When I hear the phrase, “the more the merrier,” I usually cringe. It took me awhile to figure out why, but in understanding how my introverted brain works explains my response. I function much better in smaller groups. And when I’m deciding to attend a gathering, having an idea of how many people will attend, and how many people that I know attending, helps me determine if I will have the energy to deal with a large number of people. Even planning my time so I can participate in certain events, and still have time to recover, or make sure that I have the energy to attend. It’s not that I don’t like people, in fact, if I spend too much time by myself, I get a little weird and get stuck in my head. But when it’s an open-ended type of invitation, with “the more the merrier” type of attitude, I tend to balk and run away and hide.
These larger events are almost painful to me as I get overstimulated with crowds and lots of noise. And it’s kind of difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t have that experience. I would much rather spend an evening having dinner with one other person, or a small group where everyone feels like they are part of the conversation. It’s hard getting to really know people in these larger groups when you can’t hear what anyone is saying. I’ve often felt my loneliest in a room full of people, or at meal with a bunch of people talking around me.
If I do spend time with lots of people, I always try and make sure that I have an escape plan where I can have a little bit of time to myself, or am able to leave if I run out of energy. I also try and plan small group and one-on-one activities because I do need those connections with people. In fact, a good conversation with a friend can be just about as energizing as having some alone time, and if I am lacking connections with people, I feel off and unsettled.
I was talking with some fellow introverts about the phrase, “the more the merrier,” and we all have pretty similar responses. We can be pretty social, but please give us fair warning when inviting us to an event, especially when you’ve inviting a large group of people. Even if we need to say no, the invite is always appreciated.