs to have ambient noise at all times.  Ironic that as much as I will play brown/pink/white noise at my road noise hell rental, others seek ambient city noise, and highway traffic clips from YouTube to relax.  Delightful what differences can be wrung from chimps with drivers licenses.     

Totally get that!

Re:alone time. Yes yes yes! I could get a high from teaching 80 grad students or lecturing to 500 people but soon after would crave alone time. I love silence! Itís too loud for me here in the burbs. Guess the Internet helps, or is it age, as a kid I freaked out at the silence of my rural home. Then again, Iím married now. I always needed another soul in my life.

Regarding the topic... Iíve joined a Unitarian Comgregation, which is intellectually satisfying and doesnít force me into what I see as superstition (basically itís about your own spiritual journey, you figure it out... no dogma, only thing is that the universe is an interdependent Oneness) but gives me community. I like it, except when it demands too much of my time. Generally good to meet others though.