Sage Advice: Introvert Seeks Quiet in a Noisy World

By Amy Dickinson | March 13th, 2019

How to find alone time in a constantly bustling world


Dear Amy: I live in LA. I am a friendly, open person. I smile and laugh easily. I’m sure my friends would describe me as “nice,” or “sweet.”

Despite my disposition, I am an introvert.

In order to keep my energy levels up, I need moments alone throughout the day.

I use ride-share apps for transportation and find that drivers almost always want to talk, even when I give subtle cues that I would rather be quiet.

When I go to restaurants alone, waiters or other solo diners will want to chat throughout the meal.

At the retail store where I work I am very friendly with my co-workers, but they continuously want to talk throughout our shift, and will even come into the break room to talk – or want to go with me if I’m going out.

I like people, but my job already demands so much social interaction that moments of peace where I can read or people-watch or just focus on my work are so important to me. Being kind and well-liked is also important to me.

How can I deal with these situations without seeming rude or closed off?

– Exhausted

Dear Exhausted: I hope you have read the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” the important and groundbreaking work on introversion by Susan Cain (2013, Broadway Books). Carry it with you.

You already understand that taking care of yourself in this regard is absolutely vital. If you don’t – you, your work and your relationships will suffer.

When you use a ride-share car, you can start out by saying, “Thanks – but I’d like to sit here quietly.” When you are interrupted during break-time, you can say, “Hey, I’m just going to hang here, close my eyes and recharge my batteries.” Wearing earphones and carrying a book might help.

You’ll have to assertively train people, giving very obvious cues. And because you are sweet, kind and well-liked, people will learn to respect your needs.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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